ANYONE CAN WHISTLE (1st Revival) London run: Bridewell, January 8th – February 15th Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Arthur Laurents Director: Michael Gileta Choreographer: Darren Royston Musical Director: Mark Etherington Cast: Paula Wilcox (Cora), Janie Dee (Fay Apple), Edward Baker Duly (Dr Hapgood), James Smillie (Comptroller Schub), Mark Heenehan, Aaron Shirley, Orit Haddad, Simon Masterton. The book for this production has been slightly revised by Arthur Laurents – currently in his mid-eighties – now including mentions of mobile phones and lap-top computers, but the general reaction remained the same: the show was a mess, but as an example of early Sondheim, far too interesting to ignore. Original London production: Gladys Child Theatre, February 1990
London run: Jermyn Street, February 19th – March 1st Music: Larry Grossman Lyrics: Hal Hackady Book: Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates Director: Joseph Pitcher Choreographer: Joseph Pitcher & Claire Winsper Musical Director: Matt Malone Cast: Alice Chiver (Woodstock), Gemma Maclean (Sally Brown), Sarah Lark (Lucy), Cassidy Janson (Peppermint Patty), Stuart Piper (Linus), Stephen Carlisle (Snoopy), Neil Gordon-Taylor (Charlie Brown) Original London production: Duchess Theatre, Sept, 1983
JOSEPH & THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (7th Revival) London run: New London Theatre, March 3rd (872 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Tim Rice Director: Bill Kenwright Choreographer: Henry Metcalfe Musical Director: David Steadman Producer: Bill Kenwright Cast: Stephen Gately (Joseph), Vivienne Carlyle (Narrator), John Marques (Benjamin), Trevor Jary (Pharaoh), James Head, Kay Murphy, Russell Hicken, Philip Burrows This seventh West End revival ran for an astonishing 872 performances, finally closing on April 2nd 2005. 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; 6th revival: Labatt’s Apollo, February 1996
Photo by Pitcher Design
SNOOPY– The Musical (1st Revival)
CLIFF – THE MUSICAL London run: Prince of Wales, March 12th (69 performances) Music: Various Director: Trevor Payne Choreographer: Simon Shelton Musical Director: Steve Innes-Etherington Producer: Derek Block, etc Cast: Mike Read (Lord Cliff), Gordon Kenney (Bruce Welch), Ricky Aron (Cliff 1), Miles Guerinni (Cliff 2), Jimmy Jemain (Cliff 3), Zillah Eagles, Sheri Copeland Songs: Move It, The Young Ones, Miss You Nights, Congratulations, Mistletoe and Wine, The Lord’s Prayer, Auld Lang Syne, etc. etc. Story: It is the year 2020 and Cliff Richard, now Lord Cliff of Weybridge, is celebrating his 80th birthday at Keith Richard’s retirement home called The Joint. With his manservant, Bruce, formerly Bruce Welch of the Shadows, they party down Memory Lane. There are four different performers playing Cliff : the 50s wannabe Elvis , the 60s balladeer with the Austin Powers dress sense, the middle-of-the-road rocker of the 80s, and the reminiscing octogenarian. They manage to sing their way through many of the Cliff hits which have sold 100 million records over 40 years, and then, at the end, all four Cliffs throw their white boxer shorts into the screaming audience. Notes: This was a bit of a jaw-droppingly pointless show – after all, there was no story – Sir Cliff had never trashed a hotel room, seduced an underage teenager, had a breakdown, or even got drunk – but it did have a superb band and an army of middle-aged matrons cheering every song. The critics were all happy to report that Sir Cliff himself was out of the country touring the Far East with his live show, and all expressed the hope this dreadful show would fold before he got back and would thus spare him the misery of having to watch it. It managed a 9 week run.
SIMPLY HEAVENLY (1st Revival)
Cast: Ruby Turner (Miss Mamie) , Nicola Hughes (Zarita), Rhashon Stone (Simple), Cat Simmons (Joyce Lane), Clive Rowe (Melon), Kenie Andrews, Des Coleman, Carlton Headley, Paul Kissaun, Jason Pennycooke Notes: The basic story – will Jesse Simple succeed in raising the dosh for a divorce from his ex-wife so he can marry the loyal and loving Joyce – or will he be tempted from the straight and narrow by the vamping barmaid Zarita? - was considered just as weak as when the show was first produced in London 45 years earlier. Once again, it was the choreography and sheer energy of the performers that made it work. Original London production: Adelphi, May 1958
Photo by Keith Pattison
London run: Young Vic, March 17th – April 19th Music: David Martin Lyrics & Book: Langston Hughes Director: Josette Bushell-Mingo Choreographer: Paul J. Medford Musical Director: Kelvin Thomson Producer: National Theatre Studio
Photo by Catherine Ashmore
London run: Piccadilly Theatre, March 19th (101 performances) Music: Stephen Flaherty Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens Book: Terrence McNally Director: Stafford Arima Choreographer: Candace Jennings Musical Director: Chris Walker Producer: Sonia Friedman etc.
