Musical begins previews May 6

The world premiere of period musical “Marguerite” will crown the first season of three productions from the newly created Theater Royal Haymarket Company, under the direction of Jonathan Kent.

The tuner has a score by Michel Legrand, book by the “Les Miserables” team of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg and Kent, and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer from Boublil’s original French lyrics.

Based on Alexandre Dumas’ “La Dame aux camelias,” the tuner begins previews May 6 for a May 20 opening, with Ruthie Henshall in the title role. While Julian Ovenden played young lover Armand in the most recent workshop, no further casting for the production has been announced.

Kent has been developing “Marguerite” for more than four years with the creative team, which also includes orchestrator-arranger Seann Alderking. During that time, the story has been updated to occupied Paris during WWII.

Formerly joint artistic director of the Almeida Theater, Kent will direct all three productions comprising a year-round operation at the 895-seat West End venue. The initiative is backed by Haymarket producers Arnold M. Crook and Nigel Everett.The season will begin previews Sept. 27 before an Oct. 9 opening with William Wycherley’s 1675 sex comedy “The Country Wife,” starring David Haig, Fiona Glascott, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens. Haig will remain with the company to star opposite Eileen Atkins in a revival of Edward Bond’s 1973 dark-toned social satire set in the Edwardian era, “The Sea,” opening Jan. 23.

The Haymarket also will mark the 10th anniversary of its master-class program by teaming with Kent on an apprentice training scheme for actors, directors and designers to work within the company.

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