DAMN YANKEES (1st Revival) London run: Bridewell Theatre, January 8th – February 3rd (Limited season) Music & Lyrics: Richard Adler & Jerry Ross Book: George Abbott & Douglass Wallop Director: Carole Metcalfe Choreographer: Bernard Sharpe Musical Director: Andrew Parkyns Cast: Liz Izen (Lola), Daniel Brown (Joe Hardy), Peter Gale (Mr Applegate), Clovissa Newcombe, Jill Martin, Clive Paget Photo by Cullen Henshaw
See Original London Production: Coliseum, March 1957
Clive Paget, Robert Boniske, Seamus Kennedy, Mark Lawson & James Pearson
THE FIELDS OF AMBROSIA London run: Aldwych Theatre, January 31st (13 Performances) Music: Martin Silvestri Lyrics & Book: Joel Higgins Director: Gregory S. Hurst Choreographer: David Toguri Musical Director: Mark Warman Cast: Joel Higgins (Jonas Candide), Christine Andreas (Gretchen Herzallerliebst), Mark Joseph (Jimmy Crawford), Mark Heenehan (Malcolm), Michael Fenton Stevens, Roger Leach, Songs: Alone, Too Bad, Continental Sunday, All in This Together, Hungry, Do It For Me. Story: This is a rock opera, set in the Deep South of the USA at the end of the First World War. Jonas Candide is a travelling executioner, touring in a van containing his electric chair and providing his services to various prisons along the way. He is required to electrocute Christine Andreas, a mysterious, aristocratic European, found guilty of spying for Germany, but he falls in love with her. Accordingly he plans to rescue her, but his sexual obsession leads him to commit the very crime he is paid to punish. In an apocalyptic finale the criminal lovers are reunited in the heavenly Ambrosian fields. Notes: This show has gone down in musical annals as one of the most gloriously awful shows of all time, making “Springtime for Hitler” look like a triumph of good taste. In a sub-plot we are introduced to Jimmy Crawford, a wimpish young mortician who is gang-raped by two prisoners (and proceeds to sing a song “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. . . I was just ten when I lost my mother”. As compensation, Jonas takes Jimmy for an orgiastic session at the local brothel. The prison warden, Malcolm, attempts to rape Christine, but then settles for one of the male prisoners. Jonas manages to get the prostitutes into the prison as part of his plan to recue Christine – and so it goes on! This most preposterous story includes two shooting fatalities, a public execution, and a dramatic fire explosion at the end as the lovers float heaven-wards in a cloud of dry-ice and fairy lights. An all-time stinker that closed almost as soon as it opened, it had been enthusiastically received in its 1993 premiere in New Jersey, USA., but lost its entire £1.3 million investment in London.
1996 JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (6th Revival)
London run: Labatt’s Apollo February 27th (71 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice Director: Steven Pimlott Choreographer: Anthony van Laast Musical Director: Michael Dixon Producer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Cast: Philip Schofield (Joseph), Ria Jones (Narrator), Robert McWhir (Benjamin), Chris Holland (Pharaoh), Barry Martin, Richard Woodford, Elizabeth Cooper-Gee
This was a revival of the production which ran at the London Palladium from June 1991 to January 1994, back in the West End for the second time for a nine week season. Notes: See original London Production, Albery Theatre, Feb 1973 1st revival: Westminster Theatre, Nov 1978 2nd revival: Westminster Theatre, Nov1979 3rd revival: Vaudeville Theatre, Dec 1981 4th Revival: Royalty Theatre, Dec 1986 5th Revival: London Palladium, June 1991
TOMMY (1st Revival) London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, March 5th (391 Performances) Music: Pete Townshend & The Who Book: Pete Townshend & Des McAnuff (revised) Director: Des McAnuff Choreographer: Wayne Cilento Musical Director: Colin Welford Cast: Paul Keating (Tommy), Kim Wilde (Mrs Walker), Alistair Robins (Captain Walker) , Nicola Hughes (Acid Queen), Hal Fowler (Cousin Kevin), Megan Bertie (Nurse), John Partridge (Lover), Ian Bartholomew (Uncle Ernie), Steve Devereaux, James Gillan. Songs: Captain Walker, It’s a Boy, We’ve Won, Twenty-One, Amazing Journey, See Me Feel Me, Eyesight to the Blind, Acid Queen, Pinball Wizard, We’re Not Going to Take It Notes: This was a completely re-written version, with many changes from the version that ran for just three months in the West End in 1979. The writer-director, Des McAnuff, had softened the story of the young boy who loses all his senses when , at the age of four, he witnesses his father killing his mother’s lover. Unable to communicate, abused by his family and the town louts, he somehow becomes a pinball wizard. Eventually he recovers his senses and develops into a messianic superstar. At the end of the show he returns to the bosom of his family. The production was notable for many stunning stage and lighting effects.
