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Dateline: 12th June, 2004

Snoopy! The Musical publicity image

Snoopy! The Musical Returns

The 21st anniversary production of Snoopy! The Musical will re-launch the New Players Theatre, Villiers Street, London, with previews from 14th July and press night on 21st July.

Snoopy! The Musical brings Charles Schulz’s much-loved ‘Peanuts’ comic strip characters to life with a big band jazz-style score by Larry Grossman (best known for scoring The Muppet Show) and Hal Hackaday. It will be directed by the Broadway director/producer Arthur Whitelaw, who conceived Snoopy! as a musical, co-wrote the book, and produced and directed the original production.

He will be joined by choreographer Lizzi Gee and musical supervisor Matt Malone. Also coming over from America for the production are his original US collaborators: designer David Graden and composer Larry Grossman.

Snoopy! The Musical hasn’t been seen in the West End since its original Olivier Award-winning run in 1983. Then the cast included Susie Blake, who went on to appear in Victoria Wood’s cult TV comedy series and is currently in Coronation Street.

Reprising their critically acclaimed performances from a sell-out Jermyn Street Theatre try-out production are Sarah Lark (Lucy Van Pelt) whose theatre credits include the original casts of Witches of Eastwick and Beautiful and Damned, and Stuart Piper (Linus Van Pelt), whose credits include Honk!, Bugsy Malone, Scrooge and TV’s The Politician’s Wife and Plastic Man with John Thaw.

Joining them for the 21st Anniversary West End run are Clare Louise Connelly (Sally Brown), Alex Woodhall (Woodstock), Steven Kynman (Charlie Brown), who created the role of Schlomo in the original cast of Fame; Kellie Ryan (Peppermint Patty), who recently starred as Katie Brown opposite Toyah Wilcox in Calamity Jane at the Shaftesbury Theatre; and, making his West-End debut, Robin Armstrong in the title role of Snoopy. He most recently won rave reviews as Bob Cratchit opposite Tommy Steele in Scrooge The Musical.

Peanuts comic strips are today still published in The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and The Evening Standard, along with 2,400 newspapers worldwide. Peanuts made its debut on 2nd October, 1950, appearing in just seven US newspapers. The strip celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2000. On 3rd January, 2000, Charles Schulz bid a fond farewell to all his readers in the final daily Peanuts newspaper strip. On 12th February, 2000 Charles Schulz died, aged 77. On 13th February, 2000, the final Peanuts newspaper strip appeared.

Snoopy has to date generated $1 billion in retail sales worldwide and the characters appear annually on more than 100 million items of consumer goods. One in every five Hallmark greetings cards sold is a Peanuts card, while the website www.snoopy.com attracts 350,000 visitors a month.

On 12th July, corporate sponsors Paramount Home Entertainment will release the feature-length animated feature Charlie Brown: Snoopy, Come Home on DVD for the first time, to coincide with the West End production of Snoopy! The Musical.

Morning Vicar Productions, set up by actor/producers Stephen Carlile and Stuart Piper, first produced Snoopy! The Musical for a hugely successful sell-out Off-West-End run in February-March 2003 at Jermyn Street Theatre.

 

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©Peter Lathan 2004