Cast: Maria Friedman (Mother),Graham Bickley (Tateh), Dave Willetts (Father), Kevyn Morrow (Coalhouse), Emma Jay Thomas (Sarah), Iain Davey (Henry Ford), Samuel James (Houdini), Mark McKerracher (JP Morgan) Susie McKenna (Emma Goldman), Rebecca Thornhill (Evelyn Nesbit) Songs: Goodbye My Love, The Crime of the Century, What Kind of Woman, A Shtetl iz Amereke, Getting Ready Rag, Your Daddy’s Son, The Night that Goldman Spoke at Union Square, Harry Houdini Master Escapist, Atlantic City, Our Children, Back to Before, Make Them Hear You. Story: From 1900 to the outbreak of World War 1 this is the story of three New York families: a white American family; the Jewish immigrant, Tateh and his daughter who have arrived from Latvia full of hope for a better life; and Coalhouse Walker Jr, a black ragtime-pianist, and his Harlem family. At the start of the show Mother says goodbye to Father as he leaves with Admiral Peary for an expedition to the North Pole, and then is shocked to find a new-born black baby in her garden. She gives comfort and refuge to its mother, the black servant, Sarah, and allows the father, Coalhouse, to come a-calling on Sarah until he eventually wins back her affections. In the course of the story these fictional characters become involved with real-life legendary figures of the time, such as Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, J.P. Morgan, Emma Goldman and the infamous Evelyn “Crime of the Century” Nesbitt. Notes: Based on the novel by E.L.Doctorow, this show opened in Toronto in 1966, and was restaged the following year in Los Angeles. In January 1998 the show was given its Broadway production at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in a cast that included Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marin Mazzie and Audra McDonald. It ran for 861 performances, winning many major awards, but closed suddenly in January 2000 when the producers were declared bankrupt. The London production, though highly praised, did not succeed, closing after just 101 performances.
TELL ME ON A SUNDAY London run: Gielgud Theatre, April 15th (351 Performances) Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics: Don Black Additional material: Jackie Clune Director: Matthew Watchus Musical Director: Nick Finlow Cast: Denise van Outen Songs: (New or re-worked) Goodbye Mum Goodbye Girls, Haven in the Sky, Speed Dating, Tyler King, Unexpected Song, Let’s Talk About You Notes: Originally part of the “Song and Dance” double-bill staged at the Palace Theatre over 20 years ago, this had now been expanded into a stand-alone piece. It had been substantially updated (to include the internet, e-mails and mobile phones) and re-written, with the unnamed girl writing home to Mum in Ilford (originally it was Muswell Hill – in 1982 Marti Webb was far more Jewish than Essex girl Denise van Outen). The show was still presented as a one-act song-cycle, now running for 90 minutes. There was much praise for Denise van Outen, and although the material itself received a mixed reaction, the show ran ten months. During the run Marti Webb returned to her old part and, following the West End run, subsequently toured the UK with the show, alternating with Faye Tozer and Patsy Palmer.
Photo by Rankin
Producer: Bill Kenwright & Really Useful Theatre Co
2003 JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA (1st Revival)
London run: Lyttleton, April 29th – September 30th (In rep: 73 performances) Transfer: Cambridge Theatre, November 10th (536 performances) Music: Richard Thomas Book & Lyrics: Stewart Lee & Richard Thomas Director: Stewart Lee Choreographer: Jenny Arnold Musical Director: Martin Lowe Producer: Royal National Theatre, etc.
Cast: Michael Brandon (Jerry Springer), Alison Jiear (Chantel/Eve), David Dedella (Warm-up Man/Satan), Wills Morgan (Montel/Jesus), Marcus Cunningham (Chucky/Adam), Valda Aviks (Zandra/Mary), Benjamin Lake (Dwight/God), Aally Bourne (Andrea/Archangel Michael), Andrew Bevis (Tremont/Angel Gabriel) Songs: Bigger than Oprah Winfrey, I’ve Been Seeing Someone Else, Chick with a Dick, Diaper Man, Eat Excrete, Him Am the Devil, Satan and Jesus Spat, Jerry Eleison, Adam and Eve & Mary Notes: This was Nicholas Hytner’s first show as the new artistic director of the Royal National Theatre, and it seemed to herald a new era, very different from Trevor Nunn’s series of American musicals’ “golden oldies”. It had been rewritten and enlarged from earlier “fringe” versions at the Edinburgh Festival and the BAC, and proved to be hugely controversial. The clash of high operatic music and big choral parodies with scatological lyrics about whores, crack, and junkies made some critics compare it to a modern day “Beggar’s Opera”. A nearly naked Jesus admitting to being “a bit gay”, a plump glam-rock God descending on a golden swing singing “It Ain’t Easy Being Me”, and Jesus and Satan performing a baroque duet caused some critics to scream blasphemy. Adam and Eve and the Holy Virgin appearing as guest artists on the Jerry Springer TV chat-show made some critics respond enthusiastically to the satire on the cheap values of modern society. The show won four Olivier Awards including Best Musial. In July 2004 David Soul took over the role of Jerry Springer. The show ran a total of 609 performances, closing in February 2005 In January 2005 BBC2 broadcast the show and immediately received 55,000 complaints – the largest number ever recorded for a single TV show. Demonstrations were held outside many BBC offices and the organisation Christian Voice attempted to bring blasphemy charges against the show, but the Magistrates Court refused to issue a summons, a decision later upheld by the High Court. Protests continued at several of its tour venues, and a number of theatres cancelled their plans to stage the tour because of the controversy. In January 2004 a planned Broadway production was suddenly cancelled, and the show had to wait until 2007, and a concert version, for its American premiere in Las Vegas. It received its first New York staging at Carnegie Hall in 2008 with Harvey Keitel as Jerry Springer. Originally produced as a three-week try out of concert performances at the BAC in February 2002.