Original London run: Queen’s Theatre, February 1979
Photo by Donald Cooper
Die-hard Who fans complained that this version removed all the passion, fire and rage of the original, written at the time of Woodstock and the Vietnam War, when the only solution to the ills of society was to drop out. However, this version had opened to ecstatic reviews on Broadway in 1993 and ran for 899 performances . This spectacular London revival received very mixed notices, although there were rave notices for newcomer Paul Keating in the title role. It came off after just under a year, with a considerable financial loss – but shortly after it closed it won three Olivier Awards (Outstanding Musical, Best Director and Best Lighting). Nicola Hughes
NUNSENSE (1st Revival) London run: Jermyn Street Theatre, March 15th – April 6th (Limited season) Music, Book & Lyrics: Dan Goggin Director: Graham Ashe Musical Director: Barrie Bignold Cast: Maggie Beckit (Sister Mary Regina), Julie Driscoll (Sister Mary Robert-Anne), Tricia Court (Sister Mary Hubert), Emma Barrie (Sister Mary Amnesia) Rebecca Little (Sister Mary Leo) Notes: Original London run : Fortune Theatre, March 1987
DISGRACEFULLY YOURS London run: Comedy Theatre, March 20th (21 Performances) Music Book & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien Director: Christopher Malcolm Choreographer: Stacey Haynes Musical Director: Dave Brown Cast: Richard O’Brien (Mephistopheles Smith), Michael Dalton, Debbie Scamp, Nikki Shaw, Dave Brown, Les Davidson, Nick Payn, Bill Robinson, Ed Spevock Songs: The Best is Yet to Come, Heart on Fire, Incubus of Love
Photo by Hugo Glendinning
Story: Mephistopheles Smith is holding a devil’s revivalist meeting in his Disco-Club Inferno PLC, a yuppiefied venue from which trainspotters, ad men and sinners are banned: only those who love sex, drugs and rock’n’roll are admitted. Entertainment is provided by “Brother” Michael Dalton (in a pink tutu) and the Fabulous Frockettes and consists of “hunky, funky and spunky” gags as they “try to get to the bottom of Sodom” Notes: Originally staged at the previous year’s Edinburgh Festival, this was booked into the Comedy for a limited three week run (21 performances). The critics unanimously stated this was 21 performances too many. Neil Smith for “What’s On” was representative when he wrote: “If you’re the kind of a person who likes to spend a night on the town in bondage and fishnets, you’ll probably have a ball. But if you’re the type who balks at the prospect of a bald 54-year-old making a complete dick of himself, you’d best steer well clear” Richard O’Brien
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
London run: Queen’s Theatre, March 26th (215 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: James Lapine Director: Jeremy Sams Choreographer: Jonathan Buttrell Musical Director: Mark W. Dorrell Producer: Bill Kenwright Cast: Michael Ball (Giorgio), Maria Friedman (Fosca), Helen Hobson (Clara), David Firth (Colonel Ricci), Hugh Ross (Doctor Tambourri), Michael Heath, Michael Cantwell, Simon Green, Ian McLarnon, Songs: Happiness, I Wish I Could Forget You, Is This What You Call Love?, Loving You, Farewell Letter, No One Has Ever Loved You Maria Friedman & Michael Ball
Story: The story begins in Milan with Giorgio, an army officer, in bed with his mistress, Clara, a beautiful married woman, as they sing of their “perfect love”. He is about to be transferred to an army outpost, so they promise to write to each other daily and make love with their words. At the outpost Giorgio meets Fosca, the sickly, unattractive cousin of the colonel in charge. Fosca becomes obsessed with Giorgio, pursuing him relentlessly and offering him “love without reason”. Unable to handle this naked emotion, Giorgio urges Clara to leave her husband and child and marry him – but she refuses. He realises this former “perfect love” is a pale shadow of the “real love” shown him by Fosca, and he surrenders to Fosca’s passion – with disastrous results for them both. Notes: Based on Ettore Scola’s film “Passione d’Amore” and the novel “Fosca”, the 1994 Broadway production won four Tony Awards and was hailed as one of the most important musicals of recent years, running for 280 performances. The London production did not fare quite so well, in spite of rave notices for Maria Friedman and excellent ones for Michael Ball. The production was described as a “chamber opera” of such intensity that it would not be to everyone’s taste, but generally was highly praised and admired. It had a six month run, though at the end of the year it did receive the Evening Standard Award as the Best Musical of the Year.
