The current production of the 60s musical Half a Sixpence, running at Chichester Festival Theatre through September 3, has announced a transfer to the West End. It will begin performances October 26 prior to an official opening November 17 at the Noël Coward Theatre.
The entire Chichester cast will transfer to the West End, including newcomers Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps and Devon-Elise Johnson as Ann Pornick, alongside three-time Olivier-nominated actor Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow and three-time Olivier-nominated actress Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham.
This new stage version of Half a Sixpence, adapted from H.G. Wells’ semi-autobiographical novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Sou, is a completely fresh adaptation that reunites book-writer Julian Fellowes with George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the musical team that co-creator Cameron Mackintosh first put together to create the hit stage adaptation of Mary Poppins with Disney. The score is inspired by and features several of composer David Heneker's exhilarating songs from the original production, including "Flash Bang Wallop," "Money To Burn" and "Half A Sixpence."
In a statement, producer Cameron Mackintosh commented, “I am absolutely thrilled that our new version of the iconic British musical Half a Sixpence has gone off with such a flash bang wallop and been so rapturously received by both audiences and critics alike, breaking box office records in Chichester. The show’s amazing cast is headed by the sensational new young star Charlie Stemp, who has put his own brilliantly original stamp on a part that fifty years ago launched Tommy Steele's international theatre and film career. Everyone seems to agree that history is about to repeat itself with Charlie, whose performance is sending audiences into raptures nightly. I'm also thrilled that the show is going to open in London at the Noël Coward Theatre, original home of another great iconic British musical Oliver! which premiered in 1960, three years before Sixpence opened up the street at the Cambridge Theatre. The spacious Coward stage will perfectly show off Paul Brown's brilliant design.”
Half a Sixpence is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, designed by Paul Brown and choreographed by Andrew Wright. Orchestrations are by William David Brohn; the musical supervisors are Stephen Brooker and Graham Hurman, who will also conduct. Lighting is by Paule Constable with sound by Mick Potter and video design by Luke Halls. The original 1963 musical was written by Beverley Cross and David Heneker.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 5140 or visit halfasixpence.co.uk.
(Updated September 1, 2016)