Maria Friedman will direct High Society at the Old Vic

Director of Best Musical Revival Merrily We Roll Along, Maria Friedman. Pictures: Vivienne Vincent

Maria Friedman will direct High Society, opening at the Old Vic in May 2015. Picture: Vivienne Vincent

Multi-award-winning director and actress Maria Friedman will direct an in the round production of Cole Porter’s classic musical High Society at the Old Vic, previewing from 30 April 2015 and running until 22 August (press night is 14 May).

High Society is, of course, based on The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry and the 1956 MGM film musical starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Alongside Porter’s score, the book is by Arthur Kopit, with additional lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.

Friedman said: “To stage High Society in the round at the Old Vic is a hugely exciting project providing the perfect immersive environment for a sparkling musical celebration of wedding day shenanigans. I am really looking forward to transporting audiences into the glamorous heart of this world and hope they enjoy the party!”

Friedman made her directorial debut with Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory which then transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre. The show won two Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival, Critics’ Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical as well as being nominated for a further five Olivier Awards including Best Director. Merrily We Roll Along received more five-star reviews than any West End show in history.

The actress’ extensive performing credits include: Maria Friedman: Re-arranged, which transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory to Trafalgar Studios (Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment); Fosca in Sondheim’s Passion (Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical); Mother in Ragtime (Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical); Maria Friedman, By Special Arrangement which transferred from the Donmar Warehouse to the Whitehall Theatre (Olivier Award for Best Entertainment); Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre (Olivier Award nomination); Sunday in the Park with George (Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actress in a Musical) and Lady in the Dark (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical) both at the National Theatre; West End and Broadway productions of The Woman in White (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical/Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut).

More recently Friedman has been seen performing her new show Back to Before which is to transfer to New York in 2015. She is also currently appearing as Elaine Peacock in BBC1’s EastEnders. Also in the creative team are musical director Theo Jamieson and sound designer Simon Baker.


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