JACOB’S JOURNEY & JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Photo by Laurie Asprey
London run: Albery Theatre, February 17th, (243 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice Director: Frank Dunlop Choreographer: Christopher Bruce Musical Director: Alan Doggett/Anthony Bowles Producer: Robert Stigwood
Cast: Gary Bond (Joseph), Alex McAvoy (Jacob), Joan Heal (Potiphar’s Wife), Gordon Waller (Pharaoh), Ian Trigger (Potiphar), Roy North (Baker), Peter Blake/Peter Reeves/Maynard Williams (3 Narrators)
Notes: This was a revised and enlarged version of the production which opened at the Roundhouse on November 16th, 1972 (43 Performances). In the earlier production it was preceded by “The Genesis Medieval Mystery Plays”, here replaced with “Jacob’s Journey” with dialogue provided by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. The cast was considerably enlarged (to include the Brothers) but Richard Kane, Riggs O’Hara, Julia McCarthy from the original cast did not appear in this enlarged version.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA London run: Phoenix Theatre, April 26th (237 Performances) Music: Galt MacDermot Book: John Guare & Mel Shapiro Director: Mel Shapiro Choreographer: Denis Nahat Music Director: Ian MacPherson Producer: Michael White & Robert Stigwood
Cast: Samuel E Wright (Valentine), Ray C. Davis (Proteus), Brenda Arnau (Silvia), Jean Gilbert (Julia), Derek Griffiths (Thurio), Michael Staniforth (Speed), Benny Lee (Launce), Songs: Love in Bloom, Summer Summer, Love is that You?, Night Letter, Who is Silvia?, Bring all the Boys Back Home, Eglamour
Notes: Originally it was intended to present Shakespeare’s original play for a series of free productions in Central Park, as part of the New York Shakespeare Festival. The director, Mel Shapiro, suggested adding a rock score to give the show some contemporary relevance, and gradually the project was transformed into a combination of anachronistic colloquialisms, ethnic references and some of Shakespeare’s original dialogue. Its success in the open-air theatre led to a Broadway production and a London transfer.
Photo by Laurie Asprey
Story: The story of two friends in the city of Verona, the noble Valentine, and the very ignoble Proteus. On a trip to Milan their lives become very complicated because of two girls - Julia (who loves Proteus) and Silvia (who loves Valentine)
Brenda Arnau, Samuel E. Wright & Ray C. Davis
NO NO NANETTE (2nd Revival) London run: Drury Lane, May 15th (277 Performances) Music: Vincent Youmans Lyrics: Irving Caesar & Otto Harbach Book: Otto Harbach & Frank Mandel Director: Burt Shevelove Choreographer: Donald Saddler Musical Director: Grant Hossack Producer: H. M. Tennent, Ltd
Cast: Tony Britton (Jimmy Smith), Anna Neagle (Sue Smith), Anne Rogers (Lucille Early), Teddy Green (Billy Early), Thora Hird (Pauline), Barbara Brown (Nanette), Anita Graham, Elaine Holland, Jenny Wren, Peter Gale Songs: Too Many Rings Around Rosie, The Call of the Sea, I Want to Be Happy, Tea for Two, You Can Dance With Any Girl at All, Where Has My Hubby Gone Blues?, Take a Little One Step
Notes: The original production was stuck on a USA provincial tour undergoing re-writes and re-casting, when a facsimile production opened at London’s Palace Theatre in March 1925 starring Ginnie Hale and George Grosssmith. The London run lasted 665 performances – twice the New York run when the show finally made it to Broadway six months after the London premiere. The first London revival was at the Hippodrome in 1936 with Barbara Vernon and Shaun Glenville. The London 1973 production was a revised version which had originally opened on Broadway starring Ruby Keeler. This time the position was reversed: the New York show ran for 861 performances, but the London one managed just 277.
