Friday, October 7

Andrew Lloyd Webber announcesThe Other Palace opening season

Andrew Lloyd Webber has  today announced 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.

The first production at the new venue will be Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party, directed by Drew McOnie and starring Frances Ruffelle. The musical about the hedonistic lifestyle of a vaudeville dancer and a vaudeville clown runs from 11 February to 1 April 2017.
This will be followed by the UK premiere of Whisper House by Duncan Sheik, the Tony Award-winning composer behind Spring Awakening and American Psycho. Running from 6 April to 27 May, Whisper House is a "dark and thrilling musical ghost story" about the goings on in a lighthouse on the remote East Coast of America at the height of World War II.

The third production announced today is a stage adaptation of Fellini's 1957 Oscar-winning film La Strada (The Road). Directed by Sally Cookson (Hetty Feather), the musical tells the story of Gelsomina, sold into a travelling sideshow by her penniless mother.

The first work-in-progress production will run from 13 to 30 July. Bateman and Conley's The Little Beasts, a musical with 'innovative puppetry', will be directed and designed by Finn Caldwell (The Lorax) and Nick Barnes (The Lorax). The Little Beasts tells of 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.

During August, the National Youth Music Theatre will run productions of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Sunday in the Park With George (16 to 19 August) and a new musical from Timothy Knapman and Stuart Matthew Price, Imaginary (9 to 12 August).

Completing the season will be Aria Entertainment's From Page to Stage Festival, a festival of new musical theatre that 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.

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."

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