AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (1st Revival) London run: Tricycle Theatre, January 9th - 25th February) Transferred to Lyric Theatre March 13th (232 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Various Book: Murray Horweitz & Richard Maltby Jr Director: Gillian Gregory & Nicholas Kent Choreographer: Gillian Gregory Musical Director: Clement Ishmael Cast: Ray Shell, Debby Bishop, Dawn Hope, Melanie Marshall, Sean Palmer. Notes: This revival was in its original “chamber” style rather than the large-scale production staged at Her Majesty’s in 1979. It received a number of rave notices for Sean Palmer, hailed as an exceptional bright new star. See Original London production: Her Majesty’s, March 1979
MAMA I WANT TO SING London run: Cambridge Theatre, February 1st (149 Performances) Transferred to Gielgud Theatre, June 13th (38 Performances) Music: Rudolph V Hawkins, Wesley Naylor & Doris Troy Book & Lyrics: Vy Higginsen & Ken Wydro Director: Vy Higginsen & Ken Wydro Choreographer: Richard Sampson Musical Director: Bazil Meade Cast: Doris Troy (Mama Winter), Howard McCrary (Reverend Winter). Stacy Francis (Young Doris), Joanne Campbell (Narrator), Chaka Khan (Sister Carrie), Charles Stewart (Minister of Music) Songs: You Are My Child, Just One Look, Just follow Your Dream, Precious Lord, God Will Be, Faith Can Move a Mountain Story: Set in Harlem in the late 1940s and early 1950s this is the story of the real-life soul singer, Doris Troy, whose pastor father encouraged her to follow her dream of becoming a gospel singer, whilst her mother, Mama Winter, tried hard to persuade her to avoid the Apollo Theater crowd and to stop idolising the worldly music of pop singers. A radio-show narrator tells her story, her great success and her eventual return to her local community to found a children’s home, and old people’s centre and a “Fame” school for musicaslly talented children – all named after her beloved Mama. Notes: This show held the record as the longest running allblack off-Broadway show, running for eight years, playing to over 3 million people and taking something like £38 million at the box office in stagings through Europe, Asia and Japan. The part of Doris Troy’s mother was played by Doris Troy herself, and the company included a 15 voice gospel choir. Generally the critics hated it! “Over-amplified, over-long, under-written, uninspired” (Sunday Express), “you end up aching for Motown and wishing the show had been about Diana Ross. Or even Jonathan Ross” (Michael Coveney in “The Observer”. ) Doris Troy as Mama Winter
CLOSER THAN EVER London run: Bridewell Theatre, February 9th to March 4th Music: David Shire Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr Book: Steven Scott-Smith Director: Clive Paget Musical Director: Jo Last
Photo by Cullen Henshaw
Cast: Lyanna Iveson, Vicky Simmonds, Richard Tremblay, Clive Paget Songs: She Loves Me Not, You Want to Be My Friend?, What am I Doin'?, The Sound of Muzak, One of the Good Guys, Life Story, I Wouldn't Go Back, Fandango, Another Wedding Song, The March of Time, Fathers of Fathers, I've Been Here Before, Closer Than Ever Story: This is a sung-through musical revue in two acts described as a "bookless book musical". It features self-contained songs which deal with such topics as security, growing old, mid-life-crises, second marriages, working couples, and unrequited love. Some of the songs were written for but not used in earlier Maltby and Shire shows, and many were based on the real-life experiences of their friends, or stories told to them. Lyanna Iveson & Clive Paget
Notes: It won an award as the Best Off-Broadway Musical and several other nominations at its 1989 premiere, and ran for 312 performances in New York.
ZORRO THE MUSICAL! London run: Theatre Royal, Stratford East February 13th – March 25th Music: Master of the Zarzuela Additional Music: Warren Wills Book & Lyrics: Ken Hill Director: Ken Hill & Peter Rankin Choreographer: Imogen Clare Musical Director: Warren Wills Cast: Bogdan Kominowski (Don José/Zorro), Andrew Secombe (Governor Maté), Toni Palmer (Maria), Michael N. Harnour (Pirate Lafitte), Sylvester McCoy (Bernardo), Gary Lyons, Siobhan McCarthy Songs: I Sold my Soul to the Devil Long Ago, Story: Don José has been exiled from his native Spain for no good reason, and ends up in Southern California in 19th Century Spanish colonial times. His enemies are the villainous Governor Maté, who dreams of becoming America’s first Emperor, with his randy wife, Maria as Empress, and the pirate Lafitte, who eats the odd budgerigar alive. Pretending to be a bewigged fop, accompanied by his mute servant, Bernardo, Don José is able to lead a double life – for his real role is as the masked Zorro, defying the villains, assisting the poor, and pitting his gipsy wits against the villains, and his romantic ardour towards Isabella, the love of his life. Notes: This was a mixture of folk-opera and political pantomime, making heavy use of zarzuela music (a kind of traditional comic Spanish operetta) by 19th century Spanish composers. Ken Hill had been fighting cancer for several years and sadly died during rehearsals for this show.
