March 13, 2015
Chichester Festival Theatre have announced further casting for Mack & Mabel.
Joining the already announced Michael Ball as Mack is American Rebecca Le Chance as Mabel.
Rebecca LaChance recently debuted on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as a featured ensemble member while understudying Jessie Mueller in the title role. Her other credits include Johnny Baseball directed by Gordon Greenberg, the director of Chichester’s acclaimed production of Guys and Dolls during Festival 2014, Central Avenue Breakdown and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
The casting to date includes Anna-Jane Casey as Lottie, Jack Edwards as Fatty, Alex Giannini as Mr Kleiman, Gunnar Cauthery as Frank and Mark Inscoe as William Desmond Taylor. The company also includes Michelle Francis, Emily Langham, Rebecca Louis, Joshua Lovell, Joseph Prouse, and Emily Shaw.
Mack & Mabel forms part of the 2015 Chichester Festival Season and will be directed by Jonathan Church, with choreography by Stephen Mear and design by Robert Jones.
Starring Michael Ball as Mack, with American new-comer Rebecca Le Chance as Mabel, Mack & Mabel is based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. Nominated for eight Tony Award when it opened on Broadway in 1974 this musical comedy includes the much-loved score Time Heals Everything and I Won’t Send Roses. Music and lyrics are by Jerry Herman (La Cage aux Folles) and the book by Michael Stewart (Barnum, 42nd Street), the multi award-winning team behind the classic Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!
Mack & Mabel is based on the tumultuous romantic relationship between Hollywood director Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand a waitress who became one of his biggest stars. In a series of flashbacks, Sennett relates the glory days of Keystone Studios from 1911, when he discovered Normand and cast her in dozens of his early “two-reelers”, through his creation of Sennett’s Bathing Beauties and the Keystone Cops to Mabel’s death from tuberculosis in 1930. Like all good musicals it ends on a happy note!
February 26, 2015
Jonathan Church and Alan Finch announce Chichester Festival’s 2015 season including Lenny Henry in Educating Rita and Michael Ball in Mack & Mabel.
Chichester Festival 2015 marks the first full season since its major refurbishment with an ambitious programme of shows that use the scope of the building to its fullest potential.
- Young Chekhov, a major season of the dramatist’s early work, Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull, in versions by David Hare, directed by Jonathan Kent, featuring Anna Chancellor, James McArdle and Samuel West
- Two major musicals feature in the Festival Theatre: Michael Ball returns to Chichester in Mack & Mabel and a new stage version of A Damsel in Distress
- Lenny Henry makes his Chichester debut in Educating Rita
- The Festival Theatre stage will be transformed into a river for Alan Ayckbourn’s Way Upstream, featuring Sarah Parish
- A sumptuous revival of Jean Anouilh’s The Rehearsal will be directed by Jeremy Sams
- The themes of war, conflict and freedom of speech are explored in two productions: Frank McGuinness’s award-winning drama, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and W. Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered
- Chichester Festival Youth Theatre marks its 30th anniversary with the world premiere of Michael Morpurgo’s Running Wild
WAY UPSTREAM by Alan Ayckbourn
Director: Nadia Fall
23 April 2015 – 16 May 2015 , Festival Theatre
Four old friends, one cruising boat, two weeks off work, and the perfect setting of the beautiful River Orb. What could possibly go wrong? This hilarious expose of the murky depths that lurk beneath the surfaces of friendship, love, desire and power is vintage Ayckbourn.
Nadia Fall makes her directorial debut at Chichester having recently directed Dara and Home for the National Theatre, and Hobson’s Choiceat Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Sarah Parish also makes her Chichester debut as June. Her television credits include W1A, Mistresses and Cutting It.
THE REHEARSAL by Jean Anouilh
Translated by Jeremy Sams
Director: Jeremy Sams
8 May 2015 – 6 June 2015, Minerva Theatre
The Count, better known as Tiger, is planning another of his spectacular parties, including an evening of amateur dramatics. But as soon as rehearsals begin, it’s clear that his play will unleash just as much passion, shock and intrigue off stage as it will on. This clever comedy exposes the truths that people conceal and the secret roles that they really want to play.
