Desperately Seeking Susan, the new musical based on the 1985 film of the same name featuring the greatest hits of Blondie, received its world premiere at the West End’s Novello Theatre on Thursday (15 November 2007, previews from 16 October), with a cast led by Emma Williams as Susan and Kelly Price as Roberta, the roles created on screen by Madonna and Rosanna Arquette (See 1st Night Photos, 16 Nov 2007).

Set in 1979, Desperately Seeking Susan centres on bored New Jersey housewife Roberta Glass who spots a personal ad entitled “Desperately Seeking Susan” and heads off to Manhattan in search of the exciting Susan herself. Things get complicated when, after buying Susan’s jacket, Roberta is knocked unconscious. Awaking with amnesia, she assumes she is Susan, who is also being desperately sought by the mob.

Amongst the Blondie hits included in the stage version, conceived and written by Peter Michael Marino, are “Hanging on the Telephone”, “The Tide Is High”, “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me”, “Rapture” and “One Way or Another”. In addition to Williams and Price, the musical cast features the Leanne Best (Leslie), Mark McGee (Jay), Alec Newman (Dez) and Jonathan Wrather (Gary). The production is directed by Angus Jackson and designed by Tim Hatley, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. It’s currently booking until 19 April 2008.

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For Whatsonstage.com TV, we were on hand for the curtain call of Desperately Seeking Susan at the Novello Theatre and the post-show party at Heaven. Amongst our TV interviewees are film star Rosanna Arquette, musical cast members Emma Williams, Kelly Price, Mark McGee, Alec Newman and Jonathan Wrather, writer Peter Michael Marino, director Angus Jackson, and other first night guests including Penny Lancaster, Arlene Phillips, Caprice and someone who looks suspiciously like Debbie Harry.

- by Terri Paddock