The Audience’s premiere production opened in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre on February 15, 2013, with its press night on March 5. The play featured Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II; the actress had played the same role in the 2006 film The Queen, which was also written by Morgan. The play was directed by Stephen Daldry, with design by Bob Crowley, lighting design by Rick Fisher, sound by Paul Arditti, music by Paul Englishby and video design by Ian William Galloway. A typical West End performance ran two hours and 30 minutes, including one interval.
Following the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who is featured during the plays run, playwright Peter Morgan made a speech to the audience to mark her passing. The original production was broadcast live to cinemas as part of National Theatre Live on June 13, 2013. The initial broadcast broke the record for most people watching a production live since the scheme began, with nearly 80,000 people watching in the UK and 30,000 people in North America. Further encore screenings were later broadcast.
At the 2013 Olivier Awards, Helen Mirren received the best actress Olivier for her portrayal of the Queen, while Richard McCabe received the best supporting actor nod for his role as Harold Wilson. At the 2014 WhatsOnStage awards, voted for by theatregoers, Mirren won the award for best actress, Haydn Gwynne best supporting actress for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, and Peter Morgan best new play.
The play began a limited Broadway engagement from March 8 to June 28, 2015 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with previews from February 14, 2015. Dame Helen Mirren reprised her role of Queen Elizabeth II in this production, alongside fellow original cast members Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Elwyn, Richard McCabe and Rufus Wright. The 2015 Broadway production won the Tony Awards for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Helen Mirren) and Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Play (Richard McCabe), and received a nomination for Best Costume Design of a Play (Bob Crowley).
A West End revival began at the Apollo Theatre, opening on May 5, 2015, following previews from April 21, 2015, with Dame Kristin Scott Thomas as Queen Elizabeth II. For the revival production, the role of James Callaghan was removed to allow them to feature another former prime minister (Tony Blair) and the script was updated pending a General Election. Following the General Election on May 7, 2015, the scene featuring David Cameron meeting the Queen was updated to show Cameron had won a second term, with the Queen asking him to form a government. The Audience between Cameron and the Queen was changed several times over the 15 week run in the West End in keep up to date with current political events. After the general election, results references were made to Nicola Sturgeon and the success of the SNP seats gained in Scotland taken from Labour. Other current events references made during the audience scene between the Queen and Cameron included the corruption scandal at FIFA and the Greek bailout debate known as “Grexit.” During the last week of the run, a reference was made to newspaper articles displaying the Queen apparently making a Nazi salute in her youth and to the birthday of Prince George.
- Courtesy of Wikipedia