Chichester Festival Theatre to present Stiles and Drewe’s Half A Sixpence in 2016

The Chichester Festival Theatre will stage a new production of Half A Sixpence by George Stiles & Anthony Drewe in 2016.

The award-winning British songwriting duo have penned new songs for the musical which will feature alongside songs from the original score by David Heneker. The brand new production also includes a new book by DowntonAbbey’s Julian Fellowes, direction by Rachel Kavanaugh and choreography by Andrew Wright.

Half A Sixpence is based on the novel Kipps: The Story of A Simple Soul by H G Wells. It tells the story of Arthur Kipp, an orphan who unexpectedly inherits a fortune and climbs the social ladder before losing everything and realizing that you just can’t buy happiness.

The original production features music and lyrics by David Heneker and a book by Beverley Cross. It first opened at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End in March 1963, and subsequently transferred onto Broadway in 1965 with Tommy Steele in the lead role. The Broadway production received eight Tony Award nominations that year, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

A film adaption starring Steele was released in 1967, and featured choreography by Gillian Lynne.

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have been writing musical together for over 30 years. Their work includes Betty Blue Eyes, Soho Cinders, Honk!, Just So and Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure. They also contributed new songs, dance and vocal arrangements for The Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins, and previously teamed up with Julian Fellowes for the West End production of The Wind in the Willows. They are also founding board-members of Mercury Musical Developments, which presents the annual Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Award

Half A Sixpence will run at Chichester Festival Theatre in the summer of 2016, with dates and casting yet to be announced.

Stiles & Drewe’s musical adaption of the Graham Greene novel, Travels With My Aunt, will also be presented at the venue next year, directed by Christopher Luscombe.