BY BILLY SUTER
WE HAVE had stage musicals inspired by the Walt Disney hit films Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Lion King, Newsies and The Little Mermaid. Now the tale of a wooden puppet who longs to be a real boy is getting the razzle-dazzle treatment.
Yes, the animated classic Pinocchio, which won an Oscar for its theme song, When You Wish Upon a Star in 1940, is headed for the stage. The world premiere is planned for London’s National Theatre in December, following workshopping sessions, it has been reported.
Likely to be directed by John Tiffany (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), the stage adaptation by Dennis Kelly (Matilda the Musical) will be loosely based on the film, according to a report by The Daily Mail.
The report adds that the show is not being produced by Disney, although the company is providing rights to songs and story.
Interestingly, in a turn for the books, it has been reported that the role of Pinocchio will be played by an actor, while the other roles will feature puppets.
Other stage news is that a musical centred on the life and times of singer-actress Cher is in the pipeline.
An online report states that a stage reading in New York recently had three different actors reading as Cher, whose many hits include Halfbreed, Dark Lady, Believe and If I Could Turn Back Time.
A New York Post report has it that Jillian Mueller, Lesli Margherita and Lena Hall played the dark-haired star at various points of her life in a two-week staged reading of The Cher Show, now retitled Cher: The Musical.
The report added that the musical features a book by Tony Award-winning librettist Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). Jason Moore, who has links with Avenue Q and Pitch Perfect, reportedly directed the reading.
The New York Post article added that a casting notice, posted last November, stated: “In this production, the characters of Babe, Lady and Star represent Cher at different moments of her life – starting as a teenager who falls for Sonny Bono (Babe), a successful music star navigating the challenges of the entertainment industry (Lady) and the lady we know today with a fascinating wealth of life experience, successes and failures (Star).
There has been no mention of when the show is likely to be produced.
News from London is that a new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, is being co-produced by English National Opera and the GradeLinnit Company for a run at the London Coliseum.
Set for previews from April 7, it is scheduled to run from April 11 to May 13.
Alfie Boe has been cast as Billy Bigelow and Katherine Jenkins as Julie Jordan. Nicholas Lyndurst, Brenda Edwards, Alex Young, Gavin Spokes, Derek Hagen, Susan Kyd, Martyn Ellis and Davide Fienauri are also among the cast.
Other news from London is that the British TV series, Fat Friends, is to become a stage musical, written and directed by Kay Mellor. Interestingly, it is to have a score by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, the son of Sir Andrew.
The TV series, which ran for five years after its debut in October 2000, starred Alison Steadman, Sheridan Smith, Lisa Riley, James Corden and Ruth Jones. It focused on the ups and downs of a group of overweight pals trying to lose the lard.
The show, Fat Friends: The Musical, will reportedly tour the UK next year after an initial run from November 7 to December 2 at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. It will reportedly star Jodie Prenger as Kelly Stevenson.