Xavier, Riding Confirmed For West End Transfer Of THE PAJAMA GAME, May 2014!

Following a critically acclaimed, sold-out run, Chichester Festival Theatre's sparkling production of the Broadway smash hit musical, The Pajama Game, directed by Richard Eyre, transfers to the West End on 1 May playing until 13 September 2014.

A buoyantly blissful blend of romance and comedy starring Joanna Riding, reprising her feisty heroine, and Michael Xavier, the show features golden hits such as Hey There (You With The Stars In Your Eyes), Hernando's Hideaway and Steam Heat.

In 1950s America, love is in the air at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory as handsome new Superintendent Sid Sorokin (Michael Xavier) falls head-over-heels for firebrand union rep Babe Williams (Joanna Riding). Sparks fly when the employees are refused a seven-and-a-half cents raise, leaving Sid and Babe deliciously at odds as the temperature rises. . . Will love, eventually, conquer all?

This much-anticipated transfer will burst across the West End stage reminding us of the pedigree of its 1954 original creators: George Abbott, Richard Adler, Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince and Bob Fosse, who understood high-octane entertainment so very well and were all destined to become Broadway aristocracy.

Richard Eyre said: "The Pajama Game was the first musical I ever heard - on an album belonging to my sister when I was 14. I had never seen it until I directed it at Chichester. It was a long wait to discover what an entrancing, joyful, tuneful and sharp show it is."

Joanna Riding, the double Olivier Award winning actress, reprises her role as Babe Williams. Her other theatre credits include Julie in Carousel and Eliza in My Fair Lady, National Theatre productions for which she won her Olivier Awards, Sarah in Guys and Dolls, Anne in A Little Night Music and Oh! What A Lovely War. Further leading West End credits include Blithe Spirit, Billy Elliot, The Witches of Eastwick, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and currently, Stephen Ward, the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical playing at The Aldwych Theatre, directed and choreographed by The Pajama Game team, Richard Eyre and Stephen Mear. Joanna was recently seen on TV as Melissa in Sky's comedy Stella alongside Ruth Jones, and can be seen as Cinderella's Mother in the up and coming film of Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall and starring Meryl Streep.

Michael Xavier plays the handsome superintendent Sid Sorokin. He has an impressive range of leading roles in a wide variety of hit musicals and plays, and gained Olivier nominations for Oliver in Love Story (Duchess Theatre, transferred from Chichester Festival Theatre) and for Cinderella's Prince / The Wolf in Sondheim's fairytale Into The Woods (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre) in 2011. His many other roles include Freddy in My Fair Lady directed by Trevor Nunn (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Raoul in The Phantom of The Opera, and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. He recently sang at the National Theatre's 50th anniversary concert which was broadcast live on BBC 2 and in cinemas worldwide. He is currently performing in the seasonal concerts, The Best of the West End at Christmas.

Further cast to be announced.

Richard Eyre directed The Pajama Game for Chichester to great acclaim earlier this year where his previous credits include The Last Cigarette. He worked in regional theatres in Leicester, Edinburgh and Nottingham before becoming Director of the National Theatre. From 1988 - 1997 he directed numerous productions there including Guys and Dolls, Richard III, The Night of the Iguana, John Gabriel Borkman, King Lear and new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Christopher Hampton and Nicholas Wright. West End credits include Betty Blue Eyes and Quartermaine's Terms and last month he won the 2013 Evening Standard award for Best Director for Ghosts, which he adapted and directed at The Almeida; it is currently playing at the Trafalgar Studios. Also just opened in the West End is the musical Stephen Ward, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical he has directed, which boasts Joanna Riding in its cast and is choreographed by Stephen Mear. His earlier musical collaboration with Stephen Mear, Mary Poppins, was a success in the West End and on Broadway. His numerous film and television credits include Notes on a Scandal, Stage Beauty, Iris, Comedians, Henry IV Parts I and II, Tumbledown (for which he won a BAFTA) and The Ploughman's Lunch. His opera credits range from La Traviata (ROH) to Carmen (Metropolitan Opera) and Le nozze di Figaro (Aix-en-Provence). He has published Utopia and Other Places, a memoir; National Service, a journal of his time at the National Theatre, and Talking Theatre, interviews with theatre people. He has received many awards including five Oliviers. In 1997 he was knighted and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2011.

Stephen Mear's extensive and acclaimed West End choreographic credits include Crazy for You, Betty Blue Eyes, Shoes, which he also directed, Anything Goes and Sweet Charity. Further recent credits include Kiss Me, Kate at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Old Vic, Hello, Dolly! at The Open Air Theatre Regents Park which won him an Olivier Award for Best Choreography, The Little Mermaid on Broadway and Me and My Girl at Sheffield Crucible. He also co-choreographed Mary Poppins with Matthew Bourne, a hit in the West End, on Broadway and on tour in the UK and USA, scooping him Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Choreography amongst other accolades. Stephen is Associate Choreographer for Chichester Festival Theatre for which he has choreographed The Grapes of Wrath, She Loves Me which he also directed, The Music Man, Funny Girl and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Most recently Stephen has collaborated with director Richard Eyre again to choreograph the musical Stephen Ward currently at the Aldwych Theatre and also starring Joanna Riding. Stephen has just made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera House choreographing a new production of Die Fledermaus.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of The Pajama Game is produced in the West End by Joseph Smith and John Brant, Old Vic Productions, Gavin Kalin, Neil Franklin and Stephen McGill.

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