Bohemian Rhapsody: Aspects of Love, a Cult-Favorite By Lloyd Webber, Opens in London

News   Bohemian Rhapsody: Aspects of Love, a Cult-Favorite By Lloyd Webber, Opens in London The intimate new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart's musical Aspects of Love, about the twisting love affairs and lingering aches among a clutch of bohemians in post-World War II Europe, opens July 15 at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Michael Arden and Rosalie Craig
Michael Arden and Rosalie Craig Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Previews began July 7. The run continues to Sept. 26.

Trevor Nunn directs Michael Arden as Alex Dillingham, Katherine Kingsley as Rose Vibert, Dave Willetts as George, Rosalie Craig as Giulietta, Martyn Ellis as Marcel and Rebecca Brewer as Jenny, along with Jill Armour, Louisa Lydell, Ian McLarnon, David Roberts, Savannah Stevenson, Dominic Tighe and Rebecca Trehearn.

Nunn directed the original world-premiere production that opened at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre in 1989 and its subsequent Broadway bow at the Broadhurst the following year. A cast album preserves the original London cast.

Nunn approached Menier artistic director Babani about returning to the work with the original concept that he and Lloyd Webber had first envisioned. Babani told Playbill.com, "He'd always wanted to explore doing the production that they'd all originally spoken about, and that happened to be a very small chamber production, which is all about the storytelling and really exploring the complexity of the characters' relationships in the show."

Told in flashback, the story begins as a 17-year-old Englishman named Alex Dillingham falls in love with a rising French actress, Rose Vibert, in the late 1940s. When the two escape to his family's retreat in the South of France, the young man's uncle appears and changes the course of their affair — and their lives. Aspects of Love wends its way through generations of a family and their companions, exploring the ways each of them fall in love with one another to varying degrees. Babani said that the score remains intact (with no additions or deletions), but as with most Menier musicals, the orchestra for Aspects of Love will reflect the intimate feel of the 140-seat theatre. "It is a completely new orchestration," he said. Original orchestrator David Cullen has revisited the piece, for what Babani describes as "a complete re-think of the sound of what the show is. Mainly by necessity, given the size of the theatre, it's seven musicians and it'll be a beautiful chamber setting. There's no percussion in the band, so it really makes you listen."

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The new staging is designed by David Farley, with choreography by Lynne Page, lighting by Paul Pyant, musical supervision by Caroline Humphris, musical direction by Tom Murray, orchestrations by David Cullen and sound by Gareth Owen.

Read Playbill.com's recent interview with Menier artistic director David Babani, who talks about reinventing Aspects of Love at the Chocolate Factory.

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Arden made his Broadway debut as Tom Sawyer in the revival of Big River in 2003, and more recently he was seen in the short-lived The Times They Are A-Changing, Twyla Tharp's dance musical based on the music of Bob Dylan. Off-Broadway his credits include Swimming in the Shallows, Bare, Ace, God of Vengeance, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale and The Secret Garden. His TV and film credits include "Bones," "Numbers" and "Grey’s Anatomy" as well as "Bride Wars" and "The Good Shepherd."

Kingsley was last seen in The 39 Steps on U.K. tour. Her other theatre credits include Piaf for the Donmar Warehouse and at the Vaudeville Theatre for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award, The Truth Will Out for the Old Vic, The Black and White Ball at the King’s Head Theatre, Hobson’s Choice for the Chichester Festival Theatre, High Society at the Shaftesbury Theatre and on U.K. tour and The Canterbury Tales for Bristol Old Vic. Her television credits include "The Bill," "Hollyoaks" and "Casualty." Her film credits include "Weekend," "Days of the Siren" and "100 Second Marriage."

Willetts was last in the West End as Max in Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre. Other West End credits include Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre, the title role in Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Ragtime at the Piccadilly Theatre and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Craig's stage credits include Anyone Can Whistle at Jermyn Street Theatre, The Cocktail Party at the Donmar Warehouse and Hecuba and Alice in Wonderland, both for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Ellis' West End theatre credits include Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls, Les Misérables, The 39 Steps and The Lion King, as well as Grand Hotel at the Donmar Warehouse.

Brewer is making her professional stage debut in Aspects of Love.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7907 7060, or visit www.menierchocolatefactory.com.

Katherine Kingsley and Michael Arden
Katherine Kingsley and Michael Arden Photo by Catherine Ashmore
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