Finborough Theatre to Present PRINCESS IDA, Beginning 24 March

The Finborough Theatre's acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series continues with the first professional London production in over twenty years of Gilbert and Sullivan's Princess Ida opening at the Finborough Theatre for a four week limited season on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 (Press Night: Thursday, 26 March 2015 at 7.30pm).

Containing some of Sullivan's catchiest melodies and Gilbert's wittiest salvoes in the battle of the sexes, this sunny, funny musical comedy concerns the marriage of two royal babies.

It's twenty years later and Prince Hilarion is keen to be reunited with his now adult wife, the Princess Ida. Unfortunately her quarrelsome father has hidden her away in a women's only university where even the morning cock crow is managed by a talented hen.

So Hilarion is forced to don a dress and even wield a sword to win his wife.

Former Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Phil Willmott returns to direct this rare professional revival which will delight G&S aficionados and musical theatre fans alike.

The production stars Simon Butteriss as Lord Gama, leading a cast of exciting new talent.

Composer Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) and Librettist Sir William Schwenk Gilbert (1836-1910) collaborated on a total of fifteen quintessentially British comic operettas, most of which are continually performed all over the world with The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore being amongst the best known. Gilbert and Sullivan's complete repertoire includes Thespis (1871), Trial by Jury (1875), The Sorcerer (1877), H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), The Pirates of Penzance (1879), Patience (1881), Iolanthe (1882), The Mikado (1885), Ruddigore (1887), The Yeomen of the Guard (1888), The Gondoliers (1889), Utopia, Limited (1893) - and The Grand Duke which received its first fully staged professional UK production since 1896 at the Finborough Theatre in 2012. Both Gilbert and Sullivan were local residents of the area.

Composer, Writer and Director Phil Willmott is one of the most commissioned musical theatre writers in the UK. His past musicals include Secret Love (National Tour) Lost Boy (Finborough Theatre and an extended transfer to Charing Cross Theatre), Once Upon a Time at The Adelphi (Liverpool, London and USA) and the widely and regularly revived Dick Barton Trilogy, Around The World In Eighty Days and Jason And The Argonauts. He is a multi-award winning director, artistic director, playwright, composer, librettist, teacher, dramaturg, arts journalist and occasional actor. He is founding Artistic Director of award winning theatre company The Steam Industry incorporating the Finborough Theatre (under the Artistic Directorship of Neil McPherson) and the London's annual Free Theatre Festival at the open-air "Scoop" amphitheatre on the South Bank. He has international directing career incorporates everything from classical drama, musicals and family shows to cabaret and cutting edge new writing. He is a recipient of a TMA Award for outstanding direction of a musical, a Peter Brook Award for his outdoor classical productions and family shows, WhatsOnStage award nominations for best regional and Off West End productions, a Broadway World nomination for Best Musical in the UK, a Brooks Atkinson/Royal Court award in New York for Playwriting and four Spirit of Broadway awards.

Simon Butteriss has sung the Gilbert & Sullivan patter roles throughout the world. He wrote and presented the television series about G&S, A Motley Pair, was in Mike Leigh's Oscar winning G&S movie Topsy-Turvy and wrote, presented and played George Grossmith in the television film A Salaried Wit.

Theatre includes roles in the West End, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Old Vic Company and at Chichester.

Opera include roles at La Scala,Milan, English National Opera, Liceu Barcelona, Paris Chatelet, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Oper Koeln, Royal Opera House Muscat, Welsh National Opera, Wiener Festwochen, Bregenzer Festspiele, Almeida Opera and Aldeburgh Opera.

Film includes Richard Lyndall in Draw On Sweet Night, to be released later this year.

Television appearances range from Hugh Brandon in two series of By The Sword Divided to Coco Lebiche in French and Saunders' Let Them Eat Cake.

He has directed, written and translated for Stage, Screen, Opera House and Concert Hall, notably collaborating with John Wilson and the Philharmonia Orchestra at Royal Festival Hall.
Forthcoming Productions include Starveling A Midsummer Night's Dream (Aix en Provence) , Benoit/Alcindoro La Boheme (English National Opera) and he writes, directs and plays Grossmith in a drama series for BBC Radio 4 to be broadcast at Christmas.

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, Gay's The Word (which transferred to Jermyn Street Theatre, and has been released on CD), and Valley of Song (released on CD), Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke, Edward German's Merrie England, Paul Scott Goodman's Rooms: A Rock Romance, Phil Willmott's Lost Boy (which transferred to Charing Cross Theatre), Craig Adams and Nona Sheppard's Thérèse Raquin (which transferred to the Park Theatre and has just been recorded for CD), Rutland Boughton's 1914 "music-drama" The Immortal Hour and Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds' Free As Air.

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