Tim Rice celebrates revival of Blondel with one night only show at the Union Theatre

Multi award-winner Tim Rice will take to the stage on Sunday (25 June) to talk about his life and career to theatre critic Mark Shenton, just days after the premiere of a new version of his musical comedy Blondel.

An Evening With Tim Rice at London’s Union Theatre will feature the writer taking questions about a career that has taken him from the West End and Broadway and Hollywood.

Previewing the event, Rice said: “I’m delighted to be appearing – for one night only – at the wonderful Union Theatre. It is one of the great cultural venues of London, and frequently shows theatres three times the size how to put on a show.

“I’ve chosen half a dozen or so of my favourite songs to be performed live. I’m hoping for a lot of audience participation – in the Q&A anyway – and they can expect some lively chat about famous hits, infamous flops and the present state of the business. There’s a lot going on out there – good, bad and ugly – but it’s undeniably an exciting time for musical theatre.”

Rice’s special appearance will come four days after the new production of Rice and Stephen Oliver’s musical Blondel begins a run at the venue which is due to last until 15 July.

Rice’s first musical outside of his partnership with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Blondel follows the fortunes of an ambitious minstrel in the court of King Richard The Lionheart.

Earlier this year, Rice spoke of his hope that the show would be revived when he celebrated the release of the original London cast recording of the show on CD.

Ahead of the recording’s reissue, Rice commented: “More than 30 years after its creation, I still enjoy listening to Stephen Oliver’s marvellous score for Blondel, which was this great classical composer’s one foray into commercial musical theatre (perhaps ‘commercial’ is the wrong word as Blondel’s first staging only ran for a year in London). However, there have been quite a few further productions around the world since 1983, primarily amateur and school versions, and there are ambitious plans for a relaunch of Blondel in 2017-18. While waiting for this to happen I hope this re-release of the original West End Cast recording will stir a few memories and/or help to create fresh interest in the show.”

The new Union production of Blondel will be directed by Sasha Regan and choreographed by Chris Whittaker. Casting is to be announced.

Commenting on the production Rice said: “I’m delighted Blondel is returning to the stage. It was one of the most enjoyable projects of my career, and I’ve always felt Stephen Oliver’s wonderful music deserved a larger audience than it reached back in 1983 when the show first ran. I hope this new production at the terrific Union Theatre will please old fans and some new ones.”

Blondel debuted at the Theatre Royal Bath in September 1983 and following a two-week run at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, the show opened the newly refurbished Old Vic in November 1983. The production transferred to the Aldwich Theatre in January 1984 where it ran for 278 performances.

Angela Thomas



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