Thursday, February 14

Chichester Festival Theatre announces Oklahoma! and This is My Family as 2019 musicals

Chichester Festival Theatre’s 2019 Festival 2019 has been announced today by Artistic Director Daniel Evans.  It includes two musicals, one modern, one classic:
  • Tim Firth’s THIS IS MY FAMILY, with James Nesbitt, Sheila Hancock and Clare Burt, directed by Daniel Evans 
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! with Josie Lawrence, Hyoie O’Grady and Amara Okereke, directed by Jeremy Sams
New for 2019 is The Spiegeltent, a unique venue for an eclectic range of events. 


OKLAHOMA! Music by Richard Rodgers Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs Original choreography by Agnes de Mille Directed by Jeremy Sams 15 July – 7 September, Festival Theatre Press night: Monday 22 July.

With its glorious score and spirit of exuberant optimism, Oklahoma! is the American musical by which all others are judged. Rodgers and Hammerstein broke new ground in perfectly integrating music and dance to tell a story whose darker undercurrents never overwhelm its rapturous vitality. Among the unforgettable songs are Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and the show-stopper Oklahoma. 

Jeremy Sams returns to Chichester to direct; his award-winning productions in London and New York include The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Noises Off and Spend, Spend, Spend. Set designs are by Robert Jones whose extensive work at Chichester includes Mack & Mabel and Kiss Me, Kate. Choreography is by Matt Cole whose recent work includes Fiddler on the Roof at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.

Josie Lawrence, whose stage work ranges from Shakespeare at the RSC and Globe to The King and I in the West End, plays Aunt Eller. Her extensive television credits include Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Humans and Outside Edge, and she makes regular appearances at the Comedy Store.
Hyoie O’Grady plays Curly; he recently played Enroljas in Les Misérables in the West End, having graduated from London’s Mountview Academy of Arts last year. 

Also making her Chichester debut, as Laurey, is Amara Okereke, winner of the 2018 Stage Debut Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Cosette in Les Misérables. 

Costume designs are by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, with musical supervision, musical direction and dance arrangements by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.
Imagine you’re a spirited 13-year-old and you’ve won – actually won – a magazine competition to describe your family. The prize is a dream holiday for the lot of you, anywhere in the world. 

Except... Nicky’s family isn’t the blissfully happy bunch she’s described. More like the contestants in a gladiatorial arena, in fact. Where on earth can she take them that might make her wishful thinking a reality? 

THIS IS MY FAMILY A musical by Tim Firth Directed by Daniel Evans 20 April – 15 June, Minerva Theatre Press night: Monday 29 April.

Winner of the 2013 UK Theatre Award for Best Musical, this hilarious musical comedy, which moves seamlessly between speech and song, is a celebration of the lifelong adventure that is family love. 

Book, lyrics and music are by Tim Firth, the award-winning writer of many celebrated hits including Calendar Girls and Neville’s Island at Chichester. This is My Family is his first original solo musical. The production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous work at Chichester includes Me and My Girl and Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018), Fiddler on the Roof and Quiz (2017).

James Nesbitt (Cold Feet, The Missing) makes his Chichester debut whilst Sheila Hancock makes a welcome return; her more recent work includes Sister Act in the West End. Clare Burt also returns to Chichester following her acclaimed performance in Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018). They are joined by Kirsty MacLaren, Rachel Lumberg and Scott Folan

This Is My Family will be designed by Richard Kent, with musical supervision, musical direction and orchestrations by Caroline Humphris, lighting by David Plater, sound by Paul Arditti and movement by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. 

Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens: Saturday 23 February (online and booking forms only) Wednesday 27 February (phone and in person)
Booking for Groups and Schools opens: Thursday 28 February
General booking opens: Saturday 2 March (online only) Tuesday 5 March (phone and in person)

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