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS (1st Revival) London run: Landor, May 1st – June 7th Music: Mary Rodgers Lyrics: Marshall Barer Book: Jay Thompson, Marshall Barer & Dean Fuller Director: Robert McWhir Choreographer: Chris Stewart Musical Director: Tom Attwood Cast: Donna Steele (Princess Winnifred), William Maidwell (Prince Dauntless), Dian Perry (Queen Agravain), Ian Dring (King) Nick Dutton (Minstrel), Chris Riddy (Jester), Tom Attwood (Wizard), Alistair Munro (Sir Harry)
Nick Dutton, Ian Dring & Chris Riddy
This was a production where the actors doubled as musicians and was very well received. Original London run: Adelphi Theatre, September 1960
THE BOMB-ITTY OF ERRORS
Photo by Caroline Lewis
London run: New Ambassadors, May 7th – July 12th Music: J.A.Q. Lyrics & Book: Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, & Eric Weiner Adapted by Andrew Goldbery Director: Andrew Goldbery Cast: Charles Anthony Burks , Chris Edwards, Joe Hernandez-Kolski, Ranney, Kevin Shand(D.J.) Notes: This was a hip-hop version of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors”, aimed at the MTV generation. A set of twins are separated at birth and put up for adoption when their father is arrested for drug-dealing, and their story is told in rhyming couplets against a background of hip-hop and rap. With a DJ and just four men – the Bomb-Itty Boys - playing all the roles, bouncing in and out of frocks and wigs to play every part, and keeping close to the original plot with much wit, slapstick and inventiveness, its infectious energy and entertainment value earned it excellent notices. It had begun life as a New York University thesis and then became an off-Broadway hit and had transferred to London from the Edinburgh Festival
DA BOYZ London run: Theatre Royal, Stratford East, May 7th—June 14th Music: Richard Rodgers; Lyrics: Lorenz Hart Book: George Abbot Adapted by: D J Excalibah, M C Skolla & Ultz Director: Ultz Choreographer: Steady Musical Director: Excallibah/ Skolla Cast: Kyza (Antipholus of Syracuse), Sheryl Peaches Cadogan (Luce), Lorna Brown (Adriana), Vanya Taylor (Luciana), Kat (Dromio of Syracuse), Darren Hart (Dromio of Ephesus), Mystro (Antipholus of Ephesus) Notes: This was a hip-hop re-working of “The Boys from Syracuse” which itself was adapted from Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” and by sheer chance opened at exactly the same time as “The Bomb-Itty of Errors”. This Stratford East version also featured a DJ, but with a lot of hi-tech video footage and far less genuine wit. It had a much larger cast – an all-black 30 strong team of dancers, mostly young and all working flat out with fervent energy. It had been work-shopped with the Theatre Royal’s youth group. It suffered considerably from comparison with the “Bomb-Itty” version and most critics felt that the original Rodgers & Hart songs most definitely did not lend themselves to hip-hop and rap interpretations.
HAVE A NICE LIFE London run : Pleasance, May 29th – June 22nd Music & Lyrics: Conor Mitchell Director: Conor Mitchell Cast: Chris Robinson (Neville), Richard Clements (Frank), Mary Moulds (Barbara), Rachel Murray (Amy), Emma Little (Sheila), Karen Rush (Jean), Joe Rea (Chris) Songs: Hate Male, I’m Not the Failure, I Feel Your Pain Story: Six troubled souls join a Belfast group-therapy , and each in turn reveals his or her emotional crisis, belting it out in a Broadway style number. Amy has been left by her husband; Chris believes in old fashioned romance and is probably gay; sexy Barbara thinks she is possessed by the spirit of an African. The others are Frank, Jean and Sheila (who turns out to be an imposter!) – all with emotional problems, which finally cause Neville, the none-too-stable Group Leader to blow his top. Notes: Originally developed at the Group Theatre in Belfast and staged at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival under the title “Closure”, this clearly owed a lot in its format to “Chorus Line”. It had been a great hit at Edinburgh but did not receive the same sort of reaction in London.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (5th Revival) London run: Queen’s Theatre, June 23rd – July 5th Music & Lyrics: Richard O’Brien; Director: Christopher Malcolm; Choreographer: Stacey Haynes; Musical Director: Ian Vince Gatt; Producer: Christopher Malcolm Ltd, etc. Cast: Rhona Cameron/John Stalker (Narrator), Jonathan Wilkes ((Frank-n-Furter), Graham Tudor (Rocky ), Jon Boydon (Brad), Katie Rowley-Jones (Janet), Neil Couperthwaite (Riff-Raff), Andrea Stevens (Magenta), Sally Hunt (Columbia), Drew Jaymson (Eddie/Dr Scott) Back in the West End, for a two week run celebrating the show’s 30th birthday. See original production: Theatre Upstairs Royal Court), June 19th 1973; Transferred to the Comedy Theatre, April 1979; 1st revival: Piccadilly Theatre, July 1990; 2nd revival: Duke of York’s, June 1994; 3rd revival: Duke of York’s May 1995; 4th revival: Victoria Palace, April 1999
GOLDEN BOY (1st Revival)
Photo by Robert Day
