Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s musical Dogfight will receive its European premiere, produced by Danielle Tarento – the award-winning producer of Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel – and directed by Matt Ryan, in The Large at Southwark Playhouse for a six-week season from 8 August to 13 September (press night is 13 August).
Based on the Warner Bros 1991 film (starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor) and screenplay by Bob Comfort, Dogfight premiered Off-Broadway in 2012 and was the winner of the Outstanding Musical prize at the 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards. The music and lyrics are by Pasek and Paul, with a book by Peter Duchan.
November 21, 1963. On the night before their deployment to Vietnam, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, the unassuming and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet, she rewrites the rules of the game and opens his eyes to what really matters in life.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been a composing team since meeting in college. In 2007 they were the youngest ever recipients of the Jonathan Larson Award – named after the late Rent composer – that honours achievement by composers, lyricists and librettists. Pasek and Paul (as they are affectionately known) made their Broadway debut last year with A Christmas Story, which received three Tony Award nominations. Their other stage musicals include Edges and James and the Giant Peach. They composed several original songs for the second season of the Broadway TV drama, Smash.
Matt Ryan began his career as an associate to Trevor Nunn and John Caird on Cameron Mackintosh’s original production of Les Misérables. He then staged productions of the show in Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and on tour in the UK. He was associate director of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and directed the show’s Australian premiere in Sydney as well as the original British touring production. His other theatre credits include: Howard Goodall’s The Winter’s Tale, Sweeney Todd, Company, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Carousel, Oklahoma!, Nine, Grand Hotel, Merrily We Roll Along, The Rink, Michael John La Chuisa’s The Wild Party, Rent, Carnival, Assassins, William Finn’s Elegies, Promises Promises and the London premieres of Violet, Jane Eyre, A Man of No Importance, Bernarda Alba, A Catered Affair and Is There Life After High School?
Danielle Tarento was named Best Producer at the 2012 Off West End Awards and recently won Best Off West End Production at the 2014 Whatsonstage Awards and Best Musical Production at the 2014 Off West End Awards for Titanic at Southwark Playhouse. She has also produced Victor/Victoria, Mack & Mabel, Parade, Company and Three Sisters at Southwark Playhouse; Taboo (Brixton Clubhouse); The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola); Burlesque, Drowning on Dry Land (Jermyn Street); Noël and Gertie (Cockpit). She is co-founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory and co-produced all in-house shows 2004–2006, including Sunday in the Park With George, which received a West End transfer and five Olivier awards.
Joining director Matt Ryan in the creative team will be choreographer Lucie Pankhurst, musical director George Dyer, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Howard Hudson and sound designer Andrew Johnson.
Readers may also be interested in: