Fifteen years after its Broadway debut - when it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards - Steel Pier, a musical by Cabaret and Chicago composers John Kander and Fred Ebb, will get its European professional premiere at the Union Theatre from Wednesday 31 October. Press night is Tuesday 6 November at 7.30pm.
A high-energy, dance-heavy musical set in early 1930's Atlantic City, Steel Pier tells the story of a dancer, Rita Racine, and her quest to finally leave the dance marathon circuit of which she has been trapped for so long. It has a story based loosely on the film They Shoot Horses Don't They? Steel Pier is a tale of love and romance with a touch of bribery and deceit thrown in for good measure.
Director Paul Taylor-Mills and Choreographer Richard Jones collaborate again following their recent critically acclaimed, sold-out revival of Rent at the Greenwich Theatre. And they return to the Union Theatre where they were both nominated for Best Direction and Best Choreography in the OffWestEnd awards respectively for their revival of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Steel Pier is their third time working together.
Heading the cast as Rita Racine is American Sarah Galbraith, who was Christine's understudy in The Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas and also appeared in the show on Broadway. Her other roles including starring as Ariel in a concert version of The Little Mermaid on tour in Japan with the Tokyo Philharmonic, and Johanna in Sweeney Todd.
The rest of the cast are: Jay Rincon, Aimie Atkinson, Ian Knauer, Ian Kirton, Samuel Parker, Clare Louise Connolly, Brett Shiels, Amy Anzel, Rob Lines, Lisa-Anne Wood, Ben Beard, Louise?Roberts, Natalie?Douglas, Eithne Bryan, Connor Macnamara, Sheila Grant, Simon Mayhew, Rebecca Orwell.
John Kander and Fred Ebb started composing and writing music in the early 1960’s. With over 20 musicals in their repertoire, their most successful works – Cabaret and Chicago – are still being staged around the world today. Steel Pier opened on Broadway under the direction of Scott Ellis in April 1997. It has never been staged professionally in Europe.
Commenting on the production, Paul Taylor-Mills said: “I'm stunned that Steel Pier is practically unknown in the UK. I also love the challenge this presents. From a performer's perspective it’s about the whole package. You have to be strong at all three disciplines – dancing, singing and acting – and it can be truly exhausting. As a director, especially at the Union Theatre where the audience and performers are so intimate, it’s a challenge to ensure the story is told effectively amongst the heavy dance numbers. It’s a great show and I'm very excited to be the first to bring it to the stage in Europe.”
Paul Taylor-Mills presents Steel Pier with Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb and from the original book by David Thompson. Conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson. This production is directed by Paul Taylor-Mills with choreographer Richard Jones, musical director Angharad Sanders and producer Kylie Vilcins.
Union Theatre is located at 204 Union Street, Southwark, LONDON SE1 0LX. To book tickets, call the Box Office at 020 7261 9876 or go online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/uniontheatre. Tickets: £15.00 - £19.00
The show runs Wednesday 31 October – Saturday 24 November, Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Sundays at 6.00pm and no shows Mondays. Press Night: Tuesday 6 November at 7.30pm. Running time: 2 hours 30 mins with an interval.