News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th November 1997

Joining the wave of Fosse-mania sweeping the West End as a result of Chicago, Bonnie Langford is to star in Sweet Charity at the Queens Theatre next March. This will be the first major British revival since the original mid 1960's production, which firmly established the distinctive Bob Fosse dance style. With book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, the show has an impeccable pedigree. It tells the story of taxi dancer Charity Hope Valentine's search for love. Once again it will be staged in the Fosse style.

Talking of Cy Coleman, the Broadway production of the musical The Life is looking to open in London sometime next year. Music is by Coleman, lyrics by Ira Gasman and book by David Newman, Coleman and Ira Gasman. Directed by Michael Blakemore, it is seen by some as a tough 1980's companion piece to his earlier collaboration with Coleman, the Chandleresque City Of Angels. It is an uncompromising look at the lives and loves of prostitutes and pimps on 42nd Street before the recent clean up. Many people believe The Life was denied last year's Tony for Best Musical because the theatre establishment thought it showed the area in a bad light, even though it was felt to be a better piece of work than the winner - Titanic. It did win Best Musical in the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League awards.

Paul Elliott of E & B productions has announced a portfolio of new shows, and is taking on four new associate producers to work on them. First will be Lesley Joseph's programme of one woman plays Singular Women, opening at Bromley in March, before coming to the West End. Then there will be a major new musical Paris, written by David Mackay and Jon English, directed by Rob Betinson; and the previously mentioned musical adaptation of The Three Musketeers, co-produced with Duncan Weldon. E & B will also manage the British transfer of the recent Broadway revival of Annie next autumn. In addition, Buddy will open in Japan, Toronto and Singapore; Jolson in Canada and Australia and Fame in Toronto. Finally, TheGoodbye Girl with Gary Wilmot will start a UK national tour in February.

Mayfair Theatres are London's No 2 commercial theatre chain, who so far have not tried harder. Last year there was much comment when their bars started charging extra for Worcester sauce in tomato juice. Now Mayfair have announced their intention to re-invent themselves as Associated Capital Theatres (ACT) in order to upgrade their image. They will put on more new writing, and are looking for sponsorship deals to help finance refurbishment of their eight theatres. There seems to be some sort of corporate indecision here, since they have only been called Mayfair for two or three years. It is generally felt that this is all just window dressing before the owner, the developers Chesterfield Properties, spin off the company sometime next year.

The Rumour Machine says: that Cameron Mackintosh is finally throwing in the towel on Martin Guerre after Christmas. It will be succeeded by a touring version of Hal Prince's Broadway production of Showboat for a short season, prior to the musical of Ragtime. The Rumour Machine grinds on.