You've heard of out-of-town tryouts, but how about out-of-country? In order to test drive Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for America, the show is to incorporate new script changes in London ahead of a run up to a Broadway run in 2005. With the infamous flying car that's specially built to the theatre, an out-of-town try out would be virtually impossible, and extremely costly - the $1.4m showpiece is the most expensive theatre prop in history. Of course how it flies will remain a secret for you Yanks.
Almost ten years ago New York had its first taste of Passion, where it played a half year run at the Plymouth. Two years later Sondheim gave England a bite, again playing for just over six months. And now it's back, for a strictly limited run. The Bridewell Theatre, still under the threat of closure, celebrates its ten year anniversary with the Tony Award winning musical drama. Described as 'Sondheim's darkest but most exciting show', Passion is a love duel between a soldier, his mistress and the cousin of his commanding officer.
More people will get the chance to find out who Sylvia is as Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia transfers from the Almeida Theatre and into the Apollo. Apart from the inflated ticket prices, the cast remains intact and is headed by Jonathan Pryce. As is also the case with Suddenly Last Summer, a Sheffield production directed by Michael Grandage, who has just won an Olivier Award for Best Director. The production, which had already been tipped to transfer (see 11/28's column), stars Dame Diana Rigg and Tony winner Victoria Hamilton. It opens at the Albery in April, following a tour.
Fuddy Meers, produced by Sam Mendes headed company Scamp, will also go into the West End - to the small Arts Theatre just off Leicester Square. It opens in Birmingham next month and hits the capital in May.
With most shows at TKTS, you'd wonder how well the West End is doing, but from its booming audience figures there's no doubt that the regions are the place to be. Why? Well, some of England's biggest musicals are off on tour, with Cameron Mackintosh's My Fair Lady, the National's Anything Goes, an international tour of Mamma Mia and an all new production of Starlight Express in the works. All this to come and many more tours on the go as we speak - Cats, Taboo, Miss Saigon, The Full Monty, Fosse, Footloose, Blood Brothers, Crazy For You, Tell Me on a Sunday and some other surprises including the irrepressible Joan Collins strutting it on tour but vowing never to return to the West End.