Autumn Season – October–December 2017

THE MELTING POT

by Israel Zangwill

 
Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 December 2017

The first London production in 80 years of the classic refugee drama

The Melting Pot is now completely sold out for the entire run. There are no tickets left.

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★★★★ Broadway World
★★★★ The Spy in the Stalls
★★★★ Jewish Renaissance
★★★★ The Arts Desk

“God's Crucible,
the great Melting Pot
where all the races of Europe
are melting and reforming!”

A rediscovery commissioned by the Finborough Theatre.

The classic story of a young Russian immigrant fighting to uphold his dream of a new life in a new country.

After his family are massacred in a pogrom, Jewish composer David Quixano escapes to New York City, in search of a new life. There he falls in love with Vera, a beautiful Russian Christian.

Inspired by the multitude of ethnicities in his new home, David’s exuberance bursts forth in his composition – an “American Symphony”. But, as characters from his past begin to reappear, David is confronted with the terrifying realisation that his “melting pot” burns the good with the bad.

Can vicious divisions of race, religion and class ever really be left behind? Or is the idea of a cauldron of nations, free of ethnic divisions and hatred, an impossible dream?

Originally performed in Washington DC in 1908, The Melting Pot received its UK premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in 1914 and transferred to two West End theatres. Unseen in the UK since 1938, the play popularised the phrase “melting pot”, and remains a determined celebration of multiculturalism.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT ISRAEL ZANGWILL


British novelist, essayist and playwright Israel Zangwill (1864-1926) was born in London into a family of Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire. He spent his life championing cultural Zionism, territorialism, pacifism and women’s suffrage. He strongly advocated the erasure of racialized language, the assimilation of immigrants to the United States, and the development of America as an amalgamation of migrant cultures. In 1892, Zangwill’s first novel, Children of the Ghetto was published, earning him the nickname ‘the Dickens of the Ghetto’. He followed this with four similarly themed novels over the turn of the century: Grandchildren of the Ghetto, Dreamers of the Ghetto, Ghetto Tragedies and Ghetto Comedies. Zangwill is also known for pioneering the ‘locked room’ mystery subgenre through his novel The Big Bow Mystery. In 1899, Zangwill’s own dramatization of Children of the Ghetto appeared on Broadway. His other plays include The Serio-Comic Governess, Nurse Marjorie and Merely Mary Ann.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR MAX ELTON

Director Max Elton is a writer and director. Direction includes Big Brother Blitzkrieg (King’s Head Theatre), End of Hope (Directors’ Festival, Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Leftovers (Tristan Bates Theatre), Trevor’s House (Tabard Theatre), Distraction (Pint Sized Theatre, The Bunker). Assistant Direction includes assisting Paul Miller on Sheppey (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Jez Bond on Madame Rubinstein (Park Theatre) and The Drunken City (Tabard Theatre). He trained on the Theatre Directing MA at the Orange Tree Theatre in association with St Mary’s University.

ABOUT THE CAST

Steffan Cennydd | David Quixano

Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he won the Gold Medal for Acting and the Richard Burton Memorial Award.
Theatre includes Under Milk Wood (Watermill Theatre, Newbury).
Film includes Last Summer.

Alexander Gatehouse| Quincy Davenport

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Chicken Dust which subsequently transferred to The Curve, Leicester, and Black Jesus. Trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Ventoux (Salisbury Playhouse, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and National Tour), The Fool On The Hill, Arkansas, Green and Pleasant Land, Clause IV and A Doll’s House (Arcola Theatre), Paramore (Hightide Festival Theatre), The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant Of Venice (National Tour), Sochi 2014 (King’s Head Theatre and Hope Theatre), Old Fools (Bush Theatre), Hamlet (Stern Alarum), The Taming of the Shrew and Cyrano de Bergerac (US Tour), Eden 2.0 (Soho Theatre), Someone to Blame and Big Shoe (King’s Head Theatre), The Exonerated (Charing Cross Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Unicorn Theatre), Communication Breakdown (Theatre503), Present Tense (Trafalgar Studios), The Gift (Old Vic New Voices), Freddie Hearts Freddie (Southwark Playhouse), Beat Generation (Jerwood Space), Inches Apart (The Old Vic and Theatre503), Peter and the Wolf (Corn Exchange, Ipswich), Hanging Around (KneeHigh at the National Theatre), A Bequest To The Nation (Jermyn Street Theatre), Valpariso (Old Red Lion Theatre), All For Honour (Tara Art Theatre) and The Winter’s Tale (Theatre Alive).
Film includes Almost Unmarried, Dreams of a Life, Totally Unexpected, Dog Tags, How We Treat Each Other, Transcended, Pete?, Snow Club and The One Inside.
  Television includes A London Affair.
Web series include Figg and Dates.

