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Steel Pier - Union Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FIFTEEN years after its Broadway debut – when it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards – Kander and Ebb’s musical Steel Pier will receive its European professional premiere at the Union Theatre, where it runs from October 31 to November 24, 2012.

Described as a high-energy, dance-heavy musical, Steel Pier is set in early 1930’s Atlantic City and tells the story of a dancer, Rita Racine, and her quest to finally leave the dance marathon circuit in which she has been trapped for so long.

With a story based loosely on the film They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Steel Pier is a tale of love and romance with a touch of bribery and deceit thrown in for good measure.

Heading the cast as Rita Racine is American actress Sarah Galbraith, who starred as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera in Las Vegas and also appeared in the show on Broadway. She also starred as Ariel in a concert version of The Little Mermaid on tour in Japan with the Tokyo Philharmonic, and played Johanna in Sweeney Todd.

Joining her in the cast of Steel Pier are Jay Rincon, Aimie Atkinson, Ian Knauer, Ian Kirton, Samuel Parker, Clare Louise Connolly, Brett Shiels, Amy Anzel, Rob Lines, Lisa-Anne Wood, Ben Beard, Louise Roberts, Natalie Douglas, Eithne Bryan, Connor Macnamara, Sheila Grant, Simon Mayhew and Rebecca Orwell.

The production is directed by Paul Taylor-Mills and choreographed by Richard Jones, whose previous collaborations include their recent critically acclaimed, sold-out revival of Rent at Greenwich Theatre and their revival of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Union Theatre, for which they received nominations for Best Direction and Best Choreography respectively in the OffWestEnd Awards.

Commenting on the production, Paul Taylor-Mills said: “I’m stunned that Steel Pier is practically unknown in the UK. I also love the challenge this presents. From a performer’s perspective it’s about the whole package. You have to be strong at all three disciplines – dancing, singing and acting – and it can be truly exhausting.

“As a director, especially at the Union Theatre where the audience and performers are so intimate, it’s a challenge to ensure the story is told effectively amongst the heavy dance numbers. It’s a great show and I’m very excited to be the first to bring it to the stage in Europe.”

John Kander and Fred Ebb started composing and writing music in the early 1960’s. With over 20 musicals in their repertoire, their most successful works – Cabaret and Chicago – are still being staged around the world today. Steel Pier opened on Broadway under the direction of Scott Ellis in April 1997 but until now, it has never been staged professionally in Europe.

Conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman and David Thompson and produced by Kylie Vilcins, Steel Pier has musical direction by Angharad Sanders.

Steel Pier Gallery

Tickets: £15 to £19 – available from the box office on 020 7261 9876 or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/uniontheatre.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Sundays at 6pm.

Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes with an interval.