Preview by Jack Foley
A NEW Jazz Age musical, about F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife,
Zelda, is to come to the West End in the Spring, it has been confirmed.
The Beautiful and the Damned will open on May 6, 2004,
at the Lyric Theatre, following a highly successful three-week
run at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, in Guildford, last June. The
West End run will initially be booking for 16 weeks, with a view
to extending it further.
Scott and Zelda were one of the most glamorous couples
of the Roaring Twenties, but, as with many high-profile
celebrity couples, their relationship abounded with tragedy, including
alcoholism, poverty, imprisonment and insanity. Both suffered
Scott was, of course, a highly successful author, famous for
novels such as The Great Gatsby, while Zelda was a fashionable
artist, who loved party-going, globe-trotting and big-spending.
The Beautiful and the Damned has been devised by singer-songwriter,
Roger Cook, who came up with the idea in 1977.
The resulting musical has been more than a decade in the making,
and boasts music and lyrics by Cook and Les Reed, with a book
by Kit Hesketh Harvey, including additional material by Phil Willmott,
who directed its Guildford run.
Casting for the West End run has yet to be confirmed, although,
at Guildford, Scott and Zelda were played by John Barrowman (now
appearing in Anything Goes), and Helen Anker.
There are also said to be a number of changes from the Guildford
run, with several of the support players cut.
The Beautiful and the Damned is produced by Laurence Myers,
in association with Charles and Mary Dobson. It is dedicated to
the memory of Zelda.