THE KING AND I (4th Revival)
Photo by Photographers Direct
London run: Freemason’s Hall, May 17th – 20th Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics & Book: Oscar Hammerstein II Director: John Gardyne Choreographer: Sean Walsh Musical Director: Peter Ash Cast: Liz Robertson (Anna), Irek Mukhamedov (King), Shezwae Powell (Lady Thiang), Deborah Myers (Tuptim), Mario Frangoulis (Lun Tha) This was a special festival production for five performances only, staged in the magnificent Freemason’s Hall as part of the Covent Garden Festival. It was especially notable for the appearance of Irek Mukhamedov, the ex-Bolshoi and Royal Ballet’s great solo dancer. Irek Mukhamedov
Notes: See original London production, Drury Lane, June 1953 First revival: Adelphi, October 1973 Second revival: London Palladium, June 1979 Third revival: Sadler’s Wells, February & June 1991
THE HOT MIKADO London run: Queen’s Theatre, May 24th (101 Performances) Music: Sir Arthur Sullivan & Rob Bowman Book & Lyrics: David H. Bell Director-Choreographer: David H. Bell Musical Director: Simon Lee
Story: Set in the late 1930s-early 1940s, the show abandoned traditional Japanese costumes for snappy zoot suits and skintight jitterbug skirts, and added elements of gospel, jazz, blues and swing and an Andrews Sisters send-up to the basic story of the original Gilbert & Sullivan story. Notes: The production had been a success in Washington and other US cities (though it had not played Broadway) and came to London with some of the original cast. However it failed to catch on in the West End and closed after 12 weeks.
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Cast: Sharon Benson (Katisha), Lawrence Hamilton (The Mikado), Paul Manuel (Nanki-Poo), Ross Lehman (Ko-Ko), Richard Lloyd King (Pooh-Bah), Veronica Hart (Peep Bo), Paulette Ivory (Yum-Yum), Alison Jiear (Pitti-Sing), Neil Couperthwaite (Junior)
ROCKY HORROR SHOW (3rd Revival) London run: Duke of York’s Theatre, May 30th (127 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien Director: Christopher Malcolm Choreographer: Stuart Hopps Musical Director: Dave Brown Producer: Christopher Malcolm, Rocky Horror London Ltd
Photo by Rex Features
Cast: Nicholas Parsons (Narrator), Robin Cousins (Frank-n-Furter), Tony Dowding (Rocky Horror), Paul Collis (Brad), Joanne Farrell (Janet), Vas Constanti (Riff-Raff), Corrina Powlesland (Magenta), Rebecca Vere (Columbia), Nicholas Pound(Eddie/Dr Scott) This was back in the West End a year after its previous revival – again for a limited season. Notes: See original production: Upstairs (Royal Court), June 19th 1973 Transferred to the Comedy Theatre, April 1979; First revival: Piccadilly Theatre, July 1990 Second revival: Duke of York’s Theatre, June 1994
THE RISE & FALL OF THE CITY OF MAHAGONNY (1st Revival) London run: Coliseum, June 8th – July 30th (Repertoire & Limited season) Music: Kurt Weill Book & Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht English translation: Michael Feingold Director: Declan Donnellan Choreographer: Jane Gibson Musical Director: Sian Edwards/James Holmes Cast: Robert Brubaker (Jim), John Daszak (Jake), Ricardo Simonetti (Bill), Richard Angas (Joe), Lesley Garrett (Jenny), Sally Burgess (Widow Begbick), Adrian Thompson (Fatty), Brian Matthews (Trinity Moses) Songs: O Moon of Alabama, Benares Song, Mandalay Song Story: Having escaped from the police, the Widow Begbick, Trinity Moses and Fatty end up in a desolate place and decide to create a true paradise of their own, a city called Mahagonny, where sex, gambling and money are available for all. The city grows, and includes Jenny, a young prostitute, and four lumberjacks, Jim, Jake, Bill and Joe. When their new city is threatened by a destructive hurricane, and saved at the last minute by a change of course, life takes on an even more frantic pace: indulgence, sex, violence and debauchery become the rules of everyday life. Jake eats himself to death; Joe is killed by Trinity Moses in a boxing match; Jim runs up a massive bar bill and is unable to