Hemingway Musical Flies Close to Sun at ComedyDate: 26 May 2009
Hell-raising American novelist Ernest Hemingway, the author of 20th-century classics including The Old Man and the Sea, provides the inspiration for a new musical entitled Too Close to the Sun, which will have its world premiere on 24 July 2009 (previews from 16 July) at the West End’s Comedy Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 5 September.
Considered one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway shot himself in the head with a shotgun and died on 2 July 1961, less than three weeks short of his 62nd birthday. He had previously attempted suicide and suffered from depression and alcoholism.
Amongst his many accolades, Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize, for The Old Man and the Sea, in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His other best-known novels include The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms and To Have and Have Not. He also penned numerous short story collections and two stage plays.
Too Close to the Sun provides a fictional account of the events leading up to Hemingway’s death. In it, the writer, battling the indignities of old age, takes solace in the company of his young secretary. His wife, tolerating this liaison so as not to lose him, is unaware that the secretary has a secret agenda - to become wife number five and inherit his estate. The arrival of Rex, an old school friend, adds a further complication, as he tries to secure the film rights to the life of the notorious writer. With bribery, lies and manipulation, Rex plays a dangerous game to achieve his goal.
The new musical has music by John Robinson, lyrics by Robinson and Roberto Trippini and a book by Trippini. Creative team and cast details have yet to be announced.
Currently at the Comedy Theatre, the Watermill Theatre’s actor-musician revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, starring Kathryn Evans as Norma Desmond, finishes its six-month run this Saturday 30 May, having posted closing notices last week (See News, 20 May 2009).
- by Terri Paddock