Australian stage star Helen Dallimore, who made her West End debut in 2006 as the original Glinda in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria, returns to London to star as novelist Ernest Hemingway’s wife Mary in Too Close to the Sun, which has its world premiere on 24 July 2009 (previews from 16 July) at the Comedy Theatre (See News, 26 May 2009).

Considered one of the greatest American novelists of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway shot himself in the head with a shotgun and died on 2 July 1961, less than three weeks short of his 62nd birthday. He had previously attempted suicide and suffered from depression and alcoholism. Amongst his many accolades, Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize, for The Old Man and the Sea, in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His other best-known novels include The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms and To Have and Have Not.

Too Close to the Sun provides a fictional account of the events leading up to Hemingway’s death. In it, the writer, battling the indignities of old age, takes solace in the company of his young secretary. His wife, tolerating this liaison so as not to lose him, is unaware that the secretary has a secret agenda - to become wife number five and inherit his estate. The arrival of Rex, an old school friend, adds a further complication, as he tries to secure the film rights to the life of the notorious writer. With bribery, lies and manipulation, Rex plays a dangerous game to achieve his goal.

Dallimore is joined in the cast by James Graeme ss Hemingway, Jay Benedict as Rex and Tammy Joelle as Louella. Too Close to the Sun has music by John Robinson, lyrics by Robinson and Roberto Trippini and a book by Trippini.


In other upcoming musical casting news (See News, 15 Jun 2009), the West End company of Dreamboats and Petticoats, which opens for a limited season at the Savoy Theatre on 27 July 2009 (previews from 22 July), will feature X Factor favourite Scott Bruton as well as Ben Freeman (Emmerdale), Jennifer Biddall (Hollyoaks), David Cardy (Birds of a Feather), Daisy Wood-David and AJ Dean.

In the rock ‘n’ roll musical based around the Fifties and Sixties hits from the two recently released compilation albums of the same name, talented young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win the hearts of their adoring female fans – and more importantly, the gorgeous Sue. But when shy Laura shows that she’s no slouch on the piano, rock ‘n’ roll fame beckons.

Dreamboats and Petticoats has a book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, best known for TV sitcoms Birds of a Feather and Shine on Harvey Moon, and features period hits including “Bobby’s Girl”, “Runaround Sue”, “Great Pretender”, “C’mon Everybody” and “Let’s Twist Again”. It’s produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Bob Tomson and designed by Sean Cavanagh, with choreography by Carole Todd.