London run: Greenwich Theatre, June 23rd – July 12th Music: Charles Strouse Lyrics: Lee Adams Book: Clifford Odets & William Gibson, revised by Rick Jacobs Director: Rick Jacobs Choreographer: Mykal Rand Musical Director: Steven Edis Cast: Jason Pennycooke (Joe Wellington), Sally Ann Triplett (Lorna Moon), Ray Shell (Eddie Satin), Nicolas Colicos (Tom Moody), Omar F. Okai (Ronnie Bouvier), Alana Maria (Anna Bouvier), Jade Walker, Jaye Jacobs, Neil Johnson, Jason Rowe Sally Ann Triplett & Jason Pennycooke
Songs: (New songs): Winners, I’m a Success
Notes: Charles Strouse created two new songs for this revival and Rick Jacobs had revised the book to emphasise the limited success open to black Americans in the early 1960s. In the rewrite he replaced Joe’s father with Anna, a nononsense sister acting as Joe’s conscience. Although generally well received, it was felt this was a “dated” show with nostalgic or historical interest rather than any contemporary relevance. See Original London production: London Palladium, June 1968
PACIFIC OVERTURES (2nd Revival)
Photo by Alastair Muir
London run: Donmar, June 30th – September 6th Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: James Lapine Director: Gary Griffin Choreographer: Barbara Robertson & Karen Bruce Musical Director: Thomas Murray & Mark Warman Producer: Donmar & Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Cast: Joseph Anthony Foronda (Reciter/Shogun/ Emperor), Kevin Gudhal (Kayama), Togo Igawa, Teddy Kempner, Ian McLarnon, Jerome Pradon, Richard Henders, Mo Zainal, Rocjard Manera, Cornell John With a cast of just ten performers and four musicians in a mixed American and English company, this show had originated at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Once again it split the critics (and the audiences) into two opposing camps. (1) This sparse, cut-down production gave the work a clarity, strength and intellectual brilliance that had been missing from the “overblown” English National Opera premiere in 1987, and marked it as one of Sondheim’s most fascinating and rewarding works of art. (2) This production clearly reveals the show to be culturally awkward, with condescending Western attitudes offering half-baked imitations of Kabuki which come over as pier-end panto. By a slight majority, the critics hailed this as a major triumph, but there was still a significant number strongly against the show. See original London production: Coliseum, September 1987 First revival: Bridewell Theatre, April 1994
CALAMITY JANE (2nd Revival) London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, June 26th – September 20th Music: Sammy Fain Lyrics: Paul Francis Webster Book: Charles K. Freeman Director: Ed Curtis Choreographer: Craig Revel Horwood Musical Director: Robert Cousins
This was a touring production which had originated at Northampton Theatre, and had been on the road for some nine months before coming into London. During its tour Toyah Wilcox caused some disappointment to her fans and discontent among some provincial managers when she suddenly left the show to appear in “I’m a Celebrity. . . Get Me Out of Here”. However, the extra publicity from the television show persuaded the powers-that-be to bring the show into the West End. It was criticised for its touring scenery, and inevitably Toyah Wilcox was compared unfavourably to Doris Day in the film version, but all in all her performance was mostly praised, though the show itself had a luke-warm reception. Notes: Original London run: BAC Main, December 1994 First revival: Sadler’s Wells, May 1996
Photo by Robert Day
Cast: Toyah Wilcox (Calamity Jane), Michael Cornish (Wild Bill Hickok), Garry Kilby (Lieutenant Danny Martin), Emma Dodd (Adelaide Adams), Kellie Ryan (Katie Brown), Phil Ormerod (Francis Fryer), Duncan Smith (Henry Miller)
THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO
Photo by Talula Sheppard
London run: Bridewell, July 1st – 26th Music: Mike Reid Book & Lyrics: Sarah Schlesinger Director: Carol Metcalfe Choreographer: Sam Spencer Lane Musical Director: Michael England Cast: Anna Francolini (Jo Monaghan), Kieran Brown (Jordan), Karen Evans (Sara), Phong Troung (Tien Mein Wong), Daniel Reeves, Craig Pinder, Abigail Langham, Jason Lee Scott, Gavin James, William Wolfe Hogan, Audrey Palmer, Ellen O’Grady, Mark Carroll Songs: Listen to the Rain, I See Heaven, Everything that Touched Her
Story: Josephine Monaghan, the tearaway daughter of a Boston judge, abandons her illegitimate baby and starts a new life in California, where she is robbed and raped. She escapes by moving to Idaho, passing herself off as a man and living among the silver miners of the area. There are comic and sad consequences of this pretence: Jo falls in love with Jordan, who is pursuing Sara, and, in a “twelfth Night” type tangle, Sara then fancies Jo. The story also involves industrial problems when desperate Chinese labourers agree to work the mine for half-pay, and clash with an Irish group of miners who make a scapegoat out of their leader, Tien Mein Wong Notes: Hugely praised as the “best new musical for years”, its music ranged from beautiful and lyrical ballads to true toe-tappers, and a rich score based on the ballads, hymns and drinking songs from the American folk tradition. Based on Maggie Greenwald’s 1993 film starring Suzy Amis, Bo Hopkins and Ian McKellen, this musical version was first staged in September 2000 at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater.
