The Wild Party – Drew McOnie directs – Frances Ruffelle stars

Frances Ruffelle as Queenie in The Wild Party. Photo Credit Fern Berresf...

Frances Ruffelle as Queenie in The Wild Party. Picture: Fern Berresford

Award-winners Drew McOnie and Frances Ruffelle will join forces for the first major London production of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party at The Other Palace early next year.

Formerly the St James Theatre, the newest addition to The Really Useful Theatres Group will mark its debut as a new home for musical theatre with the production which will run from 11 February until 1 April 2017.

The casting of Tony Award-winning actress Ruffelle in the central role of vaudeville showgirl Queenie was integral to the show’s long-awaited West End debut after she received the blessing of the writer, LaChiusa.

Commenting on her involvement, the actress who first shot to fame as the original Eponine in Les Misérables revealed: “I discovered the amazingly edgy, jazz-infused score to The Wild Party about ten years ago. Many West End producers have tried to get the rights with no success, but luckily for me, the composer Michael John LaChiusa was in the audience when I was performing my solo show in New York. We were introduced after the show and I asked him why the show hadn’t been seen in London. He just said: ‘You are my Queenie, it’s yours’.

“It really is a dream come true, and I’m now working hard preparing for a role that I know will be demanding but hugely rewarding. See you at the party!”

Based on Joseph Moncure March’s narrative poem, The Wild Party debuted on Broadway in 2000 with a cast headed by Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt.

The dark, jazz age tale with its central turbulent romance between the showgirl and a clown, has music and lyrics by LaChiusa (Rain) and a book by George C. Wolfe and LaChiusa.

The Other Palace production will be directed and choreographed by this year’s Olivier Award-winning choreographer McOnie with musical direction by Theo Jamieson (Funny Girl, West End), set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour (Dr Faustus, The Commitments, West End), lighting design by Richard Howell (Jekyll and Hyde, Old Vic) and casting by Will Burton. Further casting is to be announced.

Producer Paul Taylor-Mills has today also been confirmed as the new artistic director of The Other Palace. His recent work as a producer includes: In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre), The Last Five Years (St James Theatre), Side Show (Southwark Playhouse) and Carrie: The Musical (Southwark Playhouse).

Angela Thomas

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Lloyd Webber’s The Other Palace will be a breeding ground for musical theatre – News


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