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Feature: 5 Reasons Why We’re Excited About Stephen Ward #5Reasons

London Theatre Direct's Andrew Tomlins updates us on why we're excited about Stephen Ward as it opens tonight!

Today is the day Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber has been working towards for a very long time as his latest musical Stephen Ward officially opens at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre. While we wait to hear what the critics have to say about the production, below are five reasons we’re excited about Stephen Ward…

1. A New Direction For Lloyd Webber
Most recently Andrew has worked on shows including The Wizard of Oz and Love Never Dies – neither of which are similar in any way to Stephen Ward which is based on The Profumo Affair (the scandal that shocked society). There has been a lot of talk regarding whether the topic will work as a musical but it’s going to be great to see something completely different from Andrew. Stephen Ward is said to be far more controversial and adult compared to his other work.
2. Dream Team Reunited
Stephen Ward reunites Andrew with Christopher Hampton and Don Black who he previously worked with on Sunset Boulevard. For many Sunset Boulevard, which picked up an impressive seven Tony Awards, is their favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Speaking about being reunited with the pair during a recent appearance on the Graham Norton show Andrew revealed that Sunset is one of his favourite musicals so he’s thrilled to be back working with Christopher and Don.
3. Strong Casting
Andrew has not relied on stunt casting and has cast a strong mix of experienced musical theatre stars as well as West End newcomers. The cast is led by Alexander Hanson in the title role who has starred in countless West End shows including A Little Night Music, The Sound of Music, We Will Rock You and Sunset Boulevard. However, for Charlotte Spencer (Christine Keeler) and Charlotte Blackledge (Mandy Rice Davies) Stephen Ward marks their first major stage roles, in fact the production is Blackledge’s professional stage debut.
4. Man Of The Moment
Stephen Ward is directed by Richard Eyre who is slowly taking over the West End. As well as Stephen Ward, his production of Ibsen’s Ghosts, which he directed at the Almeida to great critical acclaim, has just transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios and is currently in previews. Earlier this week it was also announced that Eyre’s production of The Pajama Game, which ran in Chichester earlier this year, will transfer to the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre next year, starring current Stephen Ward cast member Joanna Riding.
5. Something Different For Christmas
It’s an interesting time for a new political musical to open in the West End. However, at a time when theatreland is bombarded with pantos and festive themed shows perhaps seeing something like Stephen Ward will make a nice change! Of course Stephen Ward is booking well into the New Year making it the perfect Christmas gift option too.
Andrew Tomlins

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