Dreamcoat, Divorce, Lear & Lace Book ExtensionsDate: 1 April 2003
Four recent West End arrivals - Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, black Broadway comedy Arsenic and Old Lace, Dawn French's one-woman show My Brilliant Divorce and English Touring Theatre's Timothy West-led King Lear - have all announced extensions to their current booking periods.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which stars Boyzone's Stephen Gately, has extended its season at the New London Theatre by seven months. Following an ongoing tour schedule, the musical opened in the West End on 3 March 2003 (previews from 19 February) and had been scheduled to 19 July 2003. It is now taking bookings up to 28 February 2004.
The first-ever collaboration between Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. The musical was last seen in the West End in the early 1990s, when it ran for more than two years at the London Palladium, taking over £47 million at the box office and bringing huge stage success for its Josephs - Philip Schofield and Jason Donovan.
At the Strand Theatre, where it was first seen in London some 60 years agao, Joseph Kesselring's comedy Arsenic and Old Lace has added six weeks to its booking period. The revival opened on 25 February 2003 (previews from 14 February) and will now continue up to 21 June 2003.
Matthew Francis' producton of the black comedy - follows the antics of two little old ladies who poison old men and bury them in the basement of their Victorian home in Brooklyn - stars American Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame as well as Brits Stephen Tomkinson, Marcia Warren, Thelma Barlow and Rupert Vansittart.
Meanwhile, both My Brilliant Divorce and King Lear have extended by a week apiece at, respectively, the Apollo and Old Vic Theatres. Comedienne Dawn French stars in Geraldine Aron's one-woman play, My Brilliant Divorce, about marital dissolution and personal discovery. The comedy opened at the Apollo on 24 February 2003 (previews from 14 February) and is now booking to 17 May.
In his third go at the title role, Timothy West has won rave reviews for his production of King Lear, which transferred to the West End's Old Vic for a limited season from 18 March 2003 after an autumn tour, that saw West win the Manchester Evening News award for Best Actor. Directed by English Touring Theatre's artistic director Stephen Unwin, the production is now booking up to 26 April 2003.
- by Terri Paddock