By Mark Shenton
08 Nov 2013
Featuring a score by singer/songwriter Gywneth Herbert and book by playwright Diane Samuels (whose plays include Kindertransport, seen in the West End and produced by Manhattan Theatre Club in New York), it is directed by Sam Buntrock (whose Menier Chocolate Factory production of Sunday in the Park with George transferred to the West End and Broadway).
The creative team also includes musical arranger Sarah Travis (Tony winner for Sweeney Todd) and Broadway designer Klara Ziglerova (Jersey Boys, Sister Act, The Farnsworth Invention and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe).
According to press materials, the musical is an exploration of both the streets of London and the eccentric Bohemian artist Mrs P, on her incredible journey to build her iconic business, mapped against her own troubled family saga.
The cast will include Isy Suttie (best known for her TV appearances in "Peep Show" and "Shameless") as Mrs P, with Frances Ruffelle (Tony winner for the original Les Miserables) as her mother and Michael Matus as her father.
Also in the cast are Stuart Matthew Price as Phyllis's brother Tony Gross, Turlough Convery, Dawn Sievewright and Sidney Livingstone.
In a press statement, Samuels commented, "One of the joys in my life is walking around London as Phyllis did. The link seemed pretty straightforward. Then behind a simple series of very handy maps, I found out about her emotionally complex family story, particularly the relationship between Phyllis and her father Sandor Gross. I'd always wanted to write a father/daughter play and here, unexpectedly, it was. Gwyneth and I were outside the musical theatre world, and in writing and composing our take on Phyllis' journey we have faced her struggles and thrilled as she found her own feet, to create an intimate, epic work of psycho-geography that celebrates what it is to have a vision."
Herbert added, "I'd never seen a musical before I started this crazy journey 5 years ago. Thing was, I loved stories, I loved music, I loved the theatre. And now, after working intensively and intimately alongside Diane exploring Mrs P's own inspiring journey, I find myself in love with this huge beast of an art-form: its limitless possibilities for creative invention, the way you can plant one thought or feeling and make it shudder through the whole piece, music and words and action and visual art all weaving together. For me, I have found it's the most multi-dimensional and exciting way to tell a magical story."
The musical was conceived by Neil Marcus, who also produces the show with Paul Tyrer and Jamie Clark for the Booking Office and Michael Peavoy Productions.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7407 0234 or visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk.