LOVE GODDESS the Rita Hayworth Musical, 2 Stars

The Cockpit Theatre
18th Nov to 23 Dec 2022

‘Love Goddess, the Rita Hayworth Musical’  is a new musical from New York getting its UK premiere at The Cockpit in London from 18 November to 23 December 2022Considered by many to be the most beautiful woman of her day, Fred Astaire’s all-time favourite dance partner, and the bride Orson Welles wanted more than any other woman in the world, there is only one Rita Hayworth. She is still revered as one of the greatest movie stars who ever lived.Crowned the “Love Goddess” by her adoring fans, Rita Hayworth thrilled studio executives, service- men, and movie audiences alike, generating big box office in 1940s and 1950s Hollywood. Yet she struggled to identify with the bombshell image projected of her, marrying and divorcing five different men in her search for a partner who would love her for who she truly was. As Hayworth’s story unfolds, we meet Orson Welles, Fred Astaire, Harry Cohn and other extraordinary figures in her life, all presented through the fractured prism of her deteriorating memory due to a then unknown cause: Alzheimer’s. Hayworth suffered from Alzheimer’s for two decades before being diagnosed at age 62. Originally a solo play created and performed by Almog Pail entitled ‘Me, Myself and Rita’ and then‘Love Goddess, the Cabaret,’ the show won raves from audiences and critics in Malta, Off-Broadway and London at the Canal Café Theatre, as it evolved into a full-scale musical. The show features gorgeous original music by Broadway pianist Logan Medland, and thrilling jazz, tap, and Flamenco dance sequences by award-winning choreographer Lorna Ventura.Creator and star Almog Pail wrote the original play after her own family’s experience with Alzheimer’s. Her grandfather, Meir Pa’il, recognized for his distinguished military career and later political career in the Israeli parliament, suffered from the disease for the final 12 years of his life.This production, presented in collaboration with The Cockpit is the first production of the new full- length musical by Pail & co-writer Stephen Garvey, featuring five actor-singers led by Almog Pail, portraying over 40 characters, with 12 original songs by composer-lyricist and music director Logan Medland.

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

Rita Hayworth’s life was as trubulent as you could get. Sexually abused by her father, put into the limelight and moulded to be “Rita Hayworth” for the studios, 5 x husbands. The drama off-stage would have been significantly bigger than her on-stage Goddess persona.

Sadly, this hasn’t come across in this production. With the show’s creator and co-writer in the leading role perhaps there’s a reticence to be anything other than a gentle Goddess.

Unfortunately, the musical numbers don’t launch into spectacular technicolour and the fixed central 3-tiered podium set considerably hampers the performance space.

With a delightful cast and some great choreography from Jacqui Jameson, some fabulous dancing from Imogen Kingsley-Smith, the show includes 20 songs and a 3-piece swing band which all nicely trots along.

