Isn't It Rich?: Menier A Little Night Music Arrives in the West End March 28

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28 Mar 2009

Hannah Waddingham
Hannah Waddingham

The Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's 1973 Broadway musical A Little Night Music — directed by Tony Award winner Trevor Nunn — begins performances at the West End's Garrick Theatre March 28 prior to an official opening April 7.

The production is initially booking to July 25.

A Little Night Music was seen at Southwark's Menier Chocolate Factory Nov. 22, 2008-March 8, 2009, where it completely sold out.

The West End transfer is produced by David Babani for Chocolate Factory Productions, Andrew Fell and Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres. It is the second Menier Chocolate Factory production to currently have a West End run: La Cage aux Folles is also playing at the Playhouse. It is also the second Menier production of a Sondheim show to transfer: Its production of Sunday in the Park with George moved to Wyndham's and was subsequently also staged under the auspices of Roundabout Theatre Company at Broadway's Studio 54. Other Menier shows to go onto a further life include its U.K. premiere of Fully Committed (which transferred to the Arts), Little Shop of Horrors (Duke of York's and New Ambassadors, and now on a national tour), Dealer's Choice and Maria Friedman Re-Arranged (both of which transferred to the Trafalgar Studios).

Led by a cast including Hannah Waddingham as Desiree, Maureen Lipman as Madame Armfeldt, Alexander Hanson as Fredrik, Kelly Price as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Jessie Buckley as Anne Egerman, Trevor Nunn's production of A Little Night Music has musical supervision by Caroline Humphris, musical direction by Tom Murray, set and costume design by David Farley, choreography by Lynne Page, orchestrations by Jason Carr, with lighting by Hartley T. A. Kemp and sound by Gareth Owen. The West End cast also includes John Addison (Mr. Erlanson), Laura Armstrong (Mrs. Anderssen), Lynden Edwards (Mr. Lindquist), Kaisa Hammarlund (Petra), Alistair Robins (Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm), Nicola Sloane (Mrs. Segstrom) and Gabriel Vick (Henrik Egerman). Holly Hallam and Grace Link alternate in the role of Fredrika Armfeldt.



Waddingham was most recently seen in the original West End company of Monty Python's Spamalot, starring as the Lady of the Lake, and subsequently re-created her role at Broadway's Shubert Theatre. Other West End credits include the original casts of Lautrec (Shaftesbury Theatre), The Beautiful Game (Cambridge Theatre) and Tonight's The Night at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Lipman began her career in Laurence Olivier's Company at the Old Vic. Her many West End credits include Candida, See How They Run, Lost in Yonkers, The Sisters Rosensweig, Wonderful Town, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma!, Peggy For You and Glorious, as well as her one-woman shows Re: Joyce and Live and Kicking. She most recently played Charlotta in The Cherry Orchard for Chichester Festival Theatre. She can currently be seen on ITV's "Ladies of Letters" with Anne Reid – her first comedy series since "Agony," "Agony Again" and "All at No 20." Her film credits include "The Pianist" and "Educating Rita."

Hanson was Olivier-nominated this year for his performance in Marguerite (Theatre Royal Haymarket). His many musical theatre credits include Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music (London Palladium), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Enter the Guardsman (Donmar Warehouse), Sunset Boulevard (Adelphi) and Candide (National Theatre).

Price has been seen as Roxie Hart in Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), Roberta Glass in Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre), Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre) and Lisa and Sophie in Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre).

Buckley, who made her professional debut as Anne in A Little Night Music, came to prominence as the runner-up in Andrew Lloyd Webber and the BBC's "I'd Do Anything." Since then she has performed in various concerts across the U.K. and Ireland, most recently Lloyd Webber's birthday tribute concert in Hyde Park.

A Little Night Music was last seen on the London stage when Sean Mathias directed a revival at the National's Olivier in 1995. It has also been previously produced on two earlier occasions in the West End, first when Hal Prince's original Broadway production came to the Adelphi in 1975, and again in 1989 when a Chichester Festival Theatre production transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre. The show, which is described in press materials as "a sophisticated musical in waltz time," is based on Ingmar Bergman's film "Smiles of a Summer Night." Set in turn-of-the-century Sweden where affairs of the heart are uppermost in everyone's thoughts, the story centers on the passionate liaisons between four couples over a midsummer weekend.

This production marks the first time that veteran director Trevor Nunn has directed a Sondheim musical. In the West End and on Broadway, he has been represented by such Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals as Cats, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love and Sunset Boulevard, as well as Les Misérables (co-directed with John Caird) and Chess (for a short-lived run on Broadway). He has also run both the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre. He was last represented in London by the short-lived run of the musical Gone with the Wind at the New London Theatre.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4662 or visit www.nightmusiclondon.com.