A classic film and an iconic pop group come together in new musical Desperately Seeking Susan, which opens at the Novello on 15 November, following previews from 12 October. The hit 1985 movie, which starred Madonna in the title role, is enhanced by the greatest hits of Blondie to create this exciting new production which stars Emma Williams as the street-smart Susan and Kelly Price as New Jersey housewife Roberta.
Roberta uses the personal ads placed by Susan and her boyfriend Jay to escape from her ordinary life. But a twist of fate sees Roberta and Susan swap lives, plunging them into a world of jewel heists, magic shows and rock ‘n’ roll. The collision of their identities takes them on a journey of transformation and discovery until they realise that just when you think you know where your life is heading, something magical happens and turns it all around.
Blondie's hits, which feature in the show, include Heart Of Glass, One Way Or Another, The Tide Is High and Atomic. Deborah Harry, who was present at today's launch, has also written a new song, Moment Of Truth, especially for the production.
Desperately Seeking Susan is written and conceived by Peter Michael Marino, whose previous shows include the cabaret spoofs Lance Jonathan: All About Me! and More About Me. Marino was also at today's launch, where he gave his thoughts on the plot of the film: "It captures the gritty bohemian feel of the Lower East Side, it's a movie that made you want to go to the Lower East Side and live life to the fullest. It's exciting, it's colourful, it's adventurous, it's romantic, it's the perfect vehicle for a musical… and I've seen it about 10 million times, so I'm a little familiar with it."
Emma Williams's big break came as the really delicious Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. After parting company with The Sound Of Music, in which she was expected to be the alternate Maria to Connie Fisher, Williams took the role of Christine Keeler in A Model Girl at Greenwich theatre.
Kelly Price rose through the theatre ranks to play Sarah Brown in Michael Grandage's production of Guys And Dolls at the Piccadilly and on tour. She has also appeared in Mamma Mia! and The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice.
Williams and Price performed a medley of Blondie songs at today's launch, where Marino said of the musical: "I hope that everyone who comes to see the show leaves the theatre feeling younger, happier, hipper and maybe a little bit blonder."
The creative team behind Desperately Seeking Susan includes director Angus Jackson (Fix Up, Elmina's Kitchen), American choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (In The Heights), Laurence Olivier Award-winning set and costume designer Tim Hatley (Monty Python's Spamalot, Humble Boy, Stanley), lighting designer Hugh Vanstone (Monty Python's Spamalot, Bombay Dreams) and sound designers Bobby Aitken and Brian Beasley (Dirty Dancing, Mamma Mia!)