Theatre Royal Stratford East announces it will produce Oh What A Lovely War in 2014, directed by Terry Johnson and designed by Lez Brotherston, with tickets going on sale from 9th January 2013. The musical, which premiered at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 19th March 1963, will also coincide with the 100th Anniversary of World War I.
Oh What A Lovely War, a satirical musical about World War I, is a comment against war in general and remains relevant in today's environment. Joan Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton's work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop. It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964 and receiving four Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said: "We are delighted to be bringing Oh What a Lovely War back to Theatre Royal Stratford East in its 50th anniversary year and to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Joan Littlewood's landmark production was ahead of its time when it was first staged here, challenging our perceptions of war. It also played a significant part in the transformation of British Theatre. We are very proud that we have assembled a world-class creative team for this important production. We will remain true to the spirit of the original and will be re-creating it to resonate with modern audiences."
The musical is packed with familiar songs from the World War I era including 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary', 'Pack up Your Troubles' and 'Keep the Home Fires Burning'. The songs are performed against a projected backdrop of images and shocking statistics conveying the harsh realities of war.
Joan Littlewood, born in 1914, was an English theatre director noted for her work in developing the left-wing Theatre Workshop, which became permanently based at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1953. The company was based at Theatre Royal Stratford East and gained a reputation for hard-hitting theatrical productions touring Europe and the Soviet Union. She directed and starred in the British premiere of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children (1955) and is best remembered for her critically acclaimed production of Shelagh Delaney's A Taste of Honey (1958) and the satirical musical Oh What A Lovely War (1963).
This reimagined production will be directed by Terry Johnson. Johnson has won nine British Theatre awards including Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Playwright of the Year. In 2010 he won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage aux Folles. His theatre credits as both director and writer are prolific including End of the Rainbow (2010-11) which was nominated for three Olivier Awards, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2009) and most recently Hysteria (2012) with Antony Sher.
The production will be designed by Lez Brotherston. A long time collaborator of Matthew Bourne, Lez, has worked on most of Matthew's productions including Swan Lake, Play Without Words, Edward Scissorhands, Car Man and most recently The Sleeping Beauty. Lez's other work includes Sister Act, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Acorn Antiques, Into The Woods and The Far Pavilions all in the West End, and The Little Mermaid on Broadway.
For tickets and more information, visit: www.stratfordeast.com