HIGH SOCIETY (1st Revival)
Photo by Alastaur Muir
London run: Open Air Theatre, July 24th—Sep 13th Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter Book: Arthur Kopit Additional lyrics: Susan Birkenhead Director: Ian Talbot Choreographer: Gillian Gregory Musical Director: Catherine Jayes Producer: New Shakespeare Company
Cast: Dale Rapley (Dexter), Hal Fowler (Mike), Tracie Bennett (Liz), Annette McLaughlin (Tracy), Brian Green (Uncle Willie), Peter Forbes, Brigit Forsyth, Claire Redcliffe, Walter van Dyck, John Conroy. Songs: (Incorporated from other Cole Porter musicals in addition to the songs from the film): I Love Paris, Just One of Those Things, It’s All Right With Me, Let’s Misbehave. Notes: The original 1987 London production had a book by Richard Eyre using the eight songs from the original film version and incorporating an additional ten songs from other Cole Porter musicals. This was a different version with a book by Arthur Kopit – a version which had opened on Broadway in April 1998 where it ran for just 144 performances. The Kopit version also incorporated songs from other Cole Porter musicals – but a different selection of songs from the Richard Eyre version. Although based on the same story with the same characters, these were two very different versions. Original London production: Victoria Palace, February 1987
2003 THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD (1st Revival)
London run: Bridewell, August 6th – 23rd Music & Lyrics: Rupert Holmes Director: Rachel Moorhead Choreographer: Edz Barrett Musical Director: Ryan Weber Cast: John Horwood (Chairman), Annabelle Williams (Princess Puffer) , Melanie Morrisey (Edwin Drood), Jonathan Rose (Stage Manager/James Throttle), Paul Francis (John Jasper), Chloe Faine, Tessa Vale, Wojtek Godzisz, John Pyle, Cameron Smillee, Freddy Henry, Ian Buckingham Original London production: Savoy Theatre, May 1987
ON YOUR TOES (2nd Revival) London run: Royal Festival Hall, August 7th – September 6th Music: Richard Rodgers Lyrics: Lorenz Hart Book: Rodgers & Hart & George Abbott Director: Paul Kerryson Choreographer: Adam Cooper Musical Director: Julian Kelly Producer: Raymond Gubbay
Notes: With three former Royal Ballet stars – Adam Cooper, Sarah Wildor and Irek Mukhamedov - this was a special treat, even allowing for restrictions imposed by staging it in a concert hall. In spite of the brilliant dancing display on offer, many critics felt Kathryn Evans stole the show. Original London production: Coliseum, February 1937 First revival: Palace Theatre, June 1984 Adam Cooper as Junior
MARRY ME A LITTLE (1st Revival) London run: Landor, August 19th – September 6th Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Craig Lucas & Norman Rene Director: Bryony Growdon Choreographer: Benjamin Yates Musical Director: Matheson Bayley Cast: Bryony Growdon, Benjamin Yates Notes: Original London production: Bridewell, December 1996
Photo by Stephen Vaughan
Cast: Sarah Wildor (Vera Baronova), Adam Cooper (Junior ), Anna-Jane Casey (Frankie), Simon Coulthard (Sidney Cohn), Kathryn Evans (Peggy Porterfield), Russell Dixon (Sergei ) Irek Mukhamedov/Ewan Wardrop (Konstantine Morrosine), Greg Pichery, Gabrielle Noble, Matthew Malthouse.
BYE BYE BIRDIE (1st Revival) London run: Landor, September 16th – October 11th Music: Charles Strouse Lyrics: Lee Adams Book: Michael Stewart Director: Paul Tate Choreographer: Richard Swerrun Musical Director: Amanda Morrison Cast: Spencer James (Conrad Birdie), Karl Clarkson (Albert Peterson), Theresa Lawrence (Rose Alvarez), Lisa Cassidy (Kim MacAfee), Carol Ball (Mae Peterson), Glenn MacNamara (Hugo Peabody), Paul Tate (Mr MacAfee), Lesley Lightfoot (Mrs MacAfee), Angus Jacobs, Mark Dugdale Notes: 42 years after its London premiere (which featured Marty Wilde as Conrad Birdie), the show was revived in a fringe venue. Original London production: Her Majesty’s, June 1961
ANYTHING GOES (Transfer) London run: Olivier Theatre, Dec 18th 2002– Mar 22nd (45 performances repertoire) Transfer: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, October 7th 2003 (387 performances) Music & Lyrics: Cole Porter Book: Howard Lindsay & Russell Crouse New book: Timothy Crouse & John Weidman Director: Trevor Nunn Choreographer: Stephen Mear Musical Director: James Dunsmore It had been announced that due to illness Denis Quilley would not be repeating his performance as Elisha Whitney when the show transferred to the West End. The show was already in previews at Drury Lane when it was announced that Denis Quilley had died – two days before the press night. He was 75 and had died of liver cancer. The opening night was dedicated to his memory. Notes: See Olivier Theatre, Dec 2002
MONEY TO BURN London run: The Venue , October 9th (3 performances) Music & Lyrics: Daniel Abineri Director: Daniel Anineri Choreographer: Michele Thorn Musical Director: Clive Dunstall Cast: Peter Blake (Lord OJ), Sarah-Louise Young (Lady Tiggy), Gabrielle Noble (Rosie Kane), Camilla (Angel), Perry Benson (Perkins), Tony Kemp (Hugo), Rachel Lynes, Graham Martin, Josephine Buchan Songs: Piggy Dead Bacon Saved, Wank Me Spank Me (Gag Me with a Hankie), Your Morals May be Iffy (But You’re Giving me a Stiffy) Story: Lord Oliver Justin, a gambling, lying, cheating Peer of the Realm, known to his friends as “OJ” has a penchant for being spanked while wearing frilly knickers. He hires a hit-man to bump off his rich-bitch wife, Tiggy, so he can inherit, but his plans are scuppered by his vengeful butler and an actress. It was billed as a “musical-comedy-thriller”. Notes: The show opened on Thursday 9th October (following nine days of previews) with advance bookings being accepted up to mid January 2004. The following morning and evening the newspaper reviews appeared: “Musical-comedy-thriller? It misses all three targets”, “jaw-droppingly dreadful”, “makes Thunderbirds puppets sound like Chekhov”, “a stinker”, “lyrics of unrivalled awfulness”, etc. After the 6.30pm early show on the Saturday the company was told the show was ending there and then – they didn’t even play the 9.15pm show. This was one of the swiftest disasters for many years.
