When the UK premiere staging closes at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on July 17, it will go to the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre. Previous musicals at that house have included Thoroughly Modern Millie and the ill-fated Napoleon, as well as the South African tune-fest Umoja, which was forced to close when the neighbors complained about the noise.
Bat Boy, about a strange-looking youth — half-human, half-bat — who fascinates the people of Hope Falls, was described by the West Yorkshire Playhouse as “somewhere between ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and My Fair Lady.” The Guardian newspaper called it “a cult hit in the making.”
Deven May, who scored raves for his performance in the Off-Broadway and Los Angeles productions of Bat Boy, returned to that role for the U.K. staging and has been confirmed for London. Also confirmed is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang's Emma Williams as Shelley. The rest of the cast at the Playhouse included Maurey Richards as Mrs. Taylor, Rebecca Vere as Meredith as well as Andrew Bolton, Gareth Richards, Julie Jupp, Robyn Isaac, Maurey Richards, David Beckford, Thomas Goodridge, Rachel Lynes and Wyn Moss. Whether they will move with the show has yet to be announced.
Composer Laurence O'Keefe is involved in the production, which features direction by Mark Wing-Davey and musical direction by Iain Vince-Gatt. A 2001 Outer Critics Circle winner for Best Musical, Bat Boy features music and lyrics by O'Keefe and a book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming.
Deven May won the 1998 Ovation Award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical for his performance in the L.A. debut of Bat Boy. For the Off-Broadway run of Bat Boy, he received Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations as well as a 2001 Theatre World Award. The show will preview at the Shaftesbury beginning Aug. 18, with opening night on Sept. 8. The initial booking period will run until Oct. 30.