Hope Mills Theatre in Manchester has announced a slate of three new musicals as part of a season that is intended to revive and bring new musical theatre to the North of England. It is co-produced by the venue with London-based theatre production company Aria Entertainment, headed by Manchester-born Katy Lipson.
The season will launch with the U.K. premiere of the Off-Broadway hit Yank!, running March 9-April 8, 2017. With book and lyrics by David Zellnik and music by his brother Joseph, it is a World War II love story about Stu, a scared midwestern youngster who is called up in 1943. He becomes a photographer for Yank Magazine, the journal “for and by the servicemen.” The musical explores what it means to be a man, and what it is to fall in love and struggle. Yank! will also be produced with Ben Millerman and directed by James Baker.
The Stationmaster, a new British musical, will run September 7-30. Originally given a workshop production by Aria Entertainment in 2015 as part of the annual From Page to Stage Festival of New Musicals, it is inspired by Horvath's play Judgment Day, translated by Christopher Hampton with a book by Susannah Pearse and music and lyrics by Tim Connor. Set in a small town in the Lake District in 1958, railway stationmaster Thomas Price is the pillar of his local community. But when a young woman unexpectedly arrives on the platform, his well-ordered life begins to unravel. It will be directed by Bronagh Lagan.
Little Women, which originally premiered on Broadway in 2005, will receive its British premiere, running November 9-December 9. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel, Little Women has a book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, and music by Jason Howland. It follows the adventures of the March sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy.
In a press statement, Aria Entertainment producer and company director Katy Lipson commented, “I am absolutely delighted to announce our 2017 season at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. I am also excited to be on-board as resident producer on all in-house musical productions and to lead our vision on producing exclusively musical theatre with a focus on new musicals. We hope through our productions of Yank!, The Stationmaster and Little Women, we can bring even more audiences into the theatre to discover the intimacy and wonderful work we are investing in.”
Joseph Houston, artistic director of Hope Mill Theatre, adds, “Staging the U.K. premiere of two exciting shows such as the Off-Broadway musical Yank! and Broadway hit Little Women solidifies the theatre’s vision for producing never been seen before works and, the staging of new British musical The Stationmaster, we show our commitment to supporting new British musicals. These titles are sure to cement Manchester and the North's position as a key driving force in musical theatre.”
Tickets are on sale only for Yank! at the moment. To book tickets, visit hopemilltheatre.co.uk.