Photo by Zoe Dominic
Story: Jimmy Smith, a married New York Bible manufacturer and the guardian of Nannette, has most innocently been giving financial support to help the careers of three different girls in three different cities. Jimmy, his wife and ward, together with family friends Lucille and Billy Early all gather for a holiday at Jimmy’s Chickadee Cottage in Atlantic City. Totally unplanned, the cottage is also visited by the three young ladies. This causes all manner of complications and misunderstandings, not helped by the presence of the Smith’s family maid, Pauline.
KINGDOM COMING London run: Roundhouse, May 21st (14 Performances) Music: Bill Snyder Lyrics: Stanley Baum Book & Additional Lyrics: David Climie & Ronnie Cass Director: Jon Acevski Choreographer: Joanne Steuer Musical Director: Ed Coleman Cast: Antonia Ellis (Laura), Aubrey Morris (Julius), Michael Howe (Rahvi) Story: A hippy takes over his father’s business empire and spreads largesse so effectively that the world gets over-populated and everybody had to be put into deep-freeze until times can cope.
GYPSY London run: Piccadilly Theatre, May 29th (300 Performances) Music: Jule Styne Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Arthur Laurents Director: Arthur Laurents Choreographer: Jerome Robbins, reproduced by Robert Tucker Musical Director: Richard Leonard Producer: Donald Albery, Edgar Lansbury & H. M. Tennent Ltd
Cast: Angela Lansbury (Rose), Barrie Ingham (Herbie), Zan Charisse (Louise), Debbie Bowen (June), Bonnie Langford (Baby June), Andrew Norman (Tulsa) Songs: Let Me Entertain You, Some People, Small World, You’ll Never Get away From Me, If Momma Was Married, All I Need is the Girl, Everything’s Coming Up Roses. Together Wherever We Go, You Gotta Get a Gimmick, Rose’s Turn. Story: Mama Rose is determined to escape the humdrum life by pushing the vaudeville career of her younger daughter, Baby June. When theatre proprietors show no interest, she forms her own vaudeville troupe, aided by long-suffering admirer, Herbie. But Baby June grows up and elopes with Tulsa, one of the boys in the company. Rose, undeterred, focuses all her attention on Louise, her elder, less talented and reluctant daughter, even forcing her to step into the suddenly vacant role of a burlesque stripper. As time goes by, Louise becomes highly successful as Gypsy Rose Lee, the highest paid strip-tease performer of the time. Rose suffers a breakdown (expressed through the shattering “Rose’s Turn”) when she realises that she is no longer needed in her daughter’s career.
Photo by John Haynes
Notes: The 1959 Broadway production saw the greatest performance of Ethel Merman’s career, and the show itself is regarded by many as one of the most-perfect musicals ever written. Music, songs and lyrics are superbly integrated by two of the greatest craftsmen – Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim. The London production did not happen until 1973, when Angela Lansbury gave the most powerful performance and received the highest praise. Due to other commitments she left the show after six months, and the role was taken over by Dolores Gray. In spite of a decent performance, it seems the magic of Lansbury was missing, and the show closed a few months afterwards. Angela Lansbury
THE ME NOBODY KNOWS London run: Shaw Theatre , May 29th (45 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Robert H. Livingstone & Herb Schapiro Director: Michael Croft Choreographer: Willian Sean-Hix Cast: Peter Straker, Angela Bruce, Reginald Tsiboe, Oswald Lindsay, Lorenza Johnson, Andrew Bowen Songs: Dream Babies, What Happens to Life, Flying Milk and Runaway Plates, If I Had a Million Dollars, Fugue for Four Girls, Jail-Life Walk, Black, War Babies Story: There is no plot, but the theme is of children in poor neighbourhoods of New York who are "complex, introspective characters. Each is an authentic voice saying attention must be paid." The children are selfassertive in the face of difficult lives. One story is about a 13-year old boy taking heroin for the first time. Another involves a child shocked to hear a white boy order "milk and a nigger". A boy watches as a drunk black man is taken away in an ambulance after an accident. Notes: It began off-Broadway in 1970 and then transferred to Broadway itself. It received the Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical. The dialogue is taken from actual writings of New York’s underprivileged children.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW London run: Theatre Upstairs (Royal Court), June 19th Transferred to Classic Cinema, Chelsea August 14th Transferred to King’s Road Theatre, November 3rd Transferred to Comedy Theatre, April 6th, 1979 Total: 2,960 Performances Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien Director: Jim Sharman Musical Director: Richard Hartley Producer: Michael White
