Christopher Renshaw

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Christopher Renshaw (born 18 March 1952) is a British opera and theatre director. He has directed many musicals, plays and operas in London, Australia and New York. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his work on The King and I.

He began his career in the 1970s directing opera at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and then the Royal Opera House in London. He directed operas around the world, including Europe, Australia and the US. He directed plays and musicals in London's West End and on Broadway. His production of The King and I began in 1991 in Australia, was mounted on Broadway in 1996 and in the West End in 2000. Among other more recent West End successes, Renshaw's We Will Rock You ran for 12 years.


Renshaw was born in Reading, Berkshire and educated at Reading School, where his father taught German, and Magdalen College, Oxford.

He began his career directing for three years at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera before moving to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He 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, Oslo, Jerusalem and elsewhere. He directed eight productions of the Australian Opera at the Sydney Opera House including Aida, Norma (again with Sutherland), Trial by Jury and The Mikado, which was released on commercial video. Renshaw directed a production of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal Opera House and, in 1978, the British premiere of Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans.[citation needed]

A gradual move towards light opera, musical theatre and plays began when Renshaw 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 Brent Walker Productions he directed Vincent Price and Keith Michell in Ruddigore (1982), and for the BBC he directed his own adaptation of Orpheus in the Underworld. Renshaw's series of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at Sadler's Wells Theatre began with The Mikado, followed by The Gondoliers and H.M.S. Pinafore (with Nickolas Grace). This production scored great success when it played at New York City Center.[citation needed]

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. His national tours have included Angela Huth's adaptation of Little Women (with Jill Gascoine), and adaptation of 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 Theatre in Bromley.[citation needed]

In 1991 he directed Warholia by Snoo Wilson at Offstage Theatre in Camden and a production of The King and I, which toured throughout Australia where it was a huge hit. In 1996, his staging of The King and I opened on Broadway starring Donna Murphy (which garnered her a Tony Award) and Lou Diamond Phillips to rave reviews. Renshaw received the 1996 Drama Desk Award as well as Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his direction, and the revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival. The West End production of The King and I followed in 2000. He directed High Society on Broadway in 1998 (Anna Kendrick's Broadway debut). In 2002 Renshaw directed an original jukebox 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. The same year, he directed another jukebox musical, We Will Rock You, about Queen, presented by Robert De Niro, which became one of the longest-running shows in the West End. In 2008, Renshaw premiered an original West End musical Zorro, based on the mythic character, with music by the Gipsy Kings.[citation needed]


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