Just a few days left to see the UK premiere of Rothschild & Sons, which must finish at London’s Park Theatre this Saturday (17 February 2018). What happens next is up to the “theatre gods”, but producer Arnold Mittelman and director Jeffrey B Moss have committed themselves to spreading the show’s central message: that people must look out for more than just themselves. Read our joint interview with the pair below – and then get booking before it’s too late!
Rothschild & Sons is the uplifting story of Mayer Rothschild, his wife and sons, who, despite being trapped behind ghetto walls, dream of a day when they are no longer locked in or anyone like them locked out.
Mayer Rothschild is an ambitious young merchant in the Jewish ghetto in Frankfurt, Germany, anxious to make something of himself in a world that openly despises Jews. He marries, has five sons, and ultimately, by use of his quick wit and perseverance, transforms his family into an international banking empire serving the royal courts of Europe. But Mayer’s main objective is to see the ghetto walls torn down before he dies, and for this, he, his wife and his sons, are prepared to risk everything.
The cast of Broadway and West End actors is led by Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli as Mayer and Glory Crampton as Gutele, roles they created in the 2015 New York premiere, and Gary Trainor as Nathan Rothschild. They’re joined in the cast by David Delve, Richard Dempsey, Tom Giles, Tom Lloyd, Kris-Marc Joseph, Joanna Strand, Tony Timberlake and Stephen Webb. Rothschild & Sons is written by Broadway songwriting legends Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me) and Tony-nominated writer Sherman Yellen and directed by Jeffrey B Moss.
Why did you want to rework the 1970 musical The Rothschilds?
The story of Mayer Rothschild and his family is compelling – and this musical, based on Fredric Morton’s book, is a collective effort to put the story of the origins of that family on stage. We approached the authors and asked them to examine a different central theme (a love story between a father and his sons) and structure to the storytelling that could arise from this tale about people who are locked in or locked out. Happily, they embraced our ideas.
How different is Rothschild & Sons from the earlier work?
It is really a new work. Although borrowing some songs and scenes from the original, it moves past the original plot and introduces (until now) unheard Bock and Harnick songs, new songs by Sheldon Harnick, revised lyrics for many songs, and much new book; that, among other things, lets Gutele Rothschild (Mayer’s wife and mother to his sons) become a very important and pivotal character. The show is in one act and very “cinematic” in its presentation. This is now a musical about a family that is willing to risk everything to make a better world for others.
How involved have the original creatives been in the new show?
Involved? They did the work! In close concert with us.. over a three year period with appropriate workshop and readings along the way. Our London premiere includes improvements we discovered during the New York run. Working with Sheldon Harnick and Sherman Yellen (and the Jerry Bock estate) has been a joy and a privilege.
Why did you want to bring the show to London?
This is a UK premiere for this material. None of it has ever played here. We felt that this story of overcoming bigotry and oppression is apt for England. This is a European story…and, eventually, a worldwide story. But, even more importantly: it is a very entertaining and thought-provoking musical experience.
What are your future plans for the show?
Whatever and wherever the theatre gods will allow. We want to spread the message of how people must look out for more than just themselves.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The box office phone number is 020 7870 6876.
Rothschild & Sons runs at London’s Park Theatre from 24 January to 17 February 2018, with performances Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm. Tickets are priced £18.50-£29.50. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!