At the Prince Edward Theatre, Jersey Boys, which tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, has added six months to its schedule. The UK premiere production opened on 18 March 2008 (previews from 28 February) and is now taking bookings through to 24 October 2009 (See Review Round-up, 19 Mar 2008).
The musical follows four boys – played by Ryan Molloy (as Frankie Valli), Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock, who will all also be performing at the Whatsonstage.com Awards Launch Party on 5 December (See News, 30 Oct 2008) - on their journey from the wrong side of the tracks in the state of New Jersey to international success as pop music sensation The Four Seasons. The band wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they were 30.
Amongst their many hits included in the show are “Sherry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, “Working My Way Back to You” and “Who Loves You”. The musical has been written by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman and uses the original music written by band member Bob Gaudio.
Following a four month try-out run in La Jolla, California, Jersey Boys opened in November 2005 at Broadway’s August Wilson Theater, where it’s still running. In 2006 it won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The West End production reunites the Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff. Choreography is by Sergio Trujillo and design by Klara Zieglerova.
Meanwhile, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, currently starring Any Dream Will Do winner Lee Mead in the title role until 10 January (See News, 18 Jul 2008), has extended its booking period by six months at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, where it’s now booking through to 18 July 2009. No replacement has yet been announced for Mead, though names mooted to take over have included former Blue Peter presenter and Strictly Come Dancing star Gethin Jones (See The Goss, 19 Sep 2008).
Joseph started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. By the time it received its Broadway premiere in 1982, it had been expanded into a full two-hour show. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Joseph’s popular score includes the songs \"Any Dream Will Do\", \"Close Every Door to Me\", “Go, Go, Go Joseph”, “Those Canaan Days”, “Benjamin Calypso” and \"One More Angel in Heaven\".
The new staging of the record-breaking 1990s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, which was directed by the late Steven Pimlott, is designed by Mark Thompson and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. The musical opened at the Adelphi on 17 July 2007 (previews from 6 July).
In other West End extension news, Fat Pig, the Neil LaBute comedy in which model-actress Kelly Brook made her West End debut last month (See 1st Night Photos, 21 Oct 2008), has added a final extra week to its limited season at the Comedy Theatre, where it’s now booking until 29 November 2008, when it will finish.
Set in a nameless US city, Fat Pig revolves around Tom (Nicholas Burns), who faces the indignation of his work friends Carter (Kevin Bishop) and Jeannie (Brook) when he introduces them to his new, super-sized girlfriend Helen (Katie Kerr). Can Tom come to terms with his own preconceptions of the importance of stereotypical good looks in the face of such disdain?
The UK premiere production opened – with Robert Webb, Kris Marshall, Joanna Page and Ella Smith comprising the cast - on 27 May 2008 (previews from 16 May) at Trafalgar Studios, where it finished on 6 September before reopening at the Comedy on 11 September. The play had its world premiere at the Off-Broadway MCC Theatre in 2005. This new production is presented by Howard Panter for ATG, Broadway producer Barry Weissler and Anna Waterhouse.
- by Terri Paddock