After its inaugural pantomime offering last year with Dick Whittington and His Cat, written by Mark Ravenhill, the Barbican commissioned Beautiful Thing playwright Jonathan Harvey to pen the book for this year’s follow-up, Jack and the Beanstalk (See News, 26 Apr 2007), which features new music and lyrics by Stiles and Drewe.
The adventure starts when Jack swaps his mother's cow for a handful of magic beans. Where will the beanstalk lead him? Can he save the day? And what will become of Daisy the cow? Directed by Giles Havergal, Jack and the Beanstalk runs from 6 December 2007 (previews from 1 December) to 12 January 2008.
Birmingham Rep, meanwhile, will stage Peter Pan from 28 November 2007 to 19 January 2008. Stiles and Drewe’s musical about the boy who never grew up, with a book by Willis Hall based on the original play by JM Barrie, premiered at London’s Festival Hall in April 2001 in a one-off concert performance which starred the late John Thaw and his wife Sheila Hancock. A fully staged production followed at the Festival Hall in December 2002. In Birmingham Rep, artistic director Rachel Kavanagh directs, with designs by long-term Stiles and Drewe collaborator Peter McKintosh.
A modern take on classic Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of The Ugly Duckling, the 2000 Best New Musical Olivier Award winner Honk! works its way back to where it was first performed. It premiered at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury in 1993 and returns there again from 28 November 2007 to 5 January 2008. The revival is directed and designed by the original creative team of Steven Dexter and Francis O'Connor, with choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane.
In addition to these shows, Stiles and Drewe’s credits include Tutankhamun, Just So (based on Rudyard Kipling’s book of short stories), and most notably, the West End and Broadway hit Mary Poppins, for which they wrote additional material to go alongside the Sherman brothers’ songs from the original 1964 film version.
- by Stuart Denison