Many believed that the show, which originally opened at the Victoria Palace in June 2000, was closing in July, after a run of just seven weeks. Instead it disproved its critics by transferring to the more centrally-located Piccadilly Theatre. It re-opened at the Piccadilly on 21 August and had been booking to 6 January 2001.
Set in Spain and Morocco in 711, La Cava is based on the true story of a Spanish general who starts a war between Spain and the Moors in the belief that the Spanish King Roderick has seduced his daughter, Florinda. But Florinda has in fact fallen in love with Roderick even though she has been promised in marriage to an army officer and has also attracted the devotion of an Arab teenager.
Oliver Tobias leads the cast as the Spanish king. Tobias' recent work includes the films The Brylcreem Boys and Grizzly Falls and the TV series Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and Real Women. He is best known for the 1970s soft porn film, The Stud. Also in the cast are Julie-Alanah Brighten, Paul Keating, David Bardsley, Aeva May and Patrick Romer.
La Cava has a book by Dana Broccoli, music by Laurence O'Keefe and Stephen Keeling, and lyrics by O'Keefe, John Claflin and Shaun McKenna. The production is directed by Steven Dexter, whose credits include the 1997 production of Romance, Romance at the Gielgud. La Cava will be replaced at the Piccadilly Theatre by a limited run of the “junk opera”, Shockheaded Peter, which opens on 14 February 2001.
Meanwhile, another recent West End musical that had a lukewarm reception from critics, Napoleon, has extended its booking period by four months. Timothy Williams and Andrew Sabiston s musical about the vertically challenged French emperor opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 17 October 2000 and is now booking up to 28 April 2001.