West End dons ‘Top Hat’

London musical to transfer this spring

The stage version of Irving Berlin’s Astaire-Rogers movie tuner “Top Hat” will open at London’s Aldwych theater, beginning previews April 19 ahead of a May 9 press night.

Based on the RKO motion picture and presented by arrangement with RKO Pictures, Warner Bros. Theater Ventures and the Irving Berlin Music Co., the tuner is helmed by Matthew White who, together with Howard Jacques, has also adapted the original screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott.

Choreographed by Bill Deamer with sets by OIivier winner Hildegard Bechtler, costumes by Jon Morrell and lighting by Peter Mumford, the production stars Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen alongside a supporting cast of 29 and a live band of 15.

The arrival of “Top Hat” increases the already-tough West End competish for audiences for retro-styled tuners. The hit Regent’s Park Open Air Theater revival of the Gershwins’ back-catalog show “Crazy for You” has already transferred to the Novello Theater on the same block as the Aldwych. Meanwhile, the Chichester Festival Theater SRO revival of “Singin’ in the Rain” begins previews at the Palace Feb. 4.

Billed as “a new musical comedy,” “Top Hat” has already played a 17-week U.K. tour and features additional Irving Berlin classics including “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket.”

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