Last night (2 September 2011), 120 theatregoers made their way to the Menier Chocolate Factory for the European premiere production of Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show, which was followed by a bumper Q&A with the full cast (well, all but one) as well as the Chocolate Factory co-founder and artistic director David Babani.

Spanning a period of 40 years, Road Show tells the true story of two fortune-seeking brothers – architect Addison Mizner and his fast-talking brother Wilson - whose quest for the American dream takes them from panning for gold in Alaska to building the city of Boca Raton, Florida, becoming a test of morality and judgement that changes their lives in unexpected ways.

Sondheim’s latest musical, Road Show has had several guises over the years - written in 1999 under the original title Wise Guys, it was directed by the Donmar's then-artistic director Sam Mendes Off-Broadway. It was later renamed Bounce and re-presented in a production directed by Harold Prince in Chicago and Washington, DC. That it should receive its European premiere at the Chocolate Factory comes as no surprise given the Menier’s previous success with Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music, which both transferred to the West End and on to Broadway, winning a string of awards in the process.

At the post-show Q&A, David Babani explained how his association with Sondheim goes back to 1997 with a production of Assassins - his first professional job as a producer; while David Bedella and Michael Jibson, both of whom have never been in a Sondheim before, shared how nerve-wracking and exciting it is starring as the brothers. The rest of the cast shared many insights into the complexities, harmonies and textures of Sondheim in general and working on this John Doyle production in particular.

To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.



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