Is new musical Bend It Like Beckham closer to a West End run?
British film director Gurinder Chadha’s latest project – a musical version of her hit 2002 movie Bend It Like Beckham – may be inching closer to London.
Friday 2 May 2014 at the Dominion Theatre saw a workshop reading of the new show – which is penned by composer Howard Goodall (Love Story, The Hired Man) and lyricist Charles Hart (The Phantom of the Opera), with a book by Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges based on Chadha’s screenplay.
Producer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson was present at the workshop, alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and producer of the show Sonia Friedman, and gives an interesting account of the show here.
Also present was The Stage theatre critic Mark Shenton, who took to Twitter to say: “Critics don’t usually go to workshops. But I’m glad I went to this one: I’ve not seen an original British musical this good in YEARS!”
The workshop involved actor Jamie Muscato (Love Story, Spring Awakening, Les Miserables – Barbican and Tour, Rock of Ages) and newcomer Nikita Johal. Director Kate Golledge also worked on the project.
The development workshop follows an October 2013 session which saw Samantha Barks play Jules (played by Keira Knightley in the film), Tara Divina as Jess, the Sikh schoolgirl who loves football (played by Parminder Nagra in the movie), plus Frances Ruffelle, Preeya Kalidas, Shobna Gulati and Richard Fleeshman.
There is currently no news on securing a theatre or timing, but we hear that discussions and negotiations are underway.
The show’s closest competition is current Victoria Palace show Billy Elliot, and another British movie turned into a musical and on its way into London – Made in Dagenham – opening at the Adelphi Theatre on 9 October 2014.
Bend It Like Beckham is another addition to Sonia Friedman’s growing list of 2014 and 2015 commitments, which include this summer’s big opener, Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre, Kathleen Turner vehicle Bakersfield Mist – which kicks off at the Duchess this Saturday, forthcoming Old Vic show Electra starring Kristin Scott Thomas, plus current shows 1984 at the Playhouse and The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales. Oh and Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet at the Barbican in 2015.
This slate comes on the back of a triumphant Olivier Awards this year for the producer, winning the most awards in Olivier history including Best New Play for Chimerica, Best New Musical for The Book of Mormon, Best Play Revival for Ghosts and Best Musical Revival for Merrily We Roll Along. Plus the recently announced Tony nominations included 8 nods for Broadway transfer of Twelfth Night and Richard III.
Gurinder Chadha interviewed about Bend It Like Beckham The Musical.