Original Cast: Jonathan Adams (Narrator), Tim Curry (Frank-n-Furter). Rayner Bourton (Rocky Horror), Christopher Malcolm (Brad), Belinda Sinclair (Janet), Richard O’Brien (Riff-Raff), Patricia Quinn (Magenta), Little Nell (Columbia), Paddy O’Hagan (Eddie/Dr Scott)
Photos by John Haynes
Songs: Science Fiction Double Feature, Over at the Frankenstein Place, Sweet Transvestite, In Just Seven Days I Can Make You a Man, Time Warp, I’m Going Home Story: It is a dark and stormy night. Brad and Janet are stranded when their car breaks down, so they seek refuge in a nearby castle owned by Dr Frank’n’Furter, a sweet transvestite from Transylvania and staffed by his strange butler, Riff-Raff, and the very odd Magenta and Columbia. Frank has collected the appropriate body-parts to make himself the perfect muscle man to serve his wicked way – a wicked way he also achieves with both Brad and Janet. (Frank’s previous attempt at making a perfect man is kept in the deep-freeze, since Eddie turned out to be damaged goods!) Rescue appears in the form of Dr Scott, the wheelchair-bound former college tutor of Brad and Janet. He gets to the bottom of the set-up: the inhabitants of the castle are really aliens from the planet Transsexual, controlled by Riff-Raff. Frank has over-stepped the mark and is exterminated before the others take off in their spaceship. Brad, Janet and Dr Scott are left behind, having developed a taste for wearing basque, suspenders and fishnets. Notes: With its first run lasting from August 14th 1973 to September 13th 1980, this was a seven year success story – starting in a tiny studio theatre, moving to converted cinemas, and finally making it to the West End – where it received a large cult following on the back of the 1976 film version. Curiously the 1975 Broadway production was a flop, running just 45 performances – but pre-dating the film. The film version would later become a bigger USA cult than the British one. The show would then have an amazingly successful UK touring production from 1983 to 1989 in the legendary Kenneth More Theatre/Theatre Royal Hanley production, followed by the same production touring Europe for six months. Richard O’Brien was finally able to retrieve the rights and re-launch the show in the West End, where it has had many revivals.
GREASE London run: New London Theatre, June 26th (236 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey Director: Tom Moore Choreographer: Patricia Birch Musical Director: Barry Booth Producer: Paul Elliott & Duncan Weldon
Cast: Richard Gere (Danny Zuko), Stacey Gregg (Sandy), Jacquie-Ann Carr (Rizzo), Peter Armitage (Kenickie), Stephen Alder (Teen Angel), Derek James (Doody) Songs: Summer Nights, Freddy My Love, Greased Lightning, Mooning, Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee, We Go Together, It’s Raining on Prom Night, Beauty School Drop Out, There are Worse Things I Could Do
Notes: Originally an offBroadway show, it moved into the mainstream for an 8 year run with 3,388 performances. For some unknown reason the London production did not take off and only managed a mere 236 performances. During the run Elaine Paige took over the role of Sandy. The film version in 1978 made a great difference as far as London was concerned, and future revivals of “Grease” have been hugely successful. Left: Elaine Paige & Paul Nicholas who took over from (Right) Richard Gere
WEST SIDE STORY (1st Revival) London run: Collegiate Theatre, July 3rd (Summer season) Music: Leonard Bernstein Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Arthur Laurents Director: Bill Kenwright Choreographer: Robert Arditti Musical Director: Ed Coleman Producer: Bill Kenwright (David Gordon Productions)
Cast: Jim Smilie (Tony), Rosamund Shelley (Maria), Roger Finch (Riff), Michael Howe (Diesel), Peter Daly (Bernardo), Clovissa Newcombe (Anita) Notes: This production had come to the Collegiate (now known as the Bloomsbury Theatre) following a long UK tour.. See Original London Production, Her Majesty’s , December 1968 (See also Shaftesbury Theatre, December 1974)
Story: The setting is Rydell High School where the greaser Danny Zuko is attracted to the prim and proper Sandy Dumbrowski, who eventually learns that in 1950s Chicago there is no fun in being virtuous. The show is a satirical, bang-on-target look at the dress, manners, morals and music of teenagers at the beginning of the rock’n’roll era, where kids had little on their minds except hanging out and making out. Underneath it all, the show mocks individuality and champions eventual conformity with the real world of 1950s America.
