U.K. Premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Will Star Tony Winner Robert Lindsay; Jerry Mitchell Directs
By Mark Shenton
Jerry Mitchell will inaugurate his previously announced new production company, Jerry Mitchell Productions, by staging the U.K. premiere of the 2005 Broadway musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which will debut out-of-town in Manchester and Aylesbury in February 2014 before transferring to the West End's Savoy Theatre. The production will star Tony winner Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley.
It will begin performances at Manchester's Opera House Feb. 12 for a run through Feb. 22, then play at Aylesbury's Waterside Theatre Feb. 26 for a run through March 1, before beginning performances at London's Savoy Theatre March 10 prior to an official opening April 2.
Based on the 1988 Frank Oz-directed film of the same name that starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin, the musical has music and lyrics by David Yazbek and book by Jeffrey Lane. Its original Broadway bow was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, the latter of whom will now assume both directorial and choreographic duties for this new production, which is being reconceived and re-imagined for the U.K. stage. It will be newly designed by Peter McIntosh. It is a co-production between the Ambassador Theatre Group, Jerry Mitchell Productions and Tulchin/Bartner Productions.
In a press statement, Mitchell commented, "With a sensational score and the incredible comic gift of Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley, it will be an honor to bring this fabulous story to the West End. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels will steal your heart."
In the show, sophisticated conman Lawrence Jameson (Lindsay) is set to come crashing down with the arrival of larger-than-life Freddy Benson (Hound) – a conman of an entirely different order. Soon realizing the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, the two find themselves going head to head in the con of their lives, pulling out all of the stops in a bid for the affections of millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate (Kingsley). Little do they know what they’ve let themselves in for.
Lindsay, who will play Lawrence Jameson, won both the Olivier and Tony Awards for starring in Me and My Girl. His other extensive West End stage credits include The Lion In Winter, Cyrano de Bergerac and Becket (all at the Theatre Royal Haymarket), Onassis (Novello Theatre), The Entertainer and Trelawny Of The Wells (both at the Old Vic), Power (National Theatre), Richard III (Savoy Theatre) and Oliver! (London Palladium Theatre). He is best known on screen for nine series of "My Family"; other award-winning performances include "G.B.H."
In a press statement, Lindsay commented, "I went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway last week and was so blown away by the euphoria in the theatre that I was even more thrilled to be working with Jerry Mitchell. I have been waiting for the right musical to cross my path and feel like I have finally found it with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. When I met the writers, they were so excited to be re-working the show for a U.K. audience, especially as there is a real sense of classic English humor in this production, so fitting for the Savoy Theatre!"
Hound, who will play Freddy Benson, is known as a comedian, TV and radio personality and performer. His stage credits include the National Theatre's One Man, Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket/UK tour and Neville's Island at the Chichester Festival Theatre. He won "Let’s Dance for Sport Relief 2010" and regularly appeared in "Celebrity Juice" (seven series), "Never Mind The Buzzcocks" and "Would I Lie To You."
In a press statement, he commented, "I am absolutely thrilled to be part of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Having spent much of the last year playing Francis Henshall in the National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors, I know what a theatre full of people having the time of their lives sounds like and now I'll get to hear it all over again. Yazbek's score is both laugh-out-loud funny and heart-dancingly tuneful, whilst Jeffrey Lane's book is faithful enough for fans of the movie, but anchored in good, old-fashioned comedy with smart and brilliant gags. I can’t wait to get started!"
Kingsley, who will play Christine Colgate, is currently appearing in the West End in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Her last musical theatre role was in Singin' In The Rain at Chichester Festival Theatre and subsequently the Palace Theatre, for which she was nominated for the 2012 Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Other musical theatre credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Donmar Warehouse, Piaf! at the Donmar Warehouse and subsequently the West End's Vaudeville Theatre, for which she was nominated for the 2009 Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical, and High Society at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
To book tickets and for further information, visit www.scoundrelswestend.com.
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