Set against a backdrop of Manhattan decadence and 1920’s excess, The Wild Party tells the story of Queenie and Burrs, a Vaudeville showgirl and a Vaudeville clown whose relationship is marked by vicious behaviour and recklessness. In an attempt to salvage their toxic union, they decide to throw a party to end all parties. The guests are a vivid collection of the unruly and the undone: a cocaine-sniffing bisexual playboy; a washed-up boxer; a diva of indeterminate age; a fresh-faced ingénue; and a handsome Valentino who catches Queenie’s roving eye. The jazz and gin-soaked party rages to a mounting sense of threat, as artifice and illusion are stripped away. But when midnight debauchery turns into tragedy, the revellers must sober up and face reality. After all, no party lasts forever.
Frances Ruffelle, originated the role of Eponine in Les Miserables in the West End and on Broadway, winning the Tony award for her performance. Frances said: “I discovered the amazingly edgy, jazz-infused score to The Wild Party about 10 years ago. Many West End producers have tried to get the rights with no success, but luckily for me, the composer Michael John LaChuisa was in the audience when I was performing my solo show in New York. We were introduced after the show and I asked him why the show hadn’t been seen in London. He just said: “You are my Queenie, it’s yours”. It really is a dream come true, and I’m now working hard preparing for a role that I know will be demanding but hugely rewarding. See you at the party!”
With music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, this new production will be directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, who received the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for his work on In The Heights.
Based on Joseph Moncure March’s narrative poem of the same title, The Wild Party originally opened on Broadway in 2000 with a cast including Toni Collette, Mandy Patinkin and Eartha Kitt. The production received 7 Tony Award nominations, and a Grammy Award nomination for its composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa.
The Wild Party has music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa and a book by George C. Wolfe and Michael John LaChiusa. It is directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie with musical direction by Theo Jamieson (Drew McOnie with musical direction by Theo Jamieson (Funny Girl, West End), set and costume design by Soutra Gilmour (Dr Faustus, Urinetown, The Commitments, West End) and lighting design by Richard Howell (Jekyll and Hyde, Old Vic). Casting is by Will Burton. It is presented by Paul Taylor-Mills