Love Story set for West End

Erich Segal’s best-selling novel Love Story, which was famously turned into a film starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, will come to the West End this year.

Emma Williams and Michael Xavier in Love Story in Chichester
Emma Williams and Michael Xavier in Love Story in Chichester

The new musical by Howard Goodall and Stephen Clark, had its premiere earlier this year at the Chichester Festival Theatre and was well received by critics, with The Stage calling it a “gorgeous new chamber musical”. As befits a chamber piece, it will transfer to the modestly-sized Duchess Theatre from 27 November. The producers of the show include West End star Michael Ball, Adam Spiegel and Stephen Waley-Cohen.

The show is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with a book by Stephen Clark, design by Peter McKintosh and musical direction by Stephen Ridley.

Casting will be announced shortly. In Chichester the show starred Michael Xavier and Emma Williams.

In the musical, rich jock Oliver Barrett meets poor arty Jenny Cavilleri and against the odds they fall in love.


Emmy, Brit and BAFTA award-winning Howard Goodall is one of the UK’s most versatile and distinguished composers having written choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores. Goodall was appointed as England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, he is the Classical Brit Composer of the Year and Classic FM’s Composer-in-Residence and a highly respected broadcaster and an energetic campaigner for music education.  His extensive scores include Q.I., The Vicar of Dibley, The Gathering Storm, The Borrowers, The Catherine Tate Show, Mr Bean, Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, Mr Bean’s Holiday and Blackadder.  Previously his musical theatre compositions include The Hired Man, Girlfriends, Days of Hope, Catwalk, The Kissing Dance and The Dreaming.

Stephen Clark’s work includes Mahabharata for Sadler’s Wells, The Far Pavilions at the Shaftesbury Theatre, the Laurence Olivier award-winning Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward Theatre, La Traviata for English National Opera and Zorro at the Garrick Theatre and Folies Bergère, Paris.

Love Story is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre where her many credits include Hapgood, Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure and Uncle Vanya as well as David Hare’s Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges and The Absence Of War.  Her other credits include The Music Man starring Brian Conley and A Small Family Business for Chichester Festival Theatre, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Alice in Wonderland for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hilda for Hampstead Theatre and The Rivals for Bristol Old Vic.

Michael Ball makes his producing debut with Love Story.  His many West End credits include originating the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, produced by Adam Spiegel, and for which he won the Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage Awards for Best Actor in a Musical.  He can currently be seen on tour in the UK reprising the role of Edna.  His other theatre roles include Marius in Les Misérables, Giorgio in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion, Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Alex  in Aspects of Love, Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Count Fosco in The Woman in White in the West End and on Broadway.  His made his English National Opera debut as Hajj/Poet in Kismet and in 2005 he made his debut with the New York City Opera as Reginald Bunthrone in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience.  As well as his Sunday Brunch for BBC Radio, he will present a new series for ITV, The Michael Ball Show, starting next month.  His 15 solo albums have all achieved gold or platinum status and his discography includes: Michael Ball, Always, One Careful Owner, First Love, The Musicals, The Movies, Music, One Voice and the superb homage to Burt Bacharach, Michael Ball – Back To Bacharach.

📷 Main photo: Erich Segal's best-selling novel Love Story, to transfer from Chichester to the Duchess Theatre in London

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