Just in time for the King’s Coronation, hang out the bunting to celebrate the 1st London revival of royal-themed musical comedy
‘BETTY BLUE EYES’
Book by Ron Cowen & Daniel Lipman
Music by George Stiles Lyrics by Anthony Drewe
based on the film ‘A Private Function’
by Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray
29 March – 22nd April, 2023
It is 1947, war has ended but Britain’s citizens are suffering under the burden of food rationing, high unemployment and the coldest winter for decades.
The only bright spark on the horizon is the impending marriage of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Enter Betty, an adorable pig who is being illegally reared to ensure local dignitaries of a small community in Yorkshire can celebrate the Royal Wedding with a lavish banquet whilst the local population make do with Spam.
‘Betty Blue Eyes’ is an utterly British musical, full of eccentric characters, such as odd couple Gilbert Chilvers – a humble chiropodist, and his wife Joyce, a nobody determined to be somebody; Inspector Wormold – an obsessive destroyer of illegal meat; Mother Dear – “She’s 74 and ravenous”; along with a weird assortment of bullies, spivs and snobs, and of course, Betty the pig.
It has a deliciously infectious, toe-tapping, retro contemporary score by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, adapted and expanded from Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray’s hilariously funny and sharply observed comic film ‘A Private Function’.
‘Betty Blue Eyes’, directed by Sasha Regan, is the first in-house production at the Union Theatre since Covid.
Stiles & Drewe said: “‘Betty’ was one of the most enjoyable shows of our 40-year career, both to write, develop and to have produced. We are thrilled that she’ll be able to bat her blue eyes once more at the Union Theatre, as our new King takes to the throne, the city will once again be buzzing with street parties and very Private Functions. Not seen in London since her run at the Novello Theatre in 2011, three cheers and welcome back, ‘Betty’!”
Cast to be announced.
Director Sasha Regan
Choreographer Kasper Cornish
Designer Reuben Speed
Casting Adam Braham
Produced by Sasha Regan & Stuart Simons
Premiering in 2011, ‘Betty Blue Eyes’ received nominations for ‘Best New Musical’ in the Olivier Awards, The Evening Standard Awards and the WhatsOnStage.com Awards.
Stiles and Drewe – Music and Lyrics
Stiles and Drewe are a multi award-winning musical theatre writing partnership whose shows have been seen all over the world and have been translated into many languages.
Their scores include the international smash-hit Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of ‘Mary Poppins’, the Olivier Award-winning ‘Honk!,’ which has been seen by more than 6 million people in over 8,000 productions, and the West End productions of ‘Half A Sixpence’ and ‘The Wind in the
Willows’. Their other shows are ‘Soho Cinders’, ‘Travels With My Aunt’, ‘Peter Pan – A Musical
Adventure’, ‘Just So’ and ‘Tutankhamun’.
George and Anthony have also completed a trilogy of 50-minute musicals for younger audiences,
‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ and ‘The Three Little Pigs’.
Current projects include ‘Identical’ based on ‘The Parent Trap’ and ‘Becoming Nancy’ with director/
choreographer Jerry Mitchell.
Future projects include a stage version of Robert Harling’s film ‘Soapdish’.
Independently, as a composer, George’s credits include the musicals ‘Moll Flanders’, ‘The Three
Musketeers’, ‘Tom Jones’ and the scores for Sam Mendes’ stage productions of ‘Twelfth Night’ and
‘Uncle Vanya’ (Donmar Warehouse/BAM NYC).
Independently, as a lyricist, Anthony’s credits include ‘The Card’ (Watermill/Regent’s Park) and ‘A Twist Of Fate’ (Singapore Rep).
Honk! has won many international awards including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Mary Poppins has won 45 major theatre awards around the globe, including Tony, Olivier, Helpmann and London Evening Standard Awards. Stiles and Drewe were nominated for Best New Musical at the 2016 WhatsOnStage Awards for Half A Sixpence and Betty Blue Eyes was nominated for the 2012 Olivier Award. Other awards include the TMA Best Musical Award for Moll Flanders and The Straits Times Award for Best Musical for A Twist of Fate.
Stiles and Drewe’s passion for new musical theatre is recognised via the annual Stiles and Drewe Prize for Best New Song, now in its 13th year, and their Mentorship Award supported by Music Theatre International (Europe). They are also founding board members of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD), Associate Artists at The Watermill Theatre and patrons of the London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) and The Musical Theatre Academy (MTA).
‘Mary Poppins’ has won 45 major theatre awards around the globe, including Tony, Olivier, Helpmann and London Evening Standard Awards. Stiles and Drewe were nominated for Best New Musical at the 2016 WhatsOnStage Awards for ‘Half A Sixpence’. Other awards include the TMA Best Musical Award for ‘Moll Flanders’.
Along with Anthony, George’s passion for new musical theatre writing is recognised via the annual
Stiles and Drewe Prize for Best New Song, and their Mentorship Award supported by Music Theatre International (Europe). They are founding board members of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD), Associate Artists at The Watermill Theatre and patrons of the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and the Music Theatre Academy (MTA).
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman – Book
Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman are American writers and producers. Their work together includes:
‘Queer as Folk’ (2000–2005) US TV series, ‘Sisters’ (1991) TV series, ‘The Love She Sought’ (1990) (TV film), ‘An Early Frost’ (1985) (TV film), ‘Knots Landing’ (1984). Ron Cowen’s first play, ‘Summertree’ won a Drama Desk Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Sasha Regan and Stuart Simons
Betty Blue Eyes
Ron Cowen & Daniel Lipman
Music by George Stiles
Lyrics by Anthony Drewe
Based on the Handmade film ‘A Private Function’
and the original story by Alan Bennett and
Adapted from the screenplay by Alan Bennett
Director – Sasha Regan
Arch 22 & 23 Old Union Yard Arches
229 Union Street
London SE1 0LR
29 March – 22nd April
Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Saturday Matinee 2.30pm
Previews: Previews 29th, 30th, 31st, March
Originally produced in London by Cameron Mackintosh
Presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International