Theatre News

From Here to Eternity musical premieres at West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre, Oct 2013

As previously tipped by, new page-to-stage musical From Here to Eternity will receive its world premiere at the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre next year, opening on 23 October 2013 (previews from 30 September).

The show, which is adapted from James Jones’ 1951 novel, features lyrics by multi award-winner Tim Rice, music by newcomer Stuart Brayson and a book by Bill Oakes.

The production, which is preceded by dance show Burn the Floor at the Shaftesbury, will be directed by Tamara Harvey.

From Here to Eternity is set on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1941, before and during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Loosely based on Jones’ own wartime experiences, the story follows several members of a military company, including Captain Dana “Dynamite” Holmes and First Sergeant Milt Warden, who begins an affair with Holmes’ wife Karen.

Published in 1951, From Here to Eternity was James Jones’ debut novel and won him the National Book Award for fiction. It spawned the Oscar-winning 1953 film starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra, as well as a subsequent TV mini-series.

Censors famously toned down several homosexual elements of the story in both the novel and film. Speaking to the Telegraph recently, Tim Rice said: “There’s a lot of tension in the book of the relationships between the men which are at times gay, at other times simmering, and it’s something we definitely won’t keep out of the show.

Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the 1953 film

“It’s quite a serious, grown-up show, but there’s plenty of humour. I guess when writing lyrics and songs for GIs, one is aware there are a lot of GIs out there doing just that, but we’re not trying to make any clunking parallel.”  

It has recently been announced that the novel will soon be re-released with previously unpublished material included.

Rice rose to prominence thanks to his long-standing partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which led to the creation of shows including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar. He recently collaborated with Lloyd Webber on The Wizard of Oz.

His other credits include Chess, Beauty and the Beast, Heathcliff, The Lion King and Aida. His best-known songs include “Close Every Door”, “Circle Of Life”, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and “I Know Him So Well”.

Tamara Harvey‘s previous directing credits include Educating Rita (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Kitchen Sink (Bush), Blue Heart Afternoon (Hampstead), Tell Me On a Sunday (UK tour) and Plague Over England (Finborough and Duchess Theatre).

Casting is still to be announced.

– by Theo Bosanquet

Tickets for From Here to Eternity will be available soon from