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Oh What A Lovely War returns to Stratford

PUBLISHED: 09:47 09 January 2013

An exterior shot of Theatre Royal during the original production of Oh What a Lovely War

An exterior shot of Theatre Royal during the original production of Oh What a Lovely War

Archant

A satirical musical about World War I will be staged at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2014 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the war.

Murray Melvin, who still works at the theatre, in the 1963 production of Of What a Lovely War in 1963Murray Melvin, who still works at the theatre, in the 1963 production of Of What a Lovely War in 1963

The production of Oh, What a Lovely War! will coincide with national events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

The show had its premiere at the Stratford theatre on March 19, 1963.

The latest production will run from February 1 to March 15, 2014, and tickets are on sale now.

The musical is a comment against war in general and remains relevant today.

Joan Littlewood adapted the play from Charles Chilton’s work for radio through her company Theatre Workshop.

It was an immediate hit, transferring to the West End in June, 1963, opening on Broadway in 1964, and receiving four Tony Award nominations including for Best Musical.

Kerry Michael, artistic director at the Theatre Royal, said: “Joan Littlewood’s landmark production was ahead of its time when it was first staged here, challenging our perceptions of war. It also played a significant part in the transformation of British theatre.

“We are very proud that we have assembled a world-class creative team for this important production.

“We will remain true to the spirit of the original and will be recreating it to resonate with modern audiences.”

The musical show will include songs from the wartime era including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Pack up Your Troubles, and Keep the Home Fires Burning.

The songs will be performed against a projected backdrop of shocking images and statistics about the war.

Joan Littlewood, born in 1914, was an English theatre director noted for her work in developing the left-wing Theatre Workshop, which became permanently based at the Theatre Royal in 1953.

The new production will be directed by Terry Johnson who has won nine British theatre awards including Olivier Awards for Best Comedy and Playwright of the Year.


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