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Menier Chocolate Factory - 2012 - 2013 Season

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE MENIER Chocolate Factory has announced its plans for the remainder of 2012, and they include revivals of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, Brandon Thomas’ classic farce Charley’s Aunt and Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along.

The season opens with Torch Song Trilogy, Fierstein’s moving and powerful Tony award-winning drama, which runs from May 30 to August 12.

Originally conceived and performed in three acts, Torch Song Trilogy tells the poignant story of an outsider’s search for love and acceptance.

Described as an intimate and powerful play, bursting with courage and sharp wit, it follows drag queen Arnold as he encounters passion, thrills, love and loss as he fights for his place in the world and his right to happiness.

Torch Song Trilogy will be directed by Olivier Award-winning actor Douglas Hodge, who was last seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in the musical La Cage aux Folles, which was also written by Fierstein.

Read more about Torch Song Trilogy

The second production, Charley’s Aunt, runs from September 20 to November 10.

Charley’s rich Aunt, Dona Lucia, is visiting from Brazil (where the nuts come from!). The timing couldn’t be better. Her presence as a chaperone will allow him and his friend Jack to invite their respective true loves, Amy and Kitty, for luncheon to ask for their hands in marriage.

But Amy is soon to leave for Scotland and Charley’s Aunt is delayed by several days thereby scuppering their romantic plans. However, undeterred, they blackmail their eccentric friend, Lord Fancourt Babberley, to pose as Dona Lucia little knowing that the imposter would be courted by Jack’s father and Amy’s guardian. And matters are complicated still further when Charley’s real aunt arrives.

Charley’s Aunt will be directed by Ian Talbot who, as Artistic Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, directed Where’s Charley?, the Broadway version of Thomas’ original. Since leaving the Open Air Theatre in 2007, his directing credits include Lend Me a Tenor The Musical (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Gielgud Theatre) and The Invisible Man (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Read more about Charley’s Aunt l Asher, Kelly and Pace join cast

The final production, Merrily We Roll Along, runs from November 16 to February 23, 2013.

Based on the play by Kaufman and Hart, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical charts the relationship between three friends, Franklin, Charley and Mary over three decades in the entertainment business.

This moving story features some of Sondheim’s most beautiful songs, such as Good Thing Going, Not a Day Goes By and Old Friends.

Merrily We Roll Along will be directed by Maria Friedman, who will be making her directorial debut at the Chocolate Factory. Friedman has previously starred in a production of the Sondheim classic at the Leicester Haymarket in 1992.

Casting for the new season has not yet been announced.

Abigail’s Party continues at the Menier Chocolate Factory until April 21, 2012. It will be followed – from April 25 to May 12, 2012 – by Educating Rita.