Chocolate Factory slate includes 'Rita,' 'Valentine'
Trevor Nunn will direct a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Aspects of Love” as part of the upcoming slate at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.Lineup also includes a pairing of 1980s hit dramas, “Educating Rita” and “Shirley Valentine,” by Liverpool playwright Willy Russell as well as previously announced tuner “Paradise Found,” based on music by waltz king Johann Strauss II, with book by Richard Nelson. Harold Prince and Susan Stroman will co-direct. “Aspects,” the first major London revival of the 1987 show, has book and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart. It begins perfs July 3 and runs through Sept. 11, with casting to be announced. Nunn also helmed the original; his other collaborations with Lloyd Webber include “Cats,” “Starlight Express,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Woman in White.” With the “Aspects” revival, Lloyd Webber will have three tuners running simultaneously in London — the others are “The Phantom of the Opera” and its sequel “Love Never Dies.” Helmed by Jeremy Sams, “Rita” will star Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos in the roles that secured Oscar noms for Michael Caine and Julie Walters in the 1983 screen version. Starring Meera Syal, “Shirley Valentine” will be directed by Glen Walford, who originally commissioned it for Liverpool’s Everyman Theater. Both shows play in rep, starting perfs March 26. Russell’s tuner “Blood Brothers” has been running in London for 22 years. The Menier also confirmed dates for “Paradise Found,” previewing May 19 ahead of a projected May 26 opening. Tuner’s all-American cast includes Kate Baldwin, John Cullum, Shuler Hensley, Judy Kaye and, in his first U.K. legit role outside of concert perfs, Mandy Patinkin. The Menier is currently repped on Broadway by Nunn’s revival of “A Little Night Music” at the Walter Kerr. The company’s Olivier-winning production of “La Cage aux Folles” is in rehearsal for an April opening at the Longacre, with Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge in lead roles. The Menier’s SRO production of “Sweet Charity” is also poised to announce a West End transfer.