Set against the backdrop of Soho’s pulsing clubland, Closer to Heaven tells the story of Dave, just off the boat from Ireland and determined to make something of himself. He is offered a bar job at a glitzy London nightclub, where he quickly becomes part of an unconventional family including Billie Trix, a fading rock star of the sixties and mother figure to the club’s habitués; Vic, the club’s owner and a middle-aged gay father and his daughter Shell, who Dave sparks an immediate connection with. But will Dave truly discover himself in London, or will he fall into a labyrinth of excess, false agendas and the darker side of club life?
Closer to Heaven originally premiered at the Arts Theatre in 2001, and features an original club score by the Pet Shop Boys.
Pet Shop Boys are the UK’s most successful pop duo with 12 Top Ten studio albums and 40 Top Twenty singles including four number one records. Their first single ‘West End Girls’ reached number one in nine countries, with further number one hits including ‘It’s a Sin’, ‘Always On My Mind’ and ‘Heart’. They have won Brit awards for Best Single, Best Group and Outstanding Contribution to Music, and Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriting and Outstanding Contribution to British Music. They have a dedicated interest in combining music with theatre and film, having collaborated on tours with artist/director Derek Jarman, David Alden and David Fielding from the ENO, theatre designers Ian MacNeil and Es Devlin and director Sam Taylor-Wood. In 2001, Closer to Heaven was produced in the West End, and in 2011 their ballet The Most Incredible Thing, choreographed by Javier De Frutos, premiered at Sadler’s Wells.
Jonathan Harvey is the multi award-winning writer of Beautiful Thing, which returns to the West End in June. He has written 20 stage plays including Corrie!, Canary, Hushabye Mountain, Babies, Boom Bang a Bang and Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. His theatre work has won him an Evening Standard Award, two Manchester Evening News Awards, the George Devine Award and the John Whiting Award.
Closer to Heaven will be directed by Gene David Kirk, whose recent credits include Me & My Friend (Drayton Arms Theatre), The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams (Off-Broadway), Orwell: A Celebration (Trafalgar Studios), The Ash Boy (Theatre503) and Elgar & Alice (UK tour). Kirk was artistic director of Jermyn Street Theatre from 2007 to 2012, winning The Stage’s Theatre of the Year Award in 2012, he is currently artistic director of the Drayton Arms Theatre.
Producers Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd return to the Union Theatre following productions of The Beautiful Game and Bare: The Rock Musical. Other productions include In the Heights (Southwark Playhouse), Altar Boyz (Greenwich Theatre), The Cat in the Hat (UK tour) and the forthcoming London revival of Carrie: The Musical (Southwark Playhouse).
Closer to Heaven has a book by Jonathan Harvey and music and lyrics by Pet Shop Boys. It is directed by Gene David Kirk with choreography by Philip Joel, musical direction by Patrick Stockbridge and design by David Shields. It is produced by Kylie Vilcins for Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd, by special arrangement with The Really Useful Group.
Casting is to be announced.
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