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Gay's the Word - Jermyn Street Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IVOR Novello’s musical comedy, Gay’s the Word, will open the newly refurbished Jermyn Street Theatre, where it will run from February 7 to March 2, 2013.

When the semi-staged production of Novello’s final musical played at Finborough Theatre last January, it became one of their fastest sell-outs ever. Now the same team are bringing the fully realised professional production back to the London stage for the first time since 1951.

Gay’s the Word has book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Alan Melville by special permission of Samuel French Ltd for the Ivor Novello Trustees.

Novello sends up his famous Ruritanian extravagances in this backstage musical comedy, in which former stage star Gay Daventry opens a drama school and finds that what is needed to get her back on top is, in the title of the show’s hit song, Vitality!

Other numbers include If Only He’d Looked My Way (later recorded by Frank Sinatra), Bees Are Buzzin’ and On Such A Night As This.

The twenty strong cast will include Sophie-Louise Dann in the title role of Gay. Recently Olivier-nominated for her role in Lend Me a Tenor (Gielgud Theatre), she goes straight from this production to star in the Paris premiere of Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.

She will be joined by multi award-nominee Helena Blackman (BBC’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Noel and Gertie, A Winter’s Tale) and fast-rising Josh Little (Dreamboats and Petticoats, Footloose).

They will perform alongside Elizabeth Seal, who will making her first London appearance in many years. Seal, whose career began in the original production of Gay’s the Word, won a Tony Award for Irma La Douce.

Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the last century. His West End musicals included Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years and King’s Rhapsody. As an actor, he was Britain’s first major male film star, appearing in over 20 silent features including Alfred Hitchcock’s classic The Lodger.

Presented by Evergreen Theatrical Productions Ltd in Association with Jermyn Street Theatre and with book adapted by Richard Stirling, Gay’s the Word will be directed and choreographed by Stewart Nicholls and have musical supervision by Ross Leadbeater.

Tickets: £20, £18 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7287 2875 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday (plus February 20 and 27) at 3.30pm.

Other productions in the Spring season are Graham Greene’s The Living Room, directed by Tom Littler, and On Approval by Frederick Lonsdale, which will be directed by Jermyn Street Theatre’s incoming Artistic Director Anthony Biggs.

Boy Meets Boy continues at Jermyn Street Theatre until December 20, 2012.