Photo Flash: First Look at Sophie-Louise Dann and More in Jermyn Street Theatre's GAY'S THE WORD
When the semi-staged production of Ivor Novello's final musical Gay's The Word played at Finborough Theatre last January it became one of their fastest sell-outs ever. Now the same team are bringing the fully realised professional production back to the London stage for the first time since 1951.
Opening the newly refurbished Jermyn Street Theatre in February 2013, the production continues and extends this small and intimate theatre's burgeoning reputation for attracting the very best British stage talent in order to rediscover and stage rarely produced works by major writers.
Novello sends up his famous Ruritanian extravagances in this backstage musical comedy. Former stage star Gay Daventry opens a drama school and finds that what is needed to get her back on top is, in the title of the show's hit song, Vitality! Other numbers include If Only He'd Looked My Way (later recorded by Frank Sinatra), Bees Are Buzzin' and On Such A Night As This, all combining Novello's melodic talent with Alan Melville's sharp wit.
The twenty strong cast includes Sophie-Louise Dann in the title role of Gay. Recently Olivier-nominated for her West End triumph in Lend Me a Tenor, she goes straight from this production to star in the Paris premiere of Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George.
She is joined by multi-award-nominee Helena Blackman (BBC's How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?) and fast-rising Josh Little (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Footloose), alongside the first London appearance in many years of Elizabeth Seal, who won the Tony Award for Irma La Douce, and whose career began in the original production of Gay's the Word.
Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the last century. His West End musicals included Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years and King's Rhapsody. As an actor, he was Britain's first major male film star, appearing in over 20 silent features including Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Lodger.
This marks the first full London run of a Novello musical in over forty years. Other productions in the Spring season are Graham Greene's The Living Room, directed by Tom Littler, and On Approval by Frederick Lonsdale, which will be directed by Jermyn Street Theatre's incoming Artistic Director Anthony Biggs.Playing 7 February - 2 March 2013 at the Jermyn Street Theatre, Gay's The Word has a press night slated for Friday 8 February 7.30pm.Photo Credit: Roy Tan
Sophie Louise-Dann and Paul Slack
Helena Blackman and Josh Little