ELVIS THE MUSICAL (1st Revival) London run: Prince of Wales Theatre, April 15th (192 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Various Director: Keith Strachan & Carole Todd Choreographer: Carole Todd Musical Director: James Compton Producer: Bill Kenwright Cast: Alexander Bar (Young Elvis), Timothy Whitnall (Middle Elvis), P.J.Proby (Older Elvis), Shelley Bond, Eddie Burton, Jonell Elliott, Bob Golding, Anna Kumble, Lottie Mayor, James Pearson, Kevin Rooney This revival achieved a run of 24 weeks Original London run: Astoria Theatre, November 1977
SALAD DAYS (4th Revival) London run: Vaudeville Theatre, April 18th (148 Performances) Music: Julian Slade Lyrics & Book: Julian Slade & Dorothy Reynolds Director: Ned Sherrin Choreographer: Lindsay Dolan Musical Director: Stuart Hutchinson Cast: David Morton (Tramp), Nicola Fulljames (Jane), Simon Connolly (Timothy), Richard Sisson (Troppo), Elizabeth Counsell, Gay Soper, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Sarah Mortimer This production originated at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and was mounted to mark the 40th anniversary of the show – although it was actually 42 years since its London premiere. It ran just under five months. Notes: See Original Production , Vaudeville Theatre, August 1954. First Revival: Prince’s Theatre, December 1961 Second Revival: Lyric, Hammersmith, August 1964 Third Revival: Duke of York's, April 14 1976
CALAMITY JANE (1st Revival) London run: Sadler’s Wells,, May 23rd – June 15th (Limited run) Music: Sammy Fain Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster Book: Charles K. Freeman Director: Paul Kerryson Choreographer: David Needham Musical Director: Jeremy Fisher Producer: Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Cast: Gemma Craven (Calamity Jane), Stephen McGann (Wild Bill Hickok), Stuart Pendred (Lieutenant Danny Martin), Nicole Carty (Adelaide Adams), Grace Kinirons (Katie Brown), James Gavin (Francis Fryer) This season at Sadler’s Wells was part of national tour. Gemma Craven received a lot of praise, but it was felt the scenery and staging was not up to London standards. Notes: Original London run: BAC Main, December , 1994
DAMES AT SEA (2nd Revival) London run: Ambassadors Theatre, May 29th – July 20th Music: Jim Wise Lyrics & Book: George Haimsohn & Robin Miller Director: John Gardyne Choreographer: Lindsay Dolan Musical Director: Christopher Littlewood Cast: Kim Criswell (Mona), Sara Crowe (Joan), Peter Duncan (Hennessey), Joanne Farrell (Ruby), Jason Gardiner (Dick), John Peterson (Lucky) This was a limited run as part of the Covent Garden Festival. It was hoped it might extend, but in spite of decent notices, it failed to draw the crowds. Notes: Original London run: Duchess Theatre, August 1969 First Revival: Village, NW2, August 1993
CAMELOT (2nd Revival) London run: Freemason’s Hall, June 7th (2 days only special performance) Music: Frederick Loewe Lyrics & Book: Alan Jay Lerner Director: Frank Dunlop Choreographer: Brad Jeffries Musical Director: Gareth Valentine Producer: Covent Garden Festival
This was a two day only Festival revival, described as “cobbled together. . . under-rehearsed, inaudible and undercast” (Spectator) Notes: See original London run: Drury Lane, August 1964 First revival: Apollo Victoria, November 1982 Paul Nicholas & Samantha Janus
SWEENEY TODD (3rd Revival) London run: Holland Park, June 18th – 22nd (Limited run) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Hugh Wheeler Director: Christopher Bond Musical Director: Mark Warman Producer: Newpalm Productions Cast: Ray Shell (Sweeney Todd), Nicky Croydon (Mrs Lovett), Darryl Knock (Anthony), Simon Masterton-Smith (Judge Turpin), Justine Koos (Joanna), Paul J. Medford (Tobias), Steve Elias (Pirelli), Jackie Marks (Beggar Woman) This was staged in the open-air Holland Park theatre for just six performances. It was generally well received. Notes: See Original London production: Drury Lane Theatre, July 1980; 1st revival: Half Moon Theatre, May 1985; 2nd revival: Cottesloe June 1993/Lyttleton December 1993
FOLLIES (1st Revival) London run: Kenneth More Theatre, June 18th—22nd (Limited run) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: James Goldman Director: Vivyan Ellacott Choreographer: Loraine Porter Musical Director: Edna Graham Producer: Cameron Mackintosh Cast: Laura Nayman (Sally), Loraine Porter (Phyllis), Reg Wheeler (Buddy), Leonard Charles (Ben), Don Fletcher (Weisman), Brenda Brackley (Carlotta), Frances Chanter (Stella), Hilda Hooper (Heidi), Lynn Temple (Solange), Jenny Oates (Hattie), David Rose & Joan Baxter, Jeremy Smith, Nic Greenshields, Pharic Scott This was the first London production of the “original” Broadway version. The 1987 London premiere had new songs and some alterations requested by Cameron Mackintosh, but Sondheim ultimately decided he preferred this earlier version. This production used Maria Bjornson’s original West End costumes, kindly loaned by Cameron Mackintosh. Notes: Original London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, July 1987
