What’s Hot in London: September 3-9

News   What’s Hot in London: September 3-9 Andrew Lloyd Webber speaks up for musical training, Nick Hytner will publish a memoir, Jack Thorne pens a musical and Dead Funny set its return.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London
David Fynn and <i>School of Rock </i>Kids
David Fynn and School of Rock Kids

School of Rock finds three sets of child actors to star with David Fynn.
As Andrew Lloyd Webber announced the London cast for School of Rock, beginning performances October 24 at the West End’s New London Theatre, he talked of the importance of music in education. “At this time when there are cuts to music in schools, these are the kids that prove music is vital,” he said. Music, he added, “is a force for the good and empowers young people. The reason I loved this story is every character in this story is somehow changed for the better through music.”

Unlike on Broadway, where only one principal cast of children had to be found to play the schoolkids, child employment laws in Britain have necessitated finding three separate teams to rotate in the show. Lloyd Webber previously feared it would be a tall order, but he told the BBC, “The depth of musical talent that we auditioned is something that I have to admit I didn’t think we would find. I kind of feared they'd all be into their computers, but this proves that they aren’t. We could have found five bands to play”.

Playing the lead role of Dewey Finn—originated in the film version by Jack Black and on Broadway by Alex Brightman—will be comedy actor David Fynn, who has appeared on TV in The Inbetweeners, Sherlock and Game of Thrones and is a series regular in Pete vs Life for Channel 4 and Undateable for NBC/Comedy Central.

Nick Hytner will recall his tenure at the helm of the National in a new book.
Like his predecessors Peter Hall and Richard Eyre, Nick Hytner—who stepped down from his 12-year tenure as artistic director of the National Theatre last year—is set to now record the experience in a book, set to be published in May 2017 by Jonathan Cape. Called Balancing Acts, the publishers have said, “With candor, intelligence, humour and insight born from experience of extraordinary successes and lunatic failures, Hytner explores the biggest questions facing the creative industries right now. This is a book not just for theatre lovers, but for anybody interested in the future of our cultural landscape, and the role art plays in society today.”

Those “extraordinary successes” have included Hytner's own productions of The History Boys and One Man Two Guvnors, both of which transferred to the West End and Broadway, as well as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, that did the same thing but were not directed by him. In the deficit corner, I wonder where Tori Amos's The Light Princess will figure?

Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling & John Tiffany. Photo credit Dan Wooller (2).jpg
Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany Dan Wooller

Jack Thorne to follow Harry Potter success with a new musical.
The playwright Jack Thorne, who co-authored Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with J.K. Rowling and director John Tiffany, is to write book and lyrics for his first musical, Junkyard. Set to premiere at Bristol Old Vic next February, the show begins a run on February 24 prior to an official opening March 2, before touring to Mold in Wales and Kingston in Surrey, near London.

With music by Stephen Warbeck (who won an Academy Award for his score to Shakespeare in Love) and directed by Jeremy Herrin, it's based on the true story of a group of Bristol teenagers who come together to build an adventure playground.

Terry Johnson to revive Dead Funny.
Tony-winning director Terry Johnson (La Cage Aux Folles) is to direct a revival of his own 1994 comedy Dead Funny in a new production at the Vaudevill Theatre from October 27. The show was first produced at Hampstead Theatre in 1994 before transferring to the Vaudeville. The cast will include Katherine Parkinson, Steve Pemberton, Ralf Little, Emily Berrington and Rufus Jones.

For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com—and follow me on Twitter here, @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.

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