Director Nunn Finds His Rhett for London Gone With the Wind

News   Director Nunn Finds His Rhett for London Gone With the Wind Darius Danesh will be Rhett Butler in Trevor Nunn's upcoming London production of the stage musical Gone With the Wind.
Darius Danesh
Darius Danesh

The world premiere musical version of Maragaret Mitchell's epic novel opens at the West End's New London Theatre April 27 following previews that begin April 5.

Singer and songwriter Danesh, who rose to fame in the British TV show "Pop Idol," will join the previously announced Jill Paice, who plays Scarlet O'Hara.

Onstage Danesh has twice played Billy Flynn in the London production of Chicago and last year starred as Sky in Michael Grandage's London revival of Guys and Dolls.

Joining Paice and Danesh onstage will be Edward Baker-Duly (South Pacific); Madeleine Worall (Cinderella at the Old Vic); American NaTasha Yvette Williams (The Color Purple) in her West End debut; and Jina Burrows (Boogie Nights and Carmen Jones at the Royal Festival Hall).

The creative team for Nunn's production inlcudes set and costume designers John Napier and Andreane Neofitu, respectively. Gareth Valentine (Wicked and Sinatra) is musical supervisor and arranger with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Groothius. Paice created the role of Laura Fairlie in Nunn's production of The Woman in White both at the Palace Theatre in London and on Broadway. Her other theatre credits include Nicki Harris in Curtains at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and currently on Broadway where she reprises the role opposite David Hyde Pierce. She was also the original Sophie in the Las Vegas company of Mamma Mia! and appeared in the U.S. touring company of Les Misérables. Her recording credits include the original cast recordings of Curtains, The Woman in White and The Gig as well as a featured artist on the Andrew Lloyd Webber on Broadway album.

It is thought that Gone With the Wind will be based more on Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning epic novel rather than the 1939 movie starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh movie.

With music and lyrics by sociologist-turned-composer Margaret Martin, Gone With the Wind has been in development for three years with Nunn, Martin and producer Aldo Scrofani of Columbia Artists, who has teamed up with London producer Colin Ingram for the West End premiere.

Set in 1860's Atlanta, Georgia, Gone With the Wind takes in America's Civil War and the Reconstruction Period that followed. Mitchell's heroine is 17-year-old Scarlett who lives a life of luxury on her father's plantation and embarks on a turbulent relationship with the dashing and dangerous Rhett.

In an earlier statement, Nunn said "Having now worked on adapting two vast novels for the stage, Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables I am drawn to the challenge of telling Margaret Mitchell's epic story through words, music and the imaginative resources of the theatre. The major turning point of American history is conveyed through Mitchell's extraordinary cast of characters, black and white, as they pursue their different ideas of the future, and of the past."

For more on Gone With the Wind, which is booking until Sept. 27, 2008, call (0)870 890 0141.