High Society heading to the Old Vic?

Rumours are circulating that the Old Vic may be reviving classic musical High Society.

Maria Friedman
Maria Friedman

The show may be directed by Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman, who would be following her acclaimed directorial debut on Merrily We Roll Along, which premiered at the Menier Chocolate Factory and went on to a West End transfer.

The stage musical of High Society is based on the 1956 movie musical featuring the songs of Cole Porter, which in turn was based on Philip Barry’s play The Philadelphia Story.

The show has a book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, with additional lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.

The last West End production of the show was in 2005 at the Shaftesbury Theatre starring Katherine Kingsley (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Tracy Lord and long-time Maria Friedman collaborator Graham Bickley as Dexter Haven. The show also starred Paul Robinson as Mike and Jerry Hall as Mrs Lord.

This production was based on the 2003 Regent’s Park Theatre Open Air theatre production which starred Tracie Bennett as Liz, who was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Matthew Warchus, incoming artistic director of the Old Vic, is no stranger to musicals, having directed Ghost The Musical and current West End and Broadway hit Matilda The Musical. His recent movie hit Pride is also rumoured to be becoming a stage show. Kevin Spacey doesn’t formerly hand over to Warchus until Autumn 2015, although it is assumed Warchus  is now heavily involved in the theatre’s ongoing programming.

Maria Friedman’s sister Sonia Friedman is one of the West End’s most powerful producers, and is currently a co-producer of the Old Vic’s production of Electra starring Kristin Soctt Thomas. She also produced Warchus’ Old Vic production of The Norman Conquests in the West End. It is unclear if she would be working with her sister on the production of High Society.

There is no news on casting or timing, although it is expected to be in the first half of next year.

Recent Maria Friedman collaborators include Jenna Russell, who starred in her production of Merrily We Roll Along. Jenna is currently playing in Urinetown until 29 November and then committed to Di and Viv and Rose at the Vaudeville Theatre from 22 January to 23 May 2015.

Maria Friedman is currently performing in cabaret at The Pheasantry until 26 October 2014.


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📷 Main photo: Rumours are circulating that the Old Vic may be reviving classic musical High Society.

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