Addams Family Musical To Make Its West End Debut?

The Adams Family MusicalThe long-awaited debut of the musical version of The Addams Family, which premiered on Broadway in 2010, may finally be setting its sights on London’s West End. The show has been rumoured to be heading to London since it opened on Broadway five years ago, where it defied critics who had no faith that the musical would even survive this long.

The ‘page-to-stage’ show opened to poor reviews but proved to be a box office hit with US audiences. It is based on the family of characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, including parents Morticia and Gomez, children Wednesday and Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Cousin Itt and a butler named Lurch. The show features music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.

Despite the rumours that was coming to the West End, the transfer never materialised. Many productions have been staged in the UK since its premiere in the hope that the show would transfer across the pond – including at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe – however amateur rights have been restricted ahead of a professional London production.

Recently however, a representative of Theatrical Rights Worldwide released a statement announcing: “The Addams Family musical authors are considering many exciting opportunities for The Addams Family in the UK territory, including the West End. At present, amateur rights remain fully available as hundreds of organisations prepare for their local productions.” It is apt that the London venue remains a mystery, but fans would be delighted with an opening in the capital. It is thought that producers hope to open the show in late 2015 or early 2016.

Broadway’s School Of Rock

Andrew Lloyd WebberAndrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical – School of Rock – is set to open on Broadway in December this year, great news for fans of the film of the same name. Based on the 2003 film, the musical will feature songs from it also, in addition to new music by Lloyd Webber. Previously the mogul had spoken about opening the musical on Broadway, rather than in the UK’s because of the more relaxed child performance rules.

In New York a child can be employed as an actor for six months to a year, without enforcing the triple casting rules of the UK: if a show finishes after 10pm a child can only perform eight nights every six weeks. In New York however, the rules governing children are less stringent, permitting child actors to work up to 9 hours a day.

When the show premieres on Broadway, it will mark an important point for composer Lloyd Webber, as his last show to open in New York before London was Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971. With School of Rock his next musical, it will become his first in more than 40 years to open on Broadway ahead of the West End. While the UK is Lloyd Webber’s home, opening in Broadway would be significant – School of Rock is an American story, so to open in the iconic city would pay homage to this.

The story of School of Rock is much about how music can empower children to take control and to achieve something huge. Like the UK, there are an abundance of talented musical theatre child performers in the US. It has been stated that casting for the show will begin in the US in January for the show to open the following winter.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

An American In Paris

An American in Paris (First Recording)Jean-Luc Choplin, the director of the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, has brought many American musicals to his Paris stage in recent years, with a focus on the work of Stephen Sondheim, in English with French subtitles. Recently it was announced that he is co-producing a new musical version of the Oscar-winning 1951 MGM movie An American in Paris, with music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

Châtelet has many links with Broadway: it presented Show Boat in 1929, two years after its Broadway premiere, and under Choplin, its presentations of American musicals have included West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Carousel and Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd. This season it is offering the return of My Fair Lady in December as well as new productions of Sondheim’s Into the Woods in April, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I in June.

An American in Paris will begin in winter 2014, with a planned move to Broadway in spring 2015. The director and choreographer is Christopher Wheeldon, making his Broadway directing debut. A former dancer with the New York City Ballet, Wheeldon has worked on full-length ballets and excelled at storytelling and developing characters in dance. He is to create a ballet sequence for the musical that is different from the movie’s famed version.

The film, which won six Academy Awards, including best picture, is set in post-World War II Paris. It starred Gene Kelly as a former GI seeking success as a painter, and Leslie Caron as the French girl with whom he falls in love. Dancers Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope have the workshop’s lead roles, but the parts for the Paris and New York runs have not been cast.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Miss Saigon To Hit Broadway?

Miss SaigonProducer Cameron Mackintosh may be considering taking his new London production of Miss Saigon to Broadway in 2015, depending on the success of the production currently running in the West End, and if a suitable theatre becomes available in New York.

Miss Saigon is an iconic musical production about a doomed romance between a young Vietnamese woman and a marine before the fall of the city Saigon. The show opened on Broadway in 1991 and became a huge hit, grossing $285 million before closing in 2001; it remains the 12th longest running show in Broadway history. The London revival began performances in May, with extremely strong sales. There have been new designs for the scenery and the helicopter, and a new song “Maybe” has been added, performed by the character of Ellen, and not included in the Broadway run.

It has been claimed that Mackintosh, who led the British musical invasion of Broadway in the 1980s with Cats, Les Misérables, and The Phantom of the Opera, would like to open the new Miss Saigon in Toronto first and then go to Broadway. The London-Toronto-Broadway path would be similar to the one taken by his latest revival of Les Misérables, which opened in New York in March.

When asked for his comments on the Broadway run, Mackintosh confirmed the gossip as speculative but highlighted that he would like to take the show to both Toronto and New York, especially due to the fact the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto was built to house the original production of Miss Saigon. However, with incredibly busy international openings of several different titles over the next two years, and the very limited number of theatres that could house a production as big as Miss Saigon on Broadway, it looks unlikely that the production will hit New York soon.

Newsies – A New Musical For The West End

Newsies - The MusicalThe Broadway musical Newsies is said to be hitting the capital’s West End with leaps, kicks and turns in the spring of 2014. As a result of this exciting transfer, the hit show, by Harvey Fierstein, will be scouting for UK dance talent to fill the dancing shoes of the production’s esteemed Broadway dancers.

The producers will be holding open auditions in order to find their cast for the show, which is based on the 1992 Disney film starring Christian Bale, reminding many theatre-lovers of the ‘cattle market’ style auditions conducted for A Chorus Line in which hundreds of enthusiastic performers queued for many hours. Newsies requires just two male dancers, insinuating that these auditions will find them in possibly worse conditions than those for A Chorus Line.

Newsies is currently running at the 1,200 seat Nederlander Theatre on Broadway, and tells the story of the real-life newsboy strike of 1899 as the boys’ leader fights against big-time publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The show – it has been reported in the arts press – is aiming to open at either the Piccadilly or the Savoy Theatre next year, following two open auditions on 17 June 2013 at Pineapple Dance Studios in the heart of the West End. The auditions are hoped to produce two trained dancers with excellent ballet technique and dance talent, capable of playing ages between 16 and 22 years old.

The production, also containing acrobatics, tap dancing and a huge amount of energy, won two Tony Awards in 2012, one of which was for Christopher Gattelli’s choreography and the other for Alan Menken and Jack Fieldman’s score. The show was originally intended as a regional production and had a trial run in New Jersey in 2011 which was followed by its transfer to Broadway in 2012 and the nominations for five other Tony Awards.

Images courtesy of Wikipedia.