Royal Exchange, Halle Orchestra And The Lowry Unite For WONDERFUL TOWN
Three of the North West region's foremost arts institutions are uniting for the first time to present a unique production of Leonard Bernstein's musical comedy Wonderful Town. The Hallé, The Lowry and the Royal Exchange Theatre will join forces from 31 March to 14 April 2012 for a brand new production of one of America's most loved musical theatre masterpieces.Following her recent triumph at the 2011 MEN Theatre Awards, winning the Actress in a Visiting Production award for her role as Maria in the Sound of Music, Connie Fisher (winner of BBC One's How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?) will lead the cast as Ruth Sherwood. The story follows Ruth and her sister travelling to New York in search of love and fortune.First staged in 1953 on Broadway, Wonderful Town ran for 559 performances winning 5 Tony Awards. Bernstein's score produced some of the most popular songs of the 1950s. The 2003 revival also won further Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Discussing the role Connie said: "I have always enjoyed playing comedy and the part of Ruth is such a great comic role. As if that opportunity wasn't great enough, I also get to sing with the Hallé and work at The Lowry! Awesome!! I've always wanted to follow in Maureen Lipman's footsteps so here's my chance..." This fully staged production will be directed by Braham Murray OBE, Joint Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre, who said: "To do a great musical, with a great orchestra and a great conductor is a dream come true. There is only one word to describe it - wonderful!"The full forces of the Hallé, conducted by its Music Director Sir Mark Elder CBE, will provide the orchestra for the show. Speaking about this major creative event, Sir Mark said: "Manchester and Salford are leading the way in artistic collaboration. Leonard Bernstein's magnificent work will get what it deserves - a great orchestra performing a great score as part of a great production."The two week run will be presented in The Lowry's acclaimed Lyric Theatre, which has already gained an unrivalled reputation for its staging of some of the world's most popular musicals. Robert Robson, Artistic Director of The Lowry, said: "We are delighted for The Lowry to be a partner in this unique and exciting collaboration between three major arts organisations, staging large scale musical theatre of national significance."
The producer of Wonderful Town is Kenny Wax, who has produced and general managed many productions in the West End and on tour. On his involvement with the show Kenny said: "As a Manchester boy born and bred, whose fascination with the theatre industry began with a visit to the Exchange to see Robert Lindsay in Leaping Ginger (could it really have been 33 years ago?), what a thrill now to be working, not only with the Exchange but with The Lowry for whom my Company provides several weeks of programming per year, not to mention Sir Mark Elder and the world renownEd Hallé."The new production of Wonderful Town was launched at a media reception at The Lowry on 24 February. Sue Lightup, Strategic Director, Community, Health & Social Care, Salford City Council and Councillor Michael Lee Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture, representing Manchester City Council welcomed all parties to this event. Introduced by leading opera critic and musical theatre expert Edward Seckerson, Braham Murray, Sir Mark Elder, Robert Robson and Connie Fisher talked about the production while Shona Lindsay and Howard Hutt performed some of the show's best known hits accompanied by JoNathan Scott. Tickets for Wonderful Town go on public sale today and can be booked via The Lowry's box office on Tel: 0843 208 6005 or www.thelowry.com/wonderfultown