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World premiere musical Berlusconi to be staged in London

The new show examines the infamous political leader through a feminist lens

Artwork for Berlusconi

Francesca Moody Productions and Wishful Thinking Musicals will present the world premiere of Berlusconi in London next spring.

The new musical is written by Ricky Simmonds and Simon Vaughan and directed by James Grieve (Fisherman's Friends). Based on an idea by Alan Hayling, it is told from the perspective of three formidable women who are ready to tell their side of the story about the "original perma-tanned media mogul turned populist politician".

The creative team also includes choreographer Rebecca Howell (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾), set and costume designer Lucy Osborne (The Famous Five), executive musical supervisor David White (Les Misérables), musical supervisor and musical director Jordan Li Smith (City of Angels), sound designer Dan Samson (Heathers), casting director Will Burton and associate producers Alex Cooke and Alan Hayling.

Producer Francesca Moody said: "I am thrilled to be presenting this extraordinary and incredibly funny new musical with an award-winning team of the most exciting roll-call of creatives. Berlusconi is an all too familiar story of outrageous corruption and grotesque male privilege allowed to run riot, indeed seemingly run a country. It's a musical which places a fierce feminist lens on a political leader who was known for his charming misogyny and spotlights the human cost of his time in office. Berlusconi upended Italian politics and it could not feel timelier, or more appropriate to be exploring this outrageous and almost true story with riotous comedy and sensational songs."

Grieve added: "The chance to make and premiere a brand new British musical is a rare and brilliant thing. Ricky and Simon have written an incandescent, uproarious, strikingly apposite show that melds sabre-sharp lyrics with a technicolour head rush of a score. It is a witty, incisive, affecting, hugely entertaining work of dazzling originality and élan. I feel immensely privileged and excited to bring it to the stage alongside a visionary producer and outstanding creative team."

Developed by Wishful Thinking Musicals with Richard Buckton and Charli Eglinton, Berlusconi is set to run at Southwark Playhouse Elephant from 25 March to 29 April 2023, with a press night on 29 March.

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