After a string of hit shows including Carrie and In the Heights at Southwark Playhouse, producer Paul Taylor-Mills has been announced as the new artistic director of the St James Theatre - recently purchased by Andrew Lloyd Webber and soon to be rebranded The Other Palace.
The first production at the new venue will be Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party, directed by Drew McOnie and starring Frances Ruffelle. The musical about the hedonistic lifestyle of a vaudeville dancer and a vaudeville clown runs from 11 February to 1 April 2017.
This will be followed by the UK premiere of Whisper House by Duncan Sheik, the Tony Award-winning composer behind Spring Awakening and American Psycho. Running from 6 April to 27 May, Whisper House is a "dark and thrilling musical ghost story" about the goings on in a lighthouse on the remote East Coast of America at the height of World War II.
The third production announced today is a stage adaptation of Fellini's 1957 Oscar-winning film La Strada (The Road). Directed by Sally Cookson (Hetty Feather), the musical tells the story of Gelsomina, sold into a travelling sideshow by her penniless mother.
The first work-in-progress production will run from 13 to 30 July. Bateman and Conley's The Little Beasts, a musical with 'innovative puppetry', will be directed and designed by Finn Caldwell (The Lorax) and Nick Barnes (The Lorax). The Little Beasts tells of a selfish little girl runs away from home and discovers a magical menagerie filled with animals that used to be children before their naughtiness brought them to untimely ends.
During August, the National Youth Music Theatre will run productions of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park With George (16 to 19 August) and a new musical from Timothy Knapman and Stuart Matthew Price, Imaginary (9 to 12 August).
Completing the season will be Aria Entertainment's From Page to Stage Festival, a festival of new musical theatre that will take place in The Other Palace Studio for three weeks from the 14 August, and in the main theatre from 21 August to 3 September.
On the announcement, Andrew Lloyd Webber said: "I very much hope that writers and producers will use The Other Palace as a space in the heart of London where they can try out and refine new material without the distraction of complicated sets and automation.
"I am also incredibly excited that Paul Taylor Mills, one of the most dynamic young producers working in musicals, is to become Artistic Director."
Taylor Mills added: "I am absolutely honoured to have been appointed Artistic Director of the newly named The Other Palace. It's a huge responsibility and one which I intend to embrace with fearlessness and openness.
"We are going to be flinging open the theatre's doors and we want to hear from musical theatre makers from all backgrounds, whether they are established or new voices. It's going to be a thrilling journey and one where we plan to take risks and make bold choices."
The Wild Party runs at The Other Palace from 11 February to 1 April.
- Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Stephen Sondheim
- St James Theatre
- Paul Taylor-Mills
- Sally Cookson
- Frances Ruffelle
- Drew McOnie
- Jason Robert Brown
- Spring Awakening
- Duncan Sheik
- Stuart Matthew Price
- James Lapine
- Aria Entertainment
- Michael John LaChiusa
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