Wind in the Willows to open at London Palladium in June 2017

Rufus Hound in The Wind in the Willows. Picture: Marc Brenner

Rufus Hound in The Wind in the Willows. Picture: Marc Brenner

The major new musical theatre adaptation of the family classic The Wind in the Willows will speed into the London Palladium in June next year.

Adapted for the stage by the high-powered team of Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, The Wind in the Willows received its world premiere at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth before heading to The Lowry in Salford.

Featuring Rufus Hound as speed demon Mr Toad, the show is currently entetaining audiences at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre where it is due to end its run on 20 November.

Announcing the Palladium run which will begin previewing on 17 June 2017, ahead of an opening night on 29 June, the show’s producer Jamie Hendry said: “Following wonderful receptions in Plymouth and Manchester where The Wind in the Willows has delighted adults and children alike, I’m thrilled that a wider audience will be able to share in the joy of this glorious new musical at the London Palladium.”

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s timeless novel, The Wind in the Willows features a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Fellowes and music and lyrics by the Olivier Award-winning Stiles and Drewe. The trio previously collaborated on the international hit musical Mary Poppins which ran for three years in the West End and six years on Broadway.

Commenting on the choice of the Palladium as the West End home of his show, Fellowes said: “For my adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, which I have loved since I was a boy, to play the London Palladium, the most famous theatre of my childhood, is to bring together two of my life-long favourites. It’s a dream come true, really.”

Stiles and Drewe added: “It’s so thrilling to be coming to one of London’s greatest theatres with this brand-new version of The Wind in the Willows. We’ve had a joyous time working again with Julian Fellowes and writing a score that celebrates this quintessentially British classic in all its eccentric glory.”

The initial booking period for the show will run from 17 June until 9 September 2017.

Hendry also confirmed that he would be continuing with his pledge to offer readers of all ages the opportunity to read the much-loved novel by sending free copies of the book to every school and library in London when the show heads for the capital.

“I am a firm believer that our most classic novels should be freely available for everyone to enjoy. I hope that readers will fall in love with Grahame’s story as much as I did, which ultimately led to the commissioning of this musical,” he said.

Developed and produced by Jamie Hendry Productions and presented in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth, the production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison and sound design by Gareth Owen. Casting is by Pippa Ailion Casting.

Angela Thomas

Tickets for The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium are available HERE.

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