The production will star Lauren Ward, who originated the role of Miss Honey in the RSC's production of Matilda at Stratford-upon-Avon and in the West End and was subsequently Tony-nominated for reprising it on Broadway, as Meredith Parker, with Matthew White as Dr. Parker.
The production will be directed by Luke Fredericks with choreography by Broadway's Joey McKneely and set and costume design by Stewart Charlesworth. Fredericks and Charlesworth previously collaborated on Morphic Graffiti's productions of Jekyll and Hyde at the Union Theatre and Carousel at the Arcola.
McKneely's credits include directing and recreating the choreography for the 50th anniversary production of West Side Story, which debuted at Sadler’s Wells in 2008 and has since played all over the world, and his Broadway credits include The Boy from Oz, Smokey Joe's Café (Tony Award nomination), Cy Coleman's The Life (Tony Award nomination), On the Town (1998 revival) and Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party.
In the show, "a strange bat-child is discovered in a dank cave in deepest, darkest West Virginia. For the small community of Hope Falls, the discovery threatens to shake its moral core and the residents turn to the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, in the hope that he will know what to do with the strange creature. Taken under the wing of Dr Parker’s wife, the boy is taught in the ways of the world and adjusts to life in this seemingly normal American family. However, ‘normal’ is merely the cycle on Mrs Parker’s washing machine. Secrets, lies and a mysterious case of dead cows leave our Bat Boy at the mercy of his God-fearing community and the shocking truth that reveals the hidden beast in all of us."
The musical, which has a story and book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and arrangements and orchestrations by Laurence O'Keefe and Alex Lacamoire, was inspired by an article run by American tabloid The Weekly World News, a paper of fabricated stories that many unsuspecting readers believed to be real. Bat Boy: The Musical won New York’s Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical in 2001. This new production is being produced by Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd., who have worked with Equity on a special agreement between both parties, which will ensure everyone on the production will receive at least the national minimum wage.
In a press statement, Emmanuel de Lange of Equity commmented, "I’m very pleased with our Bat Boy agreement, which guarantees pay, and other important terms and conditions for the cast. It’s a dramatic improvement on the usual deal for shows like this, and I hope will make a real difference to the lives of these performers. Lots of people claim to care about the treatment of performers, but Paul Taylor-Mills has shown he means business. He’s demonstrated an impressive commitment to the performers he’s hiring, and the industry as a whole, by working tirelessly to make this happen. I’m confident this can be the start of a long term relationship, and look forward to working with him in future."
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7407 0234, or visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk for more details.