Hal Prince to stage new show

New Menier Chocolate Factory season announced. Hal Prince to return to London to direct Mandy Patinkin musical

The new Menier Chocolate Factory season will see a strong line-up of new shows, many of which promise West End and Broadway transfers.

Most high-profile will be a jointly directed Hal Prince and Susan Stroman musical starring Broadway legend Mandy Patinkin, a major coup for the small theatre that has built up a sizeable reputation: its successful production of La Cage Aux Folles starring Douglas Hodge will open on Broadway in 2010.

The musical, Paradise Found, will run at the theatre from 19 May to 26 June before a possible Broadway transfer. Based on Joseph Roth’s novel The Tale Of The 1002nd Night, the show is about a visit the Shah of Persia made to Europe in 1873. Patinkin will play the Shah’s eunuch.

The show features music by Austrian waltz maestro Johann Strauss II and Jonathan Tunick, lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh and a libretto by Richard Nelson. Composer Tunick is widely known for orchestrating many Broadway musicals, including the works of Stephen Sondheim.

Legendary director Hal Prince was responsible for the premiere productions of Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Phantom of the Opera, She Loves Me, Company, Follies, Candide, Pacific Overtures, Evita, Parade and Bounce.

Tony-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman has created shows including The Producers and Young Frankenstein, and last collaborated with Prince on the Broadway revival of Show Boat.

Trevor Nunn directs Aspects of Love

Also in the new season Trevor Nunn follows his successful production of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, which transferred to the West End and is now playing on Broadway starring Catherine Zeta Jones, by directing a new production of Aspects of Love.

The first major London revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical since Nunn’s original production, the show is based on David Garnett’s novel and originally starred Michael Ball. It tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their companions set against the background of 1940’s France and Italy.

The show will preview from 3 July.

Willy Russell double-bill

Also showcasing at the Menier Chocolate Factory will be a double-bill of Willy Russell plays Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita.

Both award-winning movies, the plays will provide a long overdue London tribute to Willy Russell’s work.  Willy Russell’s most famous stage work is Blood Brothers, which has played in the West End since 1988 and currently stars Spice Girl Melanie C.

Shirley Valentine will star Meera Syal, acclaimed comedienne and actress whose credits include Bombay Dreams and Goodness Gracious Me. The play will be directed by Glen Walford.

Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos will star in Educating Rita, directed by Jeremy Sams. Larry Lamb has recently enjoyed two high-profile TV roles in Gavin & Stacey and EastEnders. Relative newcomer Dos Santos appeared in Look Back in Anger at the Jermyn Street Theatre in 2008.

The productions run in rep from 26 March to 8 May.

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