Director Robert Chevara scored a major success in 2012 with the first London production of Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carré since its West End premiere in the 1970s. His production won rave reviews, sold out the King's Head Theatre and transferred to the West End to Charing Cross Theatre. Quasdimodo's original book was by Christopher Bond, the British playwright whose 1970 play, Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, formed the basis of Stephen Sondheim's musical. Chevara has written new material, updating and modernising the book.
When Lionel Bart was six, a teacher told his parents that he was a musical genius. After initial success in the pop world, working with Tommy Steele, Cliff Richard, Anthony Newley and Adam Faith among many others, Bart won three Ivor Novello Awards in 1957, four in 1959, and two in 1960. In 1960 he was given the Variety Club Silver Heart for Show Business Personality of the Year. His greatest stage success was the musical Oliver!. It opened at the New Theatre (later to become the Albery Theatre) on 30 June, 1960 and received 23 curtain calls. It ran for 2,618 performances in London. It opened on Broadway in 1963 and ran there for 774 performances. The 1968 film version, directed by Carol Reed, won several Oscars, including Best Picture. The musical Twang!! in 1965 was a flop but Bart tried to prop up its failing finances with his own money. He then sold the rights to his past and future works, including those of Oliver! to keep himself solvent but he was forced to declare himself bankrupt in 1972. In 1986 he received a special Life Time Achievement Ivor Novello Award. Cameron Mackintosh, who owned half the rights to Oliver!, revived the musical at the London Paladium in 1994 in a version rewritten by Lionel Bart. Cameron Mackintosh gave Lionel a share of the production royalties. Lionel Bart died of cancer on Saturday 3 April, 1999 aged 68
The King's Head Theatre was London's first pub theatre since Shakespeare's time, founded in 1970 with 51 West-End and Broadway transfers to its credit. Multi-award winning Adam Spreadbury-Maher became the venue's second ever Artistic Director in March 2010, relaunching the venue with a revolutionary opera and theatre programme. Since 2008 Spreadbury-Maher's Production Company has become well renowned for staging world premieres and first time revivals of work by some of the most well-known and respected playwrights of the modern era including Edward Bond, Arnold Wesker, Peter Gill, Nick Ward and Tennessee Williams.