The celebration of American satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer – originally adapted by impresario Cameron Mackintosh, who produced at the West End’s Criterion Theatre in 1980 – will open at London’s fringe Jermyn Street Theatre on 24 January 2005 before continuing on tour to five further venues until 5 March.
In his heyday in the 1950s and 60s, New Yorker Lehrer was considered one of America’s top song satirists. Although his first album, Songs by Tom Lehrer, which he released on his own record label in 1953, was deemed too controversial for radio airplay, it became a cult classic, selling 370,000 copies. Lehrer gave up writing music in late 1960s and became a lecturer at the University of California, where he continues to teach.
The musical was originally put together by Mackintosh and Robin Ray, who chose 28 of Lehrer’s irreverent songs and linked them with a narrative to create ‘an evening of subtle humorous delights’. It includes songs like “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”, “The Masochism Tango”, "The Old Dope Pedlar", “The Vatican Rag” and “I Got it from Agnes”.
In the cast for this new production of Tomfoolery, directed by Matthew Francis, Keane (who is no stranger to irreverent songs having penned many for her own comedy troupe Fascinating Aida) and Kit and the Widow are joined by newcomer Matthew Wolfenden.
- by Hannah Kennedy