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Rosenthal Play Smashes Way to Menier, 31 Mar

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Jack Rosenthal’s SMASH! will receive its London premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory with a production led by Tom Conti, Kerry Shale and Natalie Walter, opening on 31 March (previews from 24 March). The play, which is directed by Tamara Harvey, will run until 8 May 2011.

SMASH!, a "hilarious but scathing look" at the journey of bringing a musical to the stage, is based on the experiences the TV dramatist had turning his BAFTA-winning television play Bar Mitzvah Boy into a musical. That show opened at Her Majesty's Theatre in October 1978 but ran for just 78 performances.

The late husband of Maureen Lipman, the production of Rosenthal's play comes shortly after Lipman starred in the hit revival of Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the venue, the production later transferring to the West End's Garrick Theatre.

A rarely seen Rosenthal play, SMASH! is seen as one of the playwright's wittiest with a cast of characters including a cantankerous composer, a fantasist lyricist, a neophyte female novelist turned playwright, a cocksure director and a bombastic producer.

A Tony and Olivier award-winning actor, Tom Conti's stage credits include West End and Broadway plays such as Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, Present Laughter and They’re Playing Our Song. His film credits include Shirley Valentine, Reuben, Reuben and Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence as well as extensive television work.

Kerry Shale’s theatre work includes His Girl Friday at the National Theatre and Frost/Nixon at both the Donmar Warehouse and Gielgud Theatre. Shale was also cast in the short-lived West End musical Bar Mitzvah Boy which inspired the play.

Amongst Natalie Walter's stage credits are Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus, As You Like It directed by Peter Hall and the National Theatre’s revival of Noises Off. She most recently appeared in the West End in The 39 Steps as well as appearing in Peter Nichol’s Lingua Franca at the Finborough and for Brits off Broadway in New York.

Jack Rosenthal's legacy of television dramas include the BAFTA winning The Evacuees and Spend, Spend, Spend. He also devised the popular fire-brigade saga London’s Burning and was a regular contributor to Coronation Street. Director Tamara Harvey ‘s credits include Timing at the King's Head Theatre, Plague Over England at the Finborough Theatre and in West End and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Garrick.

SMASH! is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with lighting design by Tim Mitchell and sound design by Gareth Owen.


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