Nero - Marble bust

Stage Spy: Is NERO The Musical by Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater heading to the West End?

New musical Nero, written by Tony Award-winning Spring Awakening composers Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater could be getting closer to a premiere – and hopefully in the West End.

Actor Michael Xavier reports this week that a workshop has taken place in the Lyric Hammersmith rehearsal rooms for the show, about debauched Roman emperor Nero.

Xavier (Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady) has been performing in the workshop for the last two weeks, playing Tigellinus, alongside It’s a Sin and Cabaret star Callum Scott Howells as Nero, Sally Dexter as Agrippina, plus Gloria Onitiri, Michael Jibson, Molly Osborne, and Gwïon Morris Jones.

Lindsay Posner, who directs the return of his Noises Off to the Theatre Royal Haymarket next month, is directing the workshop, with Phil Bateman as musical director.

Nero was an accomplished musician and poet, and also the first Roman emperor to ever appear on stage in a dramatic role! So sounds like it is perfect musical material.

It was way back in 2007 that the gossip was all about the show heading to Broadway, with the Public Theater in New York hosting a reading with Euan Morton (Taboo) as Nero, and Jan Maxwell (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as his mother Agrippina. Plus a 2008 workshop by New York Stage and Film at Vassar College with Broadway big-hitters Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Jeffrey Carlson, and Michael Arden, directed by Daniel Kramer.

Those Broadway workshops followed a 2006 premiere for the show at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.

The Broadway production didn’t happen, so let’s hope that Broadway’s loss is our gain, as the current London workshop sounds like a pretty serious next step for the show.

Sheik has said in the past that “Nero makes Spring Awakening look like The Wedding Singer“! And Michael Xavier said this week that the show is “wild, shocking, historic and funny”!

That all sounds good to us – and we have everything crossed that it is West End bound.

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