The UK premiere of PRELUDES has now opened at London's Southwark Playhouse. Alex Sutton's new production has won plaudits from the show's Tony Awards-lauded composer and lyricist. But what have UK critics made of this genre-busting piece?
The UK premiere of new musical Preludes by Dave Malloy, writer of Broadway hit Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, comes to Southwark Playhouse’s Large space for a six-week run from 6 September to 12 October 2019, with a press night on 11 September.
Sergei Rachmaninoff has it all; worldwide fame from a single composition by the age of 19, commissioned to write his first symphony at 20 and engaged to the love of his life, Natalya. But at 21 he is crippled with a depressive paranoia and anxiety. His world has imploded, his work has stopped, he cannot even lift a pencil to compose a simple melody. Such is the power of the men who sought to destroy him, who haunt his waking nightmares and poison his dreams. And when those men happen to be the greatest artists of their day, how do you come back, how do you escape the darkness and come into the light?
Based on a true story of Rachmaninoff’s sessions of hypnotherapy, Preludes is an extraordinary new musical by three-time Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy, whose other credits include Broadway hit Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.
last night my face was wet with tears for 2 hours watching Alex Sutton & @danielletarento's beautiful production of Preludes at @swkplay. astonishing cast, brilliant design, stunning musicianship...thank you so much for bringing this piece to life and teaching me so much about it— dave malloy (@dave_malloy) September 12, 2019
It examines the crippling debilitation and harm the world can do to people, and how the dramatic and musical process can be used as therapy to restore. With live piano and electronics, Malloy uses a hybrid of his own and Rachmaninoff’s compositions to create a dream-like world that takes us to the darkest recesses of Rachmaninoff’s mind.
Preludes originally premiered at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York in 2015. The UK premiere is directed by Alex Sutton and stars Rebecca Caine, Norton James, Georgia Louise, Tom Noyes, Keith Ramsay and Steven Serlin.