TOMMY London run: Queen’s Theatre, February 6th (118 Performances) Music: Pete Townshend & The Who Director: Paul Tomlinson Choreographer: Tudor Davies Musical Director: Simon Webb Cast: Allan Love (Tommy), Anna Nicholas (Acid Queen), Peter Straker (Narrator), Kevin Williams (Cousin Kevin), Sue Bond (Nurse), Steve Devereaux (Lover), Bob Grant (Uncle Ernie) Story: After witnessing the accidental murder of his mother's lover by his father, young Tommy is so traumatized that he loses his ability to speak or to care about life. The shocks applied by sadistic Cousin Kevin, a molesting Uncle Ernie and a drug-dealing Acid Queen fail to bring him back to normal and he takes refuge in staring into a mirror and in pinball machines. When his mother smashes the mirror, Tommy returns to the world and becomes such an expert at Pinball that he rises to the stature of an international superstar and inspires youth around the world.
Allan Love as Tommy
Notes: This was the first West End stage presentation of the smash-hit 1967 recording. A concert version was given at the Rainbow Theatre in 1972, a stage version had played in America, and Ken Russell directed a film version starring Roger Daltrey in 1975. That same year a fully-staged production was produced at Derby Playhouse. An expanded version was staged by the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch in 1978 and it was this latest version that came into London. However, with its confused messages of biblical and rock-drug references, and the absence of its original pop heroes, it received poor notices and managed just a three month run.
AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ London run: Her Majesty’s. March 22nd (6 months) Music: Fats Waller Lyrics: Various Book: Murray Horowitz & Richard Maltby Jr. Director: Richard Maltby Jr. Choreographer: Arthur Faria Musical Director: Luther Henderson Producer: Michael White & Ray Cooney
Cast: Evan Bell, André de Shields, Annie Joe Edwards, Jozella Reed, Charlaine Woodard
Photo by John Timbers
Songs: Ain’t Misbehavin’, Honeysuckle Rose, Jitterbug Waltz, Cash for your Trash, The Joint is Jumpin’, Your Feet’s Too Big, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie Notes: A musical revue and tribute to the black musicians of the 1920s and 1930s who were part of the Harlem Renaissance, an era of growing creativity, cultural awareness, and ethnic pride. Manhattan nightclubs like the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom attracted the high society, while the Lennox Avenue low-down dives were filled with piano players banging out the new beat known as swing. Five performers present an evening of rowdy, raunchy, and humorous songs that encapsulate the various moods of the era and vaguely tell the story and philosophy of Fats Waller. Jozella Reed, Evan Bell, Anna Joe Edwards, André de Shields & Charlaine Woodward
A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE London run: New End January 15th (168 Performances) Transferred to Mayfair Theatre, March 28th Music: Frank Lazarus Book & Lyrics: Dick Vosburgh Director: Ian Davidson Musical Director: Frank Lazarus Producer: Danny O’Donovan, Helen Montagu, Michael Winner
Cast: Frank Lazarus (Chico), John Bay (Groucho), Sheila Steafel (Harpo), Paddie O’Neal (Margaret Dumont), Maureen Scott, John Glover, Alexandra Sebastian Songs: Original: I Love a Film Cliché, Famous Feet, It All Comes out of a Piano, Doin’ the Production Code, A Night in the Ukraine, Samovar the Lawyer,. (Existing: Over the Rainbow, Remember my Forgotten Man, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”) Story: This was a seven-handed show in two parts. The first was a series of songs in praise of Hollywood – using existing songs from films like “Wizard of Oz”, Disney’s “Big Bad Wolf” and some Busby Berkeley movies, together with half-a-dozen original songs all on the subject of film-land. The second half had the same actors in a version of Chekov’s one-act play “The Bear”, performed in the style of a Marx Brothers film. Notes: It opened at the New End fringe theatre and transferred to the May Fair. It was then exported to Broadway, with the second half remaining intact, but the first half drastically re-written, with three interpolated songs from Jerry Herman (Just Go to the Movies, The Best in the World, Nelson) and the songs from existing films replaced with a Richard Whiting medley. The re-written American version was a big hit, running for a year and half and winning several awards.