Take Flight, the new musical by Broadway writing team David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr, received its world premiere last night (25 July 2007, previews from 11 July) at the 150-seat Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, south London, with the help of the same creative team behind the theatre’s now Broadway-bound, five-time Olivier Award-winning revival of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George (See News, 14 May 2007).

Long-time writing partners Maltby and Shire have been developing the new musical, inspired by the early 20th-century pioneers of flight, over the past three years and enlisted frequent Sondheim collaborator John Weidman, with whom the pair worked on the 1996 Broadway screen-to-stage musical Big, to craft the book. The night before they faced the London critics, Maltby, Shire, Weidman and director Sam Buntrock talked exclusively to Whatsonstage.com theatregoers at our Outing to the Menier (See News, 25 Jul 2007).

Take Flight is designed by David Farley, with musical supervision by Caroline Humphris. The 13-strong cast features Ian Bartholomew, Clive Carter, Michael Jibson, Sam Kenyon, Elliot Levey and Whatsonstage.com Award winner Sally Ann Triplett. The production’s limited season continues until 22 September 2007.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL THE TAKE FLIGHT 1st NIGHT & PRODUCTION PHOTOS, JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.

For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the post-show party at the Menier Chocolate Factory along with the company, artistic director David Babani and other first night guests including Grease film star Didi Conn (wife of David Shire), Will Young, Jenna Russell, Nicholas Hytner, Samuel Barnett, Caroline Sheen, John Light and Neve Campbell. Earlier, Wooller also stopped by the theatre to get some action shots of this premiere production on set.

- by Terri Paddock