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Footloose Joins Press Night Shuffle!???

By • West End
It’s another day, another press night change as a multitude of shows try to pack in their openings around the four-day Easter bank holiday weekend. Tonight, there are no fewer than four major openings, including two rival West End musicals - the Broadway transfer of Billy Joel and Twyla Tharp’s Movin' Out versus the Watermill revival of Jerry Herman’s Mack and Mabel, starring Janie Dee and David Soul (See Today’s News). On Wednesday, the National launches its 2006 £10 Travelex Season with Trevor Nunn’s much-anticipated revival of Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun - something the producers of Footloose evidently didn’t want to compete with. They’ve now moved their press night for the screen-to-stage musical from this Wednesday to next Tuesday 18 April (See News, 16 Feb 2006), which was originally the press night for Movin' Out before it pulled its opening forward, partially to avoid clashing with Romeo and Juliet, the first production in the RSC’s year-long Complete Works festival in Stratford-upon-Avon (See News, 24 Feb 2006). Meanwhile, the London transfer of the RSC’s Breakfast with Mugabe at Soho Theatre will still have to contend with the National big-hitter on Wednesday. It may be wishing it had scheduled its press performance for tomorrow instead. With the sudden withdrawal of Paul Nicholls from the cast of the Clare Higgins-headed production of Phaedra last Thursday (See News, 7 Apr 2006), the Donmar Warehouse has had to hastily cancel performances and postpone its opening from Tuesday to next Friday 21 April, a day after the opening of the Judi Dench-led Hay Fever, which shifted its West End opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket so as not to distract from the RSC’s Complete Works staging of Antony and Cleopatra, starring Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter. Tuesday is now the only weeknight for the next fortnight without a major opening scheduled. All clear then? The lesson for press night diarists seems fairly obvious: never write anything in ink.

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