Jeremy Sams directs the production, having also provided the celebrated translation. His directing credits include The Sound of Music in the West End, Noises Off at the National Theatre and The Water Babies at Chichester.
A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS
Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin
Book by Jeremy Sams and Robert Hudson
Based on the novel by P.G.Wodehouse and the play by P.G.Wodehouse and Ian Hay
Director: Rob Ashford
30 May 2015 – 27 June 2015 , Festival Theatre
Bring together a world-weary American composer, a beautiful and irrepressible English socialite, a fierce aunt, and lots of other delightfully eccentric characters and the stage is set for a charming musical, based on a novel by P.G.Wodehouse with songs by George and Ira Gershwin.
This new stage musical is directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford whose credits include Shrek The Musical, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Scarlett Johansson, and Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston.
EDUCATING RITA by Willy Russell
Director: Michael Buffong
18 June 2015 – 25 July 2015 , Minerva Theatre
English lecturer Frank has never met anyone like plain-speaking Rita – until the Open University brings them together. Willy Russell’s touching and enduring comedy has delighted audiences around the world, and celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
Actor, broadcaster and comedian Lenny Henry makes his Chichester debut as Frank. His theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors at the National Theatre and award-winning performances in West End productions of Fences and Othello.
Also making her Chichester debut is Lashana Lynch whose recent credits include Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet at The Shed (National Theatre), BBC 1’s Death in Paradise and BBC 3’s Crims.
The production is directed by Michael Buffong, Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, whose recent credits include All My Sons andMoon on a Rainbow Shawl.
MACK & MABEL
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman Book by Michael Stewart
Book revised by Francine Pascal
Director: Jonathan Church
13 July 2015 – 5 September 2015 , Festival Theatre
This musical comedy is a poignant love story and a riveting tribute to the silent movie era, based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. It received eight Tony Award nominations when it opened on Broadway in 1974.
Michael Ball plays Mack Sennett. His other recent credits include his Olivier Award-winning performance in Chichester’s production ofSweeney Todd (also West End), the BBC drama That Day We Sang and the West End production of Hairspray.
Director Jonathan Church’s most recent musical hit is the award-winning Singin’ in the Rain, which continues its international tour in 2015. His other credits include Festival 2014’s Taken at Midnight (currently running in the West End) and Amadeus, as well as The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Choreography is by Stephen Mear, whose credits include Festival 2014’s Amadeus and Gypsy.
FOR SERVICES RENDERED by W. Somerset Maugham
Director: Howard Davies
31 July 2015 – 5 September 2015 , Minerva Theatre
Written in 1932, this engrossing drama confronts the damaging consequences of war, loss and trauma for one ordinary English family.
Director Howard Davies’s many acclaimed productions for the RSC, the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway have garnered him many awards. In 2009 he made his Chichester debut with The House of Special Purpose.
by Michael Morpurgo
in a new adaptation by Samuel Adamson
Director: Dale Rooks
2 August 2015 – 16 August, Cass Sculpture Foundation
A touching and thrilling story of the devastating Boxing Day tsunami, and a young boy’s remarkable jungle adventures afterwards. This tale of healing and the power of nature is based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, in a new adaptation by Samuel Adamson, directed by Dale Rooks, with puppetry by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié.
The promenade production by Chichester Festival Youth Theatre will be staged in the evocative landscape of Cass Sculpture Foundation, against the spectacular backdrop of monumental sculptures and dramatic settings.
SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME by Frank McGuinness
Director: Michael Attenborough
10 September 2015 – 10 October 2015, Minerva Theatre
Based on the experiences of those taken hostage in Lebanon in the 1980s, this drama features an American doctor, an Irish journalist and an English academic – three men with little in common who somehow forge bonds that testify to the power of the human spirit.
Director Michael Attenborough makes his Chichester debut. Whilst Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre, his award-winning productions included Measure for Measure and The Knot of the Heart. David Haig returns to Chichester following his appearance in Festival 2014’s highly acclaimed Pressure, which he also wrote.
