Some 70 rediscovered and unknown musicals have been presented so far, for which producer/director Ian Marshall Fisher, who founded the series, has worked with the estates of the writers along with Yale University and Washington's Library of Congress, to reconstruct, produce, cast and direct work by Stephen Sondheim, Orson Welles, Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash, Richard Rodgers, John Steinbeck and the Gershwins, amongst others.
This year's season of rediscovered shows launches March 27 with The Band Wagon, featuring music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics and book by Howard Dietz and book by George S. Kaufman. Not seen since 1931, this revue was written for Fred and Adele Astaire. Songs include "Dancing in the Dark," "I Love Louisa" and "High and Low." MGM borrowed a few of the songs for a film they made of the same title, but none of the sketches.
Coco follows, beginning performances May 15. In 1969, Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and André Previn (music) wrote this vehicle for Katharine Hepburn (a role later played by Danielle Darrieux and Ginger Rogers) but also for Coco Chanel herself. The show is about Chanel's dilemma, which occurred in her sixties, as she attempted to maintain her world-class status as a fashion leader while newer, younger designers began to usurp her place. This is the musical's European premiere.
Finally, Mexican Hayride, featuring music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, begins performances July 17. Written in 1944, Bobby Clark and June Havoc (the original Baby June, upon whose early life Gypsy was based) starred in this musical about an American, Joe Bascom, a "fifth"-rate racketeer who mistakenly becomes a Mexican hero. The score includes the beguine "I Love You." According to press materials, this completely forgotten success has not been seen since its original run.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 412 4300; for the full schedule of performances and further information, visit www.sadlerswells.com.