Richard Hartley and Richard O'Brien, the writers of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Show, have written music and lyrics for The Stripper, which opens July 11 at London's St. James Theatre.
The theatre's downstairs Studio has been transformed into a sleazy nightclub, The Club Extravaganza, for the show, which is based on the pulp fiction story by Carter Brown. Previews began July 7, and the show is scheduled for a limited run through August 13.
Set in 1961 in Pine City, CA, it revolves around a woman who is threatening to throw herself off the top of the fanciest hotel in town. There's trouble brewing and Lieutenant Al Wheeler wants answers. First stop, Club Extravaganza, which finds Wheeler thrust into a sleazy underworld of strip joints and lost lonely hearts.
It is directed by Benji Sperring, who directed the first stage production of Shock Treatment, the sequel to The Rocky Horror Show, at the King's Head. First staged at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch in 2009, this new production is presented by Niall Bailey and Chris Wheeler for Scala Theatre Ltd.
The Stripper is one of three shows being presented at the St. James this year. It will be followed in the Studio by the European premiere of Waiting for Waiting for Godot, beginning performances August 30 prior to an official opening September 1, for a run through September 24. Dave Hanson's Off-Broadway comedy will be directed by Mark Bell, currently represented in the West End by The Play About a Bank Robbery. In the play, two hapless understudies occupy their time backstage, trying to understand art, life, theatre and their precarious existence within it. It turns out that the only people who truly understand Beckett's Waiting for Godot are the understudies. It is produced by Libby Brodie Productions.
Finally, in the main house, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, first seen at the St. James earlier this year, will have a return season, beginning performances September 7 prior to an official opening September 13 for a run through October 16. Produced by Hershey Felder with Samantha F. Voxakis, Karen Racanelli and Robert M. Birmingham, the theatre's creative director James Albrecht commented, "This is the first time we have brought a show back to the St. James, but Mona Golabek's remarkable account of her mother Lisa Jura's escape from Austria on the Kindertransport, her subsequent survival of the London Blitz and elevation to concert pianist, captured the hearts and imaginations of our audience in unprecedented numbers.” The play is adapted and directed by Felder and performed by Mona Golabek, with design by Felder and Trevor Hay, lighting design by Christopher Rynne and Jason Bieber, costume design by Jaclyn Maduff, sound design by Erik Carstensen and projection design by Andrew Wilder.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 264 2140 or visit stjamestheatre.co.uk.
(Updated July 11, 2016)