American TV star Cybill Shepherd (pictured) next week brings her one-woman cabaret show to London’s subsidised Soho Theatre, where it will set the record for the most expensive ticket in the new writing venue’s 35-year history.

Tickets for Cybill Disobedience - which will run for 12 performances only from 27 September to 9 October 2004 - are priced £32.50, more than twice the normal maximum ticket price of £15, and six-and-a-half times as much as normal Monday evening pricing of £5 for all seats. A limited number of stools, situated at the rear of the 144-seat auditorium, will be available at £15.

Commenting on the increased cost, a spokeswoman for Soho explained that the theatre’s subsidy pertains specifically to new plays and writing and not to its late-night comedy programme, into which Shepherd falls. The aim with the comedy, said the spokeswoman, is to attract new audiences who can hopefully be lured back for drama productions as well.

Cybill Disobedience will be running nightly at 9.30pm, following 7.30pm performances of Private Peaceful. Pricing for the latter, adapted from Michael Morpugo’s children’s novel about a First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad, incorporates tickets reduced to £5 at all performances for under-18s.

According to the Soho spokeswoman, “Our access policy is very important to us, with play tickets never exceeding £15. The top ticket price for Cybill Disobedience is higher as it is an expensive show to put on due partly to the costs of bringing Cybill Shepherd over from the States.”

Early in her acting career, Shepherd, a former model, appeared in films such as The Last Picture Show, The Heartbreak Kid and Taxi Driver. In the mid-1980s, she found international fame starring opposite Bruce Willis in US television’s comedy detective series, Moonlighting. From 1995 to 1998, she had her own TV sitcom, Cybill.

Cybill Disobedience, which is presented in association with Tom Coxon Management, promises to share the story of how Shepherd survived “beauty pageants, Elvis, sex, Bruce Willis, lies, marriage, motherhood, Hollywood and the irrepressible urge to say what I think... with music.”

Promotional material for Cybill Disobedience refers to Shepherd as the “glamorous US icon”, although the actress, now in London ahead of next week’s opening, made headlines in British newspapers this week for appearing dishevelled and decidedly unglamorous, with “jetlag hair”, on the GMTV morning chat show.

Founded in 1969 at Soho Poly and, from 1992 to 1995, based at the Cockpit Theatre near Edgware Road in London, Soho Theatre Company opened its current Dean Street home in 2000 (See News, 14 Mar 2000). The £10.6 million venue, which also houses a writers’ centre, became the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new work.

- by Terri Paddock