Bernard Kops' Playing Sinatra opens next Monday 4 August 2003 (previews from 29 July 2003), at London's New End Theatre, where it continues its limited season to 7 September. It's the first London production of the darkly comic play in more than a decade.

Wrapped in their own secret world, brother and sister Norman and Sandra Lewis live out their fantasies in the music of their idol Frank Sinatra. But Norman's cosy life is threatened when Sandra meets a handsome admirer and finally seems set for the romance of her dreams. As he fights to keep their lives untouched, Norman's terror makes him dangerously unpredictable.

One of Britain's leading post-war playwrights, Bernard Kops rose to fame in the 1950s with the success of his first play, The Hamlet of Stepney Green. His subsequent works included Dreams of Anne Frank, Café Zeitgeist, Call in the Night, The Dream of Peter Mann, Sophie!, More Out Than In, Ezra and The Last of the Red Hot Mommas, which broke all box office records during its extended run at the New End in 1990.

The Playing Sinatra cast features David McAlister, Miles Richardson and Jennie Stoller. The production is directed by David Salter and designed by Julie Marabelle, with lighting by Mark Dymock and sound by Peter Weitz. It's presented by the New End and Word of Mouth Theatre Company.


Across town, The Mystery of Edwin Drood - a new musical by Rupert Holmes "very loosely based" on the unfinished novel of the same name by Charles Dickens - receives its premiere next week at the Bridewell Theatre, where it has a limited run from 6 to 23 August 2003. Performers from the Music Hall Royale call on the audience to help complete Dickens' story from a choice of 500 possible endings.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is followed at the Bridewell by rock 'n' roll musical Brenda Bly - Teen Detective, running from 28 August to 20 September 2003. It's 1958, a time of rock and roll, space discovery, and great hope for a bright future. But trouble is brewing at the Whitney Ellis Private School For Girls where, just days before the opening night of end-of-term musical Rocket Girl, the leading lady is knocked unconscious with a sandbag. It's up to teenage sleuth, Brenda Bly, to solve the crime, catch the crook and save the day.

Brenda Bly - Teen Detective is directed by Fenton Gray and designed by Amy Jackson, with choreography by Sam Spencer Lane and musical direction by Colin Billing. It's presented by Glenn Lee.

- by Terri Paddock