Peter Marinker| Mendel Quixano and Baron Revendal

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Portraits, The Early Hours of a Reviled Man, Waiting for Godot and Hurried Steps.
Trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes The Merchant of Venice (The Old Vic), Curse of the Starving Class (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Ice Man Cometh (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), We Want You to Watch (National Theatre), Blue Heart Afternoon (Hampstead Theatre), Southwark Mysteries (Shakespeare’s Globe), Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Phoenix Theatre), Have I None (Southwark Playhouse) and The Stoning (BAC).
Film includes United 93, Love Actually, Event Horizon, Judge Dredd, The Russia House, Emerald Forest, Enemy Mine, Martian Chronicles and Fear is the Key.
Television includes Into the Badlands, Knightfall, Family, The Vice, Doctors, Bugs, Bodyguards, Young lndie, Casualty and Three Wishes for Jamie.

Katrina McKeever| Kathleen O’Reilly

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Everything Between Us.
Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes The First Man (Jermyn Street Theatre) and Goblin Market (Lyric Theatre, Belfast, and Edinburgh Festival).
Film includes Nightclubbing, Lady Death and The First Man.

Hayward B Morse| Herr Pappelmeister

Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Eden’s Empire, Weapons of Happiness and Magnificence.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes Brand New Day (Arts Theatre), Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Barking in Essex (Wyndham’s Theatre), Travels With My Aunt (Birmingham Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Kings Road Theatre), The Canterbury Tales (Phoenix Theatre), What The Butler Saw (Queen’s Theatre) and the Broadway production of Butley (Morosco Theatre, New York) for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Film includes Agency and Death Wish 3.
Television includes James May’s Man Lab and Autopsy; The Last Hours of Lou Reed.
Audio work includes The Theban Plays, The Man on the Mountaintop and over 100 audiobooks for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Ann Queensberry| Frau Quixano

Theatre includes Uncle Vanya (Almeida Theatre), Three Sisters (The Young Vic), La Fausse Suivante (Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Paris, and European Tour) and Pygmalion and The Schoolmistress (Chichester Festival Theatre).
Film includes Patrick, Final Score, Remainder, Ashes, City of Ember, Irina Palm, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Smilla's Sense of Snow and Jane Eyre.
Television includes Maigret’s Dead Man and Tenko.

Whoopie van Raam| Vera Revendall

Trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Babette’s Feast (The Print Room).
Theatre whilst training includes Lulu, Top Girls, Mephisto and Into the Woods. Film includes Advertentie.

THE PRESS ON THE MELTING POT


“Incredibly timely in a post-Brexit world.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“Hugely entertaining. Go see it.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“A great play.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“You come out feeling you have seen a vibrant play by a dramatist who, like Clifford Odets and Arnold Wesker, has the capacity to feel domestically and think internationally.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“This timely revival of Zangwill's committed writing doesn’t merely prompt us to ask whether the quintessential American dream has permanently curdled – it’s also a great play, wonderfully produced.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“It certainly gives its audience much to think about over this festive season.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“I hope this will be the beginning of several revivals or adaptations of Zangwill’s play.” Claire Minnit, The Spy in The Stalls

“Surprisingly modern in its thinking and its symbolism.” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

“As so often with these Finborough finds, not only should the producers be looking for a transfer but also trawling through the Zangwill canon for any other equally rewarding gems.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“Standout performances.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“The cast are pitch-perfect.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“The Melting Pot is a wonderful discovery that has not been seen in London for 80 years and receives a gripping revival in the sure hands of Max Elton, in which the leading actors all acquit themselves capably, particularly Whoopie van Raam, Stefan Cennydd and Peter Marinka—twice over.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“Steffan Cennydd is a shining-eyed, boyish David Quixano.” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“Strong performances from Steffan Cennydd as the young idealist, Whoopie van Raam as his gentile lover and Peter Marinker.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The casting of Peter Marinker as both fathers is a masterstroke. Steffan Cennydd’s sensitive performance as the young composer should put his name up on the list for Most Promising Actor Award.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times