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Transfer) West End run: Transferred to Comedy Theatre, April 6th, Cast at time of transfer: George Little (Narrator), Peer Blake (Frank-n-Furter). Jeremy Gittins (Rocky Horror), Frederick Marks (Brad), Pippa Hardman (Janet), Neil McCaul (Riff-Raff), Kathryn Drew (Magenta), Melanie Wallis (Columbia), Nick Llewellyn(Eddie/Dr Scott). Notes: See original production: Theatre Upstairs (Royal Court), June 19th 1973
Photo by Ken Phillip
London run: Cambridge Theatre, April 10th (600 plus performances)
Ben Cross as Billy Flynn
CHICAGO London run: Cambridge Theatre, April 10th (600 plus performances) Music: John Kander Lyrics: Fred Ebb Book: Fred Ebb & Bob Fosse Director: Peter James Choreographer: Gillian Gregory Musical Director: David Firman Producer: Ray Cooney & Larry Parnes
Cast: Antonia Ellis (Roxie Hart), Jenny Logan (Velma Kelly), Don Fellows (Amos Hart), Hope Jackman (Momma Morton), Ben Cross (Billy Flynn), G.Lyons (Mary Sunsine) Songs: All That Jazz, All I Care About is Love, Mr Cellophane, Cell Block Tango, Razzle-Dazzle, Class, Nowadays Story: Roxie Hart, a chorus girl married to inconsequential Amos, kills her faithless lover, and whilst in prison awaiting the court hearing accepts the wise counsel of money-making Prison matron, Momma Morton, and engages the services of the razzle-dazzle Lawyer, Billy Flynn, who has the Press in his pocket, especially showbiz reporter Mary Sunshine. In jail she meets up with Velma Kelly, another inmate, and when they are released and bounced off the headlines by another juicier murder, they team up for a song and dance act to prove that lust and murder are just two parts of the All-American success story. Notes: Based on the 1926 play by Maurine Dallas Watkins’ and its subsequent film starring Ginger Rogers, the 1975 Broadway musical starred Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera. Shortly after the New York opening Gwen Verdon was taken ill and temporarily replaced with Liza Minelli. The London production originated at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in November 1978.
CANTERBURY TALES (1st Revival) London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, April 24th (96 Performances) Music: Richard Hill & John Hawkins Lyrics: Nevill Coghill Book: Nevill Coghill & Martin Starkie Director: Martin Starkie Choreographer: Hugh Halliday Musical Director: Denys Rawson Producer: Chanticleer Productions
Cast: Dudley Owen (Chaucer), Ian Steele (Squire), Anna Sharkey (Prioress), Jessie Evans (Wife of Bath), Percy Herbert (Miller), Buddy Elias (Steward), Michael Logan, Peter Forest, Barbara Miller, Notes: See Original run, Phoenix Theatre, March 1968 Jessie Evans
BRAZIL TROPICAL London run: Theatre Royal Drury Lane, May 29th (short “filler” season) Music: Various Director: Edvaldo Carneiro & Domingo Campos Choreographer: Domingo Campos & Claudette Walker Company: The Tropicana Theatre Co Notes: This was a stage extravaganza from the Rio Carnival which was squeezed into Drury Lane at the last minute. The long-running “Chorus Line” had ended and the next show was advertised as “Bob Fosse’s Dancin”. However, this ran into Equity problems over the American cast, and “Dancin’” was cancelled. (It would eventually make it to London in 1983). “Brazil Tropical” was hastily put on through the summer until a new production of “Hello Dolly” with Carol Channing replaced it on September 25th.
