The so-called “Holocaust musical” received its West End premiere last night (19 November 2008, previews from 4 November) at the New London Theatre, where it’s currently booking until 28 February 2009.

Peter Polycarpou heads the cast as Daniel Warshowsky, the head of a fa’mily of actors in the musical, which had a try-out last summer at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. In the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, a group stages plays to inspire hope and optimism within the Jewish community. However, with rumours of the Final Solution in the air, their play merges with the reality they’re trying to escape. Leila Benn Harris plays Polycarpou’s daughter Rebecca, who falls in love with the half-Christian interloper Adam, played by Simon Gleeson.

Speaking to Whatsonstage.com at a press showcase in September (See News, 25 Sep 2008), director Timothy Sheader, who is also artistic director of Regent’s Park’s Open Air Theatre, said: “I hope the public has an appetite for a musical about human struggle. Struggle is, after all, the subject of most great dramas.”

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE IMAGINE THIS 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE "NEXT >" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

Others featured in the Imagine This cast are Bernard Lloyd, Richard Cotton, Michael Matus, Gary Milner, Steven Serlin, Sevan Stephan, Saran Ingram and Cameron Leigh. The cast also includes Rachael Archer, Marc Antolin, Stuart Boother, Emily Jane Boyle, Oliver Brenin, Michael Camp, Joel Elferink, Bob Harms, Paul Iveson, Roy Litvin, Aoife Nally, Grant Neal, Darragh O’Leary, Vincent Pirillo, Philippa Stefani, Rebecca Sutherland, Carrie Sutton, Gemma Sutton, Lucy Thatcher and Michael Watson.

Imagine This has music by Shuki Levy, lyrics by David Goldsmith and an original book by Glenn Berenbeim. The production is designed by Eugene Lee, who won both a Tony and a Whatsonstage.com Award for Wicked, and choreographed by DV8’s Liam Steel. It has costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting by Tim Mitchell, orchestrations by Chris Walker and musical supervision by Phil Bateman.

The new musical is produced by Beth Trachtenberg, Anita Mann, Leigh Mason, Jean Mason, Finefish Entertainment, Marlynn Scully and ICW Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

-by Terri Paddock