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Divas spend summer at the Apollo

Published 23 April 2008

Divas, the new dance spectacular from choreographer Peter Schaufuss, will receive its West End premiere at the Apollo theatre this summer. Running from 19 June until 5 July (press night 25 June), Divas pays homage to three of entertainment’s great female icons, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland.

The production is separated into three acts, each one reflecting a different star’s art and individuality, and features original recordings including La Vie En Rose, Falling In Love Again and Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

This production marks the second time in two years that former Artistic Director of the English National Ballet, Schaufuss, has brought a dance show based on popular performers to the Apollo following 2007’s debut of Satisfaction, which was based around the music of the Rolling Stones.

Schaufuss, who began his career as an international ballet star on a par with Baryshnikov and Nureyev in the 1970s and 1980s, also choreographed the controversial Diana, The Princess, which premiered in Manchester in 2005.

Divas will be one of three shows with a connection to The Wizard Of Oz in the West End this summer, in addition to Wicked and the Royal Festival Hall’s revival of the magical musical. Child star Garland became a superstar overnight as a result of her performance as Dorothy in the famous film, but with fame and stardom came problems, and her continuing high-profile life was dogged by barbiturate addiction.

Piaf, famous for songs including Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, also suffered from addiction. The diminutive French diva who struggled through childhood, lived life to the full but ended it addicted to morphine.

Teutonic star Dietrich shot to fame in German film The Blue Angel before immediately leaving her husband and child, moving to Hollywood with director Josef von Sternberg. Contracted to Paramount Pictures for seven years, she swiftly created a glamorous image and, following the war, performed as an entertainer around the world until her retirement in 1976.

Currently playing at the Apollo is Noël Coward’s The Vortex, a scathing exploration of 1920s decadence starring Felicity Kendal and Dan Stevens. The Vortex runs until 7 June.

MA

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