Previewed 30 September 2013, Opened 23 October 2013, Closed 29 March 2014 at the Shaftesbury Theatre
The World Premiere of the new musical From Here to Eternity in London, based on the novel by James Jones
Pearl Harbor, 1941, where the girls sing "don'cha like Hawaii", the men of G Company sing the blues, and where even on an army base, love and desire are never very far away. When the troubled Private Prewitt falls for the kind hearted escort club girl Lorene, and when his platoon sergeant, Warden, embarks on a dangerous affair with his commanding officer's wife, Karen, the lives of both men are set on a course they cannot control. As war approaches, the worlds of the four lovers and the soldiers of G Company are dramatically ripped apart. From Here to Eternity is a gripping musical tale of army life and illicit love in the run-up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Musical with lyrics by Tim Rice, music Stuart Brayson, and book by Bill Oakes, based on the novel by James Jones.
The cast features Darius Campbell as 'First Sergeant Milt Warden', Siubhan Harrison as 'Lorene', Robert Lonsdale as 'Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt', Ryan Sampson as 'Private Angelo Maggio' and Rebecca Thornhill as 'Karen Holmes' along with Christine Allado, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Marc Antolin, Julie Armstrong, James Ballanger, John Brannoch, Abigail Climer, Brian Doherty, Jessica Ellen, Dale Evans, Shimi Goodman, Kirby Hughes, Lauren Ingram, Dean John-Wilson, Joshua Lacey, Carolyn Maitland, Martin Marquez, Yiftach Mizrahi, Nuno Queimado, Lucinda Shaw, Warren Sollars, David Stoller, Rebecca Sutherland, Laura Tyrer, Lauren Varnham, Adam Vaughan, Stephen Webb, and Matthew Wesley.
Directed by Tamara Harvey, with choreography by Javier de Frutos, designs by Soutra Gilmour, projections by Jon Driscoll, lighting by Bruno Poet, and sound by Mick Potter.
Tim Rice said: "Although around the turn of the century I was very fortunate as far as my theatrical ventures were concerned (Disney's The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aida), it has now been 13 years since I last worked on the complete lyrics of a new musical (Aida, which ran on Broadway for over four years). For much of the time since then I assumed I had quit while I was ahead. However, From Here To Eternity changed all that. The idea to adapt James Jones' magnificent novel for the stage, with music, was that of composer Stuart Brayson, unknown to the world as I write, but known to me for many years as a gifted, tuneful and original creator of contemporary music. I am amazed to be as excited as I am about a new show after more than forty years in the musical theatre, but the reasons are simple: a superb story of love and war, marvellous music that has inspired terrific new songs, and top-notch colleagues - director Tamara Harvey, script writer Bill Oaks and co-producer Lee Menzies."
Rebecca Thornhill's London theatre credits include Sophisticated Ladies at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre) in 1992.
Tamara Harvey's West End theatre directing credits include Jack Rosenthal's comedy Smash starring Tom Conti (Menier Chocolate Factory Theatre 2011), Nicholas De Jongh's play about John Gielgud Plague Over England starring Michael Feast and Celia Imrie (Duchess Theatre 2009), the West End transfer from the Bush Theatre of Steve Thompson's political comedy Whipping It Up starring Richard Wilson and Robert Bathurst (Ambassadors Theatre 2007) and co-director with Terry Johnson of Dale Wasserman's play One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, starring Christian Slater (Garrick Theatre 2004, returned 2006).
Javier De Frutos' London choreography credits include for Rufus Norris' revival of the John Kander and Fred Ebb musical Cabaret (Lyric Theatre 2006, returned Savoy Theatre 2012) and the Pet Shop Boys' full length dance production The Most Incredible Thing, based on a Hans Christian Andersen story (Sadler's Wells 2011, returned 2012).
Soutra Gilmour credits include designs for Jamie Lloyd's revival of Shakespeare's Macbeth starring James McAvoy (Trafalgar Studio 2013) and Timothy Sheader's revival of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods (Open Air Theatre 2010, also New York for the Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater, Central Park 2012).
"It's 1941: war is raging across the globe and the members of G Company are growing bored in their easy berth of Hawaii. They engage in fractious barrack-room banter and involve themselves in impossible romances, little knowing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour is about to shake up their lives. Perhaps interpreting its title too literally, this stage adaptation of James Jones' 1951 novel takes an eternity to achieve narrative focus. Even then, emotions rarely threaten to boil over. As hard-bitten First Sergeant Milt Warden, Darius Campbell demonstrates vocal grace but rarely allows a visible emotion to curdle his matinee-idol good looks... Director Tamara Harvey's stabs at gritty frankness only underline the production's mild-mannered heart. Four-letter words are flung around but the would-be steamy brothel-scene climax resembles a gym competition inexplicably conducted in saucy underwear." The London Metro
"Tim Rice and Stuart Brayson have promised a show that gets to the grit of the uncensored version of James Jones's 1951 novel, which was published with all swearing and references to prostitution and homosexuality cut... But Tamara Harvey's peculiarly old-fashioned, low-budget, underpowered show merely skims the surface on emotional terms. Hula-dancing local girls in bright prints capture a touch, but not enough, of the sultry atmosphere of the tropical Hawaiian Islands before the Japanese raid of 1941, in sharp contrast with the testosterone-drenched barracks where choreographer Javier de Frutos incorporates punch bags, steel beds in the dormitories and even buffing of boots into the superbly drilled routines... The score cleverly weaves in the sounds of the time... but there's no show-stopper, neither a soaring love song nor a soulful performance that gets you in the guts... Enjoyable but underwhelming. From here to January? Maybe." The Mail on Sunday
"Sir Tim Rice and Lord Lloyd-Webber have their names up in lights in the West End again, but not, alas, outside the same theatre. The one-time collaborators have rival shows coming out within weeks of each other - From Here to Eternity and Stephen Ward... Sir Tim's work is first out of the stocks, and let me say straight away that I like it. The problem is all the reasons I like it may well prove to be the very ones that will count against it at the box office. Tamara Harvey's production is a time capsule of a musical with the attendant period looks and charm. The music - Sir Tim's collaborator this time around is Stuart Brayson - is less cutting-edge than dreamily nostalgic." The Sunday Telegraph
From Here to Eternity in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 30 September 2013, opened on 23 October 2013, and closed on 29 March 2014.