Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
With only two more big shows opening before Christmas, the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar at the restored Lyceum Theatre, and the revival of Richard Eyre's production of Guys And Dolls at the National Theatre, (plus the re-launch of Martin Guerre next week), we must look to next year for exciting news in musical theatre. There are three (or four) shows currently in the offing.First will be The Goodbye Girl, opening at The Albery Theatre on 17th April. Starring Gary Wilmot, and produced by the team that brought you Jolson, this will be a reworked version of the show which ran briefly on Broadway a couple of years ago. Based on the movie by Neil Simon, with music by Marvin Hamlish and lyrics by David Zippel, it will be a slimmed down of the New York version, which was felt to have been over expanded from the original material.
Next there's Beauty And The Beast which will be at the Dominion Theatre from 13th May. This is the really big one - the first in Disney's new policy of producing live action versions of it's films. Despite a luke warm critical reception, it has been filling New York's huge Palace Theatre (their equivalent to the Palladium) for three years. As well as the original score, it features new songs by Alan Menkin and Tim Rice.
Then comes Saturday Night Fever. It will be translated from movie to stage by producers Robert Stigwood, David Ian and Paul Nicholas who performed the same trick so successfully with Grease - which refused to die when it had to leave the Dominion, and is still running at the Cambridge. Auditions are currently taking place, and rumour has it that the show will be opening at the London Palladium in July.
Finally, Ivor Novello's Glamorous Night may be going to the Savoy Theatre in the spring. While one school of thought says that the work of the king of musicals in the inter-war years could still fill any theatre, another thinks that his catalogue is too dated to be revived. This will have a rewritten book, thought necessary since the original concerned rivalry between the inventors of radio and television!