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Imrie Gets Fever at Rose, Stiles Pens Musketeers

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The new season at the Rose Theatre, Kingston will include, as previous rumoured, a revival of Noël Coward's Hay Fever starring Celia Imrie, directed by the venue's artistic director Stephen Unwin.

The Christmas show will see the venue join forces with Broadway producer Bud Martin to premiere the long-rumoured new musical version of The Three Musketeers, featuring an original score by George Stiles. According to press material, the production will transfer to the West End following its run at the Rose.

Hay Fever, which runs from 28 September to 23 October 2010 (previews from 23 September), will be the Rose Theatre’s ninth home-grown production since it opened in January 2008. Alongside Olivier Award-winner Imrie (recently seen on stage in Plague Over England and The Rivals), who plays Judith Bliss, the cast will feature RSC regular Alexandra Gilbreath as Myra Arundal.

Director Stephen Unwin said today: “I’m thrilled to be directing Noël Coward’s great comedy of bad manners, which seems to me one of the most perfectly achieved 20th century English plays. With this production, I  want to lay bare the brilliant assault on suburban values that lies at the heart of the play.”

Hay Fever is followed, from 3 December to 2 January (previews from 27 November), by The Three Musketeers, the Rose Theatre’s third Christmas show and its first musical.

Adapted from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas about the adventures of D’Artagnan and his quest to join the legendary Musketeers, this new stage version promises to be “sultry, passionate and full of the heat of Parisian summers.”

Composer George Stiles is an award-winning songwriter whose credits (with his regular collaborator Anthony Drewe) include Mary Poppins and Honk. Producer Bud Martin has recently co-produced Legally Blonde in the West End and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 on Broadway. Lyrics are by Paul Leigh, with a book by Peter Raby with Francis Matthews. Former Greenwich Theatre artistic director Francis Matthews directs.

Unwin said: “We’re building a reputation for presenting adaptations of classic novels at Christmas, and it’s great to be stretching our wings and staging a musical. We are incredibly excited to be working with Bud Martin, Francis Matthews and George Stiles.”


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