Full casting is announced today for Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party, which receives its first major London production at The Other Palace, playing from Monday 13 February to Saturday 1 April 2017, with a press night on Monday 20 February. The Wild Party will be the inaugural production at The Other Palace, formerly St. James Theatre, when it reopens in February 2017 as the newest addition to The Really Useful Theatres Group and a home for new musical theatre.
Joining the previously announced Frances Ruffelle as Queenie are John Owen-Jones as Burrs, Simon Thomas as Black, Donna McKechnie as Dolores, Dex Lee as Jackie, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Kate, Ako Mitchell as Eddie, Gloria Obianyo and Genesis Lynea as The D’armano Bros, Melanie Bright as Sally, Lizzy Connolly as Mae, Steven Serlin as Goldberg, Sebastian Torkia as Gold, Bronté Barbé as Nadine and Tiffany Graves as Madelaine.
Set against a backdrop of Manhattan decadence and 1920’s excess, The Wild Party tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, a Vaudeville showgirl and a Vaudeville clown whose relationship is marked by vicious behaviour and recklessness. In an attempt to salvage their toxic union, they decide to throw a party to end all parties. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy; a washed-up boxer; a diva of indeterminate age; a fresh-faced ingénue; and a handsome Valentino who catches Queenie’s roving eye. The jazz and gin soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat, as artifice and illusion are stripped away. But when midnight debauchery turns into tragedy, the revellers must sober up and face reality. After all, no party lasts forever.
Based on Joseph Moncure March’s narrative poem of the same title, The Wild Party originally opened on Broadway in 2000 with a cast including Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. The production received 7 Tony Award nominations, and a Grammy Award nomination for its composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa. LaChiusa is one of the most prolific writers for the American musical stage, with works including Hello Again (1994), Marie Christine (1999), The Wild Party (2000) and See What I Wanna See (2005). He was nominated for Tony Awards for his book and score for The Wild Party and Marie Christine, and for his book for Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
The Wild Party will be directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, who received the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for his work on In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre). Drew is directing and choreographing the European Premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom at West Yorkshire Playhouse this Christmas, with other recent choreography credits including Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith), The Lorax (The Old Vic) and Oklahoma (UK Tour). Drew is also the Artistic Director of The McOnie Company, for which he recently created a new dance-thriller version of Jekyll and Hyde at The Old Vic.