Landor Lands Moby Dick, Union Revives Godspell
The production is billed as the "first major London revival" (there have been several amateur versions) since the show's ill-fated West End premiere at the Piccadilly in 1991, which was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and lasted just four months after a raft of poor reviews.
A mixture of high camp, music hall-style smut and double entendres, Moby Dick sees the anarchic and nubile girls of St. Godley’s Academy for Young Ladies and their unflappable headmistress trying to save their school from bankruptcy by staging Herman Melville's classic novel in the school's swimming pool.
The Landor cast will include Sarah Lark, who understudied Nancy in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane after being a finalist on BBC1’s I'd Do Anything, and Debbie Kurup, who recently understudied and played the lead role of Deloris in Sister Act at the London Palladium. Further casting to be announced.
Moby Dick is directed and choreographed by Andrew Wright, whose credits include 42nd Street at Chichester Festival Theatre, and By Jeeves at the Landor. It's produced by Thomas Hopkins and Danielle Tarento, the team behind the Landor's 2010 production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe which starred Kym Mazelle (later replaced by Melanie La Barrie) and Steph Fearon.
The Union Theatre, which won a Whatsonstage.com Award for its all-male production of The Pirates of Penzance, is staging another major musical revival, Godspell, to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary.
The production, which runs from 15 April to 7 May 2011 (previews from 13 April), reunites the creative team behind the venue’s recent revival of Sondheim’s Assassins, Michael Strassen (director) and Michael Bradley (musical director).
Godspell is based on the gospel according to St Matthew, opening with John the Baptist gathering up followers and concluding with Jesus' crucifixion in a junkyard.
Conceived by then-college student John-Michael Tebelak, the show has music and lyric by Stephen Schwartz, whose subsequent hits include Pippin and, most recently Wicked. The score includes "Day by Day", "All Good Gifts" and "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord".
Godspell first opened Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre in May 1971, before clocking up over 2,000 performances on Broadway. Later that year, it opened in the West End in a production that starred David Essex. The musical was adapted for the 1973 film, starring Victor Garber.
The cast of the Union production will feature: Madalena Alberto (Sonia), Jill Armour (Gilmer), Daryl Armstrong (Herb), Jeremy Batt (Jeffrey), Davis Brooks (Judas), Billy Cullum (Jesus), Natalie Green (Robin), Sophie Isaacs (Joanne), Caroline Hubbard (Peggy) and Iwan Lewis (Lamar).