Previewed 15 October 2003, Opened 7 November 2003, Closed 9 October 2004 at the Victoria Palace Theatre
Ben Elton's new Rod Stewart musical Tonight's the Night in London
From the sexy mean streets of Detroit to the glamorous clubs and the Rockstar mansions of LA and Beverly Hills, Tonight's The Night tracks the story of Stu Roderick, a quiet, shy guy, so hung up and tongue tied that he can not even find the courage to declare his love to Mary, the sweet, wholesome girl of his dreams. How different Stu is to his hero, that legendary rock'n'roll vagabond Rod Stewart - now there's a guy who never had any trouble hitting on a girl. Then one night, alone and desperate, Stu reflects that if he could only be more like Rod then Mary would surely be his and for that, Stu would sell his very soul. In less time than it takes to say hot legs Mephistopheles, agent of Satan, turns up ready to make a deal. If Stu commits his soul to reside in Hell for all eternity, the Devil will give Stu the soul of Rod Stewart and then it will be Bye Bye Mr. Dull Guy and hello ladies! Stu is about to learn the hard way that you can't find true love using another man's moves and that Devil or no Devil there's only one Rod Stewart.
Written by Ben Elton and featuring over twenty of the greatest hits of Rod Stewart, Tonight's The Night is musical comedy at its all-singing, all-dancing rip-roaring best. Packed with hilarious gags, spectacularly staged numbers and the unforgettable songs that five generations fell in love to and made love to.
The cast features Tim Howar as 'Stuart Clutterbuck', Dianne Pilkington as 'Sweet Lady Mary', Hannah Waddingham as 'Satan', and Michael McKell as 'Stoner', with Lucy Anderson as 'Bootie', Keith Bookman as 'Greaser', Sharon Clancy as 'Winona', Jeff Edwards as 'Bonehead', Lucie Fentum as 'Miss Mercedes', Tim Funnell as 'Rocky Washington', Debbie Kurup as 'Dee Dee', Rebecca Parker as 'Desiree', Catherine Porter as 'Baby Jane Golden', Tanya Robb as 'Loretta', Howard Samuels as 'Jorge', Tim Walton as 'Travolta', Tyman Boatwright, Matthew Boulton, Alistair David, Chris Ellis-Stanton, Matt Firth, Emma Gray, Leon Maurice-Jones, Samantha Modeste, Jo Morris, Brenda Jane Newhouse, Ngo Ngofa, Lucy Jane Adcock, Sarah Dickens, Jane McMurtrie, Darragh O'Leary, Tino Sanchez, and Paul Shipp.
Directed by Ben Elton, with choreography by Stephen Mear, designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Mark Hendersen, and sound by Whizz and Sebastian Frost.
Tim Howar's London theatre credits include the role of 'Michael' in Kelly Robinson's production of the Jerry Leichting and Bob Gaudio musical Peggy Sue Got Married at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2001.
Dianne Pilkington's London stage credits include the roles of 'Protestant Girl' in Robert Carsen's production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton musical The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre in 2000; and 'Beggar Woman' in Richard James' revival of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Bridewell Theatre in 2000.
Hannah Waddingham's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Christine' in Robert Carsen's production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton musical The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre in 2000; and 'Suzanne Valadon' in Rob Bettinson's production of the Charles Aznavour and Shaun McKenna musical Lautrec at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2000.
Ben Elton's West End credits include the Queen musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre in 2002; the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre in 2000; and the comedy Gasping at the Haymarket Theatre in 1990.
"The phrase 'written by committee' is usually an insult, but I wish Ben Elton had had some sort of committee behind him when he came up with Tonight's the Night. They could have tried to spur him on beyond the smug Post-It note laziness of the execution. At the very least they could have written him some good jokes. This show is lame on almost every level... But you can't take all this out on the performers. The dancing and choreography in particular cannot be faulted... The sets are also impressive, and by the finale the will to resist (maybe I mean 'to live') is eroded by the spectacle of Rod's 'yacht', with the whole cast on deck, tricked out in white naval uniforms, singing - well, I think you can probably guess what they were singing, can't you?" The Independent on Sunday
"At the Victoria Palace, Tonight's The Night is quite a nice, unpretentious tribute show for Rod Stewart fans... However, rule number one: good songs - and Rod has certainly produced some zingers - on their own do not good musicals make. Rule number two: never duck away from telling a story for fear of offending the subject. What could have been an orgy of rock'n'roll and bad behaviour is in fact a tame and tepid entertainment... Ben Elton's feeble storyline is of a shy young American garage mechanic in Gasoline Alley who sells his soul to the Devil and starts singing Rod Stewart numbers... Satan appears early on to seal Stuart's fate in the glamorous black leather-clad shape of Hannah Waddingham, a real musical theatre star in search of a real musical to star in... All the fans' favourites are here, superbly sung and very well played." The Daily Mail
"The sheer laziness of Tonight's the Night, of which Ben Elton is the pedestrian director as well as author, left me close to tears of rage. It's the kind of formulaic garbage the West End least needs at the moment, utterly devoid of wit, style or a true appreciation of what made Rod Stewart great in the first place... Tim Howar is both bland and initating as the nerd who is given Rod's soul, and his voice entirely lacks the great man's gravelly eloquence... The only truly memorable performance comes from Michael McKell, irresistibly funny as a slurry, decadent old rocker closely modelled on Keith Richards." The Daily Telegraph
The musical Tonight's The Night in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre previewed from 15 October 2003, opened on 7 November 2003, and closed on 9 October 2004.