Blackman to Star in Sondheim's Saturday Night at London's Jermyn Street Theatre

News   Blackman to Star in Sondheim's Saturday Night at London's Jermyn Street Theatre Stephen Sondheim's first intended Broadway musical Saturday Night — written in 1954 when he was 24 and originally due to premiere on Broadway in 1955, but canceled following the death of its producer, Lemuel Ayers – will return to London more than a decade after its professional premiere in 1997 at the fringe Bridewell Theatre.
Helena Blackman
Helena Blackman

Saturday Night will now play the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly Circus, beginning Feb. 10, 2009, prior to an official opening Feb. 12 for a run to March 14.

The cast will include Helena Blackman, runner-up in BBC1 TV's "How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?" star search for the lead in the 2006 revival of The Sound of Music (won by Connie Fisher), and who was recently nominated for a TMA Award for her role as Nellie Forbush in the national tour of South Pacific.

Blackman will play Helen, a girl from Brooklyn who dreams of escaping her ordinary life in 1929 New York by passing herself off as glamorous Southern belle "Helene" at high society balls. There she meets Gene Gorman, a handsome young Wall Street clerk who is attempting to do exactly the same thing. As their lives and dreams become more entwined, a captivating story of love, ambition and friendship unfolds, set during the last days before the Great Depression.

In a press statement, director Tom Littler said, "Helena brings a natural vitality and warmth to the lead role of Helen, and her voice is perfectly suited to some of the most charming and romantic ballads Sondheim has ever written."

Casting will also include Joanna Hickman (Beth in Merrily We Roll Along and Johanna in Sweeney Todd, both for director John Doyle at Newbury's Watermill Theatre), Charlie Cameron, Joanna Hollister, and actor-musicians David Botham, Lee Drage, Lloyd Gorman, David Osmond, Nick Trumble and Harry Waller. Full casting is still to be announced. The musical, which has a book by Julius J. Epstein, is based on the play by Julius and Philip G. Epstein called Front Porch in Flatbush. Littler directed the first revival of Charles Wood's Jingo: A Farce of War at the fringe Finborough this year, as well as the Scottish premiere of Sondheim's Passion on the Edinburgh Fringe in 2006. He has been associate director of Peter Hall's productions of A Doll's House and Born in the Gardens this year at the Theatre Royal, Bath, and has assisted Trevor Nunn on the current production of A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

To book tickets contact the box office at 020 7287 2875 or visit www.saturdaynightmusical.com.