The Finborough Theatre to Present VALLEY OF SONG Starting January 12
The Finborough Theatre's acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series returns with Ivor Novello's very last musical, Valley of Song, playing a a two week run from Sunday, 12 January 2014. (Press Night: Tuesday, 14 January 2014 at 7.30pm).
Left unfinished at the time of his sudden death, and completed by his longtime collaborator Christopher Hassall, Valley of Song is a unique - and final - opportunity to see a world premiere of Novello's work upon the stage.
Set in a world of optimism on the eve of the Great War, Valley of Song is a homage to Wales - Novello's homeland - and a touching farewell to the music of his youth.
The Welsh Valleys, 1913. Nan Brewster is the largest landowner in the valley and supports the local valley choir, run by choirmaster David. David's love for Lily, his leading soprano, creates beautiful music for the choir. But when Lily is given an opportunity to sing in Venice, she jumps at the chance, and into the arms of Ricardo, a wealthy count set on making her an international star. But, by opening night, it becomes clear that Ricardo's intentions are not entirely honourable... As Europe is plunged into the First World War, how much is David willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves?
Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the 20th century. The Finborough Theatre recently enjoyed huge success with sell-out productions of two of his musicals - Perchance to Dream (2011) and Gay's The Word (2012) which subsequently transferred to the Jermyn Street Theatre. As a composer, he trained in Cardiff, Gloucester (alongside eminent British composers Ivor Gurney and HerBert Howells) and at Magdalen College School, Oxford. His musicals include Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years and King's Rhapsody; his more than 250 songs include Keep the Home Fires Burning, I Can Give You the Starlight and Waltz of My Heart. As an actor, he was one of Britain's first major film stars, appearing in over twenty films including playing the title role in the original silent version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger; while his long stage career included many of his own plays and musicals. Novello's musical legacy is commemorated in the Ivor Novello Awards, established in 1955 to honour excellence in British music writing.
Director Benji Sperring recently directed Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blind and The Intruder at the Old Red Lion Theatre which received an OffWestEnd Award nomination for best design and a transfer to the Tabard Theatre. Directing includes Assassins (Palace Theatre, Manchester), Sweet Charity (Kings Theatre, Southsea), The Monk (Barons Court Theatre), Fun Like Stalingrad (Hen and Chickens Theatre), Six Characters In Search Of An Author (Caccia Studio) and Under Milk Wood (Caccia Studio).
In 2006, the Finborough Theatre began the Celebrating British Music Theatre series with a sell-out production of Leslie Stuart's Florodora. Productions since then have included sell-out rediscoveries of Lionel Monckton's Our Miss Gibbs, Harold Fraser-Simson's operetta The Maid of the Mountains, A "Gilbert and Sullivan" Double Bill featuring Gilbert's play Sweethearts and Sullivan's opera The Zoo, Dame Ethel Smyth's opera The Boatswain's Mate, Sandy Wilson's The Buccaneer, Oscar Asche's Chu Chin Chow, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd, Ivor Novello's Perchance to Dream and Gay's The Word, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke, Edward German's Merrie England and Paul Scott Goodman's Rooms: A Rock Romance. Other productions include a new musical by Phil Willmott - Lost Boy - playing concurrently with Valley of Song in January 2014.