Previewed 10 August 2006, Opened 15 August 2006, Closed 7 October 2006 at the Donmar Warehouse in London
Previewed 9 November 2006, Opened 16 November 2006, Closed 3 February 2007 at the Gielgud Theatre
Following a critically acclaimed sell-out season at The Donmar Warehouse, the World Premiere production of Peter Morgan's play Frost / Nixon starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella and directed by Michael Grandage transfers to The Gielgud Theatre for a strictly limited three month run.
In 1972, a break-in was foiled at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC. Within days a connection had been made to the White House and to President Nixon's closest aides. It unleashed one of the greatest scandals in modern American politics and ended with Nixon's humiliating resignation. David Frost's interviews with Richard Nixon, following the Watergate scandal, drew the largest audience for a news interview ever. Could this British talk-show host be the one to elicit an apology from the man who committed one of the biggest felonies in American political history?
The entire original Donmar Warehouse reprise their roles for the West End transfer to the Gielgud Theatre: Michael Sheen as 'David Frost' and Frank Langella as 'Richard Nixon' with Elliot Cowan as 'Jim Reston', Amerjit Deu as 'Manolo Sanchez', Corey Johnson as 'Jack Brennan', Lydia Leonard as 'Caroline Cushing', Vincent Marzello as 'Bob Zelnick', Kate Roscoe as 'Evonne Goolagong', Kerry Shale as 'Swifty Laar / Mike Wallace' and Rufus Wright as 'David Birt'.
Directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram, video by Jon Driscoll, lighting by Neil Austin, and music and sound by Adam Cork.
The writer Peter Morgan on Frost / Nixon: "Having met most of the participants and interviewed them at length, I'm satisfied no one will ever agree on a single, 'true' version of what happened in the Frost Nixon interviews - thirty years on we are left with many truths or fictions depending on your point of view. As an author, perhaps inevitably, that appeals to me, to think of history as a creation, or several creations, and in the spirit of it all I have, on occasion, been unable to resist using my imagination... Everyone I spoke to told the story their way. Even people in the room tell different versions. There's no one truth about what happened in those interviews, so I feel very relaxed about bringing my imagination to the piece. God knows everyone else has."
Richard Nixon's resignation was the subject of Russell Lees' play Nixon's Nixon which was seen in the West End in 2001 at the Comedy Theatre.
"In Peter Morgan's compelling and intelligent dramatisation... [Michael Sheen's] David Frost is a tour de force. On one level it is a brilliant impersonation but he also communicates how insecure and driven Frost is... Frank Lamella has a meatier part in Richard Nixon and he savours every morsel of it... At times funny, often sad, always uncomfortable in his own skin, it is a wonderfully human study that constrats starkly with Sheen's plasticky interrogator." The Sunday Telegraph
"This is a very entertaining bit of theatre, largely thanks to the two leads. Frank Langella, as Richard Nixon, is dignified and presidential... Michael Sheen is a marvellous David Frost: superficial, utterly lacking in any sense of himself or his own motivations beyond some vague worship of "success", yet undeniably likeable, funny and energetic, brimming with optimism and chutzpah." The Sunday Times
"Peter Morgan's impressive first play, tells the story (part fact, part speculation, wholly enthralling) behind the historic series of television interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon in 1977. Morgan spends longer than necessary setting the scene... The focus sharpens, however, when the interviews begin. As Nixon expertly deflects the same old questions with the same tediously evasive answers, Frost and his team - John Birt, then head of current affairs for London Weekend Television, political expert Jack Brennan and Jim Reston, Nixon's biographer - become pretty desperate. It's here that Frost gets lucky twice over. First, Nixon calls Frost in the middle of the night; second, the terrier-like Reston finds new evidence about the crimes and cover-ups for which Nixon was never tried. Michael Grandage's production expertly controls the tension, building to a climactic clash between two sharply contrasting figures who, the play proposes, have much more in common than at first appears: their humble origins, their titanic ambitions for power and limelight, and their readiness to take risks. In an outstanding performance, in which only Nixon's bloodhound jowls are missing, Frank Langella captures the distinctive baritone, the relaxed formality, but also, when Frost finally scales his defences, his insecurity, his intellectual isolation and, as perspiration streams down his face, his shame and guilt. The brilliance of Michael Sheen's Frost is that he both skims the shallows and plumbs the depths of this buoyant extrovert, revealing him to be a social butterfly with a core of steel." The Mail on Sunday
Frost / Nixon in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 9 November 2006, opened on 16 November 2006 and closed on 3 February 2007. Transfer from the Donmar Warehouse previewed from 10 August 2006, opened on 15 August 2006 and closed on 7 October 2006.