Stage Door News
Toronto: David Mirvish presents the latest British production of “The Boy Friend” March 31-May 3
Thursday, December 19, 2019
A new production of THE BOY FRIEND by Sandy Wilson, the deliriously happy and joyful musical about young love, middle-aged love and older love, will be the final show of the 2019-20 Mirvish Subscription Season. Coming direct from an acclaimed, sell-out season at the prolific Menier Chocolate Factory in London and prior to a West End transfer, THE BOY FRIEND will be performed March 31 to May 3, 2020 at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre.
THE BOY FRIEND will replace the previously announced HELLO, DOLLY! Due to a schedule change HELLO, DOLLY! will no longer play Toronto this season.
Mirvish Season Subscribers will receive more information about their tickets on January 10, 2020.
Tickets for THE BOY FRIEND will go on sale at 12:01AM Saturday January 18, 2020 at www.mirvish.com or by calling TicketKing at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333. Tickets can also be purchased at the Princess of Wales Theatre during regular box office hours. Group orders of 15 or more receive reduced rates.
Background to THE BOY FRIEND
THE BOY FRIEND is his love letter to 1920s musical comedies that writer/composer Sandy Wilson adored from his youth. He wrote the play for a small London theatre where it opened in 1953 and became an overnight sensation.
It quickly transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End, where it became the toast of the town and played for five years. In 1954, a separate production premiered on Broadway at the Royale Theatre (now named the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre) and made a star of a very young Julie Andrews. From that point on, THE BOY FRIEND began to be produced around the world, becoming a blockbuster. Over the years, there have been many revivals of the show in London’s West End and on Broadway.
A film based on the stage musical was made by iconoclastic director Ken Russell in 1971, starring Twiggy, Tommy Tune and an uncredited Glenda Jackson. The film was a commercial success, becoming a cult classic and making an International star of Twiggy, who was primarily a model before it.
Set in Madame Dubonnet's finishing school for young women in the south of France, THE BOY FRIEND is a light-hearted soufflé of a show. The perfect young women at the school burst into song at the least provocation. When the story begins they are planning what costume they will wear at the upcoming masked ball, a highlight of their year. More importantly, they are bragging about the boy friends who will accompany them.
As the title songs says: "We plead to have/We need to have/In fact our poor hearts bleed to have/ That certain thing called The Boy Friend."
Polly, one of the young women, is shy and embarrassed that she doesn’t have a boy friend to take her to the ball. She concocts a story about a mysterious beau who will be driving down from Paris, but she refuses to tell any of the other girls anymore about him.
When the costume she has ordered for the ball is hand delivered by Tony, seemingly a messenger from the dress shop, she is instantly smitten.
And so begins the silly fun of the show, with young men and women popping through French windows, frolicking on the beach and dancing in the moonlight. The fun and frivolity of young love infects the older couples who become tangled in the web of young passion, because, as one of the songs says, "It's never too late to have a fling/For Autumn is just as nice as Spring/And it's never too late to fall in love.”
The New Menier Chocolate Factory Production
Since 2004, the Menier Chocolate Factory — David Babani, Artistic Director; Tom Siracusa, General Manager — has been a powerhouse of revivals and new works in London. Located in an historic building that was once a chocolate factory, the company’s influence is far greater than its actual physical size. The winner of many Olivier and Tony awards for its works, the company has launched plays and musicals that have been seen throughout the English-speaking theatre world. Among the company’s many transfers are Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Night Music, Sweet Charity, Merrily We Roll Along, The Color Purple, What’s It All About?, La Cage aux Folles and Fiddler on the Roof.
THE BOY FRIEND began performances on November 22, 2019 and opened to stellar reviews.
The North American Premiere of the Menier Chocolate Factory production of THE BOY FRIEND is presented by David Mirvish; Book, Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson; Direction by Matthew White; Choreography by Bill Deamer; Designer Paul Farnsworth; Lighting Designer Paul Anderson; Sound Designer Gregory Clarke; Hair & Wig Designer Richard Mawbey; Musical Supervisor & Director Simon Beck and Orchestrator David Cullen.
Photo: Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson and Jack Butterworth © 2019 Manuel Harlan.