Marguerite to Shutter Early; Girl With a Pearl Earring to Play Haymarket Next

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21 Aug 2008

Ruthie Henshall is <I>Marguerite</I> in London.
Ruthie Henshall is Marguerite in London.
Photo by Tristram Kenton
Marguerite — the new musical by Michel Legrand, Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Jonathan Kent that is currently running at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket — will end its run early. A closing notice has been posted for Sept. 13. The new musical — starring Ruthie Henshall in the title role — was originally scheduled to run through Nov. 1.

A statement issued by co-authors and producers Boublil and Schönberg reads, "Despite high praise from audience members, critically acclaimed performances and the release of the much anticipated cast recording, we have made the difficult decision to close the show in London a few weeks earlier than originally planned. Both the knock on effect of the current economic climate, as well as disappointing ticket sales throughout the summer months have contributed to our decision to close early."

They added, "We are grateful to our outstanding cast led by Ruthie Henshall, Julian Ovenden and Alexander Hanson and to our exceptional production team and artistic collaborators who have helped us to realise Marguerite: at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. We are very proud of what we have achieved. In January next year we begin rehearsals for a Japanese production which will open at the Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo in February, followed by performances in Osaka, and plans are underway for a Spanish production in 2009 and a French production in 2010."

The Haymarket is filling the hole in its schedule by a West End transfer of David Joss Buckley's new play, Girl With a Pearl Earring, starring Adrian Dunbar as Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. Performances will begin Sept. 24 prior to an official opening on Sept. 29, for a run to Nov. 1. Prior to London, it will play the Cambridge Arts Theatre Sept. 11-20.

The play is adapted from Tracy Chevalier's novel that was also subsequently made into a film in 2003 that starred Colin Firth as Vermeer and Scarlett Johansson as Griet, the young woman he hires to help in his house. She soon becomes more than a servant, learning the art of painting herself by watching him work; secretly, he begins to paint her, and she becomes model and muse for his greatest masterpiece, Girl with a Pearl Earring.



Dunbar last appeared on the London stage in last year when he took over the role of playboy Bernard in Boeing-Boeing at the Comedy Theatre. His film appearances include roles in "My Left Foot," "The Crying Game," "The General" and more.

He is joined in the cast by Kimberley Mixon (who played Sophy in the TV adaptation of "Cranford") as Griet, with Sara Kestelman as Maria Thins, Niall Buggy as Van Ruijven and Lesley Vickerage as Catherina. Also in the cast are Maggie Service, Jonathan Bailey and Flora Spencer-Longhurst. The play is directed by Joe Dowling (whose Broadway credits include the Roundabout's production of Tartuffe in 2003, London Assurance; Philadelphia, Here I Come!; and Juno and the Paycock), with set and lighting design by Peter Mumford, costume design by Fotini Dimou, sound by Matt McKenzie and original music by Christopher Gunning. It is produced by Brian Eastman and Andrew Welch.

For tickets contact the box office at 0845 481 1870 or visit www.girlwithapearlearring.co.uk.