A rare revival of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurent’s musical satire Anyone Can Whistle will feature in the Phil Willmott Company’s new season at the Union Theatre (8 February to 11 March, with press nights on 11 and 12 February).
Anyone Can Whistle is political allegory in musical comedy form that tells the story of a town that’s gone bankrupt because its only industry is manufacturing something that never wears out.
In order to revive her town Mayoress Cora Hoover Hooper and her town council fake a miracle – water flowing from a rock – to attract tourists. When patients at the local mental hospital escape and mix with the townspeople and tourists, chaos ensues while J. Bowden Hapgood, a fake psychiatrist falls in love with Fay Apple, a nurse at the asylum who has disguised herself as a miracle verifier sent from Lourdes.
The show contains a raft of classic Sondheim numbers including ‘Me and My Town’, ‘Anyone Can Whistle’, ‘There Won’t be Trumpets’, ‘Everybody Says Don’t’ and ‘With So Little to Be Sure Of’.
The Phil Willmott Company’s revival will be the first UK production in six years and follows the director’s sell-out, critically-acclaimed Union Theatre production of Sondheim’s Road Show in 2016.
Also among the creative team are production manager Toby Burbidge, costume designer Penn O’Gara, Musical director Richard Baker, choreographer Holly Hughes and casting director Adam Braham.
One of Sondheim’s least-performed works – Anyone Can Whistle lasted only nine performances on Broadway in 1964. The original cast featured Angela Lansbury and Lee Remick.