One Man, Two Guvnors, a London Slapstick Hit, Bounces Onto Broadway April 6

By Kenneth Jones
April 6, 2012

The Broadway transfer of the popular West End comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, about a manservant pulled between two bosses — and his own voracious appetite — begins performances April 6 at the Music Box Theatre. James Corden (The History Boys) repeats his praised London work as crazed butler Francis Henshall.



Producer Bob Boyett's Broadway engagement of the Nicholas Hytner-directed comedy by Richard Bean will open at the Music Box April 18. The National Theatre of Great Britain production continues with a new cast on the West End. Ten members of the original National cast appear in this American premiere.

One Man, Two Guvnors is based on Carlo Goldoni's 1745 commedia-inspired classic The Servant of Two Masters. 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…"

James Corden
photo by Johan Persson

The creative team includes Mark Thompson (set & costumes), Cal McCrystal (physical comedy director), Mark Henderson (lights) and Paul Arditti (sound).

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 www.Telecharge.com.

For more information, visit www.onemantwoguvnorsbroadway.com.

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The London cast album of the inbound Broadway comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, featuring the band The Craze performing original songs by Grant Olding, and using original troupers including star James Corden, will be released in the U.S. by DRG Records on April 10.

The disc, called "The Craze: One Man, Two Guvnors," has been available in the U.K. The new DRG release will feature Broadway art and new packaging, DRG president Hugh Fordin said. The disc will also boast an additional instrumental by The Craze entitled "Calypso Jones."

The CD features all 15 songs from the show, performed by Grant Olding and The Craze, as well as original cast members James Corden, Oliver Chris, Daniel Rigby, Martyn Ellis, Claire Lams, Suzie Toase and Jemima Rooper.

Visit DRGRecords.com. For more about The Craze, visit thecrazeband.co.uk. Visit PlaybillStore.com to view a variety of theatre-related recordings for sale.