The run at the West End's Duke of York will begin June 7 and open a week later, as previously reported by Playbill On-Line. James Lapine will remount the show. All the original designers will repeat their work. Dena Hammerstein and Pam Pariseau will produce for James Hammerstein Productions.
The show has already had its UK premiere. It played a four-week run, July 5 Aug. 3, 2002, at The West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, UK. Gareth Hendee, who was original director James Lapine's assistant on the New York production, staged the work, which was penned by Shear. The original cast starred. The mounting used the Broadway set, which was shipped across the Atlantic.
At the time, there was a possibility the project would transfer to the West End.
A hit on Broadway, Dirty Blonde looks at two single New Yorkers, Jo and Charlie, both Mae West fans, who meet at West's grave site. The play traces the couple's changing relationship while simultaneously tracking West's career. Shear plays both West (at all ages) and Jo. Chamberlin plays Charlie, the other fan, who falls in love with the resistant Shear, as well as some supporting roles from the life of West (W.C. Fields, etc.). Stillman plays various men, historical and otherwise, in West's wife. Kathy Nijimy replaced Shear on Broadway shortly before the show closed.
Dirty Blonde began at Off-Broadway's New York Theatre Workshop before it transferred to Broadway. All three actors won Tony nominations for their work. Lapine was also nominated and the show was a candidate for Best Play. Shear subsequently starred in a Washington, DC, bow of Blonde. Sally Mayes took over the role at the end of the run and continued with it as the production began a national tour.
Nijimy, Chamberlin and Stillman reprised their turns in Dirty Blonde for San Diego's Old Globe Theatre summer 2003.
Shear returned to the show recently for a run at California's Pasadena Playhouse and made headlines for calling out a man videotaping the performance during her curtain call. She asked for the tape. When the unidentified man refused to relinquish the illegal copy of the stagework, the audience began to shout at the offender, chanting "Give back the tape!" Police were called to the scene at the afternoon performance and the man handed over the bootleg tape without incident.