After touring the UK extensively since 2000, previously visiting London for one-off dates at the London Palladium and a limited run at Sadler's Wells’ Peacock Theatre, The Rat Pack opened for what was meant to be a limited West End season at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March 2003. After extending at the Haymarket, the show moved in June of that year to the Strand, where it again extended repeatedly. It was forced to finish there this past June as the theatre was overdue to undergo essential repairs which were delayed by the show’s ongoing success. The Olivier-nominated show then moved to its current home at the Savoy Theatre, where it celebrated its 1,000th West End performance last week (20 September 2005), with members from previous London and regional casts joining the show for the finale.
Two cast members from the current London production, Stephen Triffitt as Frank and David Hayes as Sammy, will make the move to the US. The show previews from 18 to 23 October 2005 in Connecticut, where it will be seen by American producers. A full tour of the US is planned for 2006. In addition to its West End run and UK tours, The Rat Pack has visited Canada, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Holland with plans now in the pipeline to travel to Belgium, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand.
Commenting on the show’s transatlantic route, co-producer Derek Nicol told Whatsonstage.com: “It’s a bit like taking coals to Newcastle, taking the Rat Pack back to America, but I think it will go very well. There are other Rat Packs out there, as there are here, but none of them do what we do. Most of them are presented in a cabaret-type setting, whereas ours is a full-length show. We are hoping the showcase will go well, and then we will be touring America in 2006.”
- by Caroline Ansdell