GREASE (1st Revival) London run: Astoria Theatre, June 7th (124 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey Director: Tom Moore and Robert Kipp Choreographer: Louis St Louis Musical Director: Keith Strachan Cast: Michael Howe (Danny Zuko), Jacqueline Reddin (Sandy), Paul Felber, Andrew Paul, Timothy Whitnall, Gretchen Franklin, Sue Pollard, Tracey Ullman, Zelah Clarke Notes: See Original London production, New London Theatre, June 1973
THE KING AND I (2nd Revival) London run: London Palladium, June 12th (538 Performances) Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics & Book: Oscar Hammerstein II Director: Yuriko Choreographer: Jerome Robbins (re-produced by Susan Kikuchi) Musical Director: Cyril Ornadel Producer: Tom Arnold & Ross Taylor Cast: Virginia McKenna (Anna), Yul Brynner (King), Hye-Young Choi (Lady Thiang), June Angela (Tuptim), Marty Rhone (Lun Tha) Notes: See original London production, Drury Lane, June 1953; First London revival: Adelphi, October 1973 Yul Brynner & Virginia McKenna
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON
Cast: Michael Crawford (Charlie Gordon) , Betty Benfield, Aubrey Woods, Ralph Nossek, Jason Ash, Jeanna L’Esty, Songs: His Name is Charlie Gordon, I Got a Friend, Some Bright Morning, Our Boy Charlie, Dream Safe With Me, I Can't Tell You, Charlie and Algernon, Whatever Time There Is, I Really Loved You. Story: The main characters are Charlie, a mentally retarded man, and a laboratory Michael Crawford mouse. Charlie volunteers to participate in an experimental intelligence-enhancing treatment, which has already proved successful with earlier experiments on Algernon. Charlie makes rapid progress, but soon the mouse's enhanced intelligence begins to fade, and Charlie realises he, too, is fated to revert to his original mental state. Notes: Based on the novel by Daniel Keyes. The musical was first produced in Canada in December 1978 before its London premiere. A much talked-of scene had Michael Crawford singing one number in a spotlight while a trained white mouse ran from one of his hands to the other, by way of Crawford's shoulders and neck. (This was a trick he would repeat 24 years later in a completely different musical, “The Woman in White”). Despite the enormous popularity of Michael Crawford, the show was disliked by critics and public alike, and came off after 29 performances. A Broadway production, re-named “Charlie and Algernon”, opened in September 1980 and ran for just 17 performances, though it did receive a Tony nomination for Best Score.
Photo by Zoe Dominic
London run: Queen’s Theatre, June 14th (29 Performances) Music: Charles Strouse Lyrics: David Rodgers Director: Peter Coe Choreographer: Rhoda Levine
FAUST London run: Young Vic, July 4th (26 Performances) Music: Terry Mortimer Lyrics : Jamie Reid & Michael Bogdanov Director: Michael Bogdanov Cast: Micky O’Donoghue/ Ian Taylor/ Bill Wallis/ Bev Willis (Faust), Tina Jones (Margaret), James Carter (Mephistopheles) , Kate Versey, Laura Cox, John Darrell Story: Faust is a University Don who undergoes plastic surgery to stay young and to seduce 15 year old Margaret. She becomes pregnant and subsequently murders the child, for which crime she is hanged. Faust attempts to solve the ills of the world by political means until his time is up and Mephistopheles comes to claim him. Notes: Four different actors played Faust at various times in his life, and some of the cast were played by oversized puppets. It was a political-morality-rock musical
SONGBOOK London run: Globe Theatre, July 25th (208 Performances) Music: Monty Norman Lyrics: Julian More Director: Jonathan Lynn Choreographer: Gillian Lynne Musical Director: George Faison Producer: Jack Gill (Stoll Productions)
Cast: David Healey (Mooney Shapiro), Anton Rodgers, Gemma Craven, Diane Langton, Andrew C.Wadsworth Songs : East River Rhapsody, Talking Picture Show, Mr Destiny, Je vous aime Milady, Nazi Party Pooper, Bumpity Bump, April in Wisconsin, Don’t Play That Love Song Any More, Golden Oldie
Notes: An absolute delight, this show received mountains of praise, but a whole evening of parody of film and musical theatre could only truly be enjoyed by an audience who understood what was being parodied. After 268 performances it finally ran out of audience.
