At the Prince Edward Theatre, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s big-budget production of Mary Poppins, based on the children’s stories by PL Travers, has added six months to its current booking period. The musical opened on 15 December 2004 (following previews from 6 December and an eight-week tryout at the Bristol Hippodrome) and is now booking until 29 October 2006.
Laura Michelle Kelly won a Best Actress in a Musical Olivier for her performance as the eponymous nanny. She stars alongside Gavin Lee as chimneysweep Bert. The current cast also features David Haig, Linzi Hateley, Rosemary Ashe and Jenny Galloway. The show has a book by Julian Fellows and new music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, in addition to many of the Sherman brothers’ original film songs. The production is co-directed by Richard Eyre and Matthew Bourne, choreographed by Bourne and Stephen Mear and designed by Bob Crowley.
Meanwhile, at the Savoy Theatre, which has just been bought by ATG (See News, 12 Oct 2005), the musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, The Rat Pack, has extended its run by seven weeks. The show, featuring look and sound-alikes of the three world-famous crooners, re-opened at the Savoy on 3 June 2005, where it’s now booking until 7 January 2006, with its annual Christmas version running from 21 November until the end of the period.
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 then moved to the Savoy so that the Strand could undergo essential repairs.
And finally, the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap has extended its booking period by seven months. The classic whodunit - which celebrated its 50th West End anniversary, with HM The Queen in attendance, on 25 November 2002 - has become a theatreland institution. It is now booking until 1 July 2006 at St Martin’s Theatre, where it transferred in March 1974 after 20 years at its original home, the Ambassadors, next door.
- by Caroline Ansdell