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Witches of Eastwick (The)

Musique: Dana P. Rowe
Paroles: John Dempsey
Livret: John Dempsey

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On the 1 October 1999: it was announced that The Witches of Eastwick will open on Tuesday 13 June 2000, with previews expected to begin on 26 May (possibly 15 May) - Booking opens on Saturday 16 October 1999.
On 10 January 2000: There where unconfirmed reports that Michael Crawford will star in Cameron Mackintosh's latest musical The Witches of Eastwick in the role of 'Darryl Van Horns' - all a spokesperson for the producer Cameron Mackintosh would say today (10 Jan) was that "his office is currently in negotiations with a major star to play in The Witches of Eastwick." It is also rumoured that the three witches will be played by Lucie Arnaz, and Joanna Riding and Maria Friedman.
On 21 January 2000: There are unconfirmed reports that opening of The Witches of Eastwick will be delayed for three months until early September. It is thought that this delay is to allow more time for rehearsals - ten days ago there were reports that Michael Crawford would play the role of 'Darryl Van Horns'. When tickets originally went on sale in October last year it was said that 'due to the highly technical nature of the production some of the performance dates may change.'
On 25 January 2000: Following speculation, the casting for the lead roles has now been confirmed: Ian McShane will take the role of 'Darryl Van Horne' with Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman and Joanna Riding as the three glamorous witches, 'Alexandra', 'Sukie' and 'Jane'. The cast will also include Rosemary Ashe (the original 'Carlotta' in The Phantom of the Opera), Peter Joback (the Swedish star, recently seen in Miss Saigon), Caroline Sheen (from Mamma Mia!) and Stephen Tate (the original star of Cats and A Chorus Line). After training at RADA, Ian McShane first came to stage prominence in the 1960's in the original production of Joe Orton's Loot and Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie. He later co-starred with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen in The Promise both in the West End and on Broadway. In recent years he has mostly played screen roles - he is perhaps best known for playing the title role in the popular television series Loveioy. Emmy Award-winning American actress Lucie Arnaz will be making her West End debut in the production. Maria Friedman won the 1997 Olivier Award for 'Best Actress in a Musical' for her role in Passion, she also won the 1995 Olivier Award for 'Best Entertainment’ for her show Maria Friedman by Special Arrangement. Joanna Riding won the 1993 Olivier Award for 'Best Actress in a Musical' for her role in the Royal National Theatre's revival of Carousel. Also, in order to accomodate certain prior contractual obligations the opening dates have been delayed by one month: the musical will have it's opening/press night on Tuesday 18 July 2000, with previews from Saturday 24 June 2000. (The production was originally due to opens on 13 June 2000, following previews from 26 May)
On 30 June 2000: The preview performances on Fn 30 June 7.45pm. Sat 1 July 3.00pm and 7.45pm where cancelled due to cast illness: Both Ian McShane and his understudy had flu.
On 17 July 2000: It was announced that seats in the front half of the Balcony (Rows B to F) are now on general sale
On 6 November 2000: There have been rumours circulating the West End over the last couple of days that that The Witches of Eastwick, currently at the 2,100 seat Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre, will be announcing a transfer to another theatre shortly. The cast and crew of the production are believed to have been called to a meeting about the situation this evening. Currently everybody is remaining tight-lipped but there is speculation - all unconfirmed - that The Witches of Eastwick, which is currently booking up to the end of March 2001, might announce a transfer to the 1,100 seat Prince of Wales Theatre (where Fosse is currently running and booking up to mid January 2001) or the 1,200 seat Piccadilly Theatre (where La Cava is currently running and booking up to the end of April 2001).
On 7 November 2000: Following the rumours (see above), it has now been confirmed today that The Witches of Eastwick will be transfering from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Theatre to the Prince of Wales Theatre in spring 2001. The Witches of Eastwick will have its final performance at the 2,100 seat Drury Lane Theatre on Saturday 24 February 2001 after which it will transfer to the 1,100 seat Prince of Wales Theatre with performances from 23 March 2001. It is expected that, subject to final confirmation, tickets for the Prince of Wales performances will go on sale on Monday 20 November 2000. It is hoped that the smaller Prince of Wales Theatre will give the show a more inimate feel and give it a higher profile in the West End - The Prince of Wales Theatre is located in a prominent location between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus with a high volume of pedestrians walking by the theatre every day.
