The Boublil/Schonberg musical, Martin Guerre, which opened at London's Prince Edward Theatre July 10, 1996 to mixed reviews, then came back Nov. 1, 1996 in revised form, closes Feb. 28.
According to London production spokesperson Peter Thompson, producer Cameron Mackintosh is planning four further, separate productions in Europe, 1998-99. Also there'll be a new mounting in the United Kingdom "late next year," though as of Nov. 1997, the U.S. is not on the horizon.
Mackintosh had told Playbill On-Line in August, "I think I will do Martin Guerre in America regionally... It may end up on Broadway, but I'm not going to bring it in as a big London blockbuster -- simply because that isn't the nature of that show."
The musical, directed by Declan Donnellan, tells of a French peasant returning to his family in 1551 after nine years fighting in the war. His wife accepts him back -- especially since he's a changed and better man. But doubts about his true identity bother the townfolk.
Daniel Vigne's 1982 French film, The Return Of Martin Guerre, starred Gerard Depardieu and was remade into an American version starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. Hal Fowler, Jenna Russell and Michael Cahill currently star in the show, composed by the Miss Saigon and Les Miserables team: Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg. Edward Hardy & Stephen Clark penned the English lyrics. With Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer adding additional lyrics.
Produced for 3.5 million pounds, Martin Guerre recorded a cast album and was released early-to-mid November 1996 simultaneously in North America (on Geffen/Dreamworks Records) and England (on First Night Records).
For tickets and information on Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward Theatre on Old Compton St., call 011-44-171-734-8951.
-- By David Lefkowitz