Read Reopens Shaw Theatre with Wilde MusicalDate: 7 September 2004
The newly refurbished Shaw Theatre will reopen next month with DJ turned Australian Celebrity Mike Read directing a new production of his Oscar Wilde. The musical, which is also being staged to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the birth of the playwright (on 16 October 1854), opens on 19 October 2004 (previews from 13 October) and is initially booking up to 21 November 2004.
Oscar Wilde follows the tragic six final years of Wilde’s life. By the 1890s, the Dublin-born wit, raconteur and author (pictured) had become the darling of the West End through the premieres of A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest. But his spectacular fall from grace was swift and catastrophic.
A household name in Britain for 25 years, Read has presented Radio One, Classic FM, Jazz FM, Capital Gold and other stations and was voted National Broadcaster of the Year ten times. He has also written pop singles for the likes of Cliff Richard and David Essex. In 2004, Read found a new television audience when he camped out in the Australian jungle for the reality TV show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, which he followed up with a recording of “Jungle Rock” along with fellow Jungle Boys Lord Brocket and Razor Ruddock.
For the stage, Read has written several musicals including Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Young Apollo, Ricky Nelson Teenage Idol, White Wedding, Oh Puck!, The Prince and the Pauper and Cliff. The last - a tribute to Cliff Richard, which Read also starred in – transferred to the West End’s Prince of Wales theatre following a UK tour.
Read has substantially rewritten the book, music and lyrics for Oscar Wilde since an early workshopping in 1994. Casting for the new production has not yet been announced.
The Shaw is now under the management of the newly established Off West End Theatres, which also runs the New End Theatre in Hampstead and the recently reopened New Players Theatre at Charing Cross.
- by Terri Paddock