YOUNG CHEKHOV: THE BIRTH OF A GENIUS
PLATONOV, IVANOV and THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekhov
in versions by David Hare
Director: Jonathan Kent
28 September 2015 – 14 November 2015, Festival Theatre
Three plays written when Anton Chekhov was young offer a new perspective on this undisputed master of modern drama. With sunbursts of youthful anger and romanticism, they reveal a very different playwright from the one known through his mature, more familiar work.
Acclaimed playwright David Hare has written these versions.
Anna Chancellor, last at Chichester in Private Lives and South Downs/The Browning Version (also West End), is confirmed to play Arkadina in The Seagull, with her other role to be announced.
James McArdle, whose credits include The James Plays at the Edinburgh Festival and National Theatre, plays the title role in Platonov and Lvov in Ivanov.
Samuel West, last seen at Chichester in Enron and Doctor Faustus, plays the title role in Ivanov and Trigorin in The Seagull.
Director Jonathan Kent returns to Chichester following his acclaimed Festival 2014 production of Gypsy which transfers to London in 2015.
February 26, 2015
Lenny Henry is to star in a new production of Educating Rita at the Chichester Festival Theatre.
A new production of Educating Rita by Willy Russell stars Lenny Henry making his Chichester debut as the world-weary lecturer Frank, alongside Lashana Lynch as Rita, directed by Talawa Artistic Director Michael Buffong.
Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, Willy Russell’s touching and enduring comedy has delighted audiences around the world. English lecturer Frank has never met anyone like plain-speaking Rita – until the Open University brings them together.
Lenny Henry said: “When I began studying for an Open University degree, it was a pivotal period that opened my mind to the delights of Shakespeare and so much more. I’d already become established as a successful comedian, but education held the key to a world that led to a new chapter in my career. It means a great deal to me personally and professionally to be in Willy Russell’s classic play about the ways in which education can change your life. I hope that it’ll inspire audiences to think about the pathways and obstacles to success that education offers the young – and not so young! – today.”
Educating Rita plays for a strictly limited season from 18 June 2015 until 25 July 2015 at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester.
February 2, 2015
It was announced today that Michael Ball will star in Chichester Festival Theatre’s major new production of Mack & Mabel this summer.
Directed by Jonathan Church, Chichester’s Artistic Director, Mack & Mabel plays the Chichester Festival Theatre 13 July til 5 September, followed by a UK tour from October.
Based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett (Michael Ball) and Mabel Normand, this musical comedy received eight Tony Award nominations when it opened on Broadway in 1974.
Tour dates released so far include Plymouth Theatre Royal (1 Oct – 10 Oct), Manchester Opera House (12 Oct – 24 Oct), Dublin BGE Theatre (27 Oct – 7 Nov), Edinburgh Playhouse (10 Nov – 21 Nov), Nottingham Theatre Royal (23 Nov – 28 Nov), and Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre (1 Dec – 6 Dec). No news on London dates but given the recent success of Chichester Festival Theatre productions it will hopefully transfer to the West End.
Michael Ball is to play Mack Sennett with full casting to be announced shortly.
Michael Ball has recently been seen in the BBC television drama That Day We Sang, which reunited him with Sweeney Todd co-star Imelda Staunton. Theatre credits include the title role in Sweeney Todd (Chichester’s Festival 2011 and West End), Hairspray, Les Misérables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Passion, Aspects of Love, The Woman in White and The Phantom of the Opera. Ball co-produced Chichester Festival 2010’s West End transfer of Love Story.
The creative team also includes choreography by Stephen Mear, Chichester’s Associate Choreographer and design by Robert Jones whose Chichester credits include Festival 2014’s Taken At Midnight (also West End), Kiss Me, Kate (also Old Vic) and Calendar Girls (also UK tour, Australia and Canada). Other credits include West End productions of A Chorus of Disapproval and Much Ado About Nothing.
November 21, 2014
Is Imelda Staunton heading back into the West End in the Chichester transfer of Gypsy?
West End rumours are flying (and we are praying) that Imelda Staunton’s star turn in Gypsy gets a West End airing.
The show is rumoured to be replacing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre from the end of March 2015 onwards.
The show has been one of this year’s biggest new musical openings, and was a must-see at the Chichester Festival Theatre this autumn.
Jonathan Kent’s production of the Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim show, based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, has garnered some heady notices and everyone involved is currently willing it into the West End.
Imelda Staunton stars Mama Rose in the show alongside Kevin Whately as Herbie and Gemma Sutton as June.
Some very nifty choreography by Stephen Mears is worth the transfer alone!
Source: Daily Mail (07/11/14)
Original post: 7/11/14. Updated 21/11/14
October 23, 2014
Penelope Wilton returns to the West End in hit Chichester drama Taken at Midnight at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Mark Hayhurst’s new play Taken At Midnight is to get a West End transfer.
Directed by Jonathan Church, the play sees the return of Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) to the West End after 5 years to star as Irmgard, the mother of celebrated lawyer Hans Litten who puts Hitler on the witness stand in 1930s Germany with devastating consequences.
This emotionally compelling play will run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a limited 9 week season, from 15 January 2015 to 14 March 2015.
In the play Irmgard’s relationship with her son, Hans, and her courageous efforts to help him are at the heart of this new drama. Fearless and indomitable, she confronts his captors at enormous personal risk and the unquestionable love of a mother for her son is put centre stage in Hayhurst’s study of the horrors of pre-war Nazi Germany.
Mark Hayhurst is well known for writing TV drama documentaries which explore key historical moments, including BBC drama 37 Days about World War One. He wrote Taken at Midnight with Penelope Wilton in mind for the role.
Joining Penelope Wilton are Martin Hutson as Hans Litten, Allan Corduner as Fritz Litten, Pip Donaghy as Erich Mühsam, Mike Grady as Carl von Ossietzky, John Light as Dr Conrad, David Yelland as Lord Clifford Allen, Marc Antolin as Gustav Hammerman, Christopher Hogben as Hotelier and Dermot McLaughlin as SA Officer.
The production is directed by Jonathan Church, with design by Robert Jones, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design by Mike Walker and music by Matthew Scott.
Currently playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket is the National Theatre transfer of Richard Bean’s satirical comedy Great Britain.
October 16, 2014
Imelda Staunton stars in GYPSY at Chichester Festival Theatre – Round-up of Reviews
Chichester Festival Theatre’s revival of Gypsy has opened to rave reviews.
Jonathan Kent’s new staging sees him reunite with Imelda Staunton following their triumphant work on Sweeney Todd.
Imelda stars as ultimate stage mother ‘Mama Rose’ in the show, alongside Lara Pulver as Louise and Kevin Whately as Herbie.
Based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, this 1959 show features a score by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents.
To say that there are rumours of a West End transfer for the show is understating it! Let’s hope it comes to town, but where’s it gonna go?!
Gypsy runs until 8 November 2014.
October 12, 2014
Photo First Look at Gypsy at Chichester Festival Theatre starring Imelda Staunton.
Now playing at Chichester Festival Theatre until 8 November 2014, Imelda Staunton is starring as Mama Rose in Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne’s Gypsy.
Directed by Jonathan Kent, who worked with Staunton in 2011 on Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at Chichester and the West End, the show also stars Kevin Whately as Herbie and Lara Pulver as Louise.
Gypsy is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and features a book by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne.
Photos by Roy Tan
September 11, 2014
Imelda Staunton stars as Mama Rose in Gypsy at Chichester Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre has released more details of their forthcoming revival of Broadway musical Gypsy.
Starring Imelda Staunton (Pride, Sweeney Todd, Harry Potter) as Mama Rose, Gypsy will be directed by Jonathan Kent, and runs at the Chichester Festival Theatre from 6 October to 8 November 2014.
