After the success of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair at the Cadogan Hall in November last year and the concert of Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ A Christmas Carol (Lyceum Theatre, December 2016), initial casting has been announced for The London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s first concert of the 2017 season, the hit Broadway musical Honeymoon in Vegas (London Palladium, 12 March).
Samantha Barks is to take on the role of Betsy and Arthur Darvill will play Jack, with full casting to be announced in the coming weeks.
Barks is probably best known for playing Eponine in Les Misérables, a role she played in the West End, the 25th anniversary concerts at the O2, and in the 2012 film adaptation. Recent theatre credits include Last Five Years (St James Theatre), the title role in the world premiere of Amelie – A New Musical (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) and Cabaret (UK tour).
Darvill’s theatre credits include Treasure Island (National Theatre), Once (Bernard B Jacobs Theatre in New York and Phoenix Theatre in London), Our Boys (Duchess Theatre), Soft Cops (RSC), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Been So Long (Young Vic), Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville), Terre Haute (Trafalgar Studios, national tour), Stacey (Arcola) and Terre Haute (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh). Darvell is also artistic associate and musican/writer in residence of the Bush Theatre and founding member of Fuego’s Men Theatre Company.
A patron of the LMTO, the show’s composer Jason Robert Brown will be the 30-strong orchestra’s first guest conductor when Honeymoon in Vegas receives its UK premiere at the London Palladium.
With a book by Andrew Bergman, the writer and director of the original 1992 film which starred Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker, the musical version of Honeymoon in Vegas had its world premiere in New Jersey in 2013 ahead of a Broadway run in 2015.
Brown, whose other hits include Parade and The Last Five Years, will present his big band-flavoured score with the help of a host of West End stars and the orchestra which was founded by LMTO musical director Freddie Tapner and is produced and managed by United Theatrical.
Jason Robert Brown said: “Honeymoon in Vegas is the show I always aspired to write. All of these sounds – the swing, the samba, the disco, the boogie, the rock’n’roll – make up what I hear in my head when I think of what a ‘Broadway musical’ should be.
“I’m so gratified to have actually written it, and thrilled to get a chance – finally! – to present it in London. And to know that the music will be brought to life by the sterling musicians of the LMTO and a glorious cast is such a delight and a privilege. I’ve had so many sensational experiences in the British theatre that it feels like coming home. I cannot wait to get started!”
LMTO has also announced its return to Cadogan Hall on 21 July with Leonard Bernstein and Hugh Wheeler’s Candide when Tapner will once again take up the baton.
First performed as an operetta on Broadway in 1956, Bernstein’s musical Candide is based on the satirical novella by Voltaire. Additional lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Bernstein himself. Orchestrations are by Bernstein who also provides narration for the concert version with John Wells.
In keeping with the long term aim of the LMTO, the fully-orchestrated concerts aim to not only make orchestral performances accessible to brand new audiences, but also to bring the exciting repertoire of musical theatre to a more classical audience.