THE CARD London run: Queen’s Theatre, July 24th (130 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Tony Hatch & Jackie Trent Book: Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall Director: Val May Choreographer: Gillian Lynne Musical Director: Ray Holder Producer: Cameron Mackintosh & Jimmy Wax
Cast: Jim Dale (Denry Machin), Joan Hickson (Mrs Machin), John Savident (Mr Duncalf), Eleanor Bron (Countess of Chell) , Millicent Martin (Ruth Earp), Marti Wenn (Nellie Cotterill) Songs: Nine Till Five, Universal White Kid Gloves, Nobody Thought of It, Moving On, That's the Way the Money Grows, Opposite Your Smile, Nothing Succeeds Like Success, The Right Man.
Notes: Adapted from the 1909 novel by Arnold Bennett.
Photo by Zoe Dpominic
Story: Set in the Potteries, this is the story of Denry Machin, a washer-woman’s mischievous son, who rises to the top of the tree by luck, guile, initiative, and a fair bit of chutzpah. From his first job with Mr Duncalf, Denry shows himself to be a bit of a “card, when he manages to get into the firm’s annual dance and wangle a dance with the beautiful Countess of Chell. He becomes a rent collector and money lender, has a romantic entanglement with Ruth, one of his tenants, and her friend Nellie, rescues some sailors in a shipwreck in Llandudno and then becomes a lifeboat owner, and a tour guide for visits to see the wrecked ship. His other wheeler-dealer exploits include starting up the Five Towns Universal Thrift Club, buying a local newspaper and boosting the failing local football club by purchasing the rights to local boy, Callear, the "greatest centre forward in England". At this point, Ruth reappears in Denry's life, now the widow of a rich older man. He considers renewing their relationship, but at the last moment, realizes that Nellie is the one for him and marries her. His crowning achievement comes when he is elected the youngest ever Mayor of Bursley. Millicent Martin & Jim Dale
THE WATER BABIES London run: Royalty Theatre, July 25th (62 Performances) Music & Lyrics: John Cooper Book: John Taylor & Willis Hall Director-Choreographer: Ross Taylor Musical Director: Phil Phillips Producer: Tom Arnold
Cast: Jessie Matthews (Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby), Richard Willis (Tom), Jacob Witkin (Mr Grimes), Kim Williams (Ellie), Hope Jackman, Eleanor McCready, David Morton Story: The tale of young Tom, apprentice to the unpleasant chimney-sweep Mr Grimes, and his underwater journey to the End-Of-Nowhere is interspersed with delightful songs by John Cooper. The Water Babies and underwater creatures were portrayed by a combination of puppets and small children. Notes: Based on Charles Kingley’s book, this played twice-daily at the Royalty as a summer entertainment. The large cast included what the Times described as “a mass turnout of the dancing tots of London’s theatre academies” and the return of 1930s star, Jessie Matthews, now 66 years old.
DECAMERON ‘73 London run: Roundhouse, August 14th (14 Performances) Roundhouse, September 25th (55 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Joe Griffiths Director: Peter Coe Choreographer: Leo Kharibian Photo by Philip Ingram
Cast: Raad Rawi, Miquel Brown, Kenneth Gardiner, Cheryl de Grunwald, Tim Goodman, Susanna Hunt, David Yip Story: An anthology of eight erotic stories including nine songs performed by a cast of ten people. After its first short run it toured to Manchester where it underwent some re-writing, and then returned to the Roundhouse with some new songs and three more cast members.
THE KING AND I (Revival) London run: Adelphi, October 10th (260 Performances) Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II Director: Roger Redfarn Choreographer: Sheila O’Neill Musical Director: Reg Cole Producer: Harold Fielding, Paul Elliott, Duncan C. Weldon
Cast: Peter Wyngarde (King), Sally-Ann Howes (Anna), Moyna Cope (Lady Thiang), Pauline Antony (Tuptim), Valentine Palmer (Lun Tha), Stephen Grover (Louis), David Morris (Chululongkorn), David Davenport (The Kralahome) Notes: See original London run, Drury Lane, October 1953
Photo by Reg Wilson
London run: Her Majesty’s, October 30th (85 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz Book: Roger O. Hirson Director-Choreographer: Bob Fosse Musical Director: Ray Cook Producer: Robert Stigwood
Cast: Norman J. Calloway (Leading Player), Paul Jones (Pippin), John Turner (Charlelemagne), Bobby Bannerman (Lewis), Diane Langton (Fastrada), Elisabeth Welch (Berthe) Songs: Magic to Do, Corner of the Sky, Morning Glow, Simple Joys, On the Right Track
Story: A modern free-wheeling account of the life of Charlemagne’s son, Pépin (Pippin) who, yearning for glory, becomes involved with war, women and social causes. Throughout his search for his own “corner of the sky” he is under pressure from rivalry with his brother, Lewis, and his scheming stepmother, Fastrada. Above all, there is pressure from the “Leading Player” who sometimes seems to be acting as a representative of Heaven and also from Hell. Eventually after rejecting the final glory of self-immolation, he takes the advice of his wise old grandmother, Berthe, and settles down to an ordinary life of domesticity with his wife Catherine. Notes: This was an anti-war story in a commedia-dell-arte style, reminiscent of the “flower power” philosophy of the recent past, and was a great success on Broadway, running for 1,944 performances. The London production was an expensive flop.
ZORBA London run: Greenwich Theatre, November 27th (23 Performances) Music: John Kander Lyrics: Fred Ebb Book: Joseph Stein Director: Robin Phillips Choreographer: David Toguri Cast: Alfred Marks (Zorba), Miriam Karlin (Madame Hortense), Jim Smilie (Nikos), Angela Richards (Widow), Peter Daly (Pavli) Songs: Life Is, The First Time, The Top of the Hill, No Boom Boom, Only Love, Y’assou, I am Free Story: The tale involves the ebullient Zorba and his love for the coquettish French girl, Hortense and the story of Nikos, a studious young man who has inherited an abandoned mine on the island of Crete. In the course of the show there are a series of tragic events, including the suicide of a young Cretan boy, Pavli, because of his unrequited love for a young widow. This is followed by the vengeful murder of the widow by Pavli’s family, the discovery that the mine is inoperable and the death of Hortense. However, despite it all, Zorba remains optimistic and determined to live life to its fullest. Notes: This was rather similar to “Fiddler on the Roof” with a larger-than-life ageing hero and a stage full of earthy ethnic types, though the story was much darker and the people of Crete much colder and more threatening than the colourful villagers of Anatevka. It was based on the 1964 film “Zorba the Greek” which starred Anthony Quinn and Lila Kedrova. The original Broadway production managed just 305 performances. The London production at Greenwich came off quickly, having failed to find a West End offer.
COCKIE London run: Vaudeville, December 12th (7 weeks) Music: Anthology Director: William Chappell Choreographer: Sheila O’Neill & Lionel Blair Musical Director: Alfred Ralston Producer: Peter Saunders
Cast: Avril Angers, Liz Charles, Jill Martin, Patricia Bredin, Eric Flynn, Janet Mahoney, Max Wall, etc. Notes: An anthology of scenes from the musical career of Charles B. Cochran, with music and lyrics by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin and others. The show closed within two months, having been generally disliked by the critics.