While there are no current plans to stage any musicals at the National Theatre in 2008, NT artistic director Nicholas Hytner is hoping that some of the new work he’s commissioned will be ready to bear fruit in 2009. Most likely will be a new piece by Grant Olding. Olding has penned music for Hytner’s productions of Southwark Fair, The Alchemist and The Man of Mode at the National, while his own shows at the Bridewell and elsewhere include Three Sides and Tracy Beaker Gets Real.

Hytner has actively attempted to persuade big pop names into writing musicals, and previously announced that Blur’s Damon Albarn would premiere a modern London-set piece at the NT. At yesterday’s press briefing to launch the National Theatre’s 2006-7 Annual Report (See News, 2 Oct 2007), Hytner said that Albarn is “still cooking away, but whether it will ever happen, who knows?” Meanwhile, Hytner’s discussions with singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright were cut short when Wainwright decided instead to write an opera for New York’s Metropolitan Opera.

In any case, Hytner won’t be resurrecting any existing titles – “looking at the West End, there’s no need for us to be reviving musicals”, he said – and, when he has got a new show ready, he won’t be turning to reality TV to cast it a la Any Dream Will Do or Grease Is the Word. He grimaced at the suggestion though admitted rather gleefully that he was “totally hooked on The Sound of Music show, I love crap TV”.