Photo by Robbie Jack
Cast: Paul Nicholas (King Arthur), Samantha Janus (Guinevere), Desmond McNamara (Merlin/Pellinore), Robert Meadmore (Sir Lancelot), Jason Donovan (Mordred),
RAGS (1st Revival) London run: Spitalfields Market Opera, June 18th—23rd Music: Charles Strouse Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz Book: Joseph Stein Director: Raymond Wright & Barry Hooper Choreographer: Musical Director: Graham Nichols Cast: Jill Gardner (Rebecca), Lee Wright/ Daryl Fox (David), Terry Ashwell (Older David), Richard Reece (Nathan Hershkowitz), Simon Rothman (Saul), Gill Hack (Bella Cohen), Denis Steer (Avram), Josh Rochford (Ben Levitowitz), Notes: The original 1986 Broadway production closed after only four performances (and 18 previews) and a dramatically rewritten and streamlined production was created in 1991 and performed at The American Jewish Theatre, New York City. This version had 9 actors playing all of the roles, and a reduced set, with two pushcarts on stage and imaginary windows, with the actors describing the exterior activity. The music was provided by two pianos. The story was now told in retrospect by the Older David, the heroine's young son. The first UK production, at the Kenneth More Theatre in 1992 was basically the original 1986 version with one or two amendments from the 1991 re-write. This version at the Spitalfields Market Opera was the 1991 version but instead of 9 actors playing many different parts, it was enlarged with a cast of 25 and with an orchestra rather than a piano score. Accordingly, it counted as the fourth different version of this show. Original London production: Kenneth More Theatre, November 1992
BY JEEVES (1st Revival) London run: Duke of York’s, July 2nd (104 Performances) Transferred to Lyric Theatre, October 3rd (164 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics & Book: Alan Ayckbourn Director: Alan Ayckbourn Choreographer: Sheila Carter Musical Director: Kate Young Producer: Really Useful Company
Cast: Steven Pacey (Bertie Wooster), Malcolm Sinclair (Jeeves), Simon Day (Gussie), Richard Long (Stinker), Lucy Tregear (Honoria Glossop), Cathy Sara (Stiffy Byng), Diana Morrison (Madeleine), Nicholas Haverson (Bingo Little), Robert Austin (Sir Watkyn Bassett) Songs: New Songs: A False Start, That Was Nearly Us, Love’s Maze, The Hallo Song, By Jeeves, What Have You Got to Say, It’s a Pig, The Wizard Rainbow. (Retained from the original: Code of the Woosters, Travel Hopefully, When Love Arrives, Banjo Boy, Half a Moment.)
Steven Pacey & Malcolm Sinclair
Notes: This was a completely revised version of “Jeeves”, the 1975 flop, re-titled “By Jeeves”. Instead of the large-scale original, the new version was a small-scale play with songs. Ayckbourn had thrown out the aunts and the pigs and all the other eccentric stuff and created an entirely new plot: Bertie intends to play his banjo at a charity performance at the local village hall but Jeeves hides the offending instrument. Andrew Lloyd Webber came up with eight new songs with five songs retained from the original. This time it was a success, described as “one of the slickest comebacks since Lazarus”. However, it still only managed just over a six month run. Original London run: Her Majesty’s Theatre, April 1975
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
London run: Prince Edward Theatre, July 10th Revised version: November 11th (Total 675 Performances) Music: Claude-Michel Schönberg Lyrics: Alain Boublil (trans Herbert Kretzmer/Edward Hardy) Additional Lyrics: Stephen Clark Book: Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg Director: Declan Donnellan Choreographer: Bob Avian Musical Director: David Charles Abell Cast: Iain Glenn (Arnaud du Thil), Juliette Caton (Bertrande de Rols), Matt Rawle (Martin Guerre), Michael Matus (Benoit), Jerome Pradon (Guillaume), Ann Emery, Sheila Reid, Julia Sutton, Susan Jane Tanner, Martin Turner. (In the revised version the role of Bertrande was shared with Rebecca Lock) Songs: All I Know, Tell Me When to Go, When We Were Young, Here Comes the Morning, Why Won’t You Love Me? (Added in the revised version): Working on the Land Story: Martin Guerre, a real-life historical figure in the anti-Protestant town of Artigat, is forced into an arranged marriage with Bertrande de Rols in order to produce a Catholic heir. The marriage is unsatisfactory and complicated by the fact that a childhood friend, Guillaume, is secretly in love with Bertrande. When war breaks out with the Protestants Martin is happy to leave for the battlefield, where he befriends Arnaud du Thil, and tells him his story. At this point, the musical begins. Martin disappears, assumed dead in the fighting. Arnaud goes to his village to inform Bertrande