This weekly column keeps track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, as theatres prepare to re-open from next month onwards. It will be updated weekly until such time as it becomes a reality, and from then on will provide a weekly update to that week’s openings and future ones.
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Meanwhile, I want to start keeping track of the shows that are coming back, or are newly being announced, in a new feature here that will be updated weekly until such time as it becomes a reality, and from then on will provide a weekly update to that week’s openings and future ones.
Chichester Festival Theatre has announced that, due to the unpredictable ongoing nature of Covid-19, it has made the very difficult decision to cancel all scheduled Festival 2020 productions.
Far from frivolous, this fashion-based drama is a great choice for Chichester Festival Theatre’s inaugural broadcast, from a venue that so often gets it right. Perfect escapism.
For the first time, Chichester Festival Theatre will stream a selection of its archive productions online, beginning with its award-winning 2018 musical Flowers for Mrs Harris from this Thursday 9 April 2020 ahead of the Easter weekend.
World premieres in Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2020 include first plays by Steven Moffat and Kate Mosse and new work by Suhayla El-Bushra and Christopher Shinn.
Jeremy Sams and his creative team have delivered theatrical magic in Oklahoma! at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the UK premiere of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas’ musical Light in the Piazza.
Only on until 4 July before an international tour, The Light In The Piazza is a must see for all who appreciate modern writing and quality musical theatre.
The most lyrical and romantic thing about Light In The Piazza is its title. That, and the luscious vintage-style 50s costumes which evoke the American idyll of Italy as captured by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
This Is My Family is a little gem from Calendar Girls/Neville’s Island writer Tim Firth which blindsided me with its warmth and sense of fun, even when dealing with painful situations.
This is gorgeous. Funny, truthful, wise, and bravely original in form. Anyone with a a family – past, present, remembered, or merely observed in cautious auntly incredulity – should see Tim Firth’s musical This Is My Family.
Making theatre as diverse as possible is, I think, a work in progress. And progress is the operative word. I’m not advocating complacency. Of course there’s still much to be done but don’t let’s belittle the enormous amount which has already happened.
Joining Renée Fleming and Dove Cameron in the London debut of the acclaimed Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza at London’s Royal Festival Hall will be Rob Houchen, Celinde Schoenmaker, Liam Tamne, Malcolm Sinclair and Olivier-nominated international soprano Marie McLaughlin.
Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2019 has been announced by artistic director Daniel Evans. It includes John Simm & Dervla Kirwan in Macbeth, Hugh Bonneville in Shadowlands & Tim Firth’s first solo musical starring James Nesbitt.
In the summer of 2019 much-acclaimed opera singer and soprano Renée Fleming and film and TV actress Dove Cameron will star in the London premiere production of Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel’s Broadway musical The Light in the Piazza, directed by Daniel Evans.
News, reviews, interviews, commentary and farewells from London, New York and beyond, including The Stage Debut Awards, Sylvia at the Old Vic and regional openings in Chichester and Bristol.
Some of the beauty of Flowers for Mrs Harris gets lost at Chichester Festival Theatre but it remains a striking new musical
“It’s a work of art… something not real, made to make you feel”
I had much love for Flowers for Mrs Harris when it premiered in Sheffield a couple of years ago, and so I was delighted to see Daniel Evans deciding to revive it at his new abode over in Chichester. My only cavil came with the placing of this most heartfelt musical in the vast space of the Festival Theatre rather than the intimacy of the Minerva where it might perhaps have been better served.
So much of the beauty of the show (book by Rachel Wagstaff from Paul Gallico’s novel, music & lyrics by Richard Taylor) comes from the fact that it isn’t a bells and whistles epic. It is something far more subtle that truly celebrates the ordinary in extraordinary, as Clare Burt’s charlady Ada Harris dares to dream of owning a Christian Dior dress and in working to achieve that dream, illuminates the lives of those around her.
Largely sung-through, the cumulative effect of Flowers for Mrs Harris is like a ripple billowing through a length of silk fabric, flipping it over – beguiling and beautiful, gentle but ultimately transformative. As Ada’s hard work takes her from Battersea to Paris, some nifty doubling in the cast sees her meeting contrasting figures to those for whom she toils. So Louis Maskell switches from accountant to dreamy photographer, Laura Pitt-Pulford from struggling actress to top model, Joanna Riding aristocracy to couturier, and all impress with their clear delineation.
And Burt is just magnificent the unassuming Ada, slowly coming to realise her place in the world, her worth and her right to a greater happiness than she ever dared dream of in the drudgery of post-war Britain. Lez Brotherston’s design looks superb under Mark Henderson’s well-observed lighting choices, and the conclusion is a thing of real, gentle wonder. Don’t just talk about wanting to see new exciting British musical theatre, go and see it now!
Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Flowers for Mrs Harris is booking at Chichester Festival Theatre until 29th September
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Flowers For Mrs Harris, a 2016 Sheffield hit for director Daniel Evans when he was there, is the big musical flourish for Chichester Festival Theatre, where Evans is now completing his second year as artistic director.