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A Class Act - Landor Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

A CLASS ACT, an artfully structured memorial musical dramatising Tony Award-winning lyricist Edward Kleban’s hilarious, passionate and ultimately heartbreaking journey, runs at the Landor Theatre from Wednesday, March 20 to Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a musical is created and the forces behind its creation, A Class Act retraces the high and low points of Kleban’s amazing career and explores how an artist’s personal life can inspire or interfere with professional pursuits.

The show integrates songs (which Stephen Sondheim said he “wished he’d written”) from widely different Kleban projects into the narrative, each number establishing a particular moment of insight and creating a study of a lost era in show business.

In a show described as the ultimate small musical with a big heart, an ensemble of seven inhabit the colourful gallery of friends and loved ones in Ed’s life including the legendarily acerbic Lehman Engle, the relentlessly peppy Marvin Hamlisch, and Über-creative Michael Bennett.

Last performed at the Landor almost ten years ago, this is a timely revival of a show last described by Mark Shenton as ‘a real-life version of Sondheim and Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along with its similar tale of professional partnerships and friendships spoilt and soiled.’

With music and lyrics by Ed Kleban himself, and a book by Linda Kline and Lonny Price, A Class Act was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards and five Tonys including Best Musical.

In the Landor’s revival, Robert McWhir directs a cast that includes John Barr, Sarah Borges, Erin Cornell, Barry Fantoni, Charles Hagerty, Gary Jordan, Laura McCulloch and Jane Quinn.

Produced by Theatrica Ltd for the Landor Theatre, A Class Act has musical direction by James Cleeve, choreography by Robbie O’Reilly, set design by Martin Thomas, lighting by Richard Lambert and costumes by Samantha Kent.

Tickets: £20, £18 concessions.

Times: Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday at 7.30pm, Friday at 7pm, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. No performance on Tuesday, March 26.

From Page to Stage continues at the Landor Theatre until March 17. A Class Act will be followed by Sleeping Arrangements, a new musical based on the novel by Sophie Kinsella.