The brand new musical THE A-Z OF MRS P tells the factual story of the eccentric Phyllis Pearsall, who got lost on the way to a party. She decided to devote the next five years of her life walking the streets of London creating the London A-Z Streetmap. The musical opens at Southwark Playhouse on Thursday 20th February 2014.
A love letter to London, THE A-Z OF MRS P has certainly found its feet, and will star Isy Suttie (Peep Show/Shameless) in her first musical, as the pioneering Mrs P; with Tony Award-Winner Frances Ruffelle (Les Miserables, Pippin, Piaf) as her emotionally fragile mother; and Olivier Award winner Michael Matus (Martin Guerre, The Baker’s Wife, The Sound Of Music, Lend Me A Tenor) as Phyllis’s enigmatic father. The book is by Diane Samuels (Kinderstransport – West End/Broadway) and music and lyrics by singer/songwriter Gwyneth Herbert (Albums on Blue Note & Universal) – The A-Z OF Mrs P is their first musical together. The song ‘Lovely London Town’ has already won the Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Prize.
Starting in the 1930s, The A-Z OF Mrs P is a very British Musical, and an exploration of both the streets of London and the eccentric Bohemian artist Mrs P, on her incredible journey to build her iconic business, mapped against her own troubled family saga.
Remarkably for British Musical Theatre, it is a very female-led creative team. Working with Diane and Gwyneth are musical arranger Sarah Travis (Tony Award for Sweeney Todd on Broadway) and designer Klara Ziglerova (Jersey Boys / Sister Act). The A-Z OF Mrs P is directed by Sam Buntrock (Sunday In The Park With George – Menier/West End/Broadway).
The cast also includes: Stuart Matthew Price (Parade, Shrek) as Phyllis’s brother Tony Gross, Turlough Convery (Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer Of The Year 2013); Dawn Sievewright (Glasgow Girls) and Sidney Livingstone (Acorn Antiques The Musical, Oklahoma!).
Diane Samuels says: “One of the joys in my life is walking around London as Phyllis did. The link seemed pretty straightforward. Then behind a simple series of very handy maps, I found out about her emotionally complex family story, particularly the relationship between Phyllis and her father Sandor Gross. I’d always wanted to write a father/daughter play and here, unexpectedly, it was. Gwyneth and I were outside the musical theatre world, and in writing and composing our take on Phyllis’ journey we have faced her struggles and thrilled as she found her own feet, to create an intimate, epic work of psycho-geography that celebrates what it is to have a vision.”
Gwyneth Herbert says: “I’d never seen a musical before I started this crazy journey 5 years ago. Thing was, I loved stories, I loved music, I loved the theatre. And now, after working intensively and intimately alongside Diane exploring Mrs P’s own inspiring journey, I find myself in love with this huge beast of an art-form: its limitless possibilities for creative invention, the way you can plant one thought or feeling and make it shudder through the whole piece, music and words and action and visual art all weaving together. For me, I have found it’s the most multi-dimensional and exciting way to tell a magical story.”
Phyllis Pearsall was a celebrated resident of Southwark (with a blue plaque bearing her name) so premiering The A-Z of Mrs P at the new Southwark Playhouse has an added resonance. The A-Z OF Mrs P is supported by The Geographers’ A-Z Company – the company that Phyllis set up and Arts Council England Grants for the Arts. The A-Z of MRS P was conceived by Neil Marcus who produces with Paul Tyrer and Jamie Clark for the booking office and Michael Peavoy Productions.
THE A-Z OF MRS P – mapping an entire city in a foot tapping British musical.
VENUE: SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE: 77-85 Newington Causeway London SE1 6BD.
Nearest Tube: Borough / Elephant and Castle.
PERFORMANCES: Thursday 20th February – Saturday 29th March 2014.
Monday to Saturday @ 8pm. Saturday matinees and Thursday Matinees on the 13th, 20th & 27th March all at 3.30pm.
TICKETS: All previews £12 (20th-23rd February 2014). £22 / £18 concessions.
Disabled people can bring one companion free of charge.
BOX OFFICE: 020 7407 0234.