Top Hat, Stage Premiere of Film of the Same Name, Opens at West End's Aldwych Theatre May 9
By Mark Shenton
Top Hat, a stage version of the 1935 film of the same name, opens at the West End's Aldwych Theatre May 9, following previews that began April 19 and a previous national tour.
The production, which stars Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen in the roles created in the film by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, respectively, is directed by Matthew White and choreographed by Bill Deamer. Also in principal roles are Martin Ball, Vivien Parry, Ricardo Alfonso and Stephen Boswell, leading a cast of 31 and accompanied by an orchestra of 15.
It is designed by Hildegarde Bechtler, with costumes by Jon Morrell, lighting by Peter Mumford, musical direction by Daniel Jackson, musical supervision by Richard Balcombe, new orchestrations provided by Chris Walker and sound by Gareth Owen. Top Hat is produced by Kenny Wax, and his partners on the production are Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley, Ted Hartley, Flora Suk-Hwa Yoon and Lee Menzies
With music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and based on the RKO motion picture, the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott has been adapted for the stage by Matthew White and Howard Jacques and is presented by arrangement with RKO Pictures LLC, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures Inc. and the Irving Berlin Music Company.
The score features the five Berlin classics from the film, including "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn’t It a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain" and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails," with another ten songs interpolated from elsewhere in the Berlin catalogue, including "Let's Face the Music and Dance," "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" and "Putting on the Ritz."
In the show, Jerry Travers (Chambers), the famous American tap dancer, arrives in London to appear in his first West End show. Travers meets the irresistible Dale Tremont (Strallen), the girl of his dreams, and follows her across Europe in an attempt to win her heart.
Chambers, who won the 2008 TV dancing contest "Strictly Come Dancing" with dance partner Camilla Dallerup, is best known from his three-year run as Sam Strachan in "Holby City." He has also appeared in BBC's "Waterloo Road" as Head Teacher Max Tyler. He previously appeared on stage in the stage version of Berlin's White Christmas at Sunderland Empire in 2010.
Strallen created the role of Meg Giry in Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre, and other credits include Maria in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium and Janet Van Der Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Novello for which she was Olivier Award-nominated. Screen credits include "Hotel Babylon," "Beyond the Sea" and "Hollyoaks."
Martin Ball and Vivien Parry play husband and wife Horace and Madge Hardwick. Ball recently played Thenardier in Les Miserables (Queens), and was also in the original company of Wicked (Apollo Victoria). Parry was most recently onstage in Shakespeare's Will and Great Expectations at Theatr Clwyd.
Richardo Alfonso, who plays Albert Beddini, was last seen in the West End as Galileo in We Will Rock You (Dominion), and has also been lead vocalist in Strictly Come Dancing - the Professionals tour.
Stephen Boswell, who plays Horace's valet Bates, was seen on stage earlier this year in Double Falsehood at the Union Theatre.
Director Matthew White's credits include the Menier Chocolate Factory's productions of Sweet Charity and Little Shop of Horrors, both of which transferred to the West End, and Maria Friedman – by Special Arrangement for the Donmar Warehouse.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 847 1712. For further details visit www.tophatonstage.com.
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