Merry Wives of Windsor — The Musical, part of the RSC’s year-long Complete Works season, receives its world premiere at Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre Dec. 2, with an official opening night on Dec. 12.
Gregory Doran’s production features a stellar cast, including the previously announced Judi Dench (who appeared in Doran's production of All's Well That Ends Well) as Mistress Quickly and Desmond Barrit as Falstaff.
Other new additions to the cast include Hadyn Gwynne (last seen in Billy Elliot) as Mistress Page and Alexandra Gilbreath (The Taming of the Shrew, The Tamer Tamed) as Mistress Ford, and Scarlett Strallen, who recently played the title role of Mary Poppins in the West End, will make her RSC debut as Anne Page.
McGowan is best known to the British public as a television impressionist. Over the last year he’s carved a stage career with appearances in Chichester Festival productions of The Government Inspector and 5/11, Edward Kemp’s 2005 play marking the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot and drawing comparisons with today’s War on Terror.
Directed and adapted by Doran, Merry Wives has music composed by Paul Englishby (who worked with Doran on The Tamer Tamed and All’s Well that Ends Well) and lyrics by Ranjit Bolt. London’s Daily Mail reports that producer Cameron Mackintosh has expressed an interest in transferring the show to the West End after its Stratford run finishes on Feb. 10. For more on Merry Wives, call (0)870 609 1110.