Simply Heavenly

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 15 October 2004, Opened 25 October 2004, Closed 19 February 2005 at the Trafalgar Studios in London

"Did you ever hear the blues... like they play them in Savannah?" Jesse B Semple is a hardworking man, often down on his luck, with an expensive divorce looming. He has a good woman to love but is tempted by the local siren and even more so by the neighbourhood bar. Life is very complicated! This wonderful musical takes us deep into 1950s America. Thereos wit, humour and sass. Although times are tough Simply Heavenly captures the spirit of Harlem and celebrates it.

Simply Heavenly, with book and lyrics by Langston Hughes and music by David Martin, first ran on Broadway in 1957, giving a voice through humour and song to the African American experience. With gentle satire, insightful ramblings and street-wise humour Hughes chronicled the hopes and despair of black America. This production was originally seen at London's Young Vic Theatre in 2003.

"Here at last is proof a stage musical can still be a theatrical treat... In essence the play is a black Guys and Dolls set in the cosy atmosphere of a bar with the harsh reality of the street never far away... Jossette Bushell-Mingo's production on Rob Howell's bar-room setting is a miracle of period accuracy, perfectly supported by Paul J Medford's choreography. To a man and woman, the cast are natural dancers, and recreate a cross-section of New York's street life in all its rich, bitter-sweet and intricate variety..." The Daily Express

"This is a show of sublime innocence, heart and soul, set in Paddy's Bar in pitifully poor Harlem in the Fifties. The bits in between the glorious numbers tell a rather protracted love story about a married man, Jesse Semple, who wants a divorce nearly as much as he wants to marry churchy girlfriend Joyce. Unfortunately for her, Zarita, the town slapper who wiggles and waggles her way through the bar, proves a little distracting... You won't find more engaging, more talented performances anywhere in London. When they sing and dance, it's pure heaven." The Mail on Sunday

"This 1957 musical play is like its title. With book and lyrics by Langston Hughes, the black American novelist and poet, and music by David Martin, it is set in and around a Harlem bar in the 1950s, when black culture was still fighting for acceptance... The singing is terrific. This is a jewel." The Sunday Times

Simply Heavenly in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 15 October 2004, opened on 25 October 2004 and closed on 19 February 2005