Lloyd Webber Woman in White Premieres at PalaceDate: 15 September 2004
Expectations are riding high for The Woman in White, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first new musical since The Beautiful Game in 2000, which receives its world premiere at the West End’s Palace Theatre tonight (15 September 2004, previews from 28 August).
The sung-through musical thriller musical stars Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman (as sister Marian) and Michael Crawford (as the sinister Count Fosco), who returns to the West End stage for the first time since originating the title role in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera 18 years ago (See News, 24 Feb 2004).
Loosely based on Wilkie Collins’ Victorian novel, first published in 1869, The Woman in White opens with a handsome young man stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness, a mysterious woman dressed in white appears, burning to tell a chilling secret. Two sisters find themselves ensnared in a web of betrayal and greed. They will need all their courage and resourcefulness to outwit their villain.
The musical has been adapted by playwright Charlotte Jones, with David Zippel providing the lyrics to Lloyd Webber’s score. The premiere production is directed by former RSC and NT artistic director Trevor Nunn, whose previous blockbuster musicals include Cats, Starlight Express, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes and Les Miserables, the last of which vacated the Palace, after 18 years, in March 2004, heading to the Queen’s, to make way for The Woman in White (See News, 21 Nov 2003). The production features state-of-the-art video projection design by William Dudley.
In addition to Friedman and Crawford, the 21-strong cast includes Edward Petherbridge (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Strange Interlude, Lord Peter Wimsey from TV’s Dorothy L Sayers’ mysteries), American Angela Christian (Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway) as the ‘woman in white’ Anne Catherick, Martin Crewes (Les Miserables, TV’s Bad Girls, The Grand) as Walter Hartwright and Oliver Darley (The Alchemist, Romeo and Juliet for the RSC) as Sir Percival Glyde.
The Woman in White is co-produced by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company and Sonia Friedman Productions.
- by Terri Paddock