About the showWith book by Peter Stone and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, the acclaimed Death Takes a Holiday had its UK premiere at London’s Charring Cross Theatre in January 2017.
Directed by Thom Southerland, Artistic Director of the Charring Cross Theatre, Death Takes a Holiday has come hot on the heels of the critically acclaimed production of one of Yeston’s other great musicals, Titanic, in summer 2016. Many may have also seen some of Southerland’s other popular shows including Grand Hotel, Me and Juliet and Mack and Mabel.
The musical is adapted from the play Las Morte in Vacanza, written in 1924 by the Italian playwright Alberto Casella. This story has long been immensely popular, first being turned into a movie in 1934, before also being modernised in the 1998 American film version starring Brad Pitt, which was retitled as Meet Joe Black.
The story follows the lonesome Death, as he tries to comprehend human ways and discover why death itself is so feared and disgusted, when life is so loved. To do so, he disguises himself as a handsome and lovable young prince, in Northern Italy just after the First World War. After meeting an engaged woman who he surprisingly falls in love with however, he starts to reconsider his perceptions of the world.
The musical was written by Yeston in 1997, shortly after having success with their musical version of Titanic but looking to reign in the large production values of the large show, to create a more intimate story. Yeston’s score incorporated all the music of the age, while blending it with the styles of contemporary musical theatre to give new life to the great traditional play. When it premiered Off-Broadway in 2011 it ended up being nominated for 11 Drama Desk Awards.
This new production at the Charring Cross Theatre gives West End audiences a chance to see Yeston’s much loved musical for the first time and is sure to be a fantastic underground success. With previews having began on the 16th January 2017 and the show set to run up to 4th March 2017, this is one of London’s 2017 musicals not to be missed.
Who Should See It?With the Charring Cross Theatre’s recent run of more intimate musicals that have met to great critical acclaim and become much loved by their audiences, this is a highly recommended for any lovers of the theatre’s previous work. This is particularly true with the 2017 musical version of Titanic, which also saw Thom Southerland adapting another classic Yeston musical.
For those who have not seen a recent Charring Cross Theatre production, now is the perfect time, with their more intimate and smaller scale shows providing a far different experience than many of the long running large West End musicals, but often being even more enjoyable.