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Menier Premieres Sondheim Road Show, 6 Jul

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As previously tipped, the Menier Chocolate Factory will present the European premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show. The production - directed by Briton John Doyle, who previously helmed the same musical at New York’s Public Theater in 2008 – will run at the 150-seater in Borough from 6 July to 18 September 2011 (previews from 24 June), with a cast including David Bedella, Michael Jibson, Jon Robyns and Gillian Bevan.

Spanning a period of 40 years, Road Show tells the true story of two fortune-seeking brothers – architect Addison Mizner and his fast-talking brother Wilson - whose quest for the American dream takes them from panning for gold in Alaska to building the city of Boca Raton, Florida, becoming a test of morality and judgement that changes their lives in unexpected ways.

Sondheim’s latest musical, Road Show has had several guises over the years, and been frequently tipped for a London run. Written in 1999 under the original title Wise Guys, it was directed by the Donmar's then-artistic director Sam Mendes and starred Nathan Lane and Victor Garber Off-Broadway. It was later renamed Bounce and re-presented in a production directed by Harold Prince in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Both the Menier Chocolate Factory and director John Doyle boast strong Sondheim connections. The Menier’s revivals of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music both transferred to the West End and on to Broadway, winning a string of awards. And John Doyle has made his mark on Broadway with his actor-musician revivals of Sondheim’s Company and Sweeney Todd, the latter of which came to New York via the West End and Watermill Theatre, Newbury, and won him the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical.

Road Show has music and lyrics by Sondheim and a book by John Weidman (who previously collaborated with Sondheim on Pacific Overtures and Assassins). Its comic tone is inspired by the series of seven “Road to” films in the 1940s and 50s starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.

David Bedella (who won an Olivier for Jerry Springer the Opera) and Michael Jibson (Our House, Take Flight) star as brothers Wilson and Addison, with Gillian Bevan (Follies) as Mama Mizner and Jon Robyns (Avenue Q) as Hollis Bessemer. The cast also includes Adrian der Gregorian, Fiona Dunn, Sarah Ingram, Julie Jupp, Glyn Kerslake, Elizabeth Marsh, Christopher Ragland and Robbie Scotcher.

The UK premiere production has musical supervision and direction by Catherine Jayes, costumes by Matthew Wright, lighting by Jane Cox and sound by Gareth Owen.


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