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Menier Chocolate Factory revives Bernstein's Candide at Christmas, 2 Dec

All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds... And when it comes to musical revivals, that means the Menier Chocolate Factory's pick for its Christmas season. This year, it's Candide

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The Menier Chocolate Factory
© Lucy McNally

As previously tipped, the Menier Chocolate Factory's Christmas musical this year will be a revival of Leonard Bernstein's 1956 Broadway classic Candide, which will run at the 150-seat venue in Southwark, south London, from 2 December 2013 (previews from 22 November) to 22 February 2014.

Candide tells the story of a young man determined to follow his instructor's creed of mindless optimism. Even after being banished from his homeland, captured by Bulgarians, beaten by the Spanish Inquisition, robbed of everything he owns, and torn repeatedly from the woman he loves, Candide still clings to the Panglossian belief that everything is for the best in this, "the best of all possible worlds".

Based on Voltaire's 1759 novel, the musical has music by Leonard Bernstein, and a book which was originally adapted by Hugh Wheeler, then adapted again by Robert Carsden and Ian Burton. The lyrics are by Richard Wilbur with additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Bernstein. Candide premiered on Broadway in 1956 at the Martin Beck Theatre, starring Barbara Cook.

The musical's last major London productions were care of the English National Opera at the London Coliseum in 2008, when Alex Jennings starred as the ever-optimistic Dr Pangloss, and at the National Theatre in 1999, with Daniel Evans in the title role and Simon Russell Beale as Pangloss.

No casting has yet been announced for the Menier, but the creative team will comprise director Matthew White (Top Hat), Royal Ballet principal turned choreographer Adam Cooper, designer Paul Farnsworth, lighting designer Paul Anderson, sound designer Gareth Owen, musical supervisor David Charles Abell, musical director Seann Alderking and orchestrator Jason Carr.

The Chocolate Factory has a tradition of sell-out Christmas musicals, many of which have gone on to transfer to the West End or Broadway, including Sunday in the Park with George, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along and, directed by White, Little Shop of Horrors and Sweet Charity.