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Musicals Extend: Anything, Chitty, Blood & Sunday

By • West End
Four more musicals have announced extensions to their booking periods this week.

Anything Goes - Trevor Nunn's Olivier Award-winning final musical as artistic director of the National Theatre - has extended its West End season by another four weeks, taking it up to 29 May 2004. Nunn's revival of the Cole Porter classic originally opened in December 2003 at the NT Olivier, where it had a sell-out three-and-a-half month season, culminating with the win of this year's Laurence Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production. It reopened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 7 October 2003 (previews from 24 September).

In the West End, the majority of the original cast - including Sally Ann Triplett (as Reno Sweeney), John Barrowman (Billy Crocker), Simon Day (Lord Evelyn), Martin Marquez (Moonface Martin), Annette McLaughlin (Erma) and Mary Stockley (Hope Harcourt) - reprising their roles. Barrie Ingham has replaced the late Denis Quilley (See News, 6 Oct 2003) as millionaire Elisha Whitney.

Originally seen on Broadway in 1934 and in London a year later, Anything Goes has an original book by Guy Bolton and PG Wodehouse, with music and lyrics by Porter, whose other musicals include High Society and Kiss Me Kate. The score includes "I Get a Kick Out of You", "You're the Top", "Blow Gabriel Blow", "It's De-lovely", "Be Like the Bluebird" and the title song.

The National revival has a revised book by Timothy Crouse and John Weidman, choreography by Stephen Mear, design by John Gunter, costumes by Anthony Powell, lighting by David Hersey and musical arrangements by Michael Gibson. The musical supervisor is Gareth Valentine, who conducts the 20-strong orchestra. Anything Goes is presented in the West End by David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment.


At the London Palladium, screen-to-stage musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has added six months to its booking period. The £6.2 million musical, based on the famous 1968 children's film, had its world premiere on 16 April 2002 (previews from 19 March) and is now taking bookings up to 25 September 2004. From 21 March 2004, the show's weekly schedule will change, with Sunday performances replacing Monday ones.

The musical currently stars Gary Wilmot as eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is adapted by Jeremy Sams with original music by the Sherman brothers. It's directed by RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, choreographed by Gillian Lynne and designed by Whatsonstage.com Award winner Anthony Ward. The original children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was written by Ian Fleming.


At the Phoenix Theatre, Willy Russell's Liverpudlian musical about twin brothers separated at birth, Blood Brothers, has also extended its booking period by six months, taking it up to 4 September 2004. The show first opened on 27 August 1988 at the Albery Theatre before transferring to its current home at the Phoenix in November 1991. Until 6 December only, Siobhan McCarthy stars as the twins' tragic mother, Mrs Johnstone, a role that's previously been played by the likes of Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Petula Clarke, Linda and Denise Nolan.


And finally, the Denise Van Outen revamp of Tell Me on a Sunday has announced its final extension of four weeks at the Gielgud Theatre, where it's now booking up to 14 February 2004. The musical makes way for the RSC's upcoming All's Well That Ends Well, starring Dame Judi Dench, which, following its Stratford season, will transfer to the Gielgud for a strictly limited season from 18 February to 24 April 2004 (See News, 2 Oct 2003).

Originally written as a song cycle for Marti Webb in 1979, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's Tell Me on a Sunday has been specially expanded, including new additional material penned by Jackie Clune. The one-woman musical, directed by Matthew Warchus, opened at the Gielgud Theatre on 15 April 2003 (previews from 4 April).

- by Terri Paddock


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