Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair to Make European Premiere in August

News   Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair to Make European Premiere in August The stage version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1945 and 1962 film musical "State Fair" — re-made for the theatre with a book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli, based on the novel by Phil Stong and the screenplay by Oscar Hammerstein II and first seen on Broadway in 1996 — will receive its European premiere at the fringe Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court.

The production will begin performances there Aug. 4, prior to an official opening Aug. 6, for a four-week season through Aug. 29.

The season is being produced by Thom Southerland in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre, and directed by Southerland, who is making his Finborough debut with his production. Musical direction is by Alex Weatherhill, choreography by Sally Brooks, design by Alison Brookes and lighting by Steve Miller.

The cast includes Kellie Shirley (Rookery Nook at the Menier Chocolate Factory), Siôn Lloyd (Avenue Q at the Noel Coward Theatre, The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London and national tour, and Debbie Does Dallas on national tour), Laura Main (Alice in Wonderland for the RSC, Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It both for the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, and Tea and Sympathy and Young Woodley, both at the Finborough Theatre), and Susan Travers (TV credits include "The Avengers," "The Saint" and "Van Der Valk").

According to press materials, the show "is set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition. It follows the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the 1946 annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on winning blue ribbons for best boar and best homemade mincemeat, whilst their daughter and son find both love and heartbreak in the romance of the busy fairground." The score includes "It Might as Well Be Spring" (winner of the 1946 Oscar for Best Original Song) and "It's A Grand Night for Singing," as well as additional songs that were either featured in, or cut from, other R&H shows including Oklahoma!, Pipe Dream, Allegro and Me and Juliet.

Southerland is currently represented in London by his production of Call Me Madam at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate (running through Aug. 16). He has also recently directed fringe productions of Rent (at Catford Broadway Theatre) and the UK premiere of Meredith Willson's The Unsinkable Molly Brown (at the Landor). Other productions include the European premiere of I Sing!, Divorce Me Darling!, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pajama Game and all-male productions of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore and The Mikado (all at the Union Theatre); and Bent, Oklahoma!, The Diary of Anne Frank and Mack and Mabel (all at Catford Broadway Theatre). To book tickets, contact the box office at 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk.