Lautrec Closes Early, Napoleon Still to ComeDate: 26 May 2000
As one critically panned francophile musical, Notre Dame de Paris, opens in London this week, another announces its closure. Lautrec, which opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 6 April (previews from 27 March), will close on 17 June after a run of a mere 11 weeks. The musical, featuring original music and lyrics by Charles Aznavour, had been booking to 8 July 2000.
Lautrec premiered at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in February before transferring to the West End. It tells the story of the diminutive French impressionist painter, Henri Toulouse Lautrec, who captured the decadent spirit of Montmartre as the turn of the century approached and whose famous paintings include 'At the Moulin Rouge'.
The musical, whose book is by Shaun McKenna, is directed by Rob Bettinson and features English lyrics by Dee Shipman. It is produced by Mike Merrick, Arthur Price and Allen Becker. It stars Sevan Stephan stars as the painter.
If musicals with French themes are having a run of bad luck in the West End, however, the producers of the next show scheduled at the Shaftesbury Theatre don't seem to be dissuaded. Napoleon , a new musical biography of the vertically challenged French emperor, is directed by acclaimed opera director Francesca Zambello. It's due to open in mid-October.