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Saturday Night at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London previewed 10 February 2009, opened 13 February 2009, closed 14 March 2009, transferred to the Arts Theatre in London from 25 March 2009 to 11 April 2009.
It's Saturday night in New York, and five single friends decide to shake up their lifestyle and hit the town. Captivated by glamorous heiress Helene and New York's glittering social scene, Gene is determined to break into high society by disguising himself as a millionaire. But Helene has secrets of her own... Saturday Night is a celebration of youth, romance and friendship in the city that never sleeps.
Written in 1954, Saturday Night was intended to be the 24 year old Stephen Sondheim's first Broadway musical. But when producer Lemuel Ayers died, the production was cancelled - and the show was not performed until it was given its professional premiere in London in 1997. This production of Saturday Night will be the first time the revised book and score, which was amended for its off-Broadway premiere in 1999, have been seen professionally in the UK. It includes the addition of two new songs - Delighted, I'm Sure and Montana Chem.
Saturday Night has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Julius J. Epstein, based on the play Front Porch in Flatbush by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein.
The cast for Saturday Night in London features David Ricardo-Pearce as 'Gene' and Helena Blackman as 'Helen' along with Nick Trimble as 'Hank', Joanna Hickman as 'Celeste', Kevin Millington as 'Eugene (Pinhead)', David Botham as 'Ted', Lee Drage as 'Bobby', Lloyd Gorman as 'Artie', David Osmond as 'Dino', Harry Waller as 'Ray', Joanna Hollister as 'Mildred' and Charlie Cameron as 'Florence'. The production is directed by Tom Littler with musical direction by Tom Attwood, set and lighting design by Will Reynolds, costume design by Victoria Johnstone, sound design by Colin Hunter and choreography by Tim Jackson. Stephen Sondheim's musicals include Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, West Side Story, Gypsy, Pacific Overtures and Side by Side by Sondheim.
David Ricardo-Pearce's London stage credits include the role of 'Anthony' in the Watermill production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Sweeney Todd at the Trafalgar Studios and New Ambassadors Theatre, Saint Joan at the National Theatre and A Model Girl at the Greenwich Playhouse. Helena Blackman became a household name when she was runner-up in the hit BBC programme How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria? after graduating from Guildford School of Acting. Following this she played the title role in the Stephen Sondheim musica Gypsy alongside Julia McKenzie at the International Festival of Musical Theatre. Other stage credits include Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre and the role of 'Nellie Forbush' in the UK tour of South Pacific for which she was nominated for a TMA Award.
"What pulls the piece out of the doldrums is Tom Littler's amiable production and a scattering of fine songs in a score that is by and large forgettably bland. The perky A Moment with You, the wistful So Many People and the gloriously euphoric What More Do I Need? glitter like lights on the late-night Hudson. And Littler's cast of actor-musicians grab every opportunity for pizzazz. Blackman sings powerfully and with a sweet sincerity, and Ricardo-Pearce has the right boyish fecklessness and charisma." The Times
"Written in 1954, Saturday Night is a witty, optimistic hymn to the communal values of pre-Depression Brooklyn as against the individualism of sophisticated Manhattan. The chief problem is Julius J Epstein's book, which falls too easily into a morality-play format... The prevailing mood, excellently caught in Tom Littler's production for Primavera, is one of sunny neighbourhood solidarity. David Ricardo-Pearce endows Gene with a raffish charm, and Helena Blackman, a runner-up in 2007's manic quest by the BBC to cast a Maria, is likable as his loyal fiancee." The Guardian
"Screenwriter Julius J Epsteins story is so light as to be so-what, but the songs have a winning charm, especially I Remember Thatand Isnt It. Sondheim found his voice early you can tell whose show this is from the first four notes and the first lyric, a love-hungry plaint by a male chorus... But, though there's an excess of cleverness, theres a lack of conviction; not surprisingly, the jazzy Sondheim cheers rather softly for the simple life. And, with a hero who exploits his friends, and a score that never summons up the Twenties, sympathy and suspension of disbelief are hard to come by." The Independent
Saturday Night in London at the Jermyn Street Theatre previewed 10 February 2009, opened 13 February 2009, closed 14 March 2009. Transferred to the Arts Theatre on 25 March 2009, closes 11 April 2009.