Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends at the Gielgud Theatre in London

Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends to transfer to Broadway’s Manhattan Theatre Club starring Bernadette Peters & Lea Salonga, North America premiere at Ahmanson Theatre LA

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced three new productions for its 2024-2025 season, including the Broadway premiere of Cameron Mackintosh’s musical revue Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends.

The show will feature two stars from the London production, Bernadette Peters (Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun) and Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Here Lies Love), with further casting to be announced.

Featuring Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and devised by Cameron Mackintosh, the show has Musical Staging & Direction by Matthew Bourne alongside Julia McKenzie, and Choreography by Stephen Mear.

Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends will play the MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in New York, with previews from 25 March 2025.

Ahead of the New York premiere, Center Theatre Group will present the North American premiere of Old Friends with Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, from 8 February to 9 March 2025.

Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends played at the Gielgud Theatre in London from 21 September 2023 to 6 January 2024. The show was originally conceived as a one-off benefit concert, which played the Sondheim Theatre in 2022.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh said in a statement: “Old Friends was Steve’s idea, born during lockdown, when he suggested it was time (and we had plenty of it!) we put together a third review of his work, to follow from the worldwide hit Side by Side By Sondheim in 1976 (my first!) and Putting It Together (which Julia McKenzie directed at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Julie Andrews in 1993). Though we had started work, very sadly on Thanksgiving 2021 Steve moved on. So, a few weeks later over the Christmas holidays I collated all our notes and, drawing on material from all the other shows Steve, Julia and I had worked on over the years, completed ‘our farewell show’. In May 2022, we staged a star-studded Gala in London’s West End at the Sondheim Theatre (which I had rebuilt and renamed after him) to celebrate Steve’s work and raise funds for his new Foundation. It was a sensational success that sold out within hours, screened simultaneously at the nearby Prince Edward Theatre, and was subsequently broadcast on TV on the BBC. The material held together so brilliantly that I decided to press ahead and give Old Friends the full stage life Steve and I had always planned. The show opened in September 2023 at London’s Gielgud Theatre, directed by Matthew Bourne, side by side with Julia McKenzie, and choreographed by Stephen Mear. Starring Bernadette Peters (making her West End debut at long last!) and Lea Salonga, it received rave reviews and nightly standing ovations during its 16-week run. It is a tremendous joy to now be bringing Old Friends to the Ahmanson in Los Angeles and to be back side by side with Lynne Meadow at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York thanks to Daryl Roth’s support, with a terrific company headed again by my old friends Bernadette and Lea with many other stars to be announced shortly. Audiences are in for a joyous and unforgettable evening featuring some of the greatest songs ever written for the musical theatre in ‘a great big Broadway show’ – just as Steve wanted.”

Other new productions coming to Manhattan Theatre Club include the Broadway premiere of Eureka Day at the Friedman Theatre. Written by Jonathan Spector (This Much I Know) and directed by Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage County), the production will play from 25 November 2025.

Eureka Day played The Old Vic theatre in London in 2022, with the European premiere starring Helen Hunt.

Finally, Off-Broadway at MTC’s New York City Center – Stage I, the company will produce the world premiere of Vladimir, written by Erika Sheffer (Russian Transport) and directed by Daniel Sullivan (The Little Foxes).

Artistic Director of the Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, said in a statement: “I’m proud that this first part of MTC’s 2024-2025 season lineup celebrates our longstanding commitment to both presenting plays by new voices and welcoming back longtime treasured colleagues and artists on and off-Broadway. We’re thrilled to give playwrights Erika Sheffer and Jonathan Spector, actress Lea Salonga, and director Matthew Bourne their MTC debuts, and to welcome back to MTC actress Bernadette Peters, directors Anna Shapiro and Daniel Sullivan, producer Cameron Mackintosh, and the work of Stephen Sondheim.”

Snehal Desai, Center Theatre Group Artistic Director, said: “The North American premiere of Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends at the Ahmanson promises to be one of the theatrical events of the year and I am beyond thrilled to welcome three theatrical legends to Center Theatre Group as part of this production. Bernadette Peters, who will be making her CTG debut, along with two artists we have a long history with; Lea Salonga, who appeared with us in Flower Drum Song, and Matthew Bourne, who was just here with his production of Romeo and Juliet. This celebration of the music and legacy of Stephen Sondheim will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of our upcoming 2024/25 season.”

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📷 Main photo: Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends at the Gielgud Theatre in London

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