After courting controversy with Jerry Springer - The Opera, which closed in the West End in February, former Starsky and Hutch heartthrob David Soul will return to the musical stage next month in what should be somewhat safer fare. He’ll star in a new revival of Mack and Mabel, which will have a limited season from 18 May to 9 July 2005 at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury.

Like last year’s revival of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd - which transferred to the West End where it was nominated for Evening Standard and Olivier Awards and won two Awards (for Best Musical Revival and Best Ensemble Performance) - Mack and Mabel is part of the Watermill’s series of successful actor/musician productions. All directed by John Doyle with musical arrangements and direction by Sarah Travis, the series has also included Fiddler on the Roof, A Star Danced and Gondoliers, which also transferred to the West End.

After his stint as chat show host Jerry Springer, in Mack and Mabel, Soul will play another real-life character – Mack Sennett, who was one of the most prolific producers at the birth of the Hollywood movie industry. Set in 1911, the musical meets Mack when he first catches sight of young Mabel Normand, who was to become the leading lady in his two-reel films and in his life. When Mabel decides to move into feature films, the couple’s relationship starts to unravel.

Mack and Mabel premiered on Broadway in 1974, starring Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, and was seen at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre in 1995 with Howard McGillin and Caroline O'Connor. In the Watermill production, Soul will be joined by Anna-Jane Casey (Chicago, Sweet Charity, Starlight Express) as Mabel. The cast of actor-musicians will also feature Tom Coles, Robert Cousins, Michelle Long, Jon Trenchard, Simon Tuck, Stephen Watts, Sarah Whittuck, Johnson Willis and Matthew Woodyatt.

Mack and Mabel has a book by Michael Stewart and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, with revisions by Francine Pascal. The show's songs include “I Won’t Send Roses”, “Time Heals Everything” and “Tap Your Troubles Away”.

Ahead of the musical, the Watermill will revive Arthur Miller’s 1994 play Broken Glass in a production directed by Andy Brereton and running from 6 to 30 April 2005. Miller, who passed away in February at the age of 89 (See News, 11 Feb 2005), was considered one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. His many award-winning plays include The Crucible, All My Sons, A View from the Bridge, After the Fall, The Price and, about to be revived in the West End next month (See News, 24 Jan 2005), Death of a Salesman.

Set in Brooklyn in 1938, Broken Glass centres on Syliva Gellburg, who's suddenly unable to walk, and her husband Philip, who’s desperate to find out the psychological secret crippling his wife. The only clue is in Sylvia’s growing obsession with news of Jewish persecution in Germany. The cast for Broken Glass are Jenny Quayle (as Sylvia), David Fielder (Philip), Philip Anthony, Nina Lucking, Patrick Poletti and Una McNulty.

- by Terri Paddock