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Andrew Lloyd Webber officially opens The Other Palace February 2017

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

Andrew Lloyd Webber today announces plans for The Other Palace, the newest addition to The Really Useful Theatres Group. The Other Palace is situated less than 100 yards from Buckingham Palace and close to the Victoria Palace, hence its name.

Formerly the St. James Theatre, The Other Palace will officially open its doors in February 2017 and will be a home and breeding ground for musicals at various stages of development. The Other Palace will focus on four key areas: programming, creative use of spaces, musical theatre development and audience engagement.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I very much hope that writers and producers will use The Other Palace as a space in the heart of London where they can try out and refine new material without the distraction of complicated sets and automation. I had a great experience trying out “School of Rock” at the Gramercy Theatre in New York in this way. It was a joy to work on the material without computers getting in the way. I hope my experience will be repeated by others in these exciting spaces. We hope to offer audiences the opportunity to observe early developmental work through to finished productions and look forward to welcoming both artists and audiences to our new home in SW1. I am also incredibly excited that Paul Taylor Mills, one of the most dynamic young producers working in musicals, is to become Artistic Director.

Paul Taylor Mills commented: “I am absolutely honoured to have been appointed Artistic Director of the newly named The Other Palace. It’s a huge responsibility and one which I intend to embrace with fearlessness and openness. We are going to be flinging open the theatre’s doors and we want to hear from musical theatre makers from all backgrounds, whether they are established or new voices. It’s going to be a thrilling journey and one where we plan to take risks and make bold choices. I’m thrilled to be opening The Other Palace with Grammy and seven-time Tony Award nominated ‘The Wild Party’, directed by the unstoppable Drew McOnie in our first collaboration since ‘In The Heights’, and I couldn’t be more excited to have the honour of cutting the welcome ribbon to Andrew’s new theatre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has united with Joe and Margaux Sharratt, the husband and wife team who shot to fame in the restaurant world in 2015 with their Brixton hotspot, Naughty Piglets, which was awarded four star reviews from the Evening Standard and Time Out. The Other Palace will house The Other Naughty Piglet, a fun modern restaurant serving fresh, seasonal and creative small plates, combined with an extensive choice of natural wines.

The main theatre will be the heart of The Other Palace, where the programme will consist of full productions, work in progress productions and festivals of new work. By day the studio will be available for composers, librettists, lyricists, directors and choreographers to discover and create new material. By night the space will build on the current St. James Studio model to offer a diverse programme including cabaret, music, musical theatre and crossover acts. A series of unique platforming opportunities for musical theatre in development will also be introduced in the studio; further details will be announced in due course. The theatre will feature an open mic bar in the hope that it becomes a genuine hub for anyone interested in the musical.

The opening production in the main theatre will be Michael John LaChiusa’s Grammy and seven-time Tony Award nominated musical The Wild Party, directed by Olivier Award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie and produced by Paul Taylor Mills. The UK premiere of Whisper House will follow in April 2017, a dark and thrilling musical ghost story from Duncan Sheik, the Tony award-winning composer of Spring Awakening and American Psycho. The world premiere production of Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson’s adaptation of the Fellini classic La Strada will then take place from May to July.

The first work-in-progress production will be Bateman and Conley’s cautionary fairy-tale The Little Beasts produced by Perfect Pitch, a not-for-profit theatre company dedicated to creating new British musicals. With full cast and band but a less developed set, work-in-progress productions will offer the very first look at a new musical. Audiences will have the opportunity to contribute feedback, placing them at the heart of the development process.

Following The Little Beasts, National Youth Music Theatre will present two productions, a new musical about the wonder of childhood, Imaginary, and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s ten-time Tony Award nominated musical, Sunday in the Park with George, during August 2017.

Completing the first season at The Other Palace is a three week summer festival: the acclaimed From Page to Stage Festival of New Musicals, produced and curated by Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment. Over twenty professionally produced new musicals will be performed at all stages of development, in every corner of The Other Palace: from talks and extracts of shows in the bar to semi-staged readings in the studio and one fully produced musical in the theatre.

The theatre will continue as the St. James Theatre until 28 January 2017, when RENT the musical completes its run.

Tickets for The Wild Party, Whisper House and La Strada go on sale on Friday 7th October. Other shows in the season will go on sale in 2017.

Dates: Saturday 11 February – Saturday 1 April 2017
Press night: Monday 20 February at 7pm
Performance Times: Monday – Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Preview prices: £5/£20/£35/£45/£55
Ticket prices: £10/£30/£45/£55/£65
The Wild Party has music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa and book by George C. Wolfe and Michael John LaChiusa. It will be directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie (In the Heights, Strictly Ballroom the Musical) with musical direction by Theo Jamieson (Funny Girl, West End), set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour (Dr Faustus, Urinetown, The Commitments, West End) and lighting design by Richard Howell. It will be presented by Paul Taylor-Mills by arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe.

The cast will include Tony Award winner Frances Ruffelle (Eponine in Les Misérables, Starlight Express, Roxie Hart in Chicago, Piaf) as Queenie.

