News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th April 1997

The Mercury Workshop - the only writer-based organisation in Britain dedicated to the development and presentation of new musical theatre - has a new sponsorship plan to support the cause of new musical writing. To find out how you could become a Friend, a Good Friend, a Best Friend, Almost Family or even a Godfather to this important organisation, contact Jenny Bennet, Suite 51, 26 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0HD for a Sponsorship Document. Britain leads the world in musical theatre but without continued support for new writing we will not be able to sustain this position.

Casting is under way for a West End production of the 1991 Tony Award winning musical The Secret Garden, based on the classic children s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Book and lyrics are by Marsha Norman and music is by Lucy Simon. The original Broadway cast featured Mandy Patinkin and Alison Fraser. This should not be confused with another British adaptation of the story which has recently been touring. The producer is John Frost.

The new production of Glamorous Night originally mentioned here as a spring chicken is now promised for harvest festival. David Christy has adapted the original material into a "musical within a musical" form. It puts the original story within the framework of Ivor Novello writing the show to save the Theatre Royal Drury Lane from closure. Casting and theatre are as yet unknown, but the director will be Tony award winning choreographer Gillian Gregory.

Also in the autumn, Edward Fox may play Harold Macmillan in Letter Of Resignation a new play by Hugh Whitemore. It looks at the Prime Minister s wife Dorothy s alleged affair with MP and media figure Robert Boothby, together with other scandals of the early sixties. Christopher Morahan will direct for producer Duncan Weldon.

Anyone who sees themselves as capable of fitting John Travolta s flares in Saturday Night Fever, should be advised that open auditions for the role of Tony in the stage adaptation are taking place at the Gielgud Theatre on 1st May from 10.00am. The show is pencilled for the Palladium next spring. Why not really change your life on election day?

The Rumour Machine says: that Kander and Ebb'sChicago may be headed for the Adelphi Theatre after Damn Yankees rather than the Donmar Warehouse; that The King And I may be coming to the West End next spring; and that The Musicals Alliance has added Gypsy to their rosta of upcoming shows. The Rumour Machine grinds on.