The Cherry Orchard: Martin Sherman Profile

The Cherry Orchard was written in the early 20th century by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. The script our production uses has been adapted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Martin Sherman. Here’s some background on Sherman’s life and previous works!

  • Sherman has written over 20 plays, which have been produced in over 60 countries.

Sherman’s most well-known title is perhaps the award-winning Bent (1979), which portrayed the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. The play premiered in the West End in 1979, and transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for a Tony Award. It since has been produced in over 45 countries, and made into both a ballet and a film. It was also included in the National Theatre’s list of the 100 most significant plays of the 20th century.

Other productions include Messiah (1982) starring Maureen Lipman, A Madhouse in Goa (1989) starring Vanessa Redgrave and Rupert Graves, and Some Sunny Day (1996) starring Rupert Everett and Corin Redgrave, and Onassis (2010) starring Robert Lindsay.  In 1999 Sherman’s one-woman play Rose opened in the West End starring Olympia Dukakis, the show later transferred to Broadway and was recently revived as an acclaimed digital stream performance starring Maureen Lipman (2020). Sherman also adapted the Laurence Olivier award-nominated production Absolutely! {perhaps} (2003).



  • He was born in America, but has lived in the UK for over 40 years.

Sherman was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Camden (New Jersey). After studying in Boston and New York City, he began his playwrighting career in California with his rock musical A Solitary Thing (1963). In the mid-1960s, he returned to New York and wrote a number of plays before traveling to London in the 1970s where Bent became his first smash hit show.

Sherman has continued to write successfully for both British and American stages after his move to the UK.



  • He has previously collaborated on a number of projects with Theatre Royal Windsor’s Summer/Autumn season director Sean Mathias and Ian McKellen.

Ian McKellen starred as Max in the first West End production of Bent in 1979.  He reprised the role in 1990 in a production directed by Sean Mathias. Sherman, Mathias and McKellen then worked on a film production of the play (1997), this time with McKellen playing the role of Uncle Freddie – the cast of the film also included Mick Jagger! You can find out more about each production on Ian McKellen’s website via the following links:

1979 play     1990 play    1997 film

Sherman’s most recent play, Gently Down the Stream, was directed by Sean Mathias when it premiered in New York in 2017, and when it ran at London’s Park Theatre in 2019. The Park Theatre production starred Jonathan Hyde and Ben Allen, who play Claudius and Horatio in our production of Hamlet!



  • His adaptation of The Cherry Orchard was previously staged in 2006.

Martin Sherman’s adaptation was first staged in 2006 in Los Angeles – it starred Annette Bening and Alfred Molina, and was directed by Sean Mathias.

 It received a highly positive review from the Los Angeles Times which stated:

“Mathias’ production (relying on a fresh, British-inflected translation by playwright Martin Sherman) manages the paradox of leaving us feeling delighted while a lump swells in our throats.”



  • He has also written a number of star-studded productions for film and TV.

Sherman’s screenwriting works include Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), a film starring Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Kelly Reilly, and Will Young. The film was positively received and attained 26 award nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Judi Dench’s performance.

Other film and TV works include Indian Summer (1996) starring Jason Flemyng, Antony Sher and Bill Nighy, Callas Forever (2002) starring Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons, and The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone starring Helen Mirren (2003).




The Cherry Orchard will run at Theatre Royal Windsor from Fri 1 Oct – Sat 13 Nov. You can find out more about our production and book your tickets by clicking the button below!


The Cherry Orchard

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