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WITCHES OF EASTWICK
Musical with book and lyrics by John Dempsey and music by Dana Rowe. Based on the novel by John Updike and the Warner Bros. Motion Picture.
Theatre Royal Drury Lane London
Prince of Wales Theatre London
Note: Maria Friedman left the cast on 30 June 2001.
In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, Rhode Island, three modern day witches innocently plot and conjure over a heady brew of weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose. Quite literally.
Maria on The Witches of Eastwick
"I play an intensely shy small-town journalist, scholarly and academic. We're all childless, husbandless, and all having an affair with men in the town. But we're disappointed, so we conjure up this man, invent him for ourselves. Then we realise we don't need a man to be fulfilled; it's quite feminist. The show doesn't follow the film completely but it's got the cherry pips scene, and we do fly. It's a classical musical comedy with good, catchy tunes; the Devil's are more rock'n'roll, but I get some soulful, wistful stuff." [read full interview]
Earl Carpenter played the role of 'Darryl' from early April 2001 due to Ian McShane being out through illness.
There was a major cast change on Monday 2 July 2001 when Maria Friedman left and the role of 'Sukie' was taken over by Rebecca Thornhill. Other cast changes at this time included Clarke Peters as 'Darryl van Horne', Josefina Gabrielle 'Alexandra Spofford', Joanna Riding 'Jane Smart' and Paul Spicer 'Michael Spofford'.
When The Witches of Eastwick was originally announced it had been due to open on Tuesday 13 June 2000, with previews from late-May - but when the cast of the musical was announced in January 2000 the opening was delayed by around one month in order to accomodate certain prior contractual obligations of the cast.
At the 2001 Olivier Awards The Witches of Eastwick was nominated in five categories, but lost out in them all:
Quotes From The Press
"...Amongst the three sex-hungary woman, Maria Friedman is outstanding as the shy journo who finds her tongue unlocked by Darryl and who delivers her big number with the staccato speed of Danny Kaye..." Michael Billington, The Guardian (19 July 2000)
"...Friedman guys Sukie's initial gormlessness too much, but does marvels with a patter song that accelerates as she sheds her shyness..." Benedict Nightingale, The Times (19 July 2000)
"...At least, Lucie Arnaz's flippantly wisecracking sculptress, Joanna Riding as the cellist who sacrifices primness for head-on passion and Maria Friedman in terrific voice as a girl forever missing out on the main chance of a man, put on a scintillating theatrical and musical show... Maria Friedman also plays powerful, poignant vocal gymnastics in 'Words, Words, Words' Nicholas de Jongh, The London Evening Standard (19 July 2000)
"...Maria Friedman is wonderfully funny and touching as Sukie, a witch with a soft heart. Her delivery of the patter song 'Words, Words, Words', is a triumph of vocal technique..." Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph (20 July 2000)
"...Each of the girls has a big moment... the slightly self-consciously wacky Maria Friedman with a spectacularly hollow patter number..." Michael Coveney, The Daily Mail (21 July 2000)
"...As the weird sisters, Lucie Arnaz, Maria Friedman and Joanna Riding are rousing: clarion-voiced and clever..." Susannah Clapp, The Observer (23 July 2000)
"...Of the 16 numbers in the score, only two come within hailing distance of a hit - 'Dirty Laundry', in which the townspeople celebrate the joys of gossip, and 'Words, Words, Words', in which Sukie's complaint that she can never find the right word turns into a spate of positive logorrhoea. This last song gives Maria Friedman the chance to put on a display of high-speed vocal virtuosity. But she excellent throughout, with her slightly screwball humour..." John Gross, The Sunday Telegraph (23 July 2000)
"...The last is kooky Sukie, a reluctant reported on the local rag who claims she cannever find the words. His magic works wonders and tongue-tied Sukie finds all the eloquence she's ever dreamed of and, in a gushing ejaculation, talks about everything at a dazzling pace. Maria Friedman, a great singer and oral gymnast, gets her lips round a tongue-twisting number that has the audience panting..." Georgina Brown, The Mail on Sunday (23 July 2000)
"...Maria Friedman immensely appealing as the kooky Sukie..." Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times (29 July 2000)
Recorded on 11 to 22 September 2000 at Whittfield Street Studios.
The Recording Engineer was DAVID HUNT and it was Produced for Record by DAVID CADDICK, JOHN DEMPSEY and DANA P ROWE.
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