Richard Fleeshman   Summer Strallen

Desmond Barrit   Isla Blair   Nicholas Farrell   Sally Ann Triplett


Music and Lyrics by
George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin

Book by
Jeremy Sams and Robert Hudson

Based on the novel by
P.G. Wodehouse

and the play by P.G. Wodehouse and Ian Hay

Director and Choreographer Rob Ashford

30 May – 27 June
Festival Theatre, Chichester

Richard Fleeshman and Summer Strallen lead a stellar cast which also includes Desmond Barrit, Isla Blair, Nicholas Farrell and Sally Ann Triplett in a major new stage version of A Damsel in Distress at Chichester this summer.

This musical comedy will be directed and choreographed by the multi-talented Rob Ashford. Based on a novel by P.G. Wodehouse with songs by George and Ira Gershwin which include Nice Work If You Can Get It and A Foggy Day (In London Town), A Damsel in Distress is well-known from the popular 1937 film starring Fred Astaire.

Bringing together a world-weary American composer, a beautiful and irrepressible English socialite, a fierce aunt and lots of other delightfully eccentric characters, the action moves from the glamour of London’s Savoy Theatre to the charm of a castle in the country.

Richard Fleeshman plays the composer George Bevan. Theatre credits include West End productions of Urinetown,Ghost: The Musical (also Broadway) and Legally Blonde.

Summer Strallen plays Maud. Credits include West End productions of Top Hat, Love Never Dies, The Sound of Music, The Boy Friend and The Drowsy Chaperone.

Desmond Barrit plays Keggs. Credits include West End productions of The History Boys, and Wicked, as well as numerous productions for the RSC.

Isla Blair plays Lady Caroline Byng. Credits include West End productions of Made in Dagenham and The History Boys, as well as The Lyons (Menier Chocolate Factory).

Nicholas Farrell plays Lord Marshmoreton. Credits include South Downs and The Browning Version at Chichester (also West End), as well as screen roles in 37 Days, The Iron Lady and Chariots of Fire.

Sally Ann Triplett plays Billie Dore. Credits include West End productions of Follies, Anything Goes, Guys and Dollsand Acorn Antiques: The Musical! She has also represented the UK twice in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The cast features Richard Dempsey as Reggie Byng, whose credits include the West End production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Melle Stewart as Alice, whose credits include Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory).

The cast also includes Mairi Barclay, Chris Bennett, Stephanie Bron, Sam Harrison, Chloe Hart, Matthew Hawksley, Kirby Hughes, Harry Morrison, David Roberts, Jonathan Stewart, Lucie-Mae Sumner, Laura Tyrer,Alan Vicary and Matt Wilman.

Rob Ashford’s numerous credits include staging for the recent film Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh, and this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, as well as directorial credits for Shrek The Musical, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Scarlett Johansson and Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston.

Design is by Christopher Oram whose credits include Bring Up The Bodies and Wolf Hall (RSC and West End), The Cripple Of Inishman (West End and Broadway), as well as West End productions of Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peter and Alice.

Musical Supervision is by David Chase whose credits include Broadway productions of Finding Neverland, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Anything Goes and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Musical Direction is by Alan Williams whose credits include West End productions of A Chorus Line, Shrek The Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, as well as Passion and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (both for Donmar Warehouse).

Orchestration is by Bill Elliot whose credits include Broadway productions of An American in Paris, Anything Goes, as well as arrangements for films such as Independence Day and Wedding Crashers.

Lighting Design is by Howard Harrison whose Chichester credits include An Ideal Husband, The Pajama Game (also West End), The Way of the World, Love Story (also West End) and Macbeth (also West End and New York) for which he won an Olivier Award.

Sound Design is by Paul Groothuis, Chichester’s Associate Sound Designer. Chichester credits include Festival 2014’sGypsy, Sweeney Todd, The Pajama Game, Private Lives, Kiss Me, Kate, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,all of which transferred to the West End.

This new production is based on a novel and subsequent play by much-loved comic author P.G. Wodehouse. Although best known today for his Jeeves and Wooster stories, Wodehouse was also a playwright and lyricist who collaborated with Jerome Kern and Cole Porter among others.

The book for A Damsel in Distress has been co-written by Jeremy Sams who is acclaimed for his work across a range of disciplines as a director, writer and musician. He already features in Festival 2015 as the director and translator of The Rehearsal by Jean Anouilh.

The co-writer is Robert Hudson whose work includes Warhorses of Letters, co-written with Marie Phillips for Radio 4, as well as the novels The Kilburn Social Club and The Dazzle.

Music and Lyrics are by the brothers George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin whose partnership was widely regarded as a major force in American musical theatre. Their songs for the stage and screen include The Man I Love, I Got Rhythm andThey Can’t Take That Away From Me.

A Damsel in Distress is sponsored by Covers, Jackson-Stops & Staff, Oldham Seals Group and Reynolds Fine Furniture.

Join dancing and singing workshops inspired by A Damsel in Distress on 20 and 21 June, 10am – 5pm. Tickets £100 (includes matinee ticket).

Director and choreographer Rob Ashford will be in conversation with novelist and CFT biographer Kate Mosse on Monday 8 June at 5.45pm. Tickets free but advance booking essential.

There will be the chance to meet some of the A Damsel in Distress company at a post-show discussion hosted by author Simon Brett on Monday 22 June.

Booking information
A Damsel in Distress is at the Festival Theatre, Chichester from 30 May – 27 June. Evenings 7.30pm (except for Press Night, Wednesday 10 June at 7pm), matinees 2.30pm. Tickets: Previews/Press Nights from £10, all other performances from £15. To book, visit cft.org.uk or contact the Box Office on 01243 781312.

Special Prices for 16 – 25s
An allocation of tickets for 16 – 25 year olds priced at just £8.50 for all performances of A Damsel in Distress will go on sale on 30 April. These may be booked on 01243 781312, online at cft.org.uk/850 or in person.


A Damsel in Distress
30 May – 27 June
Festival Theatre, Chichester

Richard Fleeshman and Summer Strallen lead a stellar cast which also features Desmond Barrit, Isla Blair, Nicholas Farrell and Sally Ann Triplett in Chichester’s new stage musical.

Performance times
Evenings: 7.30pm
Matinees: 2.30pm

Previews/Press Night: from £10
All other performances: from £15
16 – 25 year olds: £8.50 – on sale for all performances from 30 April