Rogers’ previous West End outings have included creating the role of Polly Browne in the original production of Sandy Wilson’s The Boyfriend, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and, at the same venue, starring in No, No, Nanette back in 1973.
She’s making a comeback to play Matthews, Britain’s first international film star, whose movies included “The Good Companions”, “Evergreen”, Gangway”, “Head Over Heels” and “First A Girl” – the film which was later remade as the Julie Andrews vehicle “Victor/Victoria”. Although Matthews’ film successes of the 1920’s and 1930’s made her a huge celebrity, she never regained that position after the Second World War and her life was plagued by insecurity, bad relationships and ill health. She faded into unhappy obscurity, and at her death in 1981 was buried in an unmarked grave, a sad end for the star they once called “the dancing divinity.”
The musical play is by Richard Stirling, and features some of the songs with which Matthews was associated, including numbers by Rogers and Hart, Noel Coward and Irving Berlin. Stewart Nicholls directs and choreographs.
After tonight’s preview, the show faces the critics tomorrow, though it’s only scheduled for a brief run, closing on 8 November to make way for stand-up comedian Lenny Henry.
Wyndham’s Theatre is on Charing Cross Road. For ticket information, call (870) 060 6633. Get your hands on designer bargains for less - click here.(http://g.msn.com/8HMAENUK/2728??PS=)