London's Gone with the Wind to Undergo Overhaul

News   London's Gone with the Wind to Undergo Overhaul
 
Margaret Martin's stage musical version of Gone with the Wind, now playing at the New London Theatre, will undergo an overhaul. It was confirmed to Playbill.com by a production spokesperson that the show is being cut in response to criticisms that its current three-and-a-half-hour running time is too daunting for audiences.
Darius Danesh and Jill Paice in Gone with the Wind.
Darius Danesh and Jill Paice in Gone with the Wind. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Producer Aldo Scrofani told the Daily Mail, "Even the people who love the show have said it's a bit long," and added, "It is long - and it's going to be cut."

A production spokesperson told Playbill.com that "changes are afoot and being worked on this coming week. . . The plan is to have a shorter show by the end of this week or beginning of the next."

Scrofani also told the Daily Mail that this is part of an ongoing commitment to the production, which they plan to weather through May – described in the story as an often a bumpy month in the West End – and into June. He is quoted saying, "We've never posted a closure notice, nor discussed it."

Directed by Trevor Nunn, Gone with the Wind officially opened at the New London Theatre April 22, following previews from April 5. One preview was canceled during previews (on April 15) to accommodate extra technical and rehearsal time.

The new musical co-stars former Pop Idol runner-up Darius Danesh (whose theatre credits include Guys and Dolls and Chicago in the West End) as Rhett Butler and Jill Paice (Curtains on Broadway, The Woman in White, West End and Broadway) as Scarlet O'Hara. Joining Paice and Danesh onstage are Edward Baker-Duly (South Pacific) as Ashley Wilkes; Madeleine Worall (Cinderella at the Old Vic) as Melanie Wilkes; American NaTasha Yvette Williams (Broadway's The Color Purple) in her West End debut as Mammy; and Jina Burrows (Boogie Nights and Carmen Jones at the Royal Festival Hall) as Prissy. The ensemble comprises Emily Bryant, Gareth Chart, Laura Checkley, Julian Forsyth, Kirsty Hoiles, Chris Jarman, Tober Reilly, David Roberts, Tom Sellwood, Ray Shell, Savannah Stevenson, Gemma Sutton, Sue Jane Tanner, Susan Tracy and Alan Winner.

The creative team for Nunn's production includes set and costume designers John Napier and Andreane Neofitou, respectively. Gareth Valentine (Wicked and Sinatra) is the musical supervisor and arranger with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Groothius.

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, who has teamed up with London producer Colin Ingram for the West End premiere.

Set in 1860s 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, call 0844 412 4654 or visit www.gwtwthemusical.com.

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