Isadora Duncan When She Danced at the Gielgud Theatre in London

When She Danced

Play by Martin Sherman. A recreation of the dancer Isadora Duncan and her eccentric household in the Paris of the 1920s. Duncan makes a desperate attempt to keep herself financially solvent enough to realize her dream of retirement - a school in Italy to teach young dancers her art while she gets distracted by her mercurial husband, a poet who only speaks Russian.

The play originally premiered at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, Surrey on Wednesday 27 November 1985 where it played for a short three season up to Saturday 14 December 1985. The cast featured Pauline Collins as 'Isadora Duncan' with Alexander Arbatt as 'Sergei Esenin', Angela Pleasence as 'Miss Belzer' and Kevin Elyot as 'Luciano Zavani'. The production was directed by Robert Allan Ackerman. Interestingly Kevin Elyot also went on to play the role of 'Luciano Zavani' in both the subsequent London productions in 1988 and 1991.

When She Danced London Production with Shelia Gish 1988

When She Danced London West End Production with Vanessa Redgrave 1991

Martin Sherman's London theatre plays include Onassis and Bent. He has also adapted Luigi Pirandello's Absolutely! (perhaps).

Original London Production with Shelia Gish 1988

Previewed 15 September 1988, Opened 19 September 1988, Closed 22 October 1988 at the Kings Head Theatre

The cast featured Sheila Gish as 'Isadora Duncan', with Owen Teale as 'Sergei Esenin', Angela Pleasence as 'Miss Belzer', Kevin Elyot as 'Luciano Zavani', Daryl Back as 'Christine', Margaret Robertson, and Gerard Logan.

Directed by Tim Luscombe with choreography by Lynn Seymour.

Original London West End Production with Vanessa Redgrave 1991

Previewed 31 July 1991, Opened 6 August 1991, Closed 21 December 1991 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)

The cast featured Vanessa Redgrave as 'Isadora Duncan', with Frances de la Tour as 'Miss Belzer', Alison Fiske as 'Mary Desti', Oleg Menshikov as 'Sergei Esenin', Michael Sheen as 'Alexandros Eliopolos', Kevin Elyot as 'Luciano Zavani', Shelia Keith as 'Jeanne', and Jodie Scott as 'Christine'.

Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman with choreography by Graham Lustig, designs by Bob Crowley and lighting by Arden Fingerhut.

Twenty-two years prior to this stage play, Vanessa Redgrave had already portrayed the dancer Isadora Duncan in the Karel Reisz 1969 film The Loves of Isadora.