Set against a backdrop of Manhattan decadence and 1920’s excess, The Wild Party tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, a Vaudeville showgirl and a Vaudeville clown whose relationship is marked by vicious behaviour and recklessness. In an attempt to salvage their toxic union, they decide to throw a party to end all parties. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy; a washed-up boxer; a diva of indeterminate age; a fresh-faced ingénue; and a handsome Valentino who catches Queenie’s roving eye. The jazz and gin soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat, as artifice and illusion are stripped away. But when midnight debauchery turns into tragedy, the revellers must sober up and face reality. After all, no party lasts forever.

Based on Joseph Moncure March’s narrative poem of the same title, The Wild Party originally opened on Broadway in 2000 with a cast including Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. The production received seven Tony Award nominations and a Grammy Award nomination for its composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa. LaChiusa is one of the most prolific writers for the American musical stage, with works including Hello Again (1994), Marie Christine (1999), The Wild Party (2000) and See What I Wanna See (2005). He was nominated for Tony Awards for his score and book for Marie Christine and for his books for The Wild Party and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

UK Premiere
Dates: Thursday 6 April – Saturday 27 May 2017
Press night: Tuesday 18 April at 7pm
Performance Times: Monday – Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2:30pm
Preview price: £15/£25/£35/£39.50
Ticket prices: £15/£25/£35/£39.50

Music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening, American Psycho), with book and lyrics by Obie award-winning Kyle Jarrow (A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant) and conceived with Keith Powell. A dark and thrilling musical ghost story.

An eerie lighthouse stands on the remote East Coast of America at the height of World War II. When Christopher’s father’s plane is shot down, he is sent to live there with an Aunt he has never met and her mysterious Japanese housekeeper. Soon, he begins to hear strange music seeping through the walls. Is his imagination getting the better of him, or are the ghosts warning of real danger? Soon the whispers become something louder…

Kenny Wax Ltd, Cambridge Arts Theatre and Bristol Old Vic Theatre presents the Belgrade Theatre Coventry’s production of LA STRADA
Dates: Tuesday 30 May – Saturday 8 July 2017
Press night: Wednesday 31 May at 7pm
Performance Times: Monday – Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Thursday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm
Preview price: All tickets £20
Ticket prices: £20/£35/£39.50

A stage adaptation of Fellini’s classic 1957 Academy Award winning film La Strada (The Road). The production will be directed by Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson (Cinderella, Jane Eyre, Hetty Feather), with musical direction and music by Benji Bower, writer in the room will be Mike Akers, set and costume design by Katie Sykes, lighting design by Aideen Malone and sound design by Mike Beer.

The story of wide-eyed Gelsomina, who is sold by her penniless mother to Zampano, a travelling sideshow strongman, unfolds as they journey through the Italian countryside performing for their keep. Their perilous road trip leads them to a ragtag travelling circus where they meet Il Matto the tightrope walker who rekindles Gelsomina’s spirit with a new found confidence.

Dates: Thursday 13 – Sunday 30 July 2017 TBC
By Michael Conley (Personality) and Luke Bateman (Mr Popper’s Penguins). Directed and designed by Finn Caldwell (The Lorax, The Elephantom, The Light Princess) and Nick Barnes (The Lorax, Mr Popper’s Penguins and founder of puppetry company Blind Summit).

A selfish little girl runs away from home and discovers a magical menagerie filled with animals that used to be children before their naughtiness brought them to untimely ends. When the menagerie’s menacing proprietor tasks her to choose one animal to set free, she must decide which one, if any, has learned its lesson. But things are not what they seem, and is any child truly naughty? A musical for aged 7+ with magical and innovative puppetry.

Dates: Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 August 2017
Book and lyrics by Timothy Knapman, music and lyrics by Stuart Matthew Price.
Chaotic, open-hearted and imaginative Milo is Sam’s only friend. They do everything together. But as Sam’s first day at secondary school approaches, his mum is worried that Milo is holding her son back, stopping him from growing up. School turns out to be full of surprises – and secrets. Can Sam and Milo’s friendship survive in this new world, where a painful revelation threatens to change their lives forever?

Dates: Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 August 2017
Book by James Lapine, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Inspired by the painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, Sunday In The Park With George, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s stunning masterpiece merges past and present into beautiful, poignant truths about life, love and the creation of art. One of the most acclaimed musicals of our time, this moving study of the enigmatic painter Georges Seurat won a Pulitzer Prize and was nominated for ten Tony Awards including Best Musical.

For 40 years the award-winning National Youth Music Theatre has represented the very best in work with young people in musical theatre, leading Andrew Lloyd Webber to describe it as ‘the best youth music theatre in the world’.

Dates: Monday 14 August – Sunday 3 September 2017
A festival of new musical theatre curated and produced by Katy Lipson’s Aria Entertainment, From Page to Stage Festival of New Musicals will include rehearsed, semi-staged readings of full pieces, extracts from works in development, and one fully produced musical. The unique season is aimed at both industry experts and the public, and will give audiences an insight into the development process for new musicals.

From Page to Stage Festival of New Musicals will take place in The Other Palace Studio for three weeks from the 14 August, and in the main theatre from 21 August to 3 September, with further events taking place in the bar area.

The Other Palace
12 Palace Street | London | SW1E 5JA
0844 264 2121


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