Closer to Heaven Closes Early at Arts, 13 OctDate: 18 September 2001
Closer to Heaven, the Pet Shop Boys-Jonathan Harvey musical, has posted early closing notices at London’s Arts Theatre. The show opened at the 350-seat venue on 31 May 2001 (previews from 15 May), and despite mixed reviews, in July, announced an extension up to 2 February 2002. It will now close on 13 October 2001.
Frances Barber, who headed the cast as decayed bohemian Billie Tricks, left the production this past weekend in order to undertake film work abroad. She has been replaced by Amanda Harris who joins fellow cast members including Paul Keating (as Straight Dave), David Burt (Vic Christian), Stacey Roca (Shell Christian), Paul Broughton (Saunders), David Langham (Flynn) and Tom Walker (Mile End Lee).
In London's clubland, Straight Dave - who is young, sexy and fresh from Ireland - falls for beautiful, ambitious Shell, and streetwise drug dealer, Mile End Lee. Billie Tricks, 1970s rock icon and now hostess of a glitzy London nightclub, is there when they need to turn to "mother". Meanwhile, the outrageous Bob Saunders, pop manager extraordinaire, has his own plans for Dave. As fame and fortune beckon, Dave quickly learns that things aren't always as straightforward as they seem.
The book for Closer to Heaven is by Jonathan Harvey, whose plays include Beautiful Thing, Guiding Star and Out in the Open. Music and lyrics are by Neil Tennant and Chris Love, aka the Pet Shop Boys, the most successful pop duo in British chart history who have sold over 28 million albums worldwide. Their number one hits include "West End Girls" and "It's a Sin".
Closer to Heaven is directed by Gemma Bodinetz who also directed Harvey's 1998 Hillsborough drama, Guiding Star, in Liverpool and at the National. Her other credits include Breath, Boom (Royal Court), Dead Funny (tour), Chimps and Paper Husband (Hampstead). The musical is choreographed by Peter Darling and designed by Simon Baker with lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Simon Baker and musical supervision by Chris Nightingale.
An original cast recording of Closer to Heaven is due to be released by It/Epic Records early next month. The next production at the Arts Theatre has not yet been announced.
- by Terri Paddock