pay; his mistress, Jenny, refuses to use her own money to cover his debts, so Jim is sentenced to death and executed for non-payment of his bill. The citizens of Mahagonny are warned that they will be sent to Hell because of their sinful lives. However, they know they are already in Hell, and decide to continue their lives as before. Notes: This was a strong satire on capitalism and the state of Germany in the 1930s during the Weimar Republic. It was banned when the Nazis came to power, and Brecht and Weill were forced to flee Germany to escape imprisonment. The first British production was at Sadler’s Wells in 1963 and was much praised. This new version was generally heavily criticised for being too gimmicky, too pretty, over-amplified, and lacking the spirit of corruption and decay which was the hallmark of the original pre-Nazi German version. Lesley Garrett as Jenny
FAME London run: Cambridge Theatre, June 27th (526 Performances) Music: Steve Margoshes Lyrics: Jacques Levy Book: David de Silva & Jose Fernandez Director: Runar Borge Choreographer: Lars Bethke Musical Director: Producer: Michael White
Cast: Scott Sherrin (Tyrone), Sonia Swaby (Mabel), Gemma Wardle (Serena), Richard Dempsey (Nick), Loraine Velez (Carmen), Josefina Gabrielle (Iris), Jonathan Aris, Nicola Bolton, Alastair Willis, Miguel Brown, Vivien Parry, Harry Landis, Bill Champion Songs: Hard Work, I Want to Make Magic, Can’t Keep it Down, Tyrone’s Rap, There She Goes, Let’s Play a Love Scene, Dancing on the Sidewalk, In L.A. (The title song, “Fame”, by Dean Pitchford & Michael Gore was interpolated) Story: Based on the 1980 film by Alan Parker, this was the story of students at the Manhattan High School for the Performing Arts. Over the four years of their college careers, this charted the lives, trials and romances of a group of teenagers – high-born and low, gay, straight, Puerto Rican, black, white – and all fiercely ambitious to achieve fame in the world of showbiz. Notes: Following its original film and spin-off TV series, the critics thought the show was too predictable and clichéd - dancer with an eating disorder, student with drug problem, girl in love with boy who might be gay, teacher passionate about Mozart dealing with a class that wants to rap – and was just an excuse for dance numbers and songs not as good as the original soundtrack. It ran for more than a year in London run and then underwent a successful UK tour which was to make a few return visits to the West End over the next years.
THE MUSIC MAN (1st Revival)
Cast: Brian Cox (Harold Hill), Liz Robertson (Marian Paroo), John Challis (Mayor Shinn), Anny Tobin (Mrs Paroo), Nick Holder (Marcellus Washburn), Adam Goldsmith/Anthony Hamblin/Simon Humphrey (Winthrop Paroo) This production subsequently went on a UK tour. Notes: Original London run: Adelphi, March 1961
HAPPY END (2nd Revival) London run: Bridewell Theatre, August 11th – September 2nd (Limited season) Music: Kurt Weill Lyrics: Bertolt Brecht Book: Dorothy Lane Director: Gordon McDougall Choreographer: Gillian Gregory Cast: Annette Yeo (Lillian Holliday), Peter Polycarpou (Bill Cracker), Mark White (Sam Wurlitzer), Phillip Pellew (Rev. Jimmy Dexter), Karen Davies, Gregory Cross, Brett Forrest Performed in the Michael Feingold translation. Notes: See original production: Royal Court, March 1965; First revival: Lyric Theatre, August 1975
Photo by Alastair Muir
London run: Open Air Theatre, July 26th – September 4th (Limited season) Music: Meredith Willson Lyrics & Book: Meredith Willson Director: Ian Talbot Choreographer: Lisa Kent Musical Director: Catherine Jayes
