In this new version, the story has been transposed to today's Asian community in Salford, where widower Hari Hobson is a successful tailor with three daughters. The cast of Hobson's Choice features Paul Bhattacharjee (as Hari) and Yasmin Wilde (as eldest daughter Durga). The production is directed by Richard Jones (Six Characters Looking for an Author) and designed by Ultz.
Following its London season, from 28 August 2003, Hobson's Choice will visit Oxford, Salford, Cheltenham, Nottingham, Poole and Warwick, where it concludes its schedule on 11 October 2003.
Meanwhile, before public performances have even begun, the Open Air Theatre has added eight additional shows for its musical High Society. The Cole Porter revival joins the summer repertory next week (from 24 July 2003, previews from 22 July) and had been booking up to the end of the regular season on 6 September. It will now continue until 13 September, marking the first time that the Regent's Park venue has so lengthened its season.
High Society, based on Philip Barry's classic stage play The Philadelphia Story, has music and lyrics by Cole Porter, with songs including "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "You're Sensational", "True Love" and "Swell Party".
The musical is best remembered as the 1956 MGM classic which starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. In 1987, former NT artistic director Richard Eyre mounted one of the first major stage versions of the film musical in a production at London's Victoria Palace that starred Natasha Richardson, Stephen Rea and Trevor Eve.
In the Open Air staging - the first professional production in London in 15 years - Tracie Bennett plays Liz with Brigit Forsyth as Mother Lord, Annette McLaughlin as heiress Tracy, Dale Rapley as Dexter and Hal Fowler as Mike. Artistic director Ian Talbot directs, with choreography by Gillian Gregory and design by Paul Farnsworth, who also designs the two Shakespeare offerings. Musical direction is care of Catherine Jayes.
- by Terri Paddock