Performances will resume in the West End Oct. 16 with an official opening scheduled for Oct. 21. The production will run for a limited 14-week season to Jan. 24, 2009.
Piaf is directed by Donmar associate director Jamie Lloyd and features Elena Roger in the title role in a return to the London stage after originating the role of Eva Peron in the 2006 revival of Evita (for which Lloyd was associate director to Michael Grandage) and subsequently taking over as one of the air hostesses in Boeing-Boeing. In her native Buenos Aires, Roger's credits include the original productions of Nine, Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables and Saturday Night Fever. In 2003 she devised Mina, che cosa sei with director Valeria Ambrosio, based on the life of the Italian singer, which won five awards including the ACE (Critics' Award) for Best Actress for Roger.
The previous West End revival of Piaf starred another former Evita, Elaine Paige, who created the role of Eva Peron in the original London production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical.
The West End producers of the current Piaf will be Arielle Tepper Madover and CMP Limited. In a press statement, Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage commented, "I am delighted that the Donmar's production of Piaf is transferring to the West End. We are enormously proud of it and particularly pleased that all the people who were unable to see it at the Donmar will now have an opportunity to catch it in its limited run at the Vaudeville Theatre." For the West End run, twenty £10 tickets in the front row of the stalls are being made available for sale daily from the box office at 10 AM.
The original production of Gems' 1978 play was also first presented at the Donmar, then run under the auspices of the RSC as their new writing studio home. That production, too, subsequently transferred to the West End's Piccadilly Theatre and was later seen at Broadway's Plymouth Theatre in 1981, with Jane Lapotaire reprising her performance in the title role. For this new production, Gems – whose other plays include Franz Into April (1977), Queen Christina (1977), The Blue Angel (1991), the book for the musical Marlene (1996) and Stanley (1996) – has reworked the play to newly "capture the glamour and squalor, the rise and fall, of this complex, fragile and enigmatic performer," according to press materials. To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4663 or visit www.piafonstage.com.