LONDON – Last seen on the professional stage in London’s Adelphi Theatre in 1964, hit British musical Maggie May is finally set to return to the stage this year. Presented by SDWC productions, the musical, with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart and book by renowned dramatist Alun Owen, Maggie May is a celebration of the working class on Liverpool’s docks in the ’60s.
Marking the 20th anniversary since the death of Lionel Bart, who has been described by Andrew Lloyd Webber as ‘the father of the modern British Musical’, Maggie May includes one the most musically diverse scores of the 1960s, ranging from bitter sweet ballads, Mersey Beat rock ‘n’ roll and classic chorus numbers. Full of vigour, northern wit and brassy tunes, this is the story of ‘street walker’ Maggie May Duffy and her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Casey. Their love story is set against the economic decline of Liverpool’s docks at the height of the City’s cultural revival through the Mersey Beat sound.
Says director Matthew Iliffe: “In the year which marks the twentieth anniversary of legendary British songwriter Lionel Bart’s death, it seemed appropriate to honour his legacy with a revival of Maggie May. Bart was a working class maverick from the East End who, despite not being able to read or write music, penned the soundtrack to 1960s Britain, with hits such as Living Doll for Cliff Richard, Bond Theme From Russia With Love for Matt Monroe and of course the score for Oliver! As a librettist and lyricist he also captured the contemporary zeitgeist like no other with shows like Fings’ Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be and indeed Maggie May. In doing so, he is arguably the only British writer of musicals to ever successfully put working-class experiences centre stage. This anniversary gives us the chance to appraise his extraordinarily wide-ranging body of work and to celebrate a true British Icon.”
Commenting on this London revival, the Lionel Bart Estate says: “We are delighted to see Maggie May return to London after 55 years. This show was very important to Lionel and we only wish he were here to see it.”
Adds Alun Owen’s son, Gareth: “Alun was very proud to be a native Liverpudlian and many of his plays were based on settings in Liverpool. Maggie May is a well-known Liverpool story and Alun gave his own unique insight into the events that are described in the production. I am delighted Maggie May is making a comeback.”
This production of Maggie May stars Kara Lily Hayworth as the titular heroine, with a cast comprising James Darch as Patrick Casey, and Natalie Williams playing Maureen O’Neill. They will be joined by Mark Pearce, Leon Kay, Michael Nelson, Barnaby Taylor, Aaron Kavanagh, Chloe Carrington, Euan Bennet, Cathy McManamon, Joshua Barton and David Keller. Catch the historic revival of this classic British musical, only at Finsborough Theatre this spring season.
Maggie May plays at the Finsborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED from 27th March to 5th April 2019. Tickets available here