CAVALCADE (1st Revival) London run: Sadler’s Wells, August 16th – September 2nd Music & Lyrics: Noel Coward Director: Dan Crawford Choreographer: Elizabeth Blake Musical Director: Michael Lavine Cast: Gabrielle Drake (Jane Marryott), Jeremy Clyde (Robert Marryott), Nicky Goldie (Mrs Bridges), Scott Morgan (Alfred Bridges), Rosalind Bailey, Lisa Bowerman, Steffan Boje, Jon Peterson, Caroline Oliver, Penelope Woodman, Ian McLarnon, Siv Klynderud, Virginia Courtney, Terri Lewis, Nigel Denham Songs: Twentieth Century Blues, Love of my Dreams, The Mirabelle Waltz (Interpolated: Soldiers of the Queen, If You Were the Only Girl in the World, Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty, Keep the Home Fires Burning. Story: This epic production covers three decades in the life of the Marryott family and their servants, starting in 1900 and ending on New Year’s Eve, 1929. The family is caught up in such events as the Relief of Mafeking, the death of Queen Victoria, the sinking of the Titanic and World War 1. Popular songs of at the time of each event were interwoven into the score, which also included original music by Noel Coward. Notes: The original premiere in 1931 at Drury Lane involved great spectacle, massive sets and a professional cast of over 200 including Mary Claire, Edward Sinclair, John Mills, Irene Browne, Una O’Connor, Arthur McCrae and Moyra Nugent . The show was very successful and ran for almost a year. Because of its size and enormous production costs, it has never been revived on anything like its original scale. The work provided the idea for the 1970s television series “Upstairs Downstairs”. This revival had started at Bromley and was part of an extensive UK tour. In each city the basic professional cast of 15 people would be augmented by hundreds of local amateurs and a large number of children, with several teams of children in each venue because of licensing restrictions. It required an extremely complex system of rehearsals dealing with the ever-changing cast of supernumaries. The Sadler’s Wells production used 275 extras.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (2nd Revival)
Cast: Judi Dench (Desirée), Laurence Guittard (Frederik) , Sian Phillips (Mme Armfeldt), Brendan O’Hea (Henrik), Issy van Ryndwyck (Petra), Lambert Wilson (Count Malcolm), Patricia Hodge (Charlotte), Joanna Riding (Anne), Claire Cox (Fredrika) Notes: See original London run: Adelphi, April 1975 First revival: Piccadilly Theatre, 1989 Judi Dench
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
London run: Olivier Theatre, September 26th – August 31st 1996 (Repertoire) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Hugh Wheeler Director: Sean Mathias Choreographer: Wayne McGregor Musical Director: Paddy Cunneen Producer: Royal National Theatre
JOLSON THE MUSICAL London run: Victoria Palace, October 26th (580 Performances) Music: Various Book: Francis Essex & Rob Bettinson Original idea: Michael Freedland Director: Rob Bettinson Choreographer: Tudor Davies Musical Director: John Evans Producer: Paul Elliott, Laurie Mansfield & Greg Smith Cast: Brian Conley (Al Jolson), Sally Ann Triplett (Ruby Keeler), John Bennett (Louis Epstein), John Conroy (Frankie Holmes), Brian Greene (Lee Shubert), Gareth Williams (Harry Cohn), David Bacon (Sam Warner) Songs: Swanee, Sonny Boy, My Mammy, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, You Made Me Love You, I’m Just Wild About Harry, About a Quarter to Nine Story: The real life-story of Al Jolson, depicting his childlike desperation need to please in his extravagant stage presentations, but having the courage to take on the warts and all. Privately Jolson was an ego with tonsils – a man who could ruthlessly steal other peoples’ songs, hijack their careers and destroy their affections. The story opens in the 1920s with his enormous success on Broadway and the first talking pictures and tells of his monstrous behaviour to his agent, managers and his much abused third wife, Ruby Keeler. The second act moves to the 1940s when his career is in decline until Hollywood films a totally false bio-pic, “The Jolson Story” and he stages a legendary “comeback” at the Radio City Music Hall. Notes: This was a complete triumph for Brian Conley, and there was much praise for Sally Ann Triplett in her first major West End role. There was one number in black-face, potentially controversial, though ironically in the same theatre where the Black & White Minstrels had reigned for some ten years!
