London Musical Gone with the Wind to Close

By Andrew Gans
and Mark Shenton
30 May 2008

Darius Danesh and Jill Paice in Gone with the Wind.
Darius Danesh and Jill Paice in Gone with the Wind.
Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Gone with the Wind, the new musical version of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel, will play its final performance at the New London Theatre June 14.

Directed by Trevor Nunn, the musical — which began previews April 5 and opened April 22 — will have played 79 performances.

In a statement producer Aldo Scrofani said, "From the beginning of our journey we have all worked hard to achieve the realisation of putting Margaret Mitchell's classic novel, 'Gone with the Wind,' on stage at the New London Theatre. Despite the critical response the Company have enjoyed much praise from audience members during our run and for that we are grateful, nevertheless we have made the difficult decision to close the production. Plans for a New York production are currently on hold but in the meantime we are pursuing various options that have been presented to us from interested parties worldwide."

The new musical co-stars Guys and Dolls' Darius Danesh as Rhett Butler and Curtains' Jill Paice as Scarlet O'Hara.

Gone with the Wind has been plagued with problems since performances began. An April 15 preview was canceled to accommodate extra technical and rehearsal time, actress Paice was sidelined for several performances due to a throat infection, and reviews were less than kind. Despite a reported overhaul — to trim the show's three-and-a-half-hour running time — the musical failed to ignite the box office.



Joining Paice and Danesh onstage are Edward Baker-Duly (South Pacific) as Ashley Wilkes; Madeleine Worall (Cinderella at the Old Vic) as Melanie Wilkes; American NaTasha Yvette Williams (The Color Purple) in her West End debut as Mammy; and Jina Burrows (Boogie Nights and Carmen Jones at the Royal Festival Hall) as Prissy.

The ensemble comprises Emily Bryant, Gareth Chart, Laura Checkley, Julian Forsyth, Kirsty Hoiles, Chris Jarman, Tober Reilly, David Roberts, Tom Sellwood, Ray Shell, Savannah Stevenson, Gemma Sutton, Sue Jane Tanner, Susan Tracy and Alan Winner.

The creative team for Nunn's production includes set and costume designers John Napier and Andreane Neofitou, respectively. Gareth Valentine (Wicked and Sinatra) is the musical supervisor and arranger with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Paul Groothius.

With music and lyrics by sociologist-turned-composer Margaret Martin, Gone With the Wind has been in development for three years with Nunn, Martin and producer Aldo Scrofani of Columbia Artists, who has teamed up with London producer Coilin Ingram for the West End premiere.

Set in 1860s Atlanta, Georgia, Gone With the Wind takes in America's Civil War and the Reconstruction Period that followed. Mitchell's heroine is 17-year-old Scarlett who lives a life of luxury on her father's plantation and embarks on a turbulent relationship with the dashing and dangerous Rhett.

All patrons holding tickets for performances from June 16 onwards should contact the original point of sale for full refunds.

For more on Gone With the Wind call (0)870 890 0141.