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Open Air Theatre Stages Rep Ragtime & Dream in 2012

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The Open Air Regent’s Park has announced its 2012 Olympic season, which will feature just two productions - A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ragtime - running in rep with a shared company and creative team.

Artistic director Timothy Sheader and co-director Liam Steel (who collaborated on Lord of the Flies, The Crucible and Into the Woods), will helm both shows, with Ragtime opening on 28 May 2012 (previews from 18 May) with Dream joining it in rep from 11 June (previews from 2 June).

Ragtime, which features a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, is a contemporary musical based on the novel by EL Doctorow. Set at the turn of the 20th century, it unites three families separated by race and destiny in a story of hope and transformation. The 1996 Broadway production won four Tony Awards including Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

The production follows the multi Olivier Award-winning productions of Hello, Dolly! and Into The Woods, as well as this year’s record-breaking production of Crazy for You which transfers to the West End’s Novello Theatre from 8 October 2011.

Launching the 2012 season, Timothy Sheader said: “What has proved exciting at Regent’s Park over the past few years are productions that embrace scale, both physically and in their narrative.  The titles for 2012, each with their own particular ambition, are united in their exploration of space, light and the changing atmosphere of theatre in the open air."

Referred to in the Open Air's press statement as a "unique year", the Olympic season is a marked change for the Open Air which has produced a four shows a year - typically a musical, a classic play, a traditional Shakespeare and one re-imagined for younger audiences - since Tim Sheader first took the reigns in 2008.

The final production of the 2011 Open Air season, Crazy for You will transfer to the West End's Novello Theatre from 8 October 2011, it was announced yesterday. The show's entire cast will stay with the show, which re-unites Sheader with the creative team behind 2010's award-winning Hello, Dolly! - choreographer Stephen Mear and designer Peter McKintosh.

The venue will offer a special Olympic pricing structure for all performances from 25 July – 12 August 2012. All tickets will be available for £20.12 when booked before the end of April 2012.


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