of her husband's death but, mistaken for the deceased soldier by the residents, he decides to take on the identity of Martin Guerre. Bertrande decides to keep his secret and the two fall in love. Guillaume, who had hoped for a chance with Bertrande while her husband was away, becomes jealous of the supposedly returned soldier. He discovers that “Martin” and Bertrande are secret Protestants and rouses a mob to attack them. Benoit, the village idiot, steps in to announce that Arnaud is an imposter and not the real Martin Guerre, and he is arrested and tried for deception. A shock witness at the trial is the real Martin Guerre himself, having apparently survived the war. The imprisoned Arnaud is freed by Martin who forgives him for stealing his identity, and recognises Arnaud and Bertrande's love for each other. However, the mob sets the town ablaze and Guillaume stabs Arnaud before he can escape. As Arnaud dies in Bertrande's arms, Martin and Bertrande sing mournfully about love and then separate for good. Notes: Based on the 1982 French film “The Return of Martin Guerre”, and a 1993 re-make “Sommersby”, this was a £3.75 million mega-musical which had apparently been seven years in the planning. The original previews were cancelled and delayed for three weeks because of technical difficulties, leading to threatened court-action from disappointed ticket-holders demanding compensation for expenses incurred. It was an impressive, worthy but somewhat dark and humourless show and received a series of very unenthusiastic reviews. Business dropped off, but rather than abandon the show, Cameron Mackintosh spent another half million pounds on a major re-write, including new songs (and the services of yet another lyricist, Stephen Clark) and much revision. Four months after opening, the show closed for three days and was then re-launched as the “New Martin Guerre”. It was shorter and more focussed on the romantic story, with less religious conflict and more emphasis on the character of Bertrande. However, it closed in February 1998, in spite of winning the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, allegedly with total losses of £7 million. (Another revised version was created for a UK tour and opened at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in November 1998. Third time lucky, it finally received much critical praise.)
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Iain Glenn & Juliette Caton
PROMISES PROMISES (1st Revival) London run: Bridewell Theatre, July 18th – August 10th Music: Burt Bacharach Lyrics: Hal David Book: Neil Simon Director: John J.D. Sheehan Choreographer: Sam Spencer Lane Musical Director: Stuart Pedlar
Universally panned, for the out-dated show itself and for a poor production, this was summed up by Jack Tinker as “Woefully undercast, hopelessly under-directed, laughably under-designed, the entire venture sags with a sense of its own inadequacy”. Notes: Original London run: Prince of Wales, October 1969 Marcus Allen Cooper with Suzanna McKellan & Jemima Price
VOYEURZ London run: Whitehall Theatre, July 22nd (64 Performances) Music, Book & Lyrics: Michael Lewis & Peter Rafelson Director: Michael Lewis & Peter Rafelson Choreographer: Bunty Mathias & Annabel Haydn Musical Director: Fem 2 Fem Producer: Michael White Cast: Sally Anne Marsh (Jane), Krysten Cummings (Andi), Natasha Kristie (Eve), Robert Nurse (Pretty Boy Lloyd), Marcus J. McCue (Zephyr), Belinda Chapman (Cruel Ella), Lisa Torun (Chakra Calm) Songs: The Hole, Stand Back, A World Full of Pain, Sex on a Train, Tantric Sex
Photo by Donna Francesca
Story: Jane, a young Virginian farm-girl, wakes up in the night feeling she is missing out on something. She decides to find some excitement by visiting a school friend in New York. On the train she meets Andi, a temptress, who invites her to spend a girls’ night out in a nightclub called Voyeurz. In the club, scantily clad girls fondle themselves and the odd bits of scaffolding and, for some reason, Jane ends up in a cage, watching their multi-orgasmic activities and filming them with a camcorder. This is then projected onto a large screen above the stage. The Club’s owner, Eve, encourages Jane to join in a series of Lesbian games, some S&M activities, a lot of groping , and some games with sex toys. As the activities reach their “climax”, Jane wakes up again, back in her bed in Virginia – and it’s all been a dream. Notes: Michael White, famous for “Rocky Horror Show” and “Oh Calcutta”, had apparently invested £1 million in this lavish “adult entertainment”. The publicity said that he hoped people would leave the theatre “wanting to have sex – with whatever and whomever”. Inevitably the show was totally derided by the critics, claiming it offered not just simulated sex, but simulated singing, dancing and acting and a simulated book and music. It came off after 8 weeks having lost its entire investment.
