“New York, 1967. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hall hostess who “runs her a heart like a hotel – you’ve got men checking in and out all the time.” At the raw end of a long line of users and losers, she meets Oscar, a mild-mannered tax accountant, and Charity Hope Valentine once again puts her faith into love”.
Current Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Josie Rourke announces her farewell production with a revival of ‘Sweet Charity’, before handing over to Michael Longhurst.
The production will star Anne-Marie Duff (recently seen on stage at the National Theatre‘s production of Macbeth) as Charity in her musical theatre debut. Duff reunites with director Josie Rourke after the Donmar’s acclaimed 2012 production of ‘Berenice‘.
Opposte Duff is Arthur Darvill in his Donmar debut (Doctor Who‘s Rory Williams) as Oscar Lindquist.
Joining the two will be Lizzy Connolly, Lauren Drew, Jo Eaton-Kent, Will Haswell, Charlotte Jaconelli, Stephen Kennedy, Debbie Kurup, Martin Marquez, Ryan Reid, Amy Ellen Richardson, Danielle Steers and Shaq Taylor.
The role of Daddy Brubeck will be played by a rotating line-up of West End stars, including Shaq Taylor (6th – 13th April), Olivier Award-winning actor Adrian Lester (15th – 27th April, including Press Night), Le Gateau Chocolat (beginning 29th April), Olivier nominated star Beverley Knight (beginning 6th May) and Clive Rowe (beginning 13th May).
The production will feature choreography by Wayne McGregor, design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Mark Henderson, sound design by Nick Lidster, musical supervision by Gareth Valentine, orchestrations by Larry Blank and Mark Cumberland, and video design by Finn Ross. Choreographer Wayne McGregor reunites with director Rourke after working on her debut film, ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’.
‘Sweet Charity’ has a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, based on an original screenplay by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Plaiano, and features classic numbers “Big Spender”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “Rhythm of Life” and “I’m a Brass Band”.
All tickets at every Friday performance of ‘Sweet Charity’ between 19th April to 31st May will free to those under the age of 25. These ‘Sweet Fridays’ will offer free tickets allocated by ballot. The Donmar will also invite schools from every London Borough to see the show for free. During Rourke’s time as Artistic Director of the Donmar, YOUNG+FREE has made over 15,000 free tickets available to those aged 25 and under.
Josie Rourke said: “Part of my mission as the Donmar’s Artistic Director has been to create cheap and free access for audiences, particularly young people. Through the generosity of Susie Sainsbury and The Backstage Trust, I’m able to finish my time at the Donmar on the happiest of notes, with something I really care about – great theatre for all young people.
I’m so happy to be joined in my final production as Donmar Artistic Director by the luminous Anne-Marie Duff, making her musical theatre debut, and the great Wayne McGregor. They are two of the finest people, and collaborators I’ve worked with, and this reunion with them, and the music of Cy Coleman is a joyous way to end a dozen years as an Artistic Director from the Bush to the Donmar.”
Susie Sainsbury said: “From the moment Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham started they were determined to open the doors of the wonderful Donmar space to as wide an audience as possible. Through their vision of greater access to great art, what the Donmar has done to spur the rest of the industry to action is a remarkable achievement. I am delighted that we can support SWEET FRIDAYS for Josie’s final production, both in celebration of, but also in recognition of the importance of affordable access to the arts, particularly for young people”.
‘Sweet Charity’ will run at the Donmar Warehouse from 6th April to 8th June 2019, with an opening night on 17th April.
“The minute you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction, a real Big Spender…”