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Fisher and McGowan make music at Menier

Published 23 June 2008

Connie Fisher returns to the stage alongside Alistair McGowan in the musical romance They’re Playing Our Song at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 25 July (press night 4 August).

Written by Neil Simon, They’re Playing Our Song has music and lyrics by American composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, and is partly based on the relationship between the Oscar-winning duo. The story follows Vernon Gersch, a neurotic and successful composer with a host of awards. He is paired up with the lovably eccentric Sonia Walsk, a young lyricist who is a hopeless time-keeper and dresses in cast-off theatrical costumes. The unlikely pairing seems destined to falter before it begins. But as their working relationship grows, so do their feelings for each other.

Fisher returns to the London stage following her high profile run as Maria in The Sound Of Music. The Mountview graduate won the role through the first of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s reality casting programmes, 2006’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

McGowan has been ubiquitous on the London stage of late. In the past 18 months, the star of television’s The Big Impression has been seen in Little Shop Of Horrors at the Duke of York’s and Ambassadors (for which he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award), The Mikado at the Gielgud and Cabaret at the Lyric. His other acting credits include The Government Inspector at Chichester, Merry Wives – The Musical for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Mayo on television.

In real life, multi-award-winning composer Hamlisch received a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for his score for A Chorus Line in 1976. In addition to his stage work – which also includes Sweet Smell Of Success and The Goodbye Girl – Hamlisch has written extensively for film, including the Oscar-winning score for The Way We Were. He collaborated with Bayer Sager on the Bond theme Nobody Does It Better.

After scoring her first hit with A Groovy Kind Of Love in 1965, Bayer Sager went on to work with Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Bette Midler and Bob Dylan. She received an Oscar for Arthur’s Theme from the 1982 Dudley Moore film Arthur.

They’re Playing Our Song is directed by Fiona Laird, who directs the Menier’s current production of A Common Pursuit. Laird’s other credits include Cinderella at the Old Vic and Oh, What A Lovely War! at the National Theatre.

They’re Playing Our Song runs at the Southwark venue until 28 September, and booking opens on 26 June.

CB

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