Photo by Robert Workman
Cast: Marcus Allen Cooper (Chuck Baxter), Vanessa Cross (Fran Kubelik), Murray Woodfield (J. D. Sheldrake), Harry Dickman (Dr Dreyfuss), Joyce Springer (Marge), Simon Clark (Jesse Vanderhoff), Louise Ann Wesley (Vivien Della Hoya)
PAINT YOUR WAGON (1st Revival) London run: Regent’s Park Open Air, July 26th – September 2nd (Limited run) Music: Frederick Loewe Book & Lyrics: Alan Jay Lerner Director: Ian Talbot Choreographer: Lisa Kent Musical Director: Catherine Jayes Cast: Tony Selby (Ben Rumson), Claire Carrie (Jennifer), Chook Sibtrain (Julio), Gavin Muir, Simon Nock, John Berlyne, Ellen O’Grady, Liz Izen Notes: Original London run: Her Majesty’s, February 1953 Claire Carrie & Chook Sibtain
FERRY CROSS THE MERSEY London run: Lyric Theatre, August 12th (32 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Various Book: Maggie Norris & Guy Picot Director-Choreographer: Carole Todd Musical Director: Keith Strachan Producer: Bill Kenwright Cast: Gerry Marsden (Himself), Carl Krishner (Young Gerry), Jaison Beeson, , Neil Dale, Richard Mogendorf. Adam Keast, Andy Cairns, Jacqui Cryer, Sean Fitzpatrick, Vicki Stevens, Kevin Jackson, Sam Kelly. Songs: I Like It, Needles and Pins, You’ll Never Walk Alone, It’s Gonna Be All Right Story: The life story of Gerry Marsden (not a particularly dramatic one!) used as an excuse to re-create a number of songs from the 1960s and to impersonate names like Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, Lulu, Freddie Garrity, John Lennon, etc. The novelty was Gerry Marsden himself in his own tribute show. Notes: Described as “charitable, gentle and inoffensive, more a concert than a musical”, Gerry Marsden’s genuinely nice and sunny personality charmed most of the critics. It ran 8 weeks.
THE FANTASTICKS (3rd Revival) London run: King’s Head, August 7th – September 15th (Limited run) Music: Harvey Schmidt Lyrics: Tom Jones Director: Dan Crawford Choreographer: Elizabeth Blake Musical Director: Edward Goggin Cast: Jonathan Morris (El Gallo), Katey Crawford Kastin (Luisa) , Joseph Millson (Matt), John Walters (Bellamy), Roger Bingham (Hucklebee), Michael Cotterill (Henry), Kim Joyce (Mortimer), Tim Eagle (The Mute) Generally it was felt this show – still running off-Broadway after 36 years – was a timid, milk-soppy, sugary-sweet and fragile thing, not really worth the bother of staging. However, the critics were very impressed with newcomer Joseph Millson. Notes: See Original production: Apollo Theatre, September 1961 First revival: Hampstead Theatre Club, May 1970 Second revival: Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, July 1990
ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (1st Revival) London run: Bridewell Theatre, Aug 16th – Sept 7th Music: Cy Coleman Book & Lyrics: Betty Comden & Adolph Green Director: Carol Metcalfe Choreographer: Jenny Arnold Musical Director: Mark W. Dorrell Cast: Michael N. Harbour (Oscar Jaffee), Kathryn Evans (Lily Garland), Peter Hilton (Bruce Granit), Josephine Gordon (Letitia Primrose), Clive Paget, Martin Callaghan, Stephen Matthews, Louise Davidson
Photo by Mark Douet
Although some critics felt the show really needed a lavish set to match its operetta style, most agreed this was a delightful revival of an extremely clever, witty musical. Notes: Original London run: Her Majesty’s Theatre, March 1980 Michael N. Harbour & Kathryn Evans
KISS THE SKY London run: Shepherd’s Bush Empire, August 21st – September 14th Music & Lyrics: Various Book: Jim Cartwright Director: Mike Bradwell Musical Director: Neil McArthur Cast: Alan Williams (The Traveller), Brierley Arnell, Simon Fogg, Benn Goddard, Geoff Hayes, Richard Henders, Rob Jarvis, Caron Pascoe, Jenna Russell, Mark Saville Story: Essentially this was yet another compendium show of Sixties numbers: Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin and Lennon & McCartney. During the course of a “Love and Peace” rock festival , The Traveller tells us what it was like to stroll up the King’s Road to a squat, take drugs in Amsterdam, visit a free-love commune in India, and join the circle of Hippies trying to make the Pentagon disappear. There is a Hippie wedding and the audience are asked to shut their eyes and transmit love and enlightenment to the universe beyond. Notes: Very mixed reviews, of course. For some it was a jolly nostalgic trip, for others a mega-loud, shapeless and pointless exercise.
