Leonardo the Musical

Previewed 26 May 1993, Opened 3 June 1993, Closed 10 July 1993 at the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre)

Leonard the Musical - A Portrait of Love - Painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, engineer, astronomer, anatomist - a true genius, Leonardo da Vinci was all of these and more. Yet in spite of his prolific artistic and scientific output many aspects of Leonardo's life remain shrouded in mystery. None more so, perhaps, than the identity of the woman behind the smile of the Mona Lisa. A remarkable portrait of a man fired by both genius and love, Leonardo - The Musical in London promises to provide an exciting and thought-provoking solution to this enigma.

The cast features Paul Collis as 'Leonardo', Jane Arden as 'Mona Lisa', Hal Fowler as 'Meltzi' and James Barron as 'Francesco Giocondo'. Directed by Rob Bettinson with choreography by Terry John Bates, sets by Michael Pavelka, costumes by Adrian Rees, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Nick Gilpin. Musical with music and lyrics by Tommy Moeller, Greg Moeller, Russell Dunlop and Duke Minks and book by John Kane.

"To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their independence, the people of the Pacific island of Nauru - who have become stinking rich from phosphate yielding bird droppings - have invested in the West End musical, Leonardo. Regrettably, they bought a heap. Leonardo is a dodo... The authors have not allowed any known facts about Leonardo's life - least of all his arrest for sodomy - to get in the way of their fiction which puts forward the fanciful notion that the Mona Lisa was the love of Leonardo's life and bore his child. This is a portrait of the artist as a young heterosexual, a bit of a lad... Rob Bettinson's paint by numbers production wakes up in the second half creating a suitably menacing carnival atmosphere to accompany poor Lisa's demise before falling asleep again when things get maudlin and nobody can think of anything better to do than reprise another sickly love ballad. Apparently the people of Nauru have one of the highest incidences of diabetes in the world. It's not surprising. If their diet reflects their musical taste it must be pure sugar." The Guardian

"This mind-numbingly boring musical is about the secret love life of Leonardo da Vinci, and is based on the touching hypothesis that our Len was not interested in boys but loved a girl. She was Lisa, by whom Len had an illegitimate daughter: she is pregnant when she marries the beefy Francesco del Giocondo. The music is nondescript, the lyrics banal. The whole thing is the most utter bilge." The Sunday Times

"It begins and ends with the hero on his deathbed, the Mona Lisa - which throughout his life he has obsessively repainted, we're told - on an easel at his side. In between, John Kane's book fabricates a love affair between Leonardo and Lisa, the painting's 'alleged' model, who, to cover up her pregnancy by him and so save his life, spurns the painter, marries her fiance, and eventually meets a sticky end. As you'd expect, the musical serenely ignores the sodomy charge Leonardo faced in his mid-teens, or any mention of the way his sexuality may have shaped his perception of the female form. Indeed, it would have been better if they had ignored the whole gay issue, rather than raise it in such a sanitised, glutinous form." The Independent

The musical Leonardo in London previewed from 26 May 1993, opened on 3 June 1993 and closed on 10 July 1993 at the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre)