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Fosse Taps Out for Witches at Prince of Wales

By • West End
Fosse, the dance extravaganza that celebrates the work of the legendary American choreographer, will close in January in order to make room for Cameron Mackintosh's latest musical, The Witches of Eastwick, which is due to transfer from Drury Lane. Fosse, which opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 8 February 2000 (previews from 24 January), will close at the end of its current booking period, on 13 January 2001, and The Witches of Eastwick will open at the theatre on 23 March 2001 after finishing its current run at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 24 February 2001.

Fosse transferred to the West End from the Broadhurst Theater on Broadway where it won three of New York's prestigious Tony Awards, including the award for Best New Musical. In the show, Ann Reinking and Chet Walker recreate Fosse's trademark choreography with songs and numbers from Cabaret, Chicago, Sweet Charity, All That Jazz and other shows. Fosse is co-directed by Reinking and Richard Maltby Jr. Fosse's widow and dance partner Gwen Verdon, who recently passed away, acted as artistic consultant for the show.

Born in 1927, Fosse began his career in vaudeville before joining touring dance companies. He made his Broadway debut in 1950 in Dance Me a Song and his choreographic debut four years later with The Pajama Game. Fosse's use of groups of dancers, often donned in bowler hats and white gloves, performing jerky, rhythmic steps along with slow-motion movements became his signature style. The acclaimed choreographer died in 1987.

Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick - based on the John Updike novel and the 1987 Hollywood film - opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 18 July 2000 (previews from 24 June). It stars Lucie Arnaz, Marie Friedman and Joanna Riding as the three witches with Lovejoy star Ian McShane playing the devilish Darryl Van Horn who beguiles them. At a capacity of 1,100, the Prince of Wales is much smaller than the 2,100-seat Theatre Royal and promises a much more intimate setting for the big-budget musical.

The Witches of Eastwick has book and lyrics by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe. It is directed by Eric Schaeffer, designed by Bob Crowley and choreographed by Bob Avian and Stephen Mear with orchestrations by William D Brohn, musical supervision by David Caddick, sound design by Andrew Bruce and lighting design by Howard Harrison.


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