UPDATED, Tue 15 May 2007 @ 12.30pm: Further information on casting and creatives has now been added to this story.

As previously tipped (See The Goss, 8 Mar 2007), the 150-seat Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, London, will this summer present the world premiere of Take Flight, the new musical by the American team of Richard Maltby Jr and David Shire. The premiere production, starring Whatsonstage.com Award winner Sally Ann Triplett, will run for a limited season from 25 July to 22 September 2007 (previews from 13 July).

In development over the past three years, Take Flight tells the inspirational stories of the pioneers of flight – the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart (played by Triplett). The new musical has a score by Shire and lyrics by Maltby with a book by frequent Sondheim collaborator John Weidman (Assassins, Pacific Overtures, Bounce).

Maltby and Shire have previously collaborated on Big, Baby, Closer Than Ever and Starting Here, Starting Now, while individually Maltby provided lyrics for Miss Saigon, and conceived and directed Fosse and Ain’t Misbehavin’ on Broadway, and Shire has had success writing film scores (including All the President’s Men, Norma Rae and the new UK release, Zodiac).

At the Menier, Take Flight will reunite the creative team behind the venue’s five-time Olivier Award-winning revival of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. Following its West End run last year, that production - directed by Sam Buntrock and designed by David Farley with musical supervision by Caroline Humphris - is now Broadway bound, opening at New York’s Studio 54 on 18 January 2008 with its London leads, Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell. Take Flight will have lighting by David Howe and sound by Sebastian Frost.

Sally Ann Triplett won the Whatsonstage.com Best Actress in a Musical Award for her role as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at the National and Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her other musical credits include Guys and Dolls, Chicago and Acorn Antiques in the West End and, notoriously, the Royal Shakespeare Company premiere of Carrie, which was also seen on Broadway. Further Take Flight casting has yet to be announced.

Take Flight follows the Chocolate Factory’s UK premieres of American musicals over the past two summers – Jonathan Larson’s Tick Tick Boom! in 2005 and Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years last year.

Currently at the Menier, Paul Miller’s revival of Christopher Hampton’s 1968 play Total Eclipse, starring Sunday’s Best Actor in a Musical Olivier winner Daniel Evans, concludes its run on 27 May (See News, 2 Feb 2007). It’s followed, from 31 May (previews from 23 May) to 7 July, by the premiere of All Mouth, the first new play in 12 years by Our Boys husband-and-wife writing team Jonathan Lewis and Miranda Foster (See News, 3 May 2007).

- by Terri Paddock