Direct from London, comes Lost Musicals' acclaimed semi-staged performance of this neglected musical by two theatrical giants—Orson Welles and Cole Porter. AROUND THE WORLD is a Marx Brothers-type musical satire on the British…and everyone else. Based on Jules Verne's classic novel, the story follows Phineas Fogg, who makes a bet to go 'Around The World In Eighty Days'. Welles' madcap script shows off his incredible showmanship and comedic sense of fun, while Porter's delightful score—which includes such songs as "There He Goes, Mr. Phineas Fogg," "Pipe Dreaming," and "Should I Tell You I Love You?"—features his usual lyrical wit and melodic panache.
The play premiered on Broadway at the Adelphi Theatre on May 31st, 1946, with a cast and crew of 150 people. Orson Welles returned from Hollywood to Broadway as the writer, producer, director and star—advertising the show as a "Musical Extravaganza." Indeed, the spectacular production boasted a giant mechanical elephant, an onstage train crash, fireworks, magic tricks, silent film clips, and an entire three-ring circus. The New York Post called AROUND THE WORLD "the most exciting musical in years." While The New Yorker hailed, "It's a damn good show, like nothing you've ever seen before." When Robert Garland's review in The World-Telegram mentioned that the show had "everything but the kitchen sink," Orson, always eager to please, came to the footlights the next evening accompanied by a stagehand trundling out an enormous porcelain sink!
Although it initially played to packed houses, AROUND THE WORLD barely survived the summer doldrums and played to smaller and smaller audiences. Despite the obvious star-power provided by both Cole Porter and Orson Welles, the show closed on August 3rd, 1946 after only 75 performances. Welles, who had helped finance the musical himself, lost $320,000 on the production. He had also borrowed money from Columbia Pictures president, Harry Cohn, on a promise to write, produce, direct and star in a film for Cohn for no fee. He kept his promise, making the film The Lady from Shanghai the following year.
In 2007, London theater director Ian Marshall Fisher re-envisioned the show for a cast of eight remarkably facilitated actors, dressed in evening wear, performing from script without props or scenery and accompanied by a lone piano, on the empty stage of the Lilian Baylis Studio at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre. "The wittily staged concert presentation of the show provides a tantalizing impression of what the prodigiously talented Welles had in mind," wrote Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter, calling the production "great fun."
This fall, there is a return engagement of AROUND THE WORLD at the Sadler's Wells in London. The company will then cross the Atlantic, providing American audiences the unique pleasure of seeing this neglected work by two of the greatest theatrical talents of the 20th century in a semi-staged production. Mint Theater is proud to host the first ever American performances of AROUND THE WORLD, December 6th-12th, 2013.
The London cast of AROUND THE WORLD includes David Firth: The Padlock & King Lear (Old Vic), Hamlet, The Fix, & Assassins (Donmar), Poppy (Royal Shakespeare Company), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (West End), Phantom Of The Opera (West End original cast); Neil McCaul: Trelawney Of The Wells & The Merchant Of Venice (Old Vic), Habeas Corpus (Oxford Playhouse), Brighton Rock (Almeida Theatre), Oedipus (Royal National Theatre), Calendar Girls (West End); and Michael Roberts: Piaf, The Mousetrap, & A Saint She Ain't (West End), The Wizard Of Oz (Bristol Old Vic), & The Crucible (York, Theatre Royal).
British director Ian Marshall Fisher's work has been based at London's Barbican Centre, Royal Opera House, BBC and Sadler's Wells. His specific interest is in American theatre writers. He also founded a project initially based at London's Victoria and Albert Museum titled Lost Musicals. He has lectured on his subject at Princeton and has founded a UK government education charity based on this subject.
- Rob Eyles
- Lance Fuller
- Rebekah Hinds
- Nicholas Jones
- Neil McCaul
- Davina Perera
- Michael Roberts
- James Vaughan
- Director Ian Marshall Fisher
- Music Director Mark Warman