London Welsh will have to make do without match-day announcer Alan David for the rest of the season, as he jets off to New York to star on Broadway.
The 63-year-old actor will reprise his role as The Professor for a second time in Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed and award winning production Jerusalem at New York’s Music Box theatre. David, who is in his fourth season as match-day announcer at London Welsh RFC, will not fly out to New York until March 27.
But the demands of rehearsals mean he will miss the Dragons’ push for promotion in the Championship play-offs, which gets underway next Saturday against Nottingham at Old Deer Park (12:35pm) in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Previews at the Music Box theatre begin from April 2 with opening night set for April 21. The production runs until July 21.
“I’m really excited; it will be wonderful. I love America; I’ve been many times but the last time was ten years ago, so I’m really looking forward to it,” said David. “I’ll miss my family, although they will be coming out, and I’ll really miss doing the end of the season at London Welsh, because I so enjoy doing it. My son Harry will keep me informed!”
Set on St George’s Day, Jerusalem is a comic, contemporary tale of life in our green and pleasant land. Butterworth’s play tells the story of modern day pied piper and local waster, Johnny Byron [Mark Rylance].
Bryon is a wanted man; the council want to serve him an eviction notice, his children want him to take them to the fair, Troy Whitworth wants to give him a serious kicking and his motley crew of mates want his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.
“While we are doing the previews we’ll be rehearsing the show during the day, and they’ll gage what the American audience understand and what they don’t understand,” added David. “They can’t Americanize it, because it’s about England but they will maybe adapt certain phrases.”
Jerusalem took the West End by storm in 2009 at the Royal Court theatre and again in 2010 when it switched to the Apollo Theatre Directed by Ian Rickson, Jerusalem was named Best Play at the Evening Standard Awards in November 2009, while Rylance won an Olivier Award for Best Actor for his brilliant performance as Johnny Byron.
David was born in Merthyr Tydfil and gave up a career as a teacher to become an actor. His credits include Wimbledon with Paul Bettany, The Painted Veil with Ed Norton and Naomi Watts, Death Defying Acts with Catherine Zeta Jones and Guy Pearce and The Oxford Murders with John Hurt and Elijah Wood.
He is perhaps best known, though, for his role as Llewellyn in John Sullivan’s The Green Green Grass – the spin-off from Only Fools and Horses which ran for four series.
David theatrical style behind the microphone has established himself a firm fan’s favourite at Old Deer Park, along with his occasional bloopers, which include renaming London Welsh wing Liam Gibson, Liam Neeson.