Photo credit: Roswitha Chesher


ALMOG PAIL – CREATOR, CO-WRITER & LEAD PERFORMERStage credits include NYC: Odile (lead) in Swan Lake Rock Opera, Chelsea Music Hall, Hillary Clinton in Fuel by Joseph Beck, Abingdon Theatre. Karen in Speed the Plow, National Theatre of Malta. TV: Bianca Kade, “Salvage Marines.” FILM: Devil’s Fire, The Expert & Anniversary. Almog conceived and wrote the original version of Love Goddess, titled Me, Myself and Rita as a play for the National Theatre of Malta.STEPHEN GARVEY – CO-WRITERRecent productions include The Bardy Bunch: The War of the Families Partridge and Brady at The Mercury Theater in Chicago and Off-Broadway (Theatre at St. Cement’s), Cut Me Down and Dead Fathers. Stephen’s musical Plunge is in development with Skyward Productions, D.C. His short film Boy-Next-Door premiered at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and has screened at over a dozen festivals, and screenplay Chasing Disasters is currently under option. Stephen is a graduate of NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program and a proud member of Dramatists Guild of America.LOGAN MEDLAND – COMPOSER-LYRICIST & MUSICAL DIRECTORBroadway: A Bronx Tale, Dr. Zhivago, Off B-way: Christmas in Hell, Writer/Composer: Fingers and Toes. As Music Director and Conductor Logan’s national and international tours include: Cats (North and South American tour), Crazy for You (National tour), Chicago (National tour), Jersey Boys (U.S. national tour and Toronto production), and A Christmas Story (Music Supervisor). Composer and writer, Fingers and Toes, a 30’s era musical (NY Musical Theatre Festival, 2010), and three regional productions. Musical Director-Arranger, NY Fringe/ Off-Broadway hit The Bardy Bunch.LORNA VENTURA – CHOREOGRAPHERLorna Ventura is a director/choreographer for Broadway, film, and television. Broadway: Wicked, Performer, Original Broadway Company with Joe Mantello, All Shook Up, Associate Choreographer, Original Broadway Company, How to Succeed in Business, Original National Tour with Des McAnuff . In-house Choreographer, Seasons 1-4 Gossip Girl, including: VALLEY GIRLS, IN THE REALM OF BASES, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIE, HI SOCIETY and DISCO STICK. Pilot and season 1 & 2, Carries Diaries.JAY STERN – DIRECTORJay Stern is a theatre and film director. Recent theatre includes the world premiere of Emanuele Aldrovandi’s Butterflies and Pat Nash’s musical Beulah Land. Other projects include The Worth of Women, which Stern directed from his own adaptation of Moderate Fonte’s 1600 text, staged at Access Theater, New York, and Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy; and The Bardy Bunch: The War Between the Families Partridge and Brady, staged at The Theatre at St. Clement’s, New York, and The Mercury Theater, Chicago. He is founder of the World Wide Lab, an international festival of director-driven work, which has presented work in NYC, Rome, Italy, and Taiwan. Stern has directed four feature films. His most recent film, Say My Name, written by Deborah Frances White and produced in the U.K., premiered March 2019 in London at ODEON Luxe Leicester Square.LAURA LUNDY, BLUE PANTHER PRODUCTIONS – PRODUCERBroadway: Children of a Lesser God, Associate Producer, Broadway revival, 2018. Off-Broadway: The Brothers Khan: An American Story, NY: Alicia Dattner’s The Oy of Sex, AROUSAL, The Singularity. London, Producer: What They Said About Love, Colette UnCensored, Me, Myself and Rita, Love Goddess, the Rita Hayworth Cabaret. Chicago/Barcelona/London/New York tour, Dylan Brody’s Driving Hollywood. Founding Artistic Director, Virago Theatre Company (San Francisco), produced multiple premieres, including AROUSAL and The Singularity (New York, The Flea Theater), The Afterlife of the Mind (San Francisco), Beekeeper (San Francisco) and Ransom, Texas (San Francisco & Los Angeles).
Blue Panther Productions in collaboration with The Cockpit present the UK premiere of‘Love Goddess, the Rita Hayworth Musical’ Conceived by Almog PailBook by Almog Pail & Stephen Garvey, Music & Lyrics by Logan MedlandDirected by Jay SternThe Cockpit Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH18 November to 23 December 2022Preview performances:Friday 18th at 7:30pmSaturday 19th November at 2:30pm & 7:30pmSunday 20th November at 2.30pm & 7.30pmThursday 24th to Sunday 27th November Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th DecemberThursday 8th to Sunday 11th DecemberThursday 15th to Sunday 18th DecemberWednesday 21st to Friday 23rd DecemberEvenings at 7.30pm matinees on Sundays at 2:30 pmTickets:Previews on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th November: £15.00(including £1.00 + 3% booking fee)Full price: £22.00Concessions:  £17.00(Equity/Spotlight/MU/BECTU Members, Over-60s, Retirees, Persons with Unemployment/Disability Support, Veterans, Students)(including £1.00 + 3% booking fee)Carers go free, call the box office to bookBox Office: 020 7258 2925(10.30am – 6pm, Monday – Friday,12 noon – 6pm, Saturday)
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