September to October 2011 | Autumn Season
Part of the Finborough Theatre's Celebrating British Music Theatre
This rediscovery is the first professional London production in more than 25 years, and also commemorates the 60th anniversary of the death of composer Ivor Novello.
Spanning the Regency, Victorian and post-war eras, and featuring a score filled with some of Novello's most ravishing songs including Love is My Reason, When I Curtsied to the King, A Woman's Heart and the classic We'll Gather Lilacs, Perchance to Dream is a classic Novello musical - an escapist 'musical romance' whose original 1945 run in the West End played for 1,022 performances.
In 1818, Sir Graham Rodney, an impoverished womaniser, is the owner of Huntersmoon, a magnificent old country house, but seeks relief from his life of leisure by masquerading as the dread highwayman "Frenchy". Just at the moment when he finally finds love, the law runs him to ground with tragic results. A generation later, his estate has passed to the wrong side of the family and tragedy strikes a second time. More than a century must go by before the ghosts of Huntersmoon can finally be laid to rest...
Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the 20th century. As a composer, he trained in Cardiff, Gloucester (alongside eminent British composers – Ivor Gurney and Herbert Howells) and at Magdalen College School, Oxford. His musicals include Glamorous Night, Careless Rapture, Crest of the Wave, The Dancing Years, Gay's the Word and King's Rhapsody; his more than 250 songs include Keep the Home Fires Burning, I Can Give You the Starlight, Waltz of My Heart, And Her Mother Came Too, The Land of Might-Have-Been, Why Isn't It You and Primrose. His plays include Symphony in Two Flats, I Lived With You and The Truth Game. As an actor, he was one of Britain's first major film stars, appearing in over twenty films including The Call of the Blood and playing the title role in the original silent version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger; while his long stage career included many of his own plays and musicals. Novello's musical legacy is commemorated in the Ivor Novello Awards, established in 1955 to honour excellence in British music writing. This production commemorates the 60th anniversary of his death.
Director Max Pappenheim recently assisted on Beating Heart Cadaver and The Goodnight Bird at the Finborough Theatre. Directing includes The Charmed Life (King's Head Theatre), An Evening With Opera (Southwark Cathedral), Arcadia and Sweeney Todd (Rugby School), and, as Musical Director for Open Door Opera, The Enchanted Child (Edinburgh Festival and St John's, Smith Square).
Ross Leadbeater is a Musical Director, pianist, singer, arranger and vocal coach from South Wales. He trained at Trinity College of Music, specializing in piano, voice and conducting and studied English at the University of Warwick. Recent Musical Direction includes A Feast of Snacks (Kings Head Theatre), Fred and Gladys (Landor Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Borough), Maya (Barons Court Theatre), Peak 10 (Greenwich Theatre) and as Assistant Musical Director on HMS Pinafore (Battersea Barge and Kings Head Theatre). Ross also works as a Vocal Animateur for Welsh National Opera MAX Department and was Assistant Director to John E. McGrath for the inaugural production of National Theatre Wales. As a performer, Ross created the role of Richard Lewis in the world premiere production of My Land's Shore, directed by Craig Revel Horwood and is a member of the Classical BRIT award-winning choir Only Men Aloud. He has sung with the choir at a host of events including the Royal Variety Show, Children in Need, Proms in the Park and two critically acclaimed sell-out UK Tours.
Michael Burgen All Male Iolanthe (Union Theatre and Wilton's Music Hall), Alice in Wonderland (Erasmus International Theatre), Zaide (Sadler's Wells), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (New Vic Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Union Theatre)
Clare Louise Connolly Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Next Door's Baby (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Six Characters In Search Of An Author (Headlong), The Crimson Petal And The White
Laura Hanna A Short History of the Royal Court (Royal Court Theatre), Into the Woods, Hedda Gabler, Romeo and Juliet (LAMDA)
Amanda Hootman Epsom Downs, Her Naked Skin (Guildford School of Acting)
Natalie Langston Trained at Guildford School of Acting. Theatre includes Evita (National and European tour), Grease (Piccadilly Theatre), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (National tour and Theatre Royal, Haymarket), Jekyll & Hyde (National Tour), Spirit of Broadway (China Tour), Television includes West Side Story in Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats and backing vocals for Enya
Annabel Leventon The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company), Pillars Of The Community (National Theatre), Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell (Old Vic and Apollo Theatre), New Tricks
James Marchant The Same...But Different (Pleasance Islington), The Straits (Paines Plough), Waking The Dead (BBC)
Rachael McCormick Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane)
Martin Milnes Utopia Limited (Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Festival, Buxton), The Yeoman Of The Guard (Tower of London), Promises And Lies (Birmingham Rep), The Andrew Marr Show (BBC)
Kelly Price Zack (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Misanthrope (Ambassadors Theatre), A Little Night Music (Menier Chocolate Factory and Garrick Theatre), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), Guys and Dolls (Donmar Warehouse and Piccadilly Theatre), Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre), Waterloo Road, Doctors
Claire Redcliffe When We Are Married (Garrick Theatre), Great Expectations, Tom's Midnight Garden (Library Theatre, Manchester), Question Time (Arcola Theatre), EastEnders (BBC)
Robert Rees Peter Pan (New Wimbledon Theatre), All the Fun of the Fair (Garrick Theatre), State Fair (Finborough Theatre and Trafalgar Studios), Shakespeare Sonnet Walk (Shakespeare's Globe)
James Russell Namaskar, Quality Street, Miss Lily Gets Boned (Finborough Theatre), Lewis (ITV)
Gemma Sandzer Les Miserables (Palace Theatre), HMS Pinafore (King's Head Theatre), Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone
Katy Treharne The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre).
“Enchanting” Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage
“The Finborough have unearthed quite the little gem here: hugely witty, extremely tuneful and full of heart.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews
“A large and ambitious confection.” Don Grant, Kensington and Chelsea Today
“Somewhat eclipsed in terms of popularity by his contemporary Noël Coward, Ivor Novello’s works get far less exposure than his name would suggest. A revival at the Finborough Theatre...proves this to be a rather gross injustice.” Joe Miller, A Younger Theatre
“Director Max Pappenheim (who also played the piano at the performance I attended) resists the temptation to put an ironic spin on the proceedings, allowing Novello’s enchanting music and witty libretto to work its own magic, delivered by a very winning ensemble.” Julia Rank, Exeunt Magazine
“A gem of a venue, with a healthy history of putting on, not just new plays, but also reviving forgotten musicals from the 19th and 20th centuries, under the directorship of the inspirational Neil McPherson.” Don Grant, Kensington and Chelsea Today
In 2006, the Finborough Theatre began the Celebrating British Music Theatre series with a sell-out production of Leslie Stuart's Florodora. Productions since then have included sell-our rediscoveries of Lionel Monckton's Our Miss Gibbs, Harold Fraser-Simson's operetta The Maid of the Mountains, A "Gilbert and Sullivan" Double Bill featuring Gilbert's play Sweethearts and Sullivan's opera The Zoo, Dame Ethel Smyth's opera The Boatswain's Mate, Sandy Wilson's The Buccaneer, Oscar Asche's Chu Chin Chow, and Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.
Evenings at 7.30pm.
Performance Length: Approximately 2 and a half hours with interval.
Tickets £18, £15 concessions
BOOKING ONLINE IS QUICKEST, CHEAPEST AND EASIEST!