Christopher Renshaw

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Christopher Renshaw (born 18 March 1952) is a British theatre director. He was educated at Reading School in Reading, Berkshire, where his father taught German, and Magdalen College, Oxford.

He has directed many musicals, plays and operas in Australia, London and New York. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work on The King and I.

Biography[edit]

Christopher Renshaw's career as a director is all encompassing. After leaving Magdalen College, Oxford he spent three years with The Glyndebourne Festival Opera before moving to The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Renshaw has directed operas all over the world, including Eugene Onegin at The Aldeburgh Festival, conducted by Rostropovitch, Lucrezia Borgia (with Dame Joan Sutherland) in Rome, Falstaff in Monte Carlo and Luisa Miller (with Luciano Pavarotti) in Philadelphia which was recorded for American television. Other productions of his have been seen at Opera North, Buxton Festival Belfast, Antwerp, Connecticut, Oslo, and Jerusalem. He has directed eight productions of The Australian Opera at the Sydney Opera House including Aida, Norma (again with Dame Joan Sutherland), Trial by Jury and The Mikado which has recently been released on commercial video.

Renshaw directed a new production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and, in 1978, the British premiere of Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans.

A gradual move towards straight theatre began when he directed the production of The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein at the Camden Festival (with Patricia Routledge). He followed this with a production of The Soldier's Tale (with Sir Michael Hordern) for the Greenwich Festival and Hansel and Gretel with Sheila Steafel as the Witch. For the BBC he directed Vincent Price and Keith Michell in Ruddigore and also his own adaptation of Orpheus in the Underworld with Dennis Quilley as Jupiter.

Renshaw's series of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at Sadler's Wells began with The Mikado which was then followed by The Gondoliers and HMS Pinafore (with Nickolas Grace). This production scored great success when it played at The City Center in New York.

National tours of plays have included Angela Huth's adaptation of Little Women (with Jill Gascoine), Towards Zero (Marius Goring and Michael Cashman), Deadly Embrace (with Patrick Ryecart) and Wait Until Dark for Bill Kenwright, all having started at The Churchill Theater Bromley.

In London's West End he has directed Dry Rot (with Sir Brian Rix) at The Lyric, Café Puccini (produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber) at Wyndhams, Paris Match (with Siân Phillips and Stephen Moore) at The Garrick, Yeoman of the Guard at The Cambridge Theater and Bless the Bride again at the Sadler's Wells. He also directed a Gala performance of Cole Porter's Nymph Errant at Drury Lane. He directed The Tale of the Two Horseman at the Greenwich Theatre and Tiercé Gagnant at the Théâtre de la Michodière in Paris.

In 1991 he directed Warholia by Snoo Wilson at Offstage Theater Camden and a production of The King and I, which toured throughout Australia where it was a huge hit. Shortly thereafter The King and I opened on Broadway starring Donna Murphy (which garnered her a Tony Award) and Lou Diamond Phillips to rave reviews.

Christopher Renshaw received the 1996 Drama Desk Award as well as Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his direction of The King and I. The revival subsequently won the Tony Award for Best Revival. The West End production of The King and I opened, May 2 and has already garnered the largest advance in West End history.

In the winter of 2002 Renshaw opened an original musical entitled Taboo with Boy George about the life and times of Culture Club in London's West End, which went on to transfer to Broadway. His production of We Will Rock You with the original band members and presented by Robert De Niro premiered in London in the summer of 2002, where it continues to break box-office records and has gone on to tour the world. In summer of 2008, Renshaw premiered the original musical Zorro, based on the mythic character with music by the Gipsy Kings in London's West End. The show was met with wide critical praise and is currently touring the world.

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