The Witches of Eastwick

Previewed 24 June 2000, opened 18 July 2000, closed 24 February 2001 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Transferred 23 March 2001, closed 27 October 2001 at the Prince of Wales Theatre

The new magical musical comedy The Witches of Eastwick in London

Make him mine! Make him mine! Make him handsome as the devil. Yet perfectly divine. Make him mine. The ultimate companion, The ideal design. All manner of man in one man. Make him mine! In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, Rhode Island, three modern day witches plot and conjure over a heady brew of weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose. Quite literally... Come dance with the devil...

Musical with book and lyrics by John Dempsey, and music by Dana Rowe, based on the novel by John Updike, and the Warner Brothers Motion Picture.

The original cast up to Saturday 30 June 2001 featured Ian McShane as 'Darryl Van Horne' (up to 24 February 2001), Earl Carpenter as 'Darryl Van Horne' (from 23 March 2001), Lucie Arnaz as 'Alexandra Spofford', Maria Friedman as 'Sukie Rougemont', Joanna Riding as 'Jane Smart', Rosemary Ashe as 'Felicia Gabriel', Stephen Tate as 'Clyde Gabriel', Caroline Sheen as 'Jennifer Gabriel', and Peter Joback as 'Michael Spofford', with Kathryn Akin as 'Brenda Parsley', Valda Aviks as 'Eudora Bryce', Earl Carpenter as 'Ed Parsley', Kevin Curtin as 'Joe Marino', Matt Dempsey as 'Curtis Halleybread', Alison Forbes as 'Mabel Ogden', Jocelyn Hawkyard as 'Rebecca Barnes', Shaun Henson as 'Homer Perley', Chris Holland as 'Frank Ogden', Jasna Ivir as 'Gina Marino', Maurice Lane as 'Dr Henry Pattison', Sarah Lark as 'Little Girl', Anne Marie McCormack as 'Gretta Neff', Jean McGlyn as 'Marcy Willis', Lisa Peace as 'Marge Perley', Scarlett Strallen as 'Mavis Jessup', Julia Sutton as 'Franny Lovecraft', Graham Tudor as 'Toby Bergman', Kevin Wainwright as 'Raymond Neff', Timothy Walton as 'Bob Osgood', and Gee Williams as 'Fidel'. Note: Unfortunately, due to having a severe case of shingles, Ian McShane was forced to withdraw from this production due to having a severe case of shingles, with his understudy, Earl Carpenter, taking over the role of 'Darryl Van Horne'.

The cast from Monday 2 July 2001 featured Clarke Peters 'Darryl van Horne', Josefina Gabrielle 'Alexandra Spofford', Rebecca Thornhill 'Sukie Rougemont', Joanna Riding 'Jane Smart', Rosemary Ashe 'Felicia Gabriel', Stephen Tate 'Clyde Gabriel', Caroline Sheen 'Jennifer Gabriel', and Paul Spicer 'Michael Spofford', with Ian Caddick as 'Dr Henry Pattison', Darren Carnell as 'Curtis Halleybread', Scott Ciscon as 'Joe Marino', Alison Forbes as 'Mabel Ogden', Jocelyn Hawkyard as 'Greta Neff', Shaun Henson as 'Homer Perley', Christopher Howell as 'Raymond Neff', Kieran Jae as 'Toby Bergman', Sarah Lark as 'Little Girl', Stephen McGlynn as 'Frank Ogden', Susie McKenna as 'Eudora Bryce', Sophia Ragavelas as 'Marcy Wills', Louisa Shaw as 'Marge Perley', Julia Sutton as 'Franny Lovecraft', Amanda Villamayor as 'Brenda Parsley', Kevin Wainwright as 'Ed Parsley', Gee Williams as 'Fidel', Claire Winsper as 'Mavis Jessup', and Elizabeth Yeats as 'Gina Marino'. This cast had an official 'Opening Night' on 17 July 2001.

Directed by Eric Schaeffer with choreography by Bob Avian and Stephen Mear, designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Howard Harrison, and sound by Andrew Bruce.

Ian McShane's London theatre credits include the role of 'Tom Wingfield' in Vivian Matalon's revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at the Haymarket Theatre 1965.

Maria Friedman's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Fosco' in Jeremy Sam's production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion at the Queen's Theatre in 1996 ; 'Dot'/'Marie' in Steven Pimlott's production of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1990; and 'Girl with a Date' in Steve Whately's production of Sheldon Epps' Blues In The Night at the Donmar Warehouse, and transfer to the West End's at the Piccadilly Theatre in 1987.

Joanna Riding's London theatre credits include the ensemble cast in Fiona Laird's revival of Joan Littlewood's Oh! What A Lovely War at the Bernie Spain Gardens and the Roundhouse in 1998; 'Anne Egerman' in Sean Mathias' revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1995; 'Julie Jordan' in Nicholas Hytner's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1992, and transfer to the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre in 1993; and 'Susie Trevor' in Ian Talbot's revival of the George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin musical Lady, Be Good! at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 1992.

Stephen Tate's London theatre credits include the role of 'Judas Iscariot' in the original cast of Jim Sharman's production of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theatre in 1972.

