Charing Cross Theatre
14th Jan to 6th April 2019

“VIOLET, a multi award-winning musical with Music by Jeanine Tesori (Tony Award winner for Best Original Score with Lisa Kron for Fun Home, and Tony-nominated for Caroline, or Change and Shrek the Musical), and Book & Lyrics by Brian Crawley (The Little Princess), is to get its UK premiere in an international co-production that will see it transfer to Tokyo.

VIOLET will gets its UK premiere at Charing Cross Theatre (Thom Southerland, Artistic Director, Steven M. Levy, Managing Director) for a 12-week season from Monday 14 January – Saturday 6 April, 2019.

Brian Crawley’s urgent, exciting and extraordinary musical will find its premiere at Charing Cross Theatre.

1964. Somewhere between North Carolina and Oklahoma, we find Violet, a young woman who was facially disfigured as a child. She hopes her life savings will bring her a miracle halfway across the country. Reflecting on her childhood, and shaped by the reactions of the people she encounters, Violet embarks on a life-changing personal journey.

VIOLET, based on the short story The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts, premiered Off-Broadway and won the Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award as Best Musical, before transferring to Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony awards.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

The Charing Cross Theatre has always felt like a gamble as to whether or not you’d be in the front half of the auditorium, or placed behind the half-way north/south divide of the main aisle straining to hear and see and feel part of the staged production. Reading the marketting and press release for “Violet” with all this talk of Japanese collaboration – was this going to be some weird japanese shadow puppetry with unusual instruments and in Japanese? On the way into the auditorium there is a sign declaring the show is 100 minutes without an interval. My heart sank, I had serious misgivings that it was going to be a huge mistake going into the auditorium. I backed away towards the rest rooms and considered doing a runner.

I steeled myself, went back in, sat down and wondered if I was going to hate the show.

Could not have been further from the truth! I loved this show!

Firstly, the theatre has been transformed into a traverse configuration – we can all see the show! What a huge improvement to this theatre!
And secondly, Morgan Large has created an incredible Set in the round. There’s a Revolve in the middle! Yes, a Revolve! Flanked on either side with walls that seep light. A false circular ceiling painted with a biblical design that challenges Michaelangelo, LED on the rim, and an amazing collaboration with the lighting rig so the fixtures nose their light into the space without intruding.

Howard Hudson‘s wonderful lighting is beautiful! A true artist, he lights the Set, the Space and the actors at every point of the show in fine detail. Not easy with such a large space, an audience to avoid blinding on 2 sides, and a revolve. He has a lot of fixtures but they’re well hidden and his design nails it!

James Anderton has weaved production magic and created a truss solution for the lighting that’s exceptional. It’s unobtrusively sitting in the balcony boxes and allows for the lights, sound and Set to do their thing. Hidden into the set and hardly noticeable.

So now, add in the story, the music, the script, the choreography, the orchestra, the singing, the talented cast and the magic comes to life! This is one incredible musical!

The Sound and Mix worked really well alongside the 9 musicians in the band.

This is most likely going to be my most favourite musical production for 2019.

Photo Credit: Scott Rylander

Further Information:

Violet: Kaisa Hammerlund
Young Violet:Amy Mepham, RebeccaNardin, Madeleine Sellman
Leroy: JamesGant
Preacher: Kenneth Avery-Clarke
Music Hall Singer: Angelica Allen
Billy Dean: Danny Michaels
Old Lady/Hotel Hooker: Janet Mooney
Lula: Simbi Akande
Flick: Jay Marsh
Monty: Matthew Harvey
Father: Keiron Crook

Creative team:
Directed by Shuntaro Fujita
Choreography by Cressida Carré
Set Design by Morgan Large
Costume by Jonathan Lipman
Lighting by Howard Hudson
Sound by Andrew Johnson
Music Director Dan Jackson
Associate Music Director Chris Ma.
Associate Director Abigail Pickard-Price
Production Supervisior Thom Southerland.

Producers: Steven M. Levy and Vaughan Williams for Charing Cross Theatre Productions Limited
in a co-production with Umeda Arts Theater Co, Ltd., Osaka, Japan

VIOLET will transfer to Tokyo after its 12-week London run