Bartlett Sher Will Direct Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in West End; Musical Finds Its Pepa

By Mark Shenton
20 Jun 2014

Women on the Verge of A Nervous Breakdown, David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane's 2010 Broadway musical version of the 1988 film of the same name by Pedro Almodóvar, is to receive its British premiere in a brand-new production that has been reconceived and re-imagined for the U.K. stage by its original Broadway director Bartlett Sher



It will begin performances Dec. 20 at the West End's Playhouse Theatre, prior to an official opening Jan. 12. In December 2013, Playbill.com broke the news that Sher would return to direct the London premiere

The production follows two full-scale development workshops with actors, musicians and the creative team, and is being billed as a strictly limited 20-week run, through May 9, 2015. Produced by Howard Panter for ATG, it follows the current London production of another Yazbek/Lane musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre, also produced by ATG.

Set in Madrid, the show follows Pepa (to be played by Tamsin Greig) and her friends as they juggle their everyday lives and extraordinary moments. Originally based by Almodóvar on Jean Cocteau’s The Human Voice, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" was Almodóvar's first international hit. It captured a liberated Spain, placing women at the centre of their own experience. Pepa, Candela and Lucia became iconic, showing women struggling for power over their own lives.

In a press statement, Greig commented, "I am excited, thrilled and terrified to have been invited to collaborate with artists of the calibre of Pedro Almodóvar, Bart Sher, David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane to perform in a musical.  If it's true that you are only as good as the company you keep, then I am in very safe hands. And I feel very fortunate to have been encouraged – well, bullied – by my agent to have singing lessons, to learn new skills and to experience other creative mediums. I have also run out of excuses why I can't do it!"

Sher stated, "I keep returning to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown because Pedro’s vision of the world and women, his humour and his style, seem more important now than at any time since the film premiered. It’s a joy to return to Pedro’s world."

Almodóvar, who has been involved in the development workshops, commented, "I love that my ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ resists the passing of time. Twenty-six years after having been created, they’re still alive. This time, with the very talented Bart Sher in command, they’re taking London, a city that’s always been to me the paradigm of freedom, pleasure and modernity. I wish them a long and funny stay!"

Tickets are not on sale yet. To register to be notified when they are and for further details, visit WomenOnTheVergeMusical.com.