Director Ian Marshall Fisher’s Lost Musicals season of semi-staged productions for rarely performed work returns to London next month and, this year, includes premieres of pieces by both Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim.

The schedule of Sunday performances, all at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Theatre, kicks off with Fanny on 6 March 2005 (as well as 13, 20 and 27 March). Opened on Broadway in 1954, Fanny, which has music and lyrics by Harold Rome, was the first big hit for book writer Joshua Logan (South Pacific). Based on Marcel Pagnol’s comedic/dramatic trilogy (Fanny, Marius, Cesar), the musical is set in the port of Marseilles, where young Fanny, facing disgrace, confronts a dilemma.

The cast for Fanny features Liza Pulman as Fanny, James Smilie as César and Arvid Larsen as Marius. Musical numbers include “Restless Heart”, “Welcome Home” and “Be Kind to Your Parents”.

Fanny is followed by Porter’s Silk Stockings, which plays 22 and 29 May, 5 and 12 June 2005. Porter’s last show, based on the film Ninotchka, has a book George S Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath and Abe Burrows. Although the satire on Hollywood and Communism was a hit on Broadway in 1957 and later became a dance musical and film, it has never been produced in England. Musical numbers include “All of You”, “Paris Loves Lovers” and “Silk and Satin”.

The third and final production in the new Lost Musicals season will be the theatrical premiere of Evening Primrose, running on 3, 10, 17 and 24 July 2005. Written by Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and book writer James Goldman (A Lion in Winter, Follies) as a television project starring Anthony Perkins, Evening Primrose has not been performed since it was first broadcast in 1967. In it, Charles, a poet, escapes the world by living in a department store where he falls in love with Ella, one of the window mannequins. Songs include “Take Me to the World”, “If You Can Find Me I’m Here”, “I Remember” and “When”.

Since founding the Lost Musicals in 1989, Marshall-Fisher has worked closely with the estates and families of the writers to rediscover and reconstruct the shows (See Ian Marshall Fisher, 20 Questions, 12 Nov 2001). To date, he has directed more than 70 musicals, performed by over 1,500 actors and singers including Laura Michelle Kelly, Gavin Lee, Henry Goodman, Joanna Riding, Frank Thornton, Denis Quilley, Janie Dee, Desmond Barrit, Louise Gold and Tim Flavin. The Lost Musicals series format has been copied in the US.

- by Terri Paddock