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Valley of Song - casting announced

Valley of Song

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CASTING has been announced for Valley of Song, which plays a week of Sunday and Monday evening and Tuesday matinee performances from Sunday, January 5, followed by a two week run from Sunday, January 12, 2014 at the Finborough Theatre.

The line up comprises Linford Hydes (The Importance of Being Earnest, Etcetera Theatre) as David, Matthew Lloyd Davies (The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre, Chicago, Cambridge Theatre) as Gwilim, Richard Mark (The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Chichester Festival Theatre/Duchess Theatre) as Ricardo, Amira Matthews (Miss Saigon, Evita, national tours) as Maria, Jill Nalder (Les Miserables, Palace Theatre, Oliver!, London Palladium) as Olwen, Katy Treharne (Perchance To Dream, Finborough Theatre) as Lily and Sandy Walsh (Blood Brothers, Phoenix Theatre/National Tour) as Nan.

Ensemble members are Laura Allen, Katie Arundell, Amelia Clay, Lee van Geleen, Ross McNeill, Harrison Rose, Philippa Tozer and Carla Turner.

Previously Posted: The Finborough Theatre’s acclaimed Celebrating British Music Theatre series returns with the professional world premiere of Ivor Novello’s last musical, Valley of Song, which plays a week of Sunday and Monday evening and Tuesday matinee performances from Sunday, January 5, followed by a two week run from Sunday, January 12, 2014.

Left unfinished at the time of his sudden death, and completed by his longtime collaborator Christopher Hassall, Valley of Song is a unique – and final – opportunity to see a world premiere of Novello’s work upon the stage.

Set in a world of optimism on the eve of the Great War, Valley of Song is a homage to Wales – Novello’s homeland – and a touching farewell to the music of his youth.

The Welsh Valleys, 1913. Nan Brewster is the largest landowner in the valley and supports the local valley choir, run by choirmaster David.

David’s love for Lily, his leading soprano, creates beautiful music for the choir. But when Lily is given an opportunity to sing in Venice, she jumps at the chance, and into the arms of Ricardo, a wealthy count set on making her an international star.

However, by opening night, it becomes clear that Ricardo’s intentions are not entirely honourable… As Europe is plunged into the First World War, how much is David willing to sacrifice for the woman he loves?

Valley of Song is also part of the Finborough Theatre’s THEGREATWAR100 series.

Valley of Song has music by Ivor Novello, lyrics by Christopher Hassall and book by Phil Park. Music is adapted and arranged and additional material is composed by Ronald Hanmer. Benji Sperring (Maurice Maeterlinck’s The Blind and The Intruder, Old Red Lion Theatre, OffWestEnd Award nomination for best design, transfer to the Tabard Theatre) directs.

Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the 20th century. The Finborough Theatre recently enjoyed huge success with sell-out productions of two of his musicals – Perchance to Dream (2011) and Gay’s The Word (2012) which subsequently transferred to Jermyn Street Theatre.

As a composer, he trained in Cardiff, Gloucester (alongside eminent British composers Ivor Gurney and Herbert Howells) and at Magdalen College School, Oxford. As well as over 250 songs, among them Keep the Home Fires Burning, I Can Give You the Starlight and Waltz of My Heart, his musicals include Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years and King’s Rhapsody.

As an actor, he was one of Britain’s first major film stars, appearing in over twenty films including playing the title role in the original silent version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger; while his long stage career included many of his own plays and musicals. Novello’s musical legacy is commemorated in the Ivor Novello Awards, established in 1955 to honour excellence in British music writing.

In 2006, the Finborough Theatre began the Celebrating British Music Theatre series with a sell-out production of Leslie Stuart’s Florodora. Productions since then have included Lionel Monckton’s Our Miss Gibbs, Harold Fraser-Simson’s operetta The Maid of the Mountains, A “Gilbert and Sullivan” Double Bill featuring Gilbert’s play Sweethearts and Sullivan’s opera The Zoo, Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera The Boatswain’s Mate and Sandy Wilson’s The Buccaneer.

Other works in the series include Oscar Asche’s Chu Chin Chow, Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, Ivor Novello’s Perchance to Dream and Gay’s The Word, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Grand Duke, Edward German’s Merrie England and Paul Scott Goodman’s Rooms: A Rock Romance.

Other productions include a new musical by Phil Willmott – Lost Boy – playing concurrently with Valley of Song in January 2014.

Dates and Times: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, January 5, 6 and 7, 2014. Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Tuesday matinee at 2pm.

Tickets: £18, £16 concessions.

FOLLOWED BY

Dates and Times: Sunday, January 12 to Saturday, January 25, 2014. Tuesday to Sunday evenings at 7.30pm. Sunday matinees at 3pm.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions, except Tuesday evenings £16 all seats, and Friday and Saturday evenings £18 all seats.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.

Also at Finborough Theatre: The first production in sixty years of R. C. Sherriff’s supernatural drama The White Carnation and the first play by new playwright Kieran Knowles, Operation Crucible.