PRISONER OF CELL BLOCK H – THE MUSICAL London run: Queen’s Theatre, October 30th (88 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Don Battye & Peter Pinne Director: David McVicar Choreographer: Peter Titus Musical Director: Andrew Jarrett Producer: Helen Montagu
Cast: Lily Savage (Herself), Maggie Kirkpatrick (Joan Ferguson), Penny Morrell (The Governor), Liz Smith (Minnie), Alison Jiear (Mrs Austin), Sara Stephens (Patsy), Terry Neason, Emma Kershaw, Jeffrey Perry. Songs: The Freak, Life on the Inside, Top Dog, Gimme a Man, Twinset and Pearls Notes: The cult Australian TV soap set in a women’s prison was re-created as a camp musical which dispensed with any seriousness, kept the wobbly sets and daft plot, added some witty songs, and ended up as a gloriously hilarious show for some critics – and as a complete load of tacky amateurish rubbish for others. Liverpool’s own Lily Savage (Paul O’Grady) has been wrongly jailed for prostitution, theft and murder whilst on holiday Down Under – accused of stealing a fondue set. Joan “ the Freak” Ferguson (from the original TV cast) is a leather-clad jackbooted prison warder with a compulsive fondness for strip-searching the prisoners. British actress, Liz Smith, plays a mad old lady doing bird pottering around in a dishevelled and confused state. Such plot as there was involved Joan Ferguson attempting to poison the Governor’s tea in order to take over control of the prison to show the prisoners some “real discipline”
MACK AND MABEL London run: Piccadilly Theatre, November 7th (270 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Jerry Herman Book: Michael Stewart Director: Paul Kerryson Choreographer: Michael Smuin Musical Director: Julian Kelly Cast: Howard McGillan (Mack Sennett), Caroline O’Connor (Mabel Normand), Kathryn Evans (Lottie), Philip Herbert (Fatty Arbuckle), Jonathan D. Ellis, Graham Hubbard, Alan Mosley Songs: I Won’t Send Roses, Tap Your Troubles Away, Movies Were Movies, Time Heals Everything, I Promise You a Happy Ending, Mack and Mabel, Hit ‘Em on the Head
Howard McGillan & Caroline O’Connor
Story: Told in flashback from the year 1938 when Mack Sennett is leaving the movie-business for good, this recounts his earliest days in silent movies, and how he took the sandwich-delivery girl, Mabel Normand, and put her into pictures, making a star of her. However, their private and professional relationship didn’t work out, and eventually she left him when offers of better work came along. Notes: This had been a spectacular two month flop on Broadway in 1974, despite leading stars Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, directed by Gower Champion. It had occasional touring and stock revivals in America but seemed unlikely to come to the West End. In 1984 the Olympic ice skaters Torvill and Dean used the overture as music for their gold-medal winning performance, and then the radio disc-jockey David Jacobs began promoting the album, claiming, quite rightly, it was one of the very best and most ignored of musical scores. Finally, 21 years after its Broadway premiere, a production was mounted at Leicester Haymarket and brought into the West End. The book had been revised to create a happy ending (in the original Mabel Normand died), and some new songs were added, but the book proved to be the problem. The songs were great, yet the show didn’t really hang together. It managed a seven month run during which Howard McGillan was replaced with James Smillie.
COMPANY (1st Revival) London run: Donmar Warehouse, December 13th (93 Performances) Transferred to Albery Theatre March13th 1996 (124 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: George Furth Director: Sam Mendes Musical Director: Paddy Cunneen
Notes: This revival was hugely praised, especially for Adrian Lester’s central performance. Original London run: Her Majesty’s, January 1972
Photo by Mark Douet
Cast: Adrian Lester (Robert), Sheila Gish (Joanne), Kiran Hocking (Kathy), Rebecca Front (Sarah), Clive Rowe, Clare Burt, Gareth Snook, Liza Sadovy, Teddy Kempner, Sophie Thompson, Michael Simkins, Anna Francolini, Hannah James
RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET (1st Revival) London run: Shaftesbury Theatre December 19th – January 13th 1996 Music: Various Book: Bob Carlton Director: Peter Rowe Choreographer: Musical Director: Producer: Andre Ptaszinski & Pola Jones Associates
Cast: Alex Kelly (Miranda), Karen Mann This was a brief Christmas season stop-over for the touring production. Notes: Original London production: Cambridge Theatre, September 1989
SOUTH PACIFIC (2nd Revival) London run: Drill Hall, December 12th – January 20th Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II Book: Hammerstein & Joshua Logan. Director: Phil Willmott Choreographer: Jack Gunn Musical Director: Annemarie Lewis Thomas Producer: Steam Industry Cast: Joanna Maddison (Nellie Forbush), Peter Polycarpou (Emile), Christopher Howard (Lt. Cable), Patti Boulaye (Bloody Mary) , John Marquez (Luther).
Notes: See Original London Production, Drury Lane November 1951 First revival: Prince of Wales Theatre, January 1988 Peter Polycarpou & Joanna Maddison
Photo by Sheila Burnett
With a 17 strong cast and a 6 piece band this was one of the earlier attempts to re-stage the standard large-scale West End and Broadway musicals as “chamber” pieces in small venues.