The long-rumoured production (See The Goss, 2 Oct 2009), which premieres at the Chocolate Factory from 19 May to 26 June 2010, is based on the 1939 novel The Tale of the 1002nd Night by Austrian author Joseph Roth.
Set in Vienna during the Austro-Hungarian empire, the story centres on the Shah of Iran who, despite already having 139 wives, falls in love with the empress. The musical has a book by Richard Nelson and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, set to the classical music of 'Waltz King' Johann Strauss Jr, adapted by Jonathan Tunick.
The show marks a return to London theatre for Broadway legend Hal Prince, whose myriad credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Zorba and numerous Sondheim musicals. He last worked with choreographer Susan Stroman on a 1994 Broadway production of Show Boat. Stroman's other credits include Trevor Nunn's acclaimed National Theatre revival of Oklahoma!, for which she won an Olivier Award.
Patinkin, who plays the Shah's advise-doling eunuch, is likely to be joined by John Cullum (as the Shah), Shuler Hensley, Kate Baldwin and Judy Kaye, who took part in readings of the show in New York and are currently negotiating contracts.
Patinkin, who has enjoyed an illustrious career on stage and screen, first rose to prominence as a musical theatre actor, winning a Tony Award for his role as Che in Evita on Broadway in 1979. In 1984 he received another Tony nomination for Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George, and in 1989 starred in the first of a number of solo shows, Mandy Patinkin in Concert: Dress Casual.
Paradise Found is preceded at the Chocolate Factory by a rep season of Willy Russell's 80s comedies Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine (See Today's Other News).