Cast and creatives added for Elizabeth McGovern’s Ava Gardner play

Last Updated on 19 November 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

Anatol Yusef has been cast with Elizabeth McGovern in Ava: The Secret Conversations at London’s Riverside Studios. Tickets are on sale now

Anatol Yusef Elizabeth McGovern Ava
Anatol Yusef (photo: Eric Generous) and Elizabeth McGovern as Ava Gardner (photo: Simon Annand)

Anatol Yusef, who played Meyer Lansky in TV drama Boardwalk Empire, has been cast alongside Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern in Ava: The Secret Conversations at London’s Riverside Studios.

He will portray Peter Evans, the real-life British journalist who was hired by Hollywood star Ava Gardner to write her autobiography when she lived in London in the 1980s.

McGovern, who wrote the play based on the book that Evans and Gardner wrote, will take the part of Ava. It will run at Riverside Studios from 14 January to 16 April 2022, with press night on 20 January.

Directed by filmmaker Gaby Dellal, Ava is described as a captivating exploration into the fractured relationship between the public and private lives of one of Hollywood’s greatest icons.

Producer Karl Sydow said: “I’m thrilled to have cast Anatol Yusef alongside Elizabeth McGovern in this fantastic new play that explores so much about what the legendary Ava Gardner had to deal with throughout her illustrious career and tumultuous marriages.

“Part memory play, part sparring match, through this tense and witty play Ava and Peter debate, fight and flirt their way through the memories of Ava’s fabulous life as they struggle to get the story straight.

“Expect a rich sensory journey through Ava’s whisky-soaked recollections of her life as an actor and with her three famous husbands – Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.”

The rest of the creative team have also been announced. It will feature design, including projection, by 59 Productions, costume design by Fotini Dimou, lighting design by Elliot Griggs and sound design by Ella Wahlström. It is being produced with the support of the Ava Gardner Trust.

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.