Alan Williams & Richard Henders
INTO THE WOODS (1st Revival) London run: Landor Theatre, September 4th – 28th (Limited run) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: James Lapine Director: Caterina Loriggio Choreographer: Maxine Braham Musical Director: Robert Hyman Cast: David Brett (Narrator), Alexandra Sumner (Witch), Darren Hudson (Jack), Eileen Gourlay (Jack’s Mother), David Bradshawe (Baker), Julia Howson (Baker’s Wife), Chloe Buswell (Cinderella), Heather Davies (Rapunzel), Shona White (Red Riding Hood), Jon de Ville (Cinderella’s Prince), Roland Powell (Rapunzel’s Prince), Estelle Collins This was the first small-scale fringe production of this highly complex work, but even though accompanied by a few synthesisers and a flute and hardly any scenery at all , it was highly praised. Notes: Original London run: Phoenix Theatre, September 1990
ROMANCE ROMANCE London run: Bridewell, September 13th –October 5th Music: Keith Hermann Lyrics & Book: Barry Harman Director: Steven Dexter Choreographer: Mitch Sebastian Musical Director: Simon Lee/Robert Purvis Cast: Mark Adams (Alfred/Sam), Ria Jones (Josefine/Monica), Steve Billingsley, Beth Robson, Tony Timberlake, Anne Wood Story: This is two separate one-act musicals. The first, “The Little Comedy” is set in 19th Century Vienna (based on a short story by Arthur Schnitzler). Josefine, a Viennese courtesan decides to sleep with someone she likes, rather than someone who pays her. She chooses Alfred, a poor young poet, who (surprise, surprise!) turns out to be a wealthy aristocrat who wants to be loved for himself and not his money. Two dancers dance and mime the fictions the lovers weave about themselves. The second story, “Summer Share” is set in 29th Century Manhattan (based on a one-act play by Jules Renard). Sam (Husband A) and Monica (Wife B) stay up after their partners have gone to bed. They gossip, flirt, and drift toward making love, then he holds back at the last moment and she feels rejected. Notes: With both couples played by the same performers, this was much praised as being reminiscent of Sondheim, elegant, intelligent and worthy of transfer.
1996 SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ London run: Prince of Wales Theatre, October 23rd (813 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller Director: Jerry Zaks Choreographer: Joey McKneely Musical Director: Louis St Louis Cast: Adrian Bailey, Victor Trent Cook, B.J.Crosby, Delee Lively, Deb Lyons, Stephanie Pope, Devin Richards, Robert Torti, Alton Fitzgerald White. Songs: Hound Dog, Fools Fall in Love, Yakety Yak, Stand By Me, Jailhouse Rock Spanish Harlem, Love Potion Number Nine, Teach Me How to Shimmy, I Who Have Nothing Notes: A straightforward compilation show of 39 numbers sung and danced by a cast of six black and three white performers, and a seven-piece band. There was no attempt to tell a story or create a plot – just two hours devoted to the music of Leiber & Stoller. A huge hit on Broadway, it was also highly praised when the all-American cast transferred to the West End, and managed a run of nearly two years. The highlight of the show was DeLee Lively in the number “Teach Me How to Shimmy”
DeLee Lively in her “shimmy” number
SCROOGE THE MUSICAL London run: Dominion Theatre, November 12th – February 1st 1997 (Limited season) Music, Lyrics & Book: Leslie Bricusse Director-Choreographer: Tudor Davies Musical Director: Stuart Pedlar Producer: Graham Mulvein Cast: Anthony Newley (Scrooge), Richard Shelton (Young Scrooge), Tom Watt (Bob Cratchit), John Faal/Jamie Meyer (Tiny Tim), Stephen Earle (Jacob Marley), Felicity Soper (Christmas Past), David Alder (Christmas Present), Martin Hibbert (Christmas Yet to Come) Songs: I Hate People, I Like Life, December the Twenty-Fifth, Thank You Very Much Notes: This was a touring production in London for the Christmas season. It was felt to be a poor musical, but a jolly enough Christmas pageant. Most of the critics managed to come out with “Bah, humbug!” Anthony Newley
1996 23 JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1st Revival) London run: Lyceum, November 19th (567 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice Director: Gale Edwards Choreographer: Aletta Collins Musical Director: Simon Lee Producer: Really Useful Company
Photo by Michael Le Poer Trench
Cast: Steve Balsamo (Jesus), Zubin Varla (Judas), Paul Hawkyard (Peter), Glenn Carter (Simon Zealotes), Joanna Ampil (Mary), Peter Gallagher (Caiaphas), David Burt (Pilate), Nick Holder (Herod) This revival, 25 years on, was chosen to open the newly renovated and restored Lyceum Theatre. It was highly praised as a darker, less glittery and much stronger production than the original, and newcomer Steve Balsamo was generally hailed as the best sung Jesus ever, and a star in the making. Zubin Varla and Joanna Ampil were also picked out for excellent performances. It ran for a year and four months, closing at the end of March, 1998. Notes: Original London run: Palace Theatre, August 1972
THE OFFICIAL TRIBUTE TO THE BLUES BROTHERS (2nd Revival) London run: Apollo Theatre, December 11th (45 Performances) Music: Various Director: David Leland Choreographer: Carole Todd (recreated by Mark White) Musical Director: Jeff Wraight Cast: Brad Henshaw (Jake), Simon J. Foster (Elwood), Michelle Dixon, Ronnie Dangerfield, Ambrose (The Bluettes). Back in the West End for a Christmas season, and still touring the UK for the rest of the year. Notes: Original London Production: Whitehall Theatre, September 1991 First Revival: Comedy Theatre, Sep 1994 Simon Foster & Brad Henshaw
NINE London run: Donmar Warehouse, December 12th – March 8th Music & Lyrics: Maury Yeston Book: Arthur Kopit Director: David Leveaux Choreographer: Jonathan Buttrell Musical Director: Gareth Valentine Cast: Larry Lamb (Guido Contini), Susannah Fellows (Luisa), Clare Burt (Carla), Eleanor David (Claudia), Sara Kestelman (Liliane le Fleur), Dilys Laye (Mother), Ria Jones, Kiran Hocking, Jenny Galloway
Story: Guido Contini, a celebrated but tormented director, has come to a Venetian spa to escape from his problems, which include his relationship with Luisa (his wife), Carla (his mistress), Claudia (his protégé) , Liliane le Fleur (his agent), and his mother. The production, which contains a flashback to Guido’s youth, also includes some cinematic-type touches like an “overture” in which Guido conducts his women as if they were instruments, and an impressionistic version of the Folies Bergères.
