SYDNEY — It’s not the first time that “Hedda Gabler” has been performed on the Australian stage. But with Cate Blanchett headlining, it’s little wonder the production has been touted as the hottest ticket in the Sydney Theatre Company’s 25-year history. Blanchett’s husband, Andrew Upton, penned the adaptation of the 1890 Henrik Ibsen play, which is directed by Robyn Nevin.

At Tuesday’s opening night, Blanchett took the stage opposite a stellar local cast, including Aussie actors Hugo Weaving (best known as Agent Smith from “The Matrix”) and Aden Young.

This story first appeared in the July 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Returning to the same theater where she kicked off her professional career some 12 years ago was a feat of schedule engineering. “It’s been a long time — programs get set so far ahead,” said Blanchett after the show. “But it feels solid, it feels real and it’s great to be really working.”

Following the sold-out season, which runs through Sept. 26, Blanchett plans to begin work on the new Australian film “Little Fish” with Weaving and Sam Neill — yet more artful engineering for the actress, who gave birth to her second baby just three months ago.

Noted Blanchett: “I’m not the first mother to go back to work.”

— Patty Huntington