London run: Shaftesbury Theatre, October 21st (287 Performances) New music: Jeanine Tesori New lyrics: Dick Scanlan Book: Richard Morris & Dick Scanlan Director: Michael Mayer Choreographer: Rob Ashford Musical Director: Mark Warman Producer: Paul Elliott, Duncan C. Weldon, etc.
Cast: Amanda Holden (Millie), Helen Baker (Miss Dorothy), Maureen Lipman/Marti Webb (Miss Meers), Craig Urbani (Mr Graydon), Amanda Holden as Millie Dillmount Sheila Ferguson (Muzzy Von Hossmere), Mark McGee (Jimmy Smith), Yo Santhaveesuk, Unku, Phong Truong, Rachel Izen, Adam Brooks, Matt Flint Songs: Not for the Life of Me, Only in New York, Forget About the Boy, I’m Falling in Love with Someone, Long as I’m Here with You, Gimme Gimmee, How the Other Half Lives, The Speed Test Story: Millie Dillmount arrives in New York planning to work for a rich man and eventually to marry him. At the Hotel Priscilla she befriends, Miss Dorothy, apparently an orphan with no family. They are unaware that the hotel owner, Mrs Meers, runs a white slavery ring, and that orphaned Miss Dorothy is a perfect candidate for kidnap. Meantime Millie gets a job with handsome Mr Graydon, who falls in love with Dorothy, and not Millie, so she teams up with penniless Jimmy Smith and his friend, the bizarre Muzzy Von Hossmere. Dorothy is kidnapped, and, of course, rescued; Mrs Meers gets her come-uppance; and everyone lives happily ever after when they discover Muzzie is actually the stepmother of both Jimmy and Miss Dorothy and Jimmy is the richest bachelor in the world. Notes: Based on the 1967 film screenplay by Richard Morris, the musical opened on Broadway in April 2002 and ran for 904 performances, winning six Tony Awards. The Broadway production team re-created the show in London, with Maureen Lipman and Marti Webb alternating as Mrs Meers. When Marti Webb left for the “Tell Me on a Sunday” tour, she was replaced with Anita Dobson. During the run Amanda Holden was taken ill, and her understudy Donna Steele took over the role to great acclaim. In spite of mostly good reviews the show failed to catch on with the public, and the show closed in June 2004, after an eight month run.
OVER MY SHOULDER (1st revival) London run: Wyndham’s, October 28th – November 8th (Limited 2 week run) Music: Various Book: Richard Stirling Director-Choreographer: Stewart Nicholls Musical Director: Ben Stock Cast: Anne Rogers (Jessie Matthews), Jo Gibb (Young Jessie), Abigail Langham (Rosie Matthews/ Sheilah Graham), Oliver Thompsett (Fred Astaire/Harry Lytton), Gavin Lee (Sonnie Hale), Duncan Wisbey (C.B. Cochran/ Bing Crosby/Noel Coward), Ben Stock, Michael Cotton, Daniel Fine Songs: Over My Shoulder, Parisian Pierrot, Got To Dance My Way To Heaven, My Heart Stood Still, A Room with a View, Three Wishes, Everything's in Rhythm with my Heart , It's Love Again, Gangway ,May I Have the Next Romance With You? , Dancing On the Ceiling, After All These Years, When You've Got a Little Springtime In Your Heart Notes: This was a re-written and enlarged version of the show which had first been performed at the Jermyn Street Theatre in November 2001, and had been touring at various points throughout 2002. It had played a week at the Greenwich Theatre in May 2002 but now had the opportunity to come into the West End. Wyndham’s Theatre was suddenly empty due to the collapse of Michael Barrymore’s come-back show and this show was available to fill the gap. It was a strictly limited two week run. There was a certain nostalgia and theatrical history about this performance – Anne Rogers had first come to stardom exactly fifty years earlier at this very theatre (in “The Boy Friend”) Original London production: Jermyn Street, November 2001
Photo by Alastair Muir
THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE
TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT London run: Victoria Palace, November 7th (387 Performances) Music & Lyrics: Rod Stewart Book: Ben Elton Director: Ben Elton Choreographer: Stephen Mear Musical Director: Nick Finlow Cast: Tim Howar (Stuart Clutterbuck), Hannah Waddingham (Satan), Dianne Pilkington (Mary), Howard Samuels (Jorgé), Catherine Porter (Baby Jane Golden), Keith Bookman, Jeff Edwards, Debbie Kurup, Sharon Clancy, Tim Funnell, Tim Walton, Lucie Fentum Songs: D’ya think I’m Sexy?, Maggie May, Sailing, Hot Legs, Stay With Me, You Wear it Well, and 21 other Rod Stewart numbers. Story: Stuart Clutterbuck is a hung-up garage mechanic in Detroit, so tongue-tied he can’t find the courage to declare his love to Mary, the girl of his dreams. He would love to be more like his hero, indeed, he would sell his soul, to be like the legendary rock vagabond, Rod Stewart. That way Mary would surely be his. At that very moment up pops Satan, ready to make a deal: in return for Stu’s soul in Hell for all eternity, he can have a lifetime’s use of the soul of Rod Stewart – and the love of Mary and any other girl he fancies. However Stu will go on to learn the hard way: you can’t find true love using another man’s moves, and, Devil or no Devil, there’s only one Rod Stewart. Notes: This was another of Ben Elton’s catalogue shows, wrapping a story around a series of hit songs. Even before it opened it was being referred to as “We Will Rod You”. Just like “We Will Rock You”, the critics hated this show, describing it as written on the back of an envelope while waiting for the kettle to boil. With top-price tickets at £55, it was rapidly known as “We Will Rob You”. However, perhaps aware of how wrong they were over the Freddie Mercury tribute, this time most critics were able to praise the music, the choreography and the songs, whilst hating the thin story, smutty humour, gratuitous gay banter and crude sexual stereotyping. The show ran for eleven months.
