Following a record-breaking run in Chichester, Half a Sixpence – which Cameron Mackintosh co-produced with Chichester Festival Theatre – will transfer to the Noël Coward Theatre from 29 October 2016, with press night on 17 November 2016. The first booking period is on sale until 11 February 2017.
The entire Chichester cast will transfer to the West End, starring newcomers Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps and Devon-Elise Johnson as Ann Pornick – alongside Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow and Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham.
This new stage version of Half a Sixpence, the musical adaptation of H.G. Wells’ semi-autobiographical novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul, is a completely fresh adaptation which reunites book-writer Julian Fellowes (Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of Downton Abbey) with George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the musical team that co-creator Cameron Mackintosh first put together to create the hit stage adaptation of Mary Poppins with Disney. The score is inspired by and features several of composer David Heneker’s songs from the original production, including ‘Flash Bang Wallop’, ‘Money to Burn’ and ‘Half a Sixpence’.
Cameron Mackintosh said: “I am absolutely thrilled that our new version of the iconic British musical Half a Sixpence has gone off with such a flash bang wallop and been so rapturously received by both audiences and critics alike, breaking box offices records in Chichester. The show’s amazing cast is headed by the sensational new young star Charlie Stemp, who has put his own brilliantly original stamp on a part that 50 years ago launched Tommy Steele’s international theatre and film career. Everyone seems to agree that history is about to repeat itself with Charlie, whose performance is sending audiences into raptures nightly.
“I’m also thrilled that the show is going to open in London at the Noël Coward Theatre, original home of another great iconic British musical Oliver! which premiered in 1960, three years before Sixpence opened up the street at the Cambridge Theatre. The spacious Coward stage will perfectly show off Paul Brown’s brilliant design.”
Jonathan Church the outgoing artistic director of Chichester Festival Theatre added: “Half a Sixpence has taken Chichester by storm. As a relatively rarely revived British musical we didn’t quite know what to expect with our audiences. We needn’t have worried, from the moment this incredible re-worked version burst onto the stage our audiences went wild. With standing ovations every nightm the show rapidly became the fastest-selling production in the history of the theatre with many audience members visiting three or four times, setting a new benchmark for musicals in Chichester.”
Half a Sixpence is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh who recently directed the Olivier nominated Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at the Open Air Theatre. The production is designed by Paul Brown, with choreography by Andrew Wright (Chichester/West End production of Guys and Dolls, the UK tour of Barnum and forthcoming Moby Dick at the Union Theatre) with orchestrations by William David Brohn. The musical supervisors will be Stephen Brooker and Graham Hurman, who will also conduct; with lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and video design by Luke Halls. The original 1963 musical was written by Beverley Cross and David Heneker.
Tickets – priced from £12.50 to £77.50 – go on public sale on Thursday 1 September at 10.m. A limited number of £20 lottery seats will be released each day from 29 October at 10am in person at the box office.
Readers may also be interested in:
Half a Sixpence – Chichester Festival Theatre – Review
Wind in the Willows – first look at rehearsal images – News