By Matthew Blank
19 Apr 2012
Producer Bob Boyett's Broadway engagement of the Nicholas Hytner-directed comedy by Richard Bean is produced with The National Theatre of Great Britain, where the adaptation was first seen. The London production continues with a new cast on the West End. Ten members of the original National cast appear in this American premiere, which includes pratfalls, spit-takes, flying food, mistaken identity, audience interaction, original pop songs performed live (eventually, by everyone!) and nimble waiters that would make the late film director Blake Edwards proud.
One Man, Two Guvnors is based on Carlo Goldoni's 1740s commedia-inspired classic The Servant of Two Masters, about a harlequin getting into scrapes while working for two bosses. Corden's corpulent Henshall lights up when money, food or sex is in the offing, usually leading to disastrous results. (The actor has reportedly lost 70 pounds since he first played the athletic role.) There is no such thing as the Fourth Wall in One Man, Two Guvnors. Corden has the audience eating out of his hand; many say he's guaranteed a Best Actor Tony Award nomination later this spring.
The staging has original songs by Grant Olding. Music by a live band and singers play a major role in the buoyant and wild production, which is set in swinging-'60s England where jazz, rock and pop were fusing together. The score includes a "skiffle" element that uses disparate musical instruments (bicycle horns, anyone?) and found objects to flavor the rock 'n' roll.
The company of One Man, Two Guvnors also features Oliver Chris as "Stanley Stubbers," Jemima Rooper as "Rachel Crabbe," Tom Edden as "Alfie," Martyn Ellis as "Harry Dangle," Trevor Laird as "Lloyd Boateng," Claire Lams as "Pauline Clench," Fred Ridgeway as "Charlie Clench," Daniel Rigby as "Alan Dangle" and Suzie Toase as "Dolly," plus Brian Gonzales, Eli James, Ben Livingston, Sarah Manton, Stephen Pilkington, David Ryan Smith and Natalie Smith.
James Corden is appearing with the permission of Actors' Equity Association. Oliver Chris, Jemima Rooper, Tom Edden, Martyn Ellis, Trevor Laird, Claire Lams, Fred Ridgeway, Daniel Rigby and Suzie Toase are appearing with the support of Actors' Equity Association.
According to production notes, "In One Man, Two Guvnors, Corden stars as Francis Henshall [the title's "one man"]. Always-famished and easily-confused, Henshall agrees to work for a local gangster as well as a criminal in hiding [ the "two guvnors"], both of whom are linked in a tangled web of schemes and romantic associations... none of which Francis can keep straight. So he has to do everything in his power to keep his two guvnors from meeting while trying to eat anything in sight along the way. Simple. Falling trousers, flying fish heads, star-crossed lovers, cross-dressing mobsters and a fabulous on-stage band are just some of what awaits [in the acclaimed] play…"
The comedy features audience participation, but only if you have seats in the first few rows.
The Broadway production follows a sold-out run that opened at the National Theatre in May 2011; a UK tour; and, a popular run in London's West End that began in fall 2011. One Man, Two Guvnors recently won the Evening Standard and the London Critics Circle Awards.
The play is produced on Broadway by Bob Boyett and the National Theatre of Great Britain. Read more about British director Hytner's Broadway career in the Playbill Vault.
The performance schedule is Tuesday-Saturday evenings at 8 PM, Wednesday & Saturdays at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM. Beginning April 24, the performance schedule is Tuesday evenings at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday evenings at 8 PM, Wednesday & Saturdays at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.
Ticket prices range from $26.50-126.50. Tickets are available by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250 or online at Telecharge.com.
For more information, visit onemantwoguvnorsbroadway.com.