THE WILD PARTY London run: Union SE1, December 3rd – 20th Music: Michael John LaChiusa & George C. Wolfe Director: Sasha Regan & Ben de Wynter Musical Director: Conor Mitchell Cast: Ben Nathan (Burrs), Charlotte Marisa-Moore (Queenie), Janet Kumah (Kate), Jamie Kenna (Black), Jamie Anderson (Jackie), Susan Travers (Dolores), Simon Masterton (Oscar), Conor Mitchell (Phil), Sioned Jones (Madeleine), Caroline Hartley (Sally), Terence Anderson (Eddie), Phillipa Burt (Mae), Kirs Lauren (Nadine) Songs: Queenie was a Blonde, Dry, Welcome to my Party, Breezin’ Through, Tabu/Taking Care of the Ladies, Wouldn’t It Be Nice? Black Is a People like Us, After Midnight Dies, Golden Boy, The Lights of Broadway Story: Burrs, a blackface comedian, and Queenie, a disappointed chorus girl, are throwing a party, even though they are not in party mood following yet another massive quarrel. Their guests are gossipy back-stabbing theatricals including: Queenie’s best friend, Kate and her younger lover Black; the “ambisextrous” rich-kid Jackie; has-been Dolores; Oscar and Phil, a dodgy gay double-act; lesbian stripper Madeleine and her druggy girlfriend, Sally; black prize-fighter Eddie and his white wife, Mae; and Nadine, Mae’s nymphomaniac sister. Throw this lot together in an orgy of champagne and bathtub gin and the result is explosive, hilarious and decadent. Notes: The show is presented as a series of variety turns, complete with signs announcing the next scene propped on an easel at the side of the stage. It is based on Joseph Moncure March’s satirical poem set in 1920s New York. It opened on Broadway in April 2000 with a cast including Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin, and Eartha Kitt returning to the New York stage after more than 20 years. However, it lasted just 68 performances. (By co-incidence an offBroadway production based on the same material opened at the same time – also called “The Wild Party”, this time with music by Andrew Lippa. It was a smaller-scale, more tightly focused version of the poem.)
KISMET (2nd Revival)
Cast: Simon Masterton-Smith (Hajj), Renee Satewski (Marsinah), Angela Caesar (Lalume), Oliver Thomsett (Caliph), Hemi Yeroham (Princess), Alex Banks (Omar Khayyam), Trevor A. Toussaint (Wazir), Denise Christie, Alex Constantine, David Hedges, Josian Hughes, Sarah Mae
Photo by Matthew Frost
London run: Arcola, December 4th – January 4th 2004 Music: Alexander Borodin Lyrics: Roger Wright & George Forrest Book: Charles Lederer & Luther Davis Director: Tiffany Watt-Smith Choreographer: Carolene Hinds Musical Director: Allyson Devenish
Simon Masterton & Angela Caesar
This fringe production was accompanied by a single piano, though in the words of one critic: “the only thing to recommend this feeble, truncated production is the chance to hear once more songs like “Baubles Bangles and Beads”, “And This is My Beloved” and “Stranger in Paradise”, albeit sung and performed by a cast struggling in an am-dram quicksand of rough acting, variable vocal styles and clumsy choreography.” Notes: See Original London Production: Stoll Theatre, April 1955 First revival: Shaftesbury Theatre, March 1978
KAT AND THE KINGS (1st Revival) London run: Tricycle, December 10th – February 8th 2004 Music & Lyrics: David Kramer & Taliep Petersen Director: David Kramer Choreographer: Loukmaan Adams & Jody Abrahams Musical Director: Taliep Petersen Cast: Danny Butler (Kat Diamond), Emraan Adams Young Kat Diamond), Loukmaan Adams (Bingo), Munthir Dullisear (Ballie), Abigail Petersen (Lucy Dixon), Elton Landrew (Magoo) Returning to its original production home after six years, following the West End, Broadway, several European theatres and two Olivier Awards – nothing seemed to have lessened its energy and spirit. Original London run: Tricycle October 1997 (Trans. Vaudeville March 1998)
ME, MYSELF AND I London run: Orange Tree, December 19th – February 7th Music : Paul Todd Book & Lyrics: Alan Ayckbourn Director: Kim Grant Choreographer: Kenn Oldfield Musical Director: Paul Havard Cast: Jacqueline Charlesworth (Me), Jessica Martin (Myself), Stephanie Putson (I), Nigel Richards (Rodney Beech/Bill Yately) Notes: This rather strange musical – piano only – is about Mary Yately, who appears on stage in triplicate. At first she is being interviewed for a local paper having won the Mother of the Year Award, and two other women seem to be sitting around making contradictory comments; gradually we discover this is all a fantasy. Mary is trying to hold together a failing marriage, and the two other women are different aspects of Mary herself. More confusingly, the reporter and Mary’s husband are played by the same actor. The show originated as a trio of lunchtime shows and had been staged at the Orange Tree by Kim Grant in 1982 and again in 1983. In 1985 it was given a few performances in the foyer of the National Theatre. The National Theatre version, now adapted into two acts of some 40 minutes each, was given its revised premiere once again at the Orange Tree, some 20 odd years after its first outing.
RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET (3rd Revival) London run: Upstairs at the Gatehouse, December 20th – February 1st 2004 Music: Various Book: Bob Carlton Director: John Plews Choreographer: Racky Plews Musical Director: Oliver Jackson Cast: Kate Buxton (Miranda), Brendan Lovett (Dr Prospero), Michael Instone (Captain Tempest), Cathy McMananam, Rebecca Oliver, Racky Plews, Alan Howell, Stephen Rathman, Nicolas Sagar, Gareth Dylan Smith The Gatehouse was by now developing a tradition in Christmas musicals, and this was warmly received. The pre-recorded newsreader/announcer voice was provided by Angela Rippon. Notes: Original London production: Cambridge Theatre, September 1989 First revival: Shaftesbury Theatre, December 1995; Second revival: Savoy Theatre, December 2001
SWEENEY TODD (5th Revival) London run: Royal Opera House, December 15th – January 14th 2004 (In repertoire) Music & Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: Hugh Wheeler Director: Neil Armfield Choreographer: Denni Sayers Musical Director: Paul Gemignani Producer: Royal Opera House & Lyric Opera Chicago
Photo by Alastair Muir
Cast: Thomas Allen (Sweeney Todd), Felicity Palmer (Mrs Lovett), William Dazely (Anthony), Jonathan Veira (Judge Turpin), Rebecca Evans (Joanna), Doug Jones (Tobias), Bonaventura Bottone (Pirelli), Rosalind Plowright (Beggar Woman), Robert Tear (Beadle) This production originated at the Lyric Opera House Chicago where its performance was accepted without question. When it came to Covent Garden it was subject to much discussion. Was it an “opera” or a “musical”? Did it really belong in the Opera House? Did it work when performed by proper opera singers rather than musical theatre actors? Did it really need the radio microphones that were used? And, since it was sung in English, why did the production use sur-titles? The critics mused and differed on all these questions, but were almost unanimous in agreeing that the score, with a 50 piece orchestra, conducted by the legendary Paul Gemignani, would probably never be better performed. The physical production was a bit sparse, and the opera chorus occasionally looked uncomfortable when required to “act” – but, all in all, this was regarded as a feather in the cap of the Royal Opera (even if not quite as glorious a feather as the recent Opera North version at Sadler’s Wells. ) Notes: See Original London production: Drury Lane Theatre, July 1980 1st revival: Half Moon Theatre, May 1985 2nd revival: Cottesloe June 1993/Lyttleton Dec 1993 3rd revival: Holland Park , June 1996 4th revival: Sadler’s Wells, June 2002 Felicity Palmer & Thomas Allen
CALL ME MERMAN
Cast: Angela Richards (Ethel Merman), Susannah Fellowes (Kitty), Mark White (Arty), Michael Roberts, Fiz Shapur Songs: There’s No Business Like Show Business, Everything’s Coming up Roses, I Got Rhythm, I Get a Kick Out of You, You’re the Top, Anything Goes, Blow Gabriel Blow Angela Richards as Ethel Merman Notes: The life-story of Ethel Merman, devised around a fictitious TV biography being made in Las Vegas. The rehearsal process allows characters to say things like “Shall we include the bit about. . .?” and then decide against it. In this way it enables the show to refer briefly to Merman’s disastrous series of ex-husbands and to skim through an incredible career, ranging from early vaudeville to the great days of Broadway musicals. In real life it seems Merman could be an A-List bitch and some of this creeps through the story, though much is sanitised. With Kitty playing the young Merman, Arty playing a fellow hoofer, and with some 33 of the songs forever associated with the incredible Merman, everything really hung on the central performance of Angela Richards, and, for most of the critics, she came through with shining colours.
Photo by Jim Lee
London run: King’s Head, Dec 30th – Feb 1st Music: Various Book: John Kane Director: David Kernan Choreographer: Lindsay Dolan Musical Director: Fiz Shapur