Rising star director, Thom Southerland has been appointed artistic director of London’s Charing Cross Theatre in a move that will see a raft of quality musicals staged at the venue this year.
His opening season will include the return of his acclaimed multi award-winning Titanic and the European première of Death Takes a Holiday.
Titanic was originally produced at Southwark Playhouse in 2013 by Danielle Tarento before the show toured to Canada. Tarento and Southerland will continue their successful long-time collaboration at Charing Cross Theatre, where she will co-produce the entire season with Steven M. Levy, Sean Sweeney and Vaughan Williams.
There is also a revival of Radio Times and a production of Ragtime. Southerland will direct all the shows apart from Radio Times, which will be headed up by Ben Woolf.
Steven M. Levy said: “Thom Southerland’s appoinment marks the start of an exciting, fabulous new chapter in the history of our theatre. As we turn into a full-time producing house we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Thom as artistic director and to welcome Danielle Tarento as our season co-producer.”
Southerland, speaking from Japan, where he’s directing a new version of his London hit, Grand Hotel, said: “Having directed The Mikado at Charing Cross Theatre, I am thrilled to have been appointed. It’s doubly exciting to be able to premiere Titanic composer Maury Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday to round off this first season.”
The season launches with Titanic this May. The first time around this thrilling Broadway musical became one of the hottest must-see shows, winning a clutch of awards, rave reviews and it was Critics Choice in many national newspapers.
Now the multi award-winning production is to set sail again. In the final hour of 14 April 1912, the RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, collided with an iceberg and ‘the unsinkable ship’ slowly disappeared beneath the waves. It was one of the most tragic disasters of the 20th Century with the loss of 1517 lives.
Based on actual characters aboard the greatest ship in the world, Maury Yeston (Nine, Grand Hotel) and Peter Stone’s stunning musical focuses on their hopes and aspirations.
It’s followed, in August, by Radio Times. Set in the heart of London’s Blitz-torn West End, the cast of BBC’s light-entertainment radio show, Variety Bandwagon, are doing their bit for the war effort.
But with the bombs falling outside, can star of the show, Sammy Shaw, hang on to his leading lady and broadcast live to America for the very first time?
Chock-full of quick-fire gags, side-splitting routines and classic songs from one of our ‘best of British’ musical talents, Noel Gay, the composer of Me and My Girl, Radio Times features ’40s favourites such as Run Rabbit Run, Hey Little Hen, My Thanks To You and There’s Something About a Soldier.
Ragtime moves to centre stage from October 8. It is the turn of the 20th Century in New York and the people are moving to the rhythm of Ragtime.
Based on the novel by E.L Doctorow, Ragtime weaves together the story of three groups in America, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr, a Harlem musician; Mother and her white, middle class family in New Rochelle; and Tateh, a Jewish immigrant who has come to America with his daughter seeking a new life.
Their fictional lives become dramatically intertwined with one another as well as with historical figures including Harry Houdini, Booker T. Washington, JP Morgan and Henry Ford.
Death Takes A Holiday (from December 3) is a post WWI story set in Northern Italy. Death disguises himself as a handsome young prince to try to understand why life is so precious and death so feared. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with a newly engaged young woman, this mysterious stranger discovers that love may in fact be stronger than death.
The book is by multi Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, and is based on the 1928 Italian play of the same name which went on to inspire the movie, Meet Joe Black, starring Brad Pitt.