Movie coming to Wolsey stage

IT'S one of the best-loved films of all times, and now producers of a new musical are hoping it will be a wonderful start to the new season at Ipswich's New Wolsey theatre.

IT'S one of the best-loved films of all times, and now producers of a new musical are hoping it will be a wonderful start to the new season at Ipswich's New Wolsey theatre.

It is launching its autumn season with the world premiere of a brand new musical - the stage version of the James Stewart classic It's A Wonderful Life.

And its producers hope to take it to the West End if the Ipswich production is a success - it would be only the second musical to move from Ipswich to London's theatreland.

The musical will feature a cast of 17, a full orchestra and an opportunity for seven youngsters to taste stardom, playing the kids in the story.

The play has been adapted by Steve Brown, who wrote the music for Spend, Spend, Spend, the story of pools winner Viv Nicholson, and went onto to win two Olivier awards and an Evening Standard award for Best New Musical when it was first staged in 1999.

The Gallery Players staged Spend, Spend, Spend, with Suffolk actress and Tonight's The Night star Sam Horsfield in the lead, as part of the New Wolsey's community season last summer.

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Steve Brown's latest production will be directed by the New Wolsey's resident artistic director Pete Rowe with choreographer Fran Jaynes doing the movement.

Mr Rowe said: “It's all happened quite quickly, so it's rather taken our breath away but we are delighted to be staging this world premiere.

“We were approached just a couple of months ago by Avalon, the production company who have been developing It's A Wonderful Life - they have been working on the musical for about five years. ”

The new musical would be the first to transfer from the Wolsey to the West End since The Baker's Wife in 1988.

Mr Rowe said: “Steve Brown and the producers of It's A Wonderful Life chose the New Wolsey because our standing in the industry is extremely high. We have a reputation for championing new work, for staging high quality work and our musicals are always very well received.”

He said that it was going to be a big epic show and he had only just started thinking about how he was going to achieve everything the script demands on stage.

It's A Wonderful Life will be staged at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich from September 10-October 3, 2009. Tickets go on sale on June 29 at www.wolseytheatre.co.uk