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Stratford East revives Oh What A Lovely War in 2014

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Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced it will stage a revival of Oh What A Lovely War in 2014, over 50 years after it was first seen at the venue.

The musical, which premiered at Stratford East under Joan Littlewood's direction in 1963, will be staged to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1.

Directed by Terry Johnson (La Cage aux Folles) and designed by Lez Brotherston, it will run from 1 February to 15 March 2014, with tickets going on sale from 9 January 2013.

Kerry Michael, artistic director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said: "Joan Littlewood’s landmark production was ahead of its time when it was first staged here, challenging our perceptions of war. It also played a significant part in the transformation of British Theatre. We are very proud that we have assembled a world-class creative team for this important production. We will remain true to the spirit of the original and will be re-creating it to resonate with modern audiences."

Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton's work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop. It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964 and receiving four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.

The score features familiar songs from the World War I era including "It's a Long Way to Tipperary", "Pack up Your Troubles" and "Keep the Home Fires Burning". The songs are performed against a projected backdrop of images and shocking statistics conveying the harsh realities of war.

Director and writer Terry Johnson has won Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Playwright of the Year. In 2010 he won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His theatre credits as both director and writer are prolific including End of the Rainbow (2010-11) which was nominated for three Olivier Awards, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2009) and most recently Hysteria (2012) with Antony Sher.

Designer Lez Brotherston is a long time collaborator of Matthew Bourne, having worked on productions including Swan Lake, Play Without Words, Edward Scissorhands, Car Man and most recently Sleeping Beauty. His other work includes Sister Act, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Acorn Antiques, Into The Woods and The Far Pavilions all in the West End, and The Little Mermaid on Broadway.


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