Zorro–the Musical to Open at London's Garrick Theatre in July; Rawle Stars

News   Zorro–the Musical to Open at London's Garrick Theatre in July; Rawle Stars
Zorro–the Musical, based on Isabel Allende's 2005 best seller "Zorro: A Novel," will begin previews in the West End at the Garrick Theatre June 30 with an official opening scheduled for July 15.

Allende, who is also the show's producer, weaves together Spanish and Californian history, mythic folk tales, pirate adventures and Native American legend to reveal the originals of the Zorro legend, and show how the young Diego de la Vega became the titular character.

The new musical, which stars Matt Rawle in the title role and features original music by the Gipsy Kings as well as some of their greatest hits — including "Bamboleo," "Baila Me" and "Djobi Djoba" — recently completed a successful UK national tour. The production is directed by Christopher Renshaw, whose credits include the 1996 Broadway revival of The King and I (subsequently re-created at the London Palladium in 2000) and the original production of We Will Rock You (though his directorial credit on Rock You has since been removed in favor of book writer Ben Elton). The show is choreographed by Rafael Amargo.

According to press materials, "[Zorro-the Musical] promises to retell the dramatic tale of a romantic hero with extraordinary aerial acrobatics, spectacular sword-fighting and incredible magic – all set to the famous red-hot Gipsy King beat brought to the UK stage with the authentic colours of traditional Flamenco." Zorro is the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, a fictional wealthy caballero and master swordsman living in Spanish California, who defends the people of the land against injustice.

Matt Rawle was most recently seen in the West End playing the role of Che in Michael Grandage's 2006 revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Evita at the Adelphi Theatre. Other leading roles include appearing in Boublil and Schonberg's Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Author and producer Allende has sold more than 52 million novels in 30 languages. She was born in Chile in 1942 and began her career as a journalist and television presenter in Chile and Venezuela. Her novels – "The House of the Spirits," "Eva Luna," "Of Love and Shadows," "Daughter of Fortune," "Paula," "The Infinite Plan," "Ines of My Soul" and "My Invented Country" – have been translated into more than 27 languages and have been bestsellers in Europe, the US, Latin America and Australia. Her 1982 "magic realist" novel, "The House of the Spirits," propelled her to international fame and was adapted into a film with Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave and Jeremy Irons. She has been honored at several U.S. universities as a Doctor of Letters, and she has received countless international academic, humanitarian and literary awards including Ambassador to the Hans Christian Andersen Bicentenary in 2004. Her latest book, "The Sum of Our Days," has just been published in hardback. The Flamenco group The Gipsy Kings consists of two bands of brothers: the Reyes (Nicolas, Canut, Paul, Patchaï, André) and the Baliardos (Tonino, Paco, Diego). The band was formed when the teenage Reyes boys began backing their father Jose. Jose Reyes, singing alongside guitarist Manitas de Plata, did much to popularize flamenco internationally, and John Steinbeck, Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso, Miles Davis and Salvador Dali were amongst the duo's admirers. Jose's death led to a fortuitous encounter with the Baliardos on the St. Marie de la Mer Gitan pilgrimage. That night they passed round a guitar, shared songs and wine and agreed to work together. Initially, the Reyes and Baliardos busked on the streets of Cannes and played weddings and parties — young men mixing flamenco with Western pop and Latin rhythms. When an American admirer told the band their name Los Reyes meant "The Kings" in English, they realized they were born to be Gipsy Kings. In 1987 The Gipsy Kings' self-titled debut album introduced the world to "rumba Gitano," the sound of South America's rumba rhythm married to flamenco guitars. With "Bamboleo" the Gipsy Kings scored a huge international hit, and since then the Kings have never stopped singing to the world. Their total album sales worldwide now exceed 18 million and on their new album, "Pasajero," the Gipsy Kings continue their epic musical journey. The Gipsy Kings are touring the U.K. in summer 2008.

The choreographer Rafael Armargo is one of the most famous Spanish flamenco dancers. A graduate of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York, his career has been supported by the Spanish artists Luis Gordillo and Esperanza D'Ors and he has been photographed by Bruce Weber, Annie Leibovitz and Christopher Makos. In 2002 he was awarded the Positano Leonide Massine Prize in recognition of his work as a choreographer and a dancer, an award previously given to Rudolf Nureyev, Maurice Bejart and Lindsay Kemp. El País awarded Rafael Best dance show of 2000 for his show Amargo, and he won again in 2002. He has also won four Max Awards (the most important performing arts awards in Spain), three as Best Dancer and one for the Best Dance Show of the year.

For tickets contact the box office at 044 412 4662 or visit www.zorrothemusical.com.

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