Happy Days Musical Receives World PremiereDate: 4 February 1999
Goodbye grey sky, hello blue! Happy Days, the 1970s TV sitcom, not to be confused with the surreally sandy Beckett classic, has made it to the stage. The musical received its world premiere this week, 3 February, at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, Kent. After Bromley, where it finishes 20 February, the show embarks on a six-month regional tour before an expected West End transfer later this year.
The 25th anniversary production is the first ever live theatrical version of one of America's most successful television shows. The stage production combines the comedy of the TV series with the spectacle of a rock 'n' roll musical. Henry Winkler, the original TV 'Fonz', acts as a creative consultant for the project to ensure that the new show remains faithful to the old.
All of the original characters return to the stage show, including Richie (played by Stephen Dean), Ralph (Kev Orkian), Potsie (Nik Martin) and The Cunninghams (Roger Kitter, Carol Ball and Louise Tyler). Arthur 'The Fonz' Fonzarelli is played by Craig Urbani, who formerly starred in another rock 'n' roll musical, the long-running London production of Buddy about the life and death of Buddy Holly.
Happy Days, the musical, features a host of 1950s musical classics, including 'Teenager in Love', 'Rock Around the Clock', 'See You Later Alligator' and 'Happy Days', the series theme song.
Created by Garry Marshall, Happy Days, the television show, had a ten year run, playing a total of 255 epidsodes in over 80 countries. Repeats of the show are still transmitted all over Europe, Australia and the USA. The show produced three TV spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi, Laverne and Shirley and Mork and Mindy as well as a Saturday morning animated version.
Happy Days is written by Fred Fox (who was the writer and supervising producer for the TV series), Terry Morrison and Jon Conway, who also directs the show. The show, from an original idea for a stage musical by David Capri, is choreographed by Alan Harding, with design by Andy Warmsley.
Happy Days is presented by AMG, E&B and Paul Nicholas & David Ian Associates, by arrangement with Futura Music (Productions) Ltd. The producers are responsible for several West End musicals including Buddy, Grease, Annie and Saturday Night Fever.
Happy Days is currently confirmed to tour until 10 July to Glasgow, Norwich, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton, Birmingham, Southend, Bradford, Nottingham, Darlington, Llandudno, Sheffield, Belfast, High Wycombe and Woking.