American William Finn may not be widely known on this side of the Atlantic, but a new revue celebrating the work of the Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist could soon help to change that.

Make Me a Song, a hit Off-Broadway, will receive its British premiere at the New Players Theatre, where it runs from 6 March to 6 April 2008 (previews from 3 March), performed by an accomplished British cast including Frances Ruffelle and Ian H Watkins (aka ‘H’ from Steps). Ahead of the New Players season, Ruffelle will be giving a sneak peek of music from the show in our inaugural Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert at the West End’s Lyric Theatre on Sunday 24 February (See News, 31 Jan 2008).

Finn won a 1992 Tony Award for his musical Falsettos, which also had a brief early run at the West End’s Albery Theatre. His other musicals include A New Brain, Elegies and, most recently, two-time Tony Award winner The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which just finished its three-year Broadway run last month. Make Me a Song features numbers from those shows as well as Romance in Hard Times and the yet-to-be-produced The Royal Family.

Frances Ruffelle – the original Tony Award-winning Eponine in Les Miserables - has most recently been seen in Chicago and Schwartz Stories. Ian H Watkins’s West End credits include Fame and the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He’s best known to non-theatre audiences for his chart-topping pop success with Steps and his TV appearance on last year’s Celebrity Big Brother.

Ruffelle and Watkins are joined in the Make Me a Song company by Louise Dearman (Guys and Dolls), Gareth Snook (Assassins, Company, Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard) and Simon Thomas (Days of Hope). After the production at the New Players, Thomas will move on to the Theatre Royal Haymarket where he’s appearing – alongside Ruthie Henshall, Julian Ovenden and Alexander Hanson – in the world premiere of Michel Legrand, Boublil and Schönberg’s new musical Marguerite (See News, 30 Jan 2008).

Conceived by Rob Ruggiero, Make Me a Song is directed in London by Andrew McBean and designed by Ben M Rogers with musical direction by Matt Brind. It’s presented by Junkyard Dog Productions, Demos Bizar Entertainment and Surefire Theatrical in association with Larry Hirshhorn, Remmel T Dickinson, Jayson Raitt and Mariano Tolentino Jr.

- by Terri Paddock


Ahead of Make Me a Song’s British premiere, you can hear music from the show, performed by Frances Ruffelle, at
our first-ever Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert
on Sunday 24 February 2008 – click here to book now!!!