“Alexander Gatehouse relishes making Quincy Davenport the man you love to hate, a narcissistic, spoilt, insensitive, cheating and unashamedly racist millionaire used to getting his own way, he makes Zangwill seem topically prophetic.” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“Another standout performance comes from Alexander Gatehouse.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“Alexander Gatehouse makes a charming snake.” Matt Trueman, WhatsOnStage

“A well-chosen cast, the most notable performances coming from Alexander Gatehouse as Quincy Davenport, and Steffan Cennydd.” Claire Minnit, The Spy in The Stalls

“Delightfully authentic Hayward B Morse.” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“Hayward B Morse as Herr Pappelmeister, the German conductor, seems to be the crowd favourite as he managed to draw many laughs from the audience.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“Hayward B Morse’s conductor Herr Pappelmeister is played with impish superciliousness.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“Whoopie van Raam’s elegant, equally passionate Vera.” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“Ann Queensberry is impressive.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“Katrina McKeever as Irish maid Kathleen threatens to steal the show with incorrigible bombast and fair-wind pronouncements.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“A poignant reminder of America’s historic role in admitting peoples from all over the globe. Max Elton’s excellent production is alert to the play’s topicality.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“Director Max Elton’s sprightly, timely revival.” Judy Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“Elton’s direction sings.” Katherine Waters, The Arts Desk

“Inspiring symphony to multiculturalism.” Judi Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

“The music, composed by Piers Sherwood Roberts, is very lovely.” Nicole Ackman, Broadway World

“Under Neil McPherson, the Finborough in London’s Earl’s Court has an exemplary record in rediscovering old plays and in our age of hostility to immigrants, Israel Zangwill’s The Melting Pot (1908) is a classic example of a work that has acquired new urgency.” Michael Billington, The Guardian

“The Finborough has a long and distinguished reputation for the rediscovery of lost masterpieces. Its December pairing are both delectable, suggesting that 1908 was a bumper year for the stage.” Philip Fisher, British Theatre Guide

“The Melting Pot deserves a much longer run.” Robert Tanitch, Mature Times

“Composer Piers Sherwood Roberts knits the action together with tantalising ‘snatches’ from David’s ‘American Symphony’ in this inspiring symphony to multiculturalism.” Judy Herman, The Jewish Renaissance

COMMENTATORS ON THE MELTING POT


“That’s a great play, Mr. Zangwill, that’s a great play!...That particular play I shall always count among the very strong and real influences upon my thought and my life.” President Theodore Roosevelt

“A play you will remember all your life.” Evening American 1908

“The United States never received on the stage a more worthy or glorious characterization than in this play.” Chicago Unity 1908

“Zangwill’s work played a crucial role in the remaking of both British and American attitude…toward immigrants and hence toward the social and national project of each country.” Jonathan Freedman, University of Michigan

THE PRESS ON DIRECTOR MAX ELTON

On Big Brother Blitzkrieg at Kings Head Theatre -

“Consistently funny and increasingly tense… there is great talent and promise to be found here.” ★★★★ The Upcoming.

“The direction is creative and there are some great moments of hilarity and drama.” Everything Theatre

“A smart, incisive and often brutal gem of a show… Elton has a sincere political point to make.” ★★★★ London City Nights

TICKETS AND TIMES

Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 December 2017

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm.
Tuesday matinees at 2.00pm.

Performance Length: 1 hour 50 minutes including one interval of fifteen minutes.

Tickets £18, £16 concessions

(Group Bookings – 1 free ticket for every 10 tickets booked.)

Full booking information

For details of our Returns Policy for sold out performances, please click here

PLEASE NOTE THAT LATECOMERS CANNOT BE ADMITTED AND TICKETS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED OR REFUNDED.

Directed by Max Elton

Designed by Allegra Fitzherbert

Lighting by Ben Jacobs

Sound by Piers Sherwood-Roberts

Presented by Bitter Pill Theatre in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre.

STEFFAN CENNYDD

ALEXANDER GATEHOUSE

PETER MARINKER

KATRINA MCKEEVER

HAYWARD B MORSE

ANN QUEENSBERRY

WHOOPIE VAN RAAM