Joining Imelda in the cast are Kevin Whately as Herbie, Gemma Sutton as June and Lara Pulver as Louise, plus Emily Carey and Georgia Pemberton who play Baby June, and Holly Hazelton and Ruby Bridle as Baby Louise.
Gypsy tells the story of the ultimate showbiz mother – Mama Rose (Imelda Staunton) – who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Mama Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.
Choreography is by Stephen Mear, with design by Anthony Ward, lighting design is by Mark Henderson, musical direction by Nicholas Skilbeck and sound design is by Paul Groothuis.
Gypsy features a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee.
Chichester 2014 Season
Currently playing at Chichester is Guys and Dolls (21 September 2014), directed by Gordon Greenberg and with choreography by Carlos Acosta. The cast features Clare Foster as Sarah Brown, Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson, Peter Polycarpou as Nathan Detroit and Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide. Also currently playing is Richard Bean’s Pitcairn (until 20 September 2014).
Forthcoming productions include Taken At Midnight (26 September – 25 October 2014) by Mark Hayhurst which uncovers the harrowing true story of Hans Litten, a celebrated lawyer in 1930s Germany who famously put Hitler on the witness stand, and stars Penelope Wilton directed by Jonathan Church.
Also Dervla Kirwan stars in bittersweet romance Frankie & Johnny In The Clair De Lune (6 November – 6 December 2014) by Terrence McNally, Patricia Routledge stars in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (21 November – 13 December 2014) directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and a new adaptation of The Hundred and One Dalmatians (20 December 2014 – 3 January 2015) by Bryony Lavery directed by Dale Rooks.
MORE CAST INFO
Imelda Staunton plays Mama Rose. Theatre credits include Good People (Hampstead Theatre and West End), also directed by Jonathan Kent, the West End production of Entertaining Mr Sloane, Life x 3 (National Theatre and The Old Vic) and Guys and Dolls (National Theatre). Film credits include 2014’s Pride, the Harry Potter series and her award-winning performance in Vera Drake. Television credits include Psychoville and Cranford.
Lara Pulver plays Louise. She previously appeared at Chichester in Uncle Vanya. Other theatre credits include Parade (Donmar Warehouse) for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, Honk! (National Theatre) and Into The Woods (Royal Opera House). Television credits include Fleming, Sherlock, Robin Hood, True Blood and Spooks.
Kevin Whately plays Herbie. This role marks his Chichester debut, however he is familiar to many through popular screen roles in Lewis and Inspector Morse, as well as Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Theatre credits include the West End production of Twelve Angry Men.
Gemma Sutton plays June. Credits include Carousel, Blues in the Night and the forthcoming TV drama, Cilla.
The cast also features Dan Burton as Tulsa, Jimmy Chisholm as Uncle Jocko, Jack Chissick as Mr Goldstone, Anita Louise Combe as Tessie Tura, Harry Dickman as Pop, Roger Dipper as L.A, Louise Gold as Mazeppa, Clare Halse as Majorie May, Tom Hodgkins as Weber, Kieran Jae as Yonkers, Julie Legrand as Electra, Jane McMurtrie as Jaynee, Danielle Morris as Geraldine, Jack North as Little Rock, Damien Poole as Kansas, Lauren Varnham as Delores and Natalie Woods as Agnes.
August 21, 2014
Production photos of Guys and Dolls at the Chichester Festival Theatre
One of Broadway’s most popular shows, Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, is the first musical to be staged in Chichester’s brand new Festival Theatre auditorium.
US director Gordon Greenberg makes his directorial debut at Chichester, ably assisted by a choreographer who is one of the most famous dancers on the planet – Carlos Acosta.
The Guys and Dolls cast includes a heavy-weight list of musical names including Peter Polycarpou as Nathan Detroit, Sophie Thompson as Miss Adelaide, Clare Foster as Sarah Brown and Jamie Parker as Sky Masterson.
The show won five Tony Awards when it hit Broadway in 1950 and has been in almost constant production ever since with its songbook of classics including Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat, Luck Be A Lady and My Time of Day.
Guys and Dolls is running at Chichester Festival Theatre until 21 September 2014.
Photos by Roy Tan.