Tony Award-winning Broadway star Faith Prince (pictured) make her London stage debut this summer starring opposite Michael Ball in English National Opera’s staging of Kismet, the first new West End production of the 1953 Broadway musical in over 50 years (See News, 2 Aug 2006). The production will run for 19 performances only, from 25 June to 14 July 2007, at the London Coliseum.

Prince won the 1992 Tony Award for her portrayal of Miss Adelaide in Guys & Dolls, starring opposite Nathan Lane. Her other New York credits include Bells Are Ringing and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, winning Tony nominations for both performances. Her screen credits include Spin City, Huff and House, starring Hugh Laurie, on TV; and Our Very Own, Material Girls, Dave and My Father the Hero on film.

The Arabian Nights-inspired piece – with a book by Charles Lederer and music and lyrics by Grand Hotel’s Robert Wright and George Forrest - follows the remarkable changes of fortune that engulf a poor poet during the course of one incredible day when Kismet (fate) takes control. Two years after its Broadway premiere, Kismet opened at London’s Stoll Theatre in 1955, the same year that it was made into a Hollywood film directed by Vincente Minnelli.

Prince (who plays Lalume) and Ball (Hajj/the Poet – played by Howard Keel in the screen version) are joined in the 130-strong company – including cast and orchestra - by Donald Maxwell (Imam), Sarah Tynan (Marsinah), Alfie Boe (the Caliph’), Julian Curry (Jawan), Graeme Danby (Wazir) and Rodney Clark (chief of police).

Kismet is directed by American Gary Griffin, whose 2003 production of Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse won an Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production. The production is conceived by Griffin in collaboration with Luther Davis (who was one of the musical’s original creative team) and Kit Hesketh-Harvey. It’s conducted by Richard Hickox and Simon Lee, choreographed by Javier de Frutos (who won an Olivier this year for Cabaret) and designed by Ultz.

- by Terri Paddock