Tom Conti to Star in London Premiere of Smash! at the Menier Chocolate Factory

News   Tom Conti to Star in London Premiere of Smash! at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Smash!, the late Jack Rosenthal's autobiographical play based on his experiences in turning his hit TV play "Bar Mitzvah Boy" into a stage musical, will receive its London premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory. It will begin performances March 24, prior to an official opening March 31, for a run that is booking through May 8.

Tamara Harvey will direct a cast that includes Tom Conti, Kerry Shale and Natalie Walter. According to press materials, this hilarious but scathing look at the journey to get a musical from page to stage features a cantankerous composer, a fantasist lyricist, a neophyte female novelist turned playwright, a cocksure director and a bombastic producer.

Rosenthal's other TV credits include BBC's "The Evacuees," "Spend, Spend, Spend" (also turned into a musical, but without Rosenthal's involvement) and "The Knowledge." He also devised the popular fire-brigade saga "London's Burning" and was a regular contributor to "Coronation Street." Of his eight feature films, "Yentl," which he co-wrote with Barbra Streisand, was his best known. He also contributed un-credited work on "Chicken Run." He was awarded a CBE in 1994 for services to drama, and died in 2004.

Conti has appeared in the West End and on Broadway in Whose Life is it Anyway? (winning Olivier and Tony Awards for Best Actor), as well as Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, Present Laughter and They're Playing Our Song, amongst numerous other appearances. His film credits include "Shirley Valentine," "Reuben, Reuben" (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor) and "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" (National Board of Review Award for Best Actor).

Shale, whose theatre credits include the musical Bar Mitzvah Boy that this play is based on, has also appeared on the London stage in His Girl Friday (National Theatre) and Frost/Nixon (Donmar Warehouse and West End's Gielgud). He is also known for his solo shows The Prince of West End Avenue, which he has performed in London, New York, Sydney and Cape Town, The Set-Up and A Confederacy of Dunces. His film credits include "Yentl," "Little Shop of Horrors," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," "Welcome to Sarajevo" and "102 Dalmatians."

Walter has appeared most recently in the West End in The 39 Steps and was seen on the fringe and Off-Broadway in Lingua Franca. She has appeared in the National Theatre production of Noises Off and been a member of the RSC. Director Harvey has been represented in the West End by Plague over England (which transferred from the Finborough) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The production is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with lighting by Tim Mitchell and sound by Gareth Owen.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7907 7060, or visit

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