"Ian McShane hams it up to high Heaven as the sexy Satan immortalised on screen by Jack Nicholson. And Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman and Joanna Riding are a sensation as the ever-so-willing witches... The show is both old fashioned musical and up-to-date sex comedy. It is full of wonderfully wicked one-liners. And no expense is spared on special effects. Musical instruments have a life of their own, the town busy-body spits feathers, cherries, a tennis ball and a foot-long candle. The witches fly higher than Peter Pan ever did - and forget a crashing chandelier as in the Phantom Of The Opera, the climax sees an entire church come tumbling down... It is sexy, spectacular and an awful lot of fun." The Daily Mirror

"The show trundels along with good humour, gags and spectacular sets. But it's basically a second-rate musical wrapped in a £5million budget. Musicals stand or fall by their scores and this never once struck me as anything original or even devilish... The ladies - sarcastic sculptress Lucie Arnaz, screwball teacher Maria Friedman, and buttoned-up musician Joanna Riding - all come under the priapic spell of Ian McShane's sweaty-faced devil who hammers out his songs with an almost medical rasp. No amount of black magic would get me into bed with him, but it works on the girls... There's a fabulous flying scene that knocks Peter Pan into a cocked hat. It has its moments for sure, but it's a modest addition to London's ample stock of modest musicals." The Daily Express

"The cast in this new musical version of John Updike's tale of devilish goings-on in a small Rhode Island town sing and dance as if possessed... But does their material have what it takes to make this latest Cameron Mackintosh musical a great show? Not quite. It's certainly a very likeable show. Writer John Dempsey and composer Dana P. Rowe have pitched it as a musical comedy, and its most endearing feature is that it doesn't take itself too seriously... In spite of all this invention there is something missing, though... this still feels like a witty small-scale show with a lot of money and energy thrown into it. One problem is that the songs, though enjoyable, don't include one thorough show-stopper... The second problem is that it is such a watered-down version of the novel... Still, the performances have lots of charms." The Financial Times

Josefina Gabrielle's London stage credits include the roles of 'Iris Kelly' in the original cast of Runar Borge's production of David de Silva Fame the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in 1995; and 'Laurey' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1998, and transfer to the West End's Lyceum Theatre in 1999.

Rebecca Thornhill's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Babette' in the original cast of Robert Jess Roth's production of the Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice musical Disney's Beauty and The Beast at the Dominion Theatre in 1997; and Roger Haines' production of the Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies at the Globe Theatre in 1991.

"Recast, redesigned and transferred from the Drury Lane, where it was lost in the huge stage space, to the smaller Prince of Wales, this comic operetta has been given a shot in the erogenous zones through its casting of Clarke Peters as the devilish seducer of those manless women... The role fits him like a vocation... The production desperately needs to be played and sung at full theatrical throttle as the songs, apart from the jibes of 'Dirty Laundry' and 'Dance with the Devil', are unmemorable. And Dana P Rowe's music tends to provide noisily bland interruptions for John Dempsey's amusing book. Now that Mr Peters is on hand to give a dynamic, leering thrust to the musical, Eric Schaeffer’s production bustles with ardent singing, dancing brio and broad humour... A musical revived." The London Evening Standard

"Clarke Peters plays Darryl van Horne, the lecher from New York who transforms the barren love lives of three divorced New England ladies played by marvellous Joanna Riding, the lush and lively Josefina Gabrielle and the blonde bombshell Rebecca Thornhill. Did I enjoy it more this time round? Well, yes, actually. Not a lot, but a bit. Acres of musical score go by with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. There a new, busy jazz number for Darryl in which he tanks up his vanity shortly before the church incinerates on his wedding day... Eric Schaeffer’s production is vastly improved and fun to watch... I’ll bet against anyone humming a tune in five years’ time. But good things happen: small town, old-style, vivid choreography, and Clarke Peters’ 24 carat-gold devilish star turn for starters." The Daily Mail

When it was announced that this production was closing earlier then expected, the show's producer, the show's producer Cameron Mackintosh said: "Obviously I would have liked The Witches of Eastwick to have run longer as I think it is a terrific show with a terrific cast headed by an acclaimed star performance by Clarke Peters as Darryl van Horne. The audience has a great time but the plain fact is that this year has not been good for new musicals. The whole industry has suffered from a dramatic decline in the tourist sector through much of this spring and summer, but I had hoped that the traditional October upswing in business would have enabled us to remain open into the New Year. However, the recent tragic events in America, with all their consequences, have served to make things even worse and so reluctantly I have had to take the decision to close the production in London and to move it abroad. Hopefully fans of the show will take the opportunity to see it again before the end of the run. I very much hope that all the shows' fans and anyone who has yet to see the show will come and enjoy it during its last weeks in London. Depending on public response, we may be able to continue a bit beyond the end of October but as owner of the Prince of Wales theatre, I have had to schedule other productions to follow The Witches of Eastwick. As well as the show going to America, possibly with Clarke Peters repeating his acclaimed performance, I am delighted that one of our leading ladies is going to repeat her starring role, of 'Laurie', in the National Theatre's wonderful production of Oklahoma! which I am presenting on Broadway next March. Having just returned from a Broadway where many shows are battling for survival, because of a lack of tourists there, everyone from the Mayor to the President are urging visitors to visit New York to see the shows, eat at the restaurants and enjoy the city. It's starting to work and the New Yorkers themselves are leading the fight for their city's survival. Londoners need urgently to do the same because there has never been an easier time to get tickets and the city needs to be kept vibrant to make tourists want to return."

The Witches of Eastwick in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane previewed from 24 June, opened on 18 July 2000 and closed on 24 February 2001, transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre from 23 March 2001 to 27 October 2001.