The revival proved a hit in summer 2003 at London’s Open Air Theatre, where it prompted the venue’s first-ever extension of its summer repertory season. Last autumn, it embarked on an extensive UK-wide tour, which finished this past spring (See News, 21 May 2004).
Based on Philip Barry's 1939 stage play The Philadelphia Story (which finishes an extended season at the West End’s Old Vic tomorrow) about spoilt heiress Tracy Lord on the eve of her wedding, High Society includes now-classic Porter songs like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", "You're Sensational", "True Love" and "Swell Party". The musical is best remembered as the 1956 MGM classic which starred Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. In 1987, Richard Eyre mounted one of the first major stage versions of the film musical at the West End’s Victoria Palace with Natasha Richardson, Stephen Rea and Trevor Eve.
In the current production, directed by Open Air artistic director Ian Talbot, several members of the touring company will reprise their roles in the West End. The cast features Katherine Kingsley (as Tracy), Graham Bickley (CK Dexter Haven), Paul Robinson (Mike), Ria Jones (Liz), Claire Redcliff (Dinah), Royston Kean (Uncle Willie), James Jordan (Seth Lord) and Bryan Torfeh (George Kittredge).
Record-breaking exercises aside (See The Goss, 24 Feb 2004), Jerry Hall was last seen in the West End in 2000, playing Mrs Robinson in The Graduate. The model and ex-wife of Mick Jagger has been attracting headlines recently for her new reality TV show Kept in which a dozen men compete to be her new toy boy. Posters for the programme, featuring Hall holding the half-naked men on a leash, have been banned on the Underground.
- by Terri Paddock
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