Michael Crawford is set to make his West End musical comeback in Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick, based on the novel by John Updike, which is due to open at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on June 13, 2000, following previews from May 26. Crawford, who achieved international fame in 1986 in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, will play devil incarnate Darryl Van Horne, played by Jack Nicholson in the 1987 Warner Brothers film.
In the UK, Crawford made his name as accident prone Frank Spencer in the 1970s TV sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. He later won theatrical acclaim in musical productions such as Barnum, in which he demonstrated his acrobatic as well as singing skills. After the premiere of The Phantom of the Opera in the West End, he went on to play the title role on Broadway and in Los Angeles, receiving many accolades including both a Tony and an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. So successful was he in the part that, with a film adaptation now in the works, scores of devotees have waged a high profile campaign to secure Crawford the screen role over Hollywood contenders including Antonio Banderas.
The Witches of Eastwick will be Crawford's first appearance in a London musical since Phantom more than a decade ago. Final casting has not been announced though it is rumored that Crawford will be joined by Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Desi Arnaz and American comedienne Lucille Ball, and West End stars Joanna Riding and Maria Friedman as the trio of bored, devil-loving New England women played by Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer in the film.
The Witches of Eastwick has book and lyrics by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe, whose musical The Fix premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 1997. The show will be directed by Eric Schaeffer, designed by Bob Crowley and choreographed by Bob Avian with orchestrations are by William D Brohn, sound design by Andrew Bruce and lighting design by Howard Harrison.
Prior to the opening of the new production, the auditorium of the Theatre Royal will be architecturally remodelled, giving it a new seating configuration. The current capacity of 2,240 seats will be reduced to 1,650 to maximise intimacy. For further information, contact the box office on 011-44-171-494-5000.