Tracie Bennett and Emma Williams star in West End transfer of Mrs Henderson Presents
Following a sell-out season at the Theatre Royal Bath this summer, MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS will open at the Noel Coward Theatre on Tuesday 9 February 2016, for a strictly limited season, with a press night on Tuesday 16 February 2016.
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS will star Tracie Bennett as Laura Henderson, Ian Bartholomew as Vivian Van Damm and Emma Williams as Maureen who all reprise the roles they played in Bath. Full casting will be announced shortly.
Based on the film Mrs Henderson Presents – original screenplay by Martin Sherman, the musical has a book and is directed by the multi-award winning Terry Johnson. Lyrics are by the Oscar, Tony and Golden Globe winning Don Black with music by Oscar nominated George Fenton and Simon Chamberlain, who both collaborated on the original film. It is choreographed by Andrew Wright, has set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Paul Wills and lighting design by Ben Ormerod. Wig, hair and make-up design is by Richard Mawbey, orchestrations are by Larry Blank with musical supervision by Mike Dixon.
It’s London, 1937, and recently-widowed eccentric, Laura Henderson, is looking for a way of spending her time and money when her attention falls on a run-down former cinema in Great Windmill Street. Hiring feisty impresario Vivian Van Damm to look after the newly renovated Windmill Theatre, the improbable duo present a bill of non-stop variety acts. But as war looms something more is required to boost morale and box office… When Mrs Henderson comes up with the idea of The Windmill Girls – glamorous young women posing as nude statues – audiences flock. And as the Blitz hits London, The Windmill provides a refuge for all, boasting the spirit-raising slogan “We Never Close”.
Tracie Bennett is a double Olivier Award-winner for her performances in the musicals She Loves Me and Hairspray. She received huge acclaim all over the world for her portrayal of Judy Garland in End Of The Rainbow, and was Tony Award nominated for her lead role in the production, also directed by Terry Johnson. Her West End credits also include the musicals La Cage Aux Folles and Les Miserables. Her many television roles include playing Sharon Gaskell in Coronation Street and Sharon in Scott and Bailey. Ian Bartholomew was Olivier Award-nominated for the West End musicals Into the Woods and Radio Times. In a career spanning forty years, amongst his many theatre credits he has performed at the National Theatre extensively, most recently in The Power of Yes, and his numerous West End credits also include Shakespeare in Love, Tommy and Terry Johnson’s Dead Funny. Emma Williams played Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. She was Olivier-nominated for her roles in the West End musicals Zorro and Love Story.
Terry Johnson’s work has been performed worldwide. He is the recipient of a dozen major theatre awards including: the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical 2010, the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and Critics’ Circle Best Musical 2009 for La Cage Aux Folles. He won the Olivier Awards for Best Comedy of 1994 and of 1999, Playwright of the Year 1995, Critics’ Circle Best New Play 1995, two Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and Writers’ Guild Best Play in 1995 and 1996. In recent years, his West End productions have included End of the Rainbow, Whipping It Up, Dead Funny, Hysteria, The Graduate and Entertaining Mr Sloane as well as Rain Man, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, La Cage Aux Folles, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Memory Of Water, Elton John’s Glasses and Hitchcock Blonde. In Chicago, he directed John Malkovich in The Libertine, which was nominated for five Jeff Awards. For the National Theatre, he wrote and directed Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick and The London Cuckolds.
Don Black‘s stage musicals include Billy, Tell Me On A Sunday, Aspects Of Love, and Sunset Boulevard, for which he won two Tony Awards. His film lyrics include The Italian Job and Born Free and his popular hit songs include Michael Jackson’s Ben and Lulu’s To Sir With Love. He has written a quintet of James Bond theme songs: Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Gun, Surrender from Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough. He has won a multitude of Awards including an Oscar, six Ivor Novello Awards and a Golden Globe. George Fenton’s many film scores include the original film of Mrs Henderson Presents, Gandhi, Cry Freedom, Dangerous Liaisons and The Wind That Shakes The Barley, and his music for television includes the series The Jewel In The Crown, The Blue Planet and Planet Earth. Simon Chamberlain was the original Music Director on the film Mrs Henderson Presents.
Photo: Nobby Clark