Michael John LaChiusa's 2000 Broadway musical version of The Wild Party is to be staged as the inaugural production of the Other Palace Theatre, the new name for the St. James Theatre that is now under the ownership of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Group and which is intended to provide a home and breeding ground for musicals new and old, complete and in development.
Producer Paul Taylor Mills has been appointed as its new artistic director and will produce The Wild Party, reuniting with Drew McOnie, who choreographed his London premiere of In the Heights (still running at King's Cross Theatre) and who will now serve as both director and choreographer for The Wild Party, which will begin performances February 11, 2017, prior to an official opening February 20 for a run through April 1.
The cast will include Tony winner Frances Ruffelle (the original Eponine in Les Miserables) as Queenie. Musical direction is by Theo Jamieson, with designs by Soutra Gilmour and lighting by Richard Howell.
It will be followed by the U.K. premiere of the Duncan Sheik-scored Whisper House, beginning performances April 6 prior to an official opening April 18, for a run through May 27. The show, which is described as a dark and thrilling musical ghost story, has book and lyrics by Obie Award winner Kyle Jarrow (A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant) and is conceived with Keith Powell.
La Strada, a stage adaptation of Fellini's classic 1957 film of the same name, features music by Benji Bower and will begin performances May 30 prior to an official opening May 31, for a run through July 8. Co-produced by Kenny Wax Ltd., Cambridge Arts Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, and originally staged at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre, it is directed by Sally Cookson.
The program will also include a work-in-progress production of The Little Beasts by Michael Conley and Luke Bateman, running July 13-30. It will be produced by Perfect Pitch, a not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to creating new British musicals. With full cast and band but a less developed set, work-in-progress productions will offer the first look at a new musical. Audiences will have the opportunity to contribute feedback, placing them at the heart of the development process. It will be directed and designed by Finn Caldwell.
National Youth Music Theatre will present two productions: the premiere of Imaginary, running August 9-12, featuring book and lyrics by Timothy Knapman, music and lyrics by Stuart Matthew Price; and a new production of Sunday in the Park with George, running August 16-19.
Completing the first season at The Other Palace is a three-week summer festival, From Page to Stage Festival of New Musicals, produced and curated by Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment. Over 20 professionally produced new musicals will be performed at all stages of development, in every corner of The Other Palace: from talks and extracts of shows in the bar to semi-staged readings in the studio and one fully produced musical in the theatre.
To book tickets for The Wild Party, Whisper House and La Strada, contact the box office on 0844 264 2121 or visit theotherpalace.co.uk.