Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Pacific Overtures’ to open at Menier Chocolate Factory

The south London theatre will also host two world premieres: The Third Man directed by Trevor Nunn, and Close Up, a musical about 1960s supermodel, Twiggy.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

A trio of musicals will run at the Menier Chocolate Factory in the second half of 2023. The Menier Chocolate Factory is home to Marjorie Prime to 6 May, with Christina Bianco presenting a concert series titled In Divine Company from 11 to 20 May.

“Musical theatre is at the heart of what we do at the Menier, and not having been able to stage a musical for the last 3 years, we’re thrilled to announce a season of 3 back-to-back musicals,” said David Babani, the Menier’s artistic director.

Following Fiddler on the Roof, Trevor Nunn returns to the Menier to direct The Third Man, a musical based on Graham Greene’s novel of the same name. Set in post-war Vienna, Holly Martins finds themselves in a world of black marketeers after discovering Harry Lime’s sudden, unexplainable death.

Christopher Hampton adapts The Third Man, with music and lyrics by George Fenton and Don Black. The creative team includes Paul Farnsworth (set and costume design,) Emma Chapman (lighting design,) and Gregory Clarke (sound design.) The Third Man begins previews on 10 June, with an opening night on 19 June, and performances to 9 September.

Ben Elton then writes and directs the world premiere of Close Up - The Twiggy Musical. The bio-musical follows Lesley Lawson, a London teenager and supermodel who quickly became the face of the 1960s. According to press material, the show will be “accompanied by a fabulous score featuring the hits that have been the soundtrack to Twiggy’s life.”

Tim Bird provides set and video design, with costume design by Jonathan Lipman, sound design by Gregory Clarke, and choreography by Jacob Fearey. Close Up - The Twiggy Musical begins performances on 18 September, with an opening night on 27 September, and performances to 18 November.

The 2023 programming rounds off with Pacific Overtures. The Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical follows Japan’s westernisation from 1853, with songs including “A Bowler Hat,” and “Someone in a Tree.” Find out more about Pacific Overtures.

Matthew White directs, with set design by Paul Farnsworth, costume design by Ayako Maeda, sound design by Gregory Clarke, and choreography by Ashley Nottingham. Pacific Overtures starts previews on 25 November, with an opening night on 4 December, and performances to 24 Feb. 2024.

Photo credit: Pacific Overtures (Photo courtesy of production)

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