A Lost Musicals Occasion, embracing works by the likes of Rodgers and Hart, Kurt Weill and Jerome Kern, will star Jessica Martin, Louise Gold, Liza Pulman (pictured left to right) and Valda Avicks among others. The Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House will host the evenings over the weekend of 28-29 July. Dubarry Was a Lady, featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra, will play at Her Majesty's, Haymarket, on 18 and 25 November.
Valda Aviks, currently performing in The Witches of Eastwick, was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany but grew up in the United States. Her first London appearance was in Cats as Gumbie/Griddlebone, with other theatre works including Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast (Dominion) and Godspell (North American tour). Louise Gold trained at the Arts Education School in London, before getting her first professional job as a pantomime fairy at Malvern Festival Theatre. She joined The Muppets in 1977, before making her West End debut in The Pirates of Penzance (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). She is currently appearing in Mamma Mia at the Prince Edward Theatre.
Porter's musical comedy, Dubarry, opened in December 1939 at the 46th Street Theatre in New York. It ran for over 400 performances, starring Betty Grable and Bert Lahr. The story concerns Louis Blore, an attendant in the men's washroom of a New York club. After winning money in the Irish sweeps, he drinks a potion which sends him into romantic dreams of being Louis XIV. Featured songs include Well, Did You Evah, Come On In and It Was Written in the Stars. The original London version opened at His Majesty's in October 1942, running for 178 performances.
Let's Face It also had a successful run in New York two years after Dubarry, starring Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. Based on the 1925 play The Cradle Snatchers, the drama follows three wives who become suspicious of their husbands' supposed hunting trips. They therefore invite three young army recruits to a summer home in Southampton, However, when the recruits' girlfriends and the women's husbands all turn up together, the complications begin to mount.
Since founding the Lost Musicals in 1989, Englishman Ian Marshall-Fisher has worked with the estates and families of show writers to rediscover and reconstruct their works. Around 50 musicals, performed by over 600 actors and singers including Henry Goodman, and Denis Quilley, have since been integrated into the programme.
- by Gareth Thompson