Previews began Nov. 4. In a press statement that refers to "an overwhelmingly public response" and "a string of award nominations" (for the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards, whose nominees were announced Dec. 5), lead producer Beth Trachtenberg has laid the blame firmly at the feet of London's theatre critics. She has commented, "Night after night we have seen audiences stirred to the depths of their emotions by this show. Fundamentally I do not think the critics should be making a moral judgment over the subject matter and moreover that they are generally not prepared to embrace musicals. I've witnessed the public's response to the show that is directly opposed to a narrow-minded critical belief that musicals are limited in their emotional impact and ability to deal with meaningful subject matter in a powerful and sensitive manner. I am enormously proud of Imagine This and of the wonderful cast and crew."
The press statement further comments that the musical "provoked great controversy in the British press, with many papers attacking it for trivializing the Holocaust."
Featuring music by Shuki Levy and book and lyrics by Glenn Berenbein and David Goldsmith respectively, Imagine This originally tried out at the Plymouth Theatre Royal in July 2007.
It stars Peter Polycarpou, who originated the role of John in the world premiere of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1989, as Daniel Warshowsky, the head of a family of actors. Also in leading roles are Leila Benn-Harris, Simon Gleeson, Bernard Lloyd, Richard Cotton, Michael Matus, Gary Milner, Steven Serlin, Sevan Stephan, Sarah Ingram and Cameron Leigh. Also in the cast are Rachael Archer, Marc Antolin, Stuart Boother, Emily Jane Boyle, Oliver Brenin, Michael Camp, Joel Elferink, Bob Harms, Paul Iveson, Roy Litvin, Aoife Nally, Grant Neal, Darragh OLeary, Vincent Pirillo, Philippa Stefani, Rebecca Sutherland, Carrie Sutton, Gemma Sutton, Lucy Thatcher and Michael Watson.
Imagine This is directed by Timothy Sheader, artistic director of the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, where his productions last summer included Romeo and Juliet and Gigi. Sets are by Broadway's Eugene Lee (Wicked, Sweeney Todd and Candide), costumes by Ann Hould-Ward (Beauty and the Beast), and choreography by Liam Steel (Complicite, DV8, Frantic Assembly). The show is produced in London by Beth Trachtenberg, Anita Mann, Leigh Mason, Jean Mason and ICW Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth.
To book tickets, contact the box office at 0844 412 4654 or visit the www.ImagineThisTheMusical.com.