Anton Rodgers, Diane Langton, David Healy, Gemma Craven & Andrew C. Wadsworth
Photo by Donald Cooper
Story: This was the ultimate send-up of the recent shows drawn from the works of a single composer (“Cowardy Custard”, “Cole”, “Side by Side by Sondheim”, “Lionel”, etc.). This was an evening devoted to the songs of Mooney Shapiro, a (fictional) Irish Catholic Liverpudlian who moved to New York and converted to Judaism, and whose fifty years in showbiz saw him writing songs for the earliest Talking Pictures, for the Depression era movies, and then to Berlin where he wrote suitable songs for the 1936 Olympics. Back in Wartime London he wrote some stirring war-time hits, and then cashed in on the “Oklahoma” boom with his “Happy Hickory” and towards the end of his career he returned to his Liverpool roots to write Beatles-type songs. Much married, and finally winning the fame that had eluded him, he sadly died following an electric shock from his new synthesiser.
HELLO DOLLY (Revival) London run: Drury Lane, September 25th (170 Performances) Transferred to Shaftesbury Theatre January 1980 Music & Lyrics: Jerry Herman Book: Michael Stewart Director: Lucia Victor (based on the Gower Champion original) Choreographer: Ron Crofoot Musical Director: Clive Chaplin Cast: Carol Channing (Dolly Levi), Eddie Bracken (Horace Vandergelder), Maureen Scott (Irene Molloy), Mandy More (Minnie Fay), Tudor Davies (Cornelius Hackl), Richard Drabble (Barnaby Tucker) Notes: See Original London Production: Drury Lane, December 1965. London had seen Mary Martin followed by Dora Bryan as “Dolly” - but this was a chance to see the original New York Dolly in the person of the legendary Carol Channing. The performance was hailed as absolute magic—though the production itself was said to be not a patch on the first time round.
BEATLEMANIA London run: Astoria Theatre, October 18th ( 6 months) Music & Lyrics: John Lennon & Paul McCartney Book: Steven Leber, David Krebs & Jules Fisher Cast: Michael Palaikis (John), Tony Kishman (Paul), James Poe (George), Louis Colucci (Ringo) Notes: This was an American cast, creating a “look-alike” tribute show which had been performed originally in Los Angeles and had toured the USA and Canada. The London production was restricted to six months under an agreement with Equity. The show than went on a European and world-wide tour, running in total for over five years.
MY FAIR LADY (1st Revival) London run: Adelphi, October 25th (891 Performances) Music: Frederick Loewe Lyrics & Book: Alan Jay Lerner Director: Robin Midgley Choreographer: Gillian Lynne Musical Director: Ray Cook Producer: Cameron Mackintosh & Harold Fielding
Cast: Tony Britton (Henry Higgins), Liz Robertson (Eliza Doolittle), Peter Bayliss (Alfred P. Doolittle), Richard Caldicott (Colonel Pickering), Anna Neagle (Mrs Higgins), Peter Land (Freddy Eynsford-Hill) This production was created at Leicester Haymarket under the management of Cameron Mackintosh who, with Arts Council support, was determined to created regional touring product of the highest quality—so that “West End shows” would be available to provincial theatres with no drop in standards. When the show arrived in the West End the critics felt it was equally as good as first time round. Notes: See original London production: Drury Lane, April 1958
Producer: Paul Elliott & Ray Cooney
TIN PAN ALI London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, October 29th ( 6 Performances) Revived: Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, December 31st (6 performances) Music: David Nield Book & Lyrics: Jeremy James Taylor Director: Jeremy James Taylor Choreographer: Ann Burden Cast: An amateur production, with a cast of teenagers and children. Songs: Ali Baba Doupa, We Are Carooni's Boys , Start The Action , The Pride Of Old Chicago Town, Sesame Sesame, The Dust Cart Rag, The Repercussion Boogie Blues Story: A comedy version of Ali Baba – the story of an Arabian peasant whose discovery of a magic cave containing a trove of stolen riches leads to wealth and relentless pursuit by a band of forty thieves, except now the setting is Prohibition-era Chicago, Ali Baba is a street sweeper, and the thieves are a bunch of incompetent gangsters. Notes: Written primarily as a young person’s show, with a small number of young adult parts and a children’s chorus of up to 40 – playing the Forty Thieves - it began on the Edinburgh Fringe and then came to the Shaftesbury for a one-week presentation. It came back again for one week over the New Year, and then went on to have many productions in schools and youth groups.
JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (2nd Revival) London run: Westminster Theatre, November 1st (142 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice Director: Ken Hill Choreographer: Francesca Lucy Musical Director: Jack Forsyth Producer: Martin Gates Cast: Paul Jones (Joseph), Philip Summerscales (Jacob), Clive Griffin (Benjamin), Frank Coda (Potiphar), Lisa Westcott (Potiphar’s Wife), Maynard Williams (Pharaoh), Clifton Todd (Narrator), Notes: See original London Production, Albery Theatre, February 1973 First revival: Westminster Theatre, November 27th 1978
IRMA LA DOUCE (1st Revival) London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, November 27th (20 Performances) Music: Marguerite Monnot English lyrics & Book: Julian More, David Heneker & Monty Norman Director-Choreographer: Billy Wilson Musical Director: Anthony Bowles Cast: Helen Gelzer (Irma la Douce) , Charles Dance (Nestor), Bernard Spear, Andy Norman, Alan Harding, Paul Hillyer This production originated at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. It lasted just three weeks following almost universally bad reviews.: mis-cast, badly produced, “. . . Revived on the cheap, and it looks like it” Notes: See original London production: Lyric Theatre, July 17th, 1958
NEVER MIND THE BULLOCKS London run: May Fair Theatre, December 13th (Christmas season) Music & Lyrics : C.P.Lee & John Downie Book: Alberto y los trios Paranoias Director: Tony Bulley Cast: Jimmy Hibbert (Arnold Hood), Pippa Sparks (Gwendoline de Grisis), Mike Morrise (Baron de Grisis), Mark Shepherd (Mad Murdoch), Arthur Kelly (Allan a Dale), Bruce Mitchell (Milady) Story: Arnold Hood attempts to become a living legend and rescue Lady Gwendoline from the distress she would be in if she married the depraved hunchback, Mad Murdoch. Notes: A tongue in cheek and saucy romp through “Twang” territory, this was a kind of pantomime for adults. This was the same team that had limited success with “Sleak” at the Royal Court in 1977, but not even limited success this time.
ALADDIN London run: Lyric Hammersmith, December 21st (Christmas season) Music Book & Lyrics: Sandy Wilson Director: David Giles Choreographer: Geraldine Stephenson & Sean Bartley Cast: Richard Freeman (Aladdin), Joe Melia (Tuang Kee Chung), Aubrey Woods (Abanazar), Ernest Clark (Emperor), Christine McKenna (Badr-al-Badur), Elisabeth Welch (Fatima), Martin McEvoy (Genie) Songs: Tuang Kee Po, It is Written in the Sands, Love’s a Luxury, Dream About Me, Happy Ever After, Chopsticks, Life in the Laundry, Give Him the Old Kung Fu. Notes: The Lyric Theatre commissioned Sandy Wilson to write “Aladdin”, which was a pantomime forced to be a musical and a musical trying to avoid being a pantomime. It had worked for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”, and almost worked for Cole Porter’s “Aladdin”, but not his time. Neither fish nor foul was the general reaction.