Janie Dee will star in the world premiere of Mrs Henderson Presents, the brand new musical based on the film starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. The show is part of Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season 2015 (15 August–5 September, press night is 26 August), prior to a West End run.
The cast also includes actress Emma Williams (recently seen in the touring production of Annie Get Tour Gun) who plays Maureen, a young woman who Henderson helps, plus Sarah Bakker, Katie Bernstein, Rhiannan Chesterman, indsayizzy Connolly, Victoria Hay, Samuel Holmes, Lauren Hood and Matthew Malthouse.
The musical, which has a book by Terry Johnson, who also directs, lyrics by Don Black and music by George Fenton and Simon Chamberlain, is based on the original movie screenplay by Martin Sherman.
It’s London, 1937, and recently-widowed eccentric, Laura Henderson, is looking for a way of spending her time and money when her attention falls on a run-down former cinema in Great Windmill Street. Hiring feisty impresario Vivian Van Damm to look after the newly renovated Windmill Theatre, the improbable duo present a bill of non-stop variety acts. But as war looms something more is required to boost morale and box office… When Mrs Henderson comes up with the idea of The Windmill Girls – glamorous young women posing as nude statues – audiences flock.
And as the Blitz hits London, The Windmill provides a refuge for all, boasting the spirit-raising slogan ‘We Never Close’.
Janie Dee won an Olivier Award for Carousel (National Theatre), and Olivier, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential. She won the TMA UK Theatre Award 2013 for Best Performance in a Musical in Hello, Dolly! (Curve, Leicester). Most recently Dee starred alongside Angela Lansbury in the West End revival of Blithe Spirit (Gielgud), as Desiree Armfeldt in the 40th anniversary concert performance of A Little Night Music (Palace) and in 84 Charing Cross Road (Salisbury Playhouse).
Terry Johnson’s many West End productions as director and/or writer include One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hitchcock Blonde, Entertaining Mr Sloane, The Graduate, Dead Funny, Hysteria, Elton John’s Glasses and The Memory of Water. He won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His most recent credits include The Duck House (UK tour and West End) and Oh What a Lovely War (Theatre Royal, Stratford East).
Don Black’s stage musicals include Billy, Tell Me On a Sunday, Aspects of Love and Stephen Ward and he won two Tony Awards for Sunset Boulevard. Film lyrics include ‘Diamonds are Forever’, ‘Born Free’ and ‘The Italian Job’. Among his many popular hit songs are Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ and Lulu’s ‘To Sir With Love’, both of which were US number one hits.
George Fenton has composed numerous film scores including for the original film of Mrs Henderson Presents, Gandhi,Cry Freedom, Dangerous Liaisons, The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Memphis Belle; and music for television series including The Jewel in the Crown, The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
Simon Chamberlain was the original music director on the film Mrs Henderson Presents.
Mrs Henderson Presents is produced by The Heywire Partnership, Michael Harrison and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.
Readers may also be interested in:
Interview – New Mrs Henderson Janie Dee on returning to cabaret at the Crazy Coqs