Theatre News

Menier Chocolate Factory announces season with Twiggy and ”The Third Man” musicals and ”Pacific Overtures”

Artwork for Close Up – The Twiggy Musical
Artwork for Close Up – The Twiggy Musical

The Menier Chocolate Factory, the well-known theatre in south London, has announced its programming for 2023.

The venue has long been associated with musical theatre and will return to its roots with a season of three musicals – two world premieres and a revival of a Sondheim classic.

The season opens with the world premiere of The Third Man, directed by Trevor Nunn. The musical features music by George Fenton, book by Christopher Hampton and lyrics by Don Black.

The production was originally developed by Vereinigite Buhnen Wien Gmbh (VBW) in Vienna and is staged with the permission of StudioCanal and Graham Greene Productions. The story is set in post-war Vienna and follows Holly Martins, who arrives in the city after being invited by his friend and hero, Harry Lime. Upon arrival, he discovers that Harry has been killed in a car accident. Holly tries to find out what happened to Harry and who the third man is. It runs from 10 June to 9 September 2023.

Set and costume design is by Paul Farnsworth, lighting design is by Emma Chapman, sound design is by Gregory Clarke, orchestrations are by Jason Carr, musical supervision and direction is by Tamara Saringer with movement and choreography by Rebecca Howell.

The Menier Chocolate Factory will then present the world premiere of Close Up – The Twiggy Musical in September. Written and directed by Ben Elton, the show tells the story of a skinny kid from Neasden who became an international sensation. It runs from 18 September to 18 November.

Set and video design is by Tim Bird, costume design is by Jonathan Lipman, sound design is by Gregory Clarke, musical supervision and orchestrations are by Stuart Morley with choreography by Jacob Fearey.

The season will end with a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, directed by Matthew White. The musical was significantly revised by both Sondheim and John Weidman in 2017 and will be seen in this version for the first time in the UK. Playing from 25 November to 24 February, the show has set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Ashley Nottingham, musical supervision by Catherine Jayes, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick.

The Menier Chocolate Factory has a long association with Sondheim’s work, having previously produced Merrily We Roll Along and is set to open it on Broadway later this year.

David Babani, artistic director of the Menier Chocolate Factory, said: “Musical theatre is at the heart of what we do at the Menier, and not having been able to stage a musical for the last 3 years, we’re thrilled to announce a season of three back-to-back musicals – comprising two world premieres; and a reinvention of Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures.

“We look forward to welcoming Trevor Nunn back to helm The Third Man – a brand new musical by George Fenton, Christopher Hampton and Don Black – for the first time since the Olivier Award-winning Fiddler on the Roof; and also, to collaborate with Twiggy and Ben Elton for the first time with Close Up – The Twiggy Musical.”

Booking information for Close Up – The Twiggy Musical and Pacific Overtures will be announced in due course. Priority booking for The Third Man opens for Chocolate Factory members on 24 April, with public booking opening on 2 May.

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