As Broadway comes back to life with half-a-dozen home-grown musicals in the nick of time for the Tonys, the West End is also gearing up for a distinctly musical summer.
First in is the transatlantic team of Ann Crumb and Gary Wilmot with a radically revised (new lyrics by Don Black) and down-scaled version of The Goodbye Girl; then we get the gloriously eccentric Issy Van Randwyck in a Regent's Park Open Air revival of Kiss Me, Kate; Philip George's musical farce about the casting of Gone With the Wind (Frankly Scarlett); Disney's Beauty and the Beast at last; another slice of Hollywood rock nostalgia with the first staging of Saturday Night Fever; and a new Off-Broadway experimental piece called The Fix.
Then there's the first-ever Abdication musical Always (Clive Carter as Edward VIII, Jan Hartley as Mrs. Simpson and the return after a long Los Angeles absence of Shani Wallis as her giddy aunt); San Francisco's long-running Beach Blanket Babylon; a National Youth Theatre revival of Bugsy Malone; Jerry Lewis in his legit London stage debut with Damn Yankees; and the two winners of last year's Musical of the Year contest in Denmark, The Three Musketeers and Enter The Guardsman.
All that and Chicago back at the Warehouse in Covent Garden for Christmas, as well as Adam Faith in from the road with a touring revival of A Chorus Line, while both Rent and a staging of the Leslie Bricusse Doctor Doolittle movie are rumored for early '98 as well as just a faint chance of Maureen Lipman in the last complete Noël Coward score Sail Away, first and last seen over here in the very early 1960's with Elaine Stritch, and before you all write in yes, there were two later Coward scores, but on High Spirits he only contributed additional lyrics, while The Girl Who Came To Supper had a book by Harry Kurnitz.
-- By Sheridan Morley