Weill's 1943 Venus Gets Extended London RunDate: 20 July 2001
The Kurt Weill (pictured) musical One Touch of Venus, which opened in New York in 1943, receives a major airing at the London King's Head in Islington from 24 July 2001. The six-week run will be directed by Tim Childs, featuring a cast of 21 performers with Kim Medcalf as Venus.
Weill wrote the production with lyricist Ogden Nash, based on S J Perelman's book The Tinted Venus. Ian Marshall-Fisher revived the work as a Lost Musical nine years ago at The Barbican with Louise Gold in a lead role. The Royal Opera House's Lindbury Studio also hosted it on 10 December 2000, but the King's Head venture represents the first proper UK run for the show.
The story concerns an art expert named Whitelaw Savory, who discovers a statue of Venus. However, when his barber places a ring on the statue's finger it comes to life and falls in love with the man who resurrected her. The barber is initially terrified, but when Venus realises she will have to settle for a life in suburbia she begins to reconsider. Featured songs include New Art is True Art, I'm a Stranger Here Myself and The Trouble with Women.
The original Broadway production was directed by Eliza Kazan, whose 1950s movie Face in the Crowd is under production as a musical. It played at the Imperial Theatre and ran for 567 performances. Marlene Dietrich was initially approached for the leading part, but turned it down. Mary Martin replaced her although Ava Gardiner stepped in for the 1948 film version. The last New York staging was produced at the City Center in March 1998.
Kurt Weill was born in 1900 and was mounting concerts by the age of twelve. During the 1920s, his works such as Der Protagonist and Mahoganny Songspiel earned him wide recognition. However, the rise of Nazi propaganda made him an easy target, and he fled to Paris and America. Further collaborations included Lost in the Stars, Street Scene and Love Life.
One Touch of Venus is designed by Nigel Hook, with musical direction from Mike Reed. The King's Head Theatre is also expected to unveil its new seating and air-conditioning for the duration too.
- by Gareth Thompson