FROM THE SCREEN

TO THE STAGE Mod­ern take on a fes­tive favourite Com­edy to follow Bib­li­cal re­make

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - STAGE -

Clearly a man who doesn’t like to fail, three months after Ted Chapin had writ­ten to him and ex­plained that Irv­ing Berlin’s daugh­ters didn’t like the idea of a stage mu­si­cal of Top Hat, he de­cided to roll the dice. “I wrote to Ted and told him I was go­ing to be in New York in a month’s time. I didn’t men­tion Top Hat, just that I was a pro­ducer and, as I was in New York, would he spare me twenty min­utes,” says Wax. “For­tu­nately he did and I bought a plane ticket. When I met him, I walked into his of­fice and con­fessed im­me­di­ately that I re­ally wanted to do Top Hat and I had no other meet­ing in New York – he was my sole rea­son for be­ing there.”

The gam­ble paid off – after a fash­ion. Chapin was in­ter­ested, or at least im­pressed by Wax’s tenac­ity, but he couldn’t speak for Berlin’s daugh­ters. They hap­pened to be due in that week and Chapin won­dered if, hav­ing come this far, Wax would post­pone his re­turn flight by a day to meet with them. Fi­nally Wax got to pitch to Berlin’s daugh­ters di­rectly.

“I es­sen­tially asked them what they were wait­ing for. My daugh­ter was eight at the time and I told them that Irv­ing Berlin, Fred and Ginger – those names didn’t mean any­thing to her. This was an op­por­tu­nity to bring their fa­ther’s mu­sic to life for an en­tirely new gen­er­a­tion.”

They agreed. Then the work be­gan. As a pro­ducer Wax is used to pulling to­gether cre­ative teams – that’s what he does. Top Hat was go­ing to be the big­gest scale pro­duc­tions of his ca­reer. He threw ev­ery­thing at it.

Stay­ing in reg­u­lar con­tact with Berlin’s daugh­ters, he ex­plained his plans, shared de­sign ideas. At one point he went to them with the ideas of one of the char­ac­ters and they sug­gested the per­fect song for the character from their fa­ther’s back cat­a­logue of over 2,000.

The show opened on Au­gust 16, 2011, tour­ing the UK be­fore en­ter­ing the West End and win­ning mul­ti­ple Olivier awards when it did so, fol­low­ing seven nom­i­na­tions.

The show ar­rives in Leeds next week on a sec­ond UK tour and just be­cause it’s sec­ond time around doesn’t mean Wax has taken his eye off the ball.

“We could have toured it a lit­tle more cheaply, but we want peo­ple to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence of Top Hat,” says Wax. “It has the glam­our and the el­e­gance that I first talked about with those friends over din­ner those five or six years ago. It’s a show I’m re­ally proud of.” THE UK’s old­est work­ing the­atre in the re­gion are stag­ing a con­tem­po­rary sea­sonal pan­tomime.

Puss in Boots was orig­i­nally a folk tale writ­ten by Charles Per­rault in 1697 and this ver­sion comes with a mod­ern twist.

Set in the early 1960s it fea­tures robots, evil sci­en­tists and space monsters, in­stead of princes and princesses.

Puss in Boots will be per­formed at the Ge­or­gian The­atre Royal in Rich­mond un­til Jan­uary 4.

For tick­ets con­tact the box of­fice on 01748 825252, or visit www.geor­gianthe­atreroyal. co.uk. A NEW comic play – told almost en­tirely in rhyme – is of­fer­ing a new take on fa­mil­iar Bi­ble sto­ries and char­ac­ters. Un­ti­tled Bi­ble Se­quel is the third play by young Ilk­ley-based play­wright Ash Ca­ton, who also di­rects the pro­duc­tion. The plot cen­tres on a film pro­duc­tion company em­bark­ing on a big-bud­get re­make of the Holy Bi­ble.

You can see the play at Ilk­ley Play­house from De­cem­ber 21 to 23. Per­for­mances take place at 2pm on Sun­day and 7.30pm on Mon­day and Tues­day. Tick­ets on 01943 609539 or on­line via www.ilk­ley­play­house.co.uk.

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