Strauss-Kissed Paradise Found Opens in London; Prince, Stroman, Nelson, Tunick and Fitzhugh Lead the Waltz
By Kenneth Jones
Paradise Found, the new American musical co-directed by Harold Prince and Susan Stroman, opens in its world-premiere run May 26 after previews from May 19 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. The starry company includes Tony Award winners Mandy Patinkin, Judy Kaye and Shuler Hensley.
Rehearsals for the musical comedy began April 5 in New York City. The company then flew to London to complete rehearsals (and tech the show) toward the first preview at the intimate venue where Broadway's current A Little Night Music and La Cage aux Folles got its start.
Paradise Found plays to June 26. The company includes Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow, Wonderful Town), Tony winner Hensley (Oklahoma!), Tony winner Kaye (The Phantom of the Opera), Tony winner Patinkin (Evita), five-time Tony nominee John McMartin (Sweet Charity, Follies, Grey Gardens), Tony nominee Nancy Opel (Urinetown, Toxic Avenger), George Lee Andrews (The Phantom of the Opera, A Little Night Music), Amanda Kloots-Larsen (Young Frankenstein), Lacey Kohl (Carousel, Cry Baby), Herndon Lackey (Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Les Misérables), Daniel Marcus (Pal Joey, Urinetown, Adding Machine), Jim Poulos (Rent, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), Martin Van Treuren (Candide at New York City Opera, How the Grinch Stole Christmas) and Pamela Winslow Kashani (Into the Woods, Beauty & the Beast).
Co-director Prince is a 21-time Tony Award winner (the original productions of Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Phantom of the Opera, Company, Follies, Evita), and Stroman is a five-time Tony Award winner (Crazy For You, Show Boat, The Producers, Contact). This is their first collaboration since their staging of the Tony Award-winning revival of Show Boat.
According to the producers, "Based on a true story, the highly comic and romantic musical Paradise Found is befitting of an Arabian Nights tale. It all starts with the Shah of Persia, who is feeling low. To lift his spirits, he's off to Vienna with his Eunuch in tow for new adventures. The Shah promptly falls in love with the Empress of the Empire, much to the dismay of her husband, so a resident of the local brothel — who is a double for the Empress — is substituted for a night of passion. But she's in love with a Baron, who's having an affair with the Soap Manufacturer's Wife…"
The production features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt (LoveMusik, Spelling Bee, Rock of Ages), costume design by Tony Award winner Judith Dolan (Candide, Parade), lighting design by Tony Award winner Howell Binkley (Jersey Boys, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Memphis) and sound design by Gareth Owen (A Little Night Music). Music director is Charles Prince (James Joyce's The Dead).
Listen to an excerpt from Playbill's May 2010 A Life in the Theatre interview with Hal Prince.
Paradise Found is being produced at The Menier Chocolate Factory by special arrangement with New York producers Jeff Berger, Apples and Oranges Productions/Tim Kashani and Pamela Winslow Kashani, Tony Ponturo, Andy Sandberg and Whitney Hoagland Edwards. The producers are hoping for a commercial life for the show in the U.S.
For tickets and information, visit www.menierchocolatefactory.com/paradise_found or call the Menier Box Office in London at 020-7907-7060.
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