On 20 November 2000: Full details of the transfer to the Prince or Wales Theatre have now been announced: After closing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Saturday 24 February 2001, the production will transfer to the Prince of Wales Theatre from Friday 23 March 2001. Tickets for performances at the Prince of Wales theatre are now on sale up to 22 December 2001.
On 1 May 2001: There are RUMOURS that a major cast change will take place from 2 July 2001 - with Clarke Peters taking over as 'Darryl van Horne', Josefina Gabrielle as 'Alexandra and Rebecca Thornhill 'Sukie' with Joanna Riding staying as 'Jane'. A new 'Opening Night' is also RUMOURED for 17 July 2001. On the 1 May a spokesperson for the production said: "All details of any cast change are currently unconfirmed."
On 3 May 2001: The Stage has reported today (3 May) that a spokesperson for the show’s producer Cameron Mackintosh has now confirmed the new casting as follows: Clarke Peters as 'Darryl van Horne', Josefina Gabrielle as 'Alexandra and Rebecca Thornhill 'Sukie' from 2 July with 'Opening Night' on 17 July. This follows the rumours - see above.
On 23 May 2001: The full principal cast, who take over from 2 July 2001, have now been announced: Clarke Peters 'Darryl van Horne', Josefina Gabrielle 'Alexandra Spofford', Joanna Riding 'Jane Smart', Rebecca Thornhill 'Sukie Rougemont', Rosemary Ashe 'Felicia Gabriel’. Stephen Tate 'Clyde Gabriel', Caroline Sheen 'Jennifer Gabriel', Paul Spicer 'Michael Spofford' and Gee Williams 'Fidel'.
On 22 June 2001: Today's London Evening Standard newspaper claims that three high profile musicals – The Beautiful Game, The Witches of Eastwick and Notre Dame de Paris - are "all rumoured to be on the verge of closing early." Under the frontpage headline "Cash Crisis Hits Theatreland, big shows close or at risk as foreign tourists stay away", The London Evening Standard highlights that already a number of productions - including The Secret Garden, Mouth to Mouth, Ghosts and The Beau - have or are all closing earlier than expected. The newspaper states that the problems include the fact that "the pound remains relatively high against other currencies, especially the dollar and the mark, and this makes London very expensive for visitors," adding that "the crisis nas been compounded by fears of recession which has been particularly strongly felt in America, Japan and Germany and has led to people staying at home rather than spending money on foreign travel. Additionally, the foot and mouth epidemic has had an impact on tourism with stories aDout the crisis receiving great play abroad and undermining Britain’s reputation as a country to visit." This is bom out by figures issued by The London Tourist Board wnich forecasts a 14% drop in visitors this year. Laurie Webster, me part-owner of Albemarle of London, is quoted in The Standard saying: "There's a big slump in overseas visitors and the home market really doesn't come alive until September."
On 23 August 2001: A new three month booking period covering performances up to 30 March 2002 was announced.
On 10 October 2001: Early closing notices where posted for 27 October 2001 after a total run of 15 months - the musical had been booking up to the end of March 2002. When closing notices for The Witches of Eastwick where posted, the show's producer Cameron Mackintosh said: "Obviously I would have liked Witches to have run longer as I think it is a terrific show with a terrific cast headed by an acclaimed star performance by Clarke Peters as Darryl van Horne. The audience has a great time but the plain fact is that this year has not been good for new musicals. The whole industry has suffered from a dramatic decline in the tourist sector through much of this spring & summer, but I had hoped that the traditional October upswing in business would have enabled us to remain open into the New Year. However, the recent tragic events in America, with all their consequences, have served to make things even worse and so reluctantly I have had to take the decision to close the production in London and to move it abroad. Hopefully fans of the show will take the opportunity to see it again before the end of the run.
"I very much hope that all the shows' fans and anyone who has yet to see the show will come and enjoy it during its last weeks in London. Depending on public response, we may be able to continue a bit beyond the end of October but as owner of the Prince of Wales theatre, I have had to schedule other productions to follow Witches. As well as the show going to America, possibly with Clarke Peters repeating his acclaimed performance, I am delighted that one of our leading ladies is going to repeat her starring role, of "Laurie', in the R.N.T.'s wonderful production of Oklahoma! which I am presenting on Broadway next March. Having just returned from a Broadway where many shows are battling for survival, because of a lack of tourists there, everyone from the Mayor to the President are urging visitors to visit New York to see the shows, eat at the restaurants and enjoy the city. It's starting to work and the New Yorkers themselves are leading the fight for their city's survival. Londoners need urgently to do the same because there has never been an easier time to get tickets and the city needs to be kept vibrant to make tourists want to return."

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