In Tsarist Russia in 1905, poor dairyman Tevye (Goodman) is doing his best to preserve tradition in the face of a changing world by marrying his daughters off in the traditional Jewish way. But revolution is in the air and the young are guided by their hearts, not their elders. When his daughters refuse the matchmaker's advice and marry for love instead, Tevye must choose between their happiness and his beloved traditions.
The musical, based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem with a book by Joseph Stein and score by Jerry Block and Sheldon Harnick, originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and includes now-classic songs such as "Tradition", "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" and "If I Were a Rich Man". Lindsay Posner’s revival, first seen last Christmas at Sheffield Crucible, opened at the Savoy on 29 May 2007 (previews from 19 May).
The cast also features Julie Legrand, Victor McGuire and, as Tevye’s wife Golde, Beverley Klein. Also in the company are: Juliet Alderdice, Natasha Broomfield, Tomm Coles, Steve Fortune, Damian Humbley, Gareth Kennerley, Vincent Pirillo, Alex Ruocco, Alexandra Silber and Frances Thorburn. The production is designed by Peter McKintosh and features the original choreography of Jerome Robbins (recreated by Sammy Dallas Bates with additions by Kate Flatt).
Meanwhile, at the Palace Theatre (See News, 1 Mar 2007), Broadway import Spamalot - which had its UK premiere on 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) - has extended its booking period by another four months to 1 March 2008. “Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.
Spamalot has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production reunites the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley. The three-time Tony Award-winning Spamalot opened in March 2005 at Broadway’s Shubert Theater, where it’s still running.
The current London cast is led by Peter Davison as King Arthur, Bill Ward as Lancelot and Hannah Waddingham, whose replacement as the Lady of the Lake will be found via a Swedish reality TV contest (See News, 17 Jul 2007). The company also features Robert Hands (as Sir Robin), Steven Kynman (Herbert), Graham MacDuff (Sir Dennis Galahad), Andrew Spillett (Patsy) and Tony Timberlake (Sir Bedevere).
- by Terri Paddock