The Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II musical will be helmed by the American-born international director Francesca Zambello and produced by Raymond Gubbay in collaboration with The Royal Albert Hall.
The show’s 100-strong cast is yet to be announced, but highlights of the in-the-round production include a set by designer Peter J. Davison (Democracy, Whistle Down the Wind), which will include the use of water and occupy the doughnut-shaped heart of London’s most prestigious concert venue.
The score, which includes such standards as "Ol' Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and "Only Make Believe," will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under David Charles Abell’s musical direction. The creative team also includes costume designer Sue Willmington, choreographer Arthur Pita and lighting designer Andrew Bridge.
Show Boat will be the first full-blown musical production at the Royal Albert Hall, and the first revival in London since Hal Prince’s Tony-winning Broadway production transferred to the West End in 1998.
The musical premiered on Broadway on Dec. 27, 1927, and, with its dramatic story line based on Edna Ferber’s novel, the musical was the first to tackle such weighty issues as racial prejudice, poverty and abandonment. Show Boat is considered to be the mother of the modern musical.