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Tommy Steele takes Scrooge on tour

Scrooge, New Wimbledon Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS winter, Tommy Steele will reprise his role as the miserly Ebenezer in Bill Kenwright’s production of Scrooge, Leslie Bricusse’s musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol.

Direct from its Christmas 2012 West End season at the London Palladium, the production will tour the UK, opening at New Wimbledon Theatre where it will run from October 23 to October 26, 2013.

Scrooge is the story of the miserly Ebenezer, to whom everything – including Christmas – is ‘humbug’. Until, that is, one particular Christmas Eve when he’s visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and more alarmingly, Christmas Future.

The score includes I Hate Christmas, It’s Not My Fault, I’ll Begin Again, Better Life and Bricusse’s Oscar nominated hit Thank You Very Much.

Scrooge first appeared as a film back in 1970 and starred the wonderful Albert Finney, who won an Oscar for his performance. Later, in 1992, it was staged in Birmingham, with Bricusse’s long-time collaborator Anthony Newley in the title role. It was also seen at the Palladium in 2005, again starring Steele who, over the years, has played the title role more than any other actor.

It’s difficult to believe, but Steele’s career began way back in the 1950s with a string of chart hits (hands up all those who remember Handful of Songs and Little White Bull). Then, in 1963, he starred in Half a Sixpence, not only in the West End but also on Broadway. And later, in 1967, he reprised his role in the Hollywood film version.

His other films include Finian’s Rainbow, The Happiest Millionaire and The Tommy Steele Story.

On stage, many of Steele’s biggest successes have been at the London Palladium – in shows such as Hans Christian Anderson, The London Palladium Show, Dick Whittington and Singin’ in the Rain which ran for 894 performances and which Steele himself directed. Steele has, in fact, headlined more performances than any other at the London Palladium, where a prestigious plaque was mounted to honour this extraordinary achievement.

Bricusse’s other major works include Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, Pickwick and Doctor Dolittle.

Directed by Bob Tomson, Scrooge is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with illusions by Paul Kieve, choreography by Lisa Kent, musical direction by Stuart Pedlar, lighting by Nick Richings and sound by Ben Harrison.

The tour will also visit Birmingham (October 28 – November 2), High Wycombe (November 5 – 9), Southampton (November 12 -16), Leeds (November 19 – December 7), Blackpool (December 16 – 21), Brighton (December 23 – January 4, 2014) and Llandudno (January 6 – 11).