The show has been running at the Palladium since March 2002, and will close on Sept. 4, 2005.
The final cast will include Jason Donovan (who will return to the role of Caractacus Potts — created in London by Michael Ball — when Brian Conley leaves on June 18), Tony Adams, Christopher Biggins and Jo Gibb.
The production is directed by Adrian Noble, who attracted some controversy when he took on the project as it happened just as he was attracting a great deal of criticism for taking the Royal Shakespeare Company out of its London home, before quitting as artistic director.
The big budget musical almost stalled before it got started. Early previews were dogged with reports of engine trouble as the car wouldn’t start — and one gala performance in front of the Prince of Wales was halted when Chitty crashed into an onstage ship. The car itself was reported by the BBC to be the most expensive single stage prop ever built (no figures were cited).
Jason Donovan became famous in the UK for his starring role in the Australian TV soap opera, “Neighbours.” He followed that with a successful pop career. In recent years Donovan has become a stage star, playing the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Rocky Horror Show and Chitty. There will be life for the car outside of London, however. A UK tour will lift off in Sunderland in December, and the Broadway production has been nominated for five Tony awards. The producer is Michael Rose.