Spend Negotiates to Prolong West End LifeDate: 28 July 2000
The musical chair confusion of recent West End transfers was heightened this week with reports that the award-winning musical Spend Spend Spend, currently scheduled to close at the Piccadilly on 5 August, will be moving on to a new home. According to The Stage newspaper, Spend producers are in negotiations to take the show to the Queen's Theatre, dark since the closure last month of Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van, starring Maggie Smith.
Spend has had to leave the Piccadilly to make way for the new Spanish musical La Cava, starring Oliver Tobias, which finishes its run at the Victoria Palace on 22 July and reopens at the Piccadilly on 21 August. There has been speculation that, though Spend has been a success at the Piccadilly, La Cava producers offered a long-term guarantee to secure the more central venue.
Meanwhile, the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Singin in the Rain, which has just finished its run at the National's Olivier theatre, looks set to take up the reins at the Victoria Palace. Other recent inter-West End transfers include Stones in his Pockets which moves next month from the New Ambassadors to the Duke of York's where it turfs out David Mamet's Speed the Plow, which made the same move last month.
Spend Spend Spend, which premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1998, foiled the naysayers when it opened at the Piccadilly Theatre in October 1999. The homegrown musical tells the true story of pools winner Viv Nicholson who won and spent a fortune in the 1960s. Written by Steve Browne and Justin Greene, the musical is based on Nicholson's autobiography, co-written by Stephen Smith.
Despite its much smaller budget, Spend went head to head with the Disney blockbuster The Lion King for the major awards, scooping Best Musical at both the Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards as well as an Olivier for Best Actress in a Musical for star Barbara Dickson. Dickson has recently been replaced by Diane Langton who joins the original cast including Rachel Leskovac as young Viv and Steven Houghton as her husband.