Photo by Ivan Kyncl
Songs: My Husband Makes Movies, A Call from the Vatican, Only with You, Folies Bergères, Be Italian, Unusual Way, The Grand Canal, Simple, Be on Your Own
Notes: Adapted from the Italian by Mario Fratti and based on the Fellini Film “8½”. The original Broadway production had a cast of 21 women and just one man. It ran for 732 performances and won four Tony Awards. It had been given a London concert performance at the Festival Hall in 1992 with Jonathan Pryce and Liliane Montevecchi, and the resultant CD introduced the work to many enthusiasts in the UK. This was its first staged performance. It was praised for its sophistication and emotional depth, though many felt the music was too subtle and haunting, the mood too brittle and bitter-sweet to find a mass audience. Like Sondheim, this was specialist fare.
LISTEN TO THE WIND (1st Revival) London run: Kings Head Theatre, December 13th - January 19th Music & Lyrics: Vivian Ellis Book: Angela Ainley Jeans (revised by Humphrey Carpenter) Director: Dan Crawford Musical Director: Michael Lavine Cast: Paul Wilcox (Miss Lush/Miranda), Ben McCosker (Jeremy), Gabrielle Hamilton Grandmother), Cameron Blakeley (Pearson/Black Thundercloud), Naomi Bell, Steffan Boje, Philip Coleman, Michael Gyngell, Ben McCokser, Olivia Hallinan, Jane Lesley, James Powell, Vicky Taylor. New songs: Musical Chairs, It’s Nice to be Back Home Again, Palace of the Winds.
Notes: Original London run: Arts Theatre, December 1955 Ben McCosker, Olivia Hallinan, Victoria Taylor & Michael Gyngell
Photo by Bill Cooper
This first revival after 42 years received an overhauled book by Humphrey Carpenter. Vivian Ellis wrote three new songs for this show, though sadly he died in June, six months before the opening night.
MARRY ME A LITTLE London run: Bridewell Theatre, December 16th – January 11th (Limited season) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Craig Lucas & Norman Rene Director: Clive Paget Choreographer: Louise Davidson Musical Director: Rowland Lee Cast: Clive Carter, Rebecca Front
Photo by Tristram Kenton
Songs: Can That Boy Foxtrot, Bang, The Girls of Summer, All Things Bright and Beautiful, Your Eyes are Blue, It Wasn’t Meant to Happen
Clive Carter & Rebecca Front
Notes: This is a compilation of Sondheim songs, most of them intended for, but cut from, other shows. They have been spun into a story of sorts, where a man and a woman are each alone in their respective apartments on Saturday night. They sing of loneliness and longing, although there is a glimmer of hope in the air. Finally, however, as the last song says: “It Wasn’t Meant to Happen”. Generally regarded as a treat for Sondheim lovers, but one critic acidly pointed out “this slight revue proves only that Sondheim knows which songs to dump”.
GUYS AND DOLLS (3rd Revival) London run: Olivier Theatre, December 17th – March 29th 1997 (Limited season) Music and lyrics: Frank Loesser Book: Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows Director: Richard Eyre Choreographer: David Toguri Musical Director: Tony Britten Cast: Clarke Peters (Sky Masterton), Imelda Straunton (Miss Adelaide), Henry Goodman (Nathan Detroit), Joanna Riding (Sarah Browne), Clive Rowe (Nicely-Nicely), Wayne Cater (Benny), Kieran Creggan, Sharon D. Clarke
Notes: See original London run: Coliseum, May 1953 1sr revival: Olivier Theatre, March 1982 2nd revival: Prince of Wales, June 1985 Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman & Company
Photo by John Haynes
This revival of the hugely successful 1982 production proved that lightning can strike twice. It was hugely enjoyable, and every bit as good as its earlier, definitive incarnation.