Rising star of the theatre world Thom Southerland has been named the Artistic Director of Charing Cross Theatre. He makes a tuneful start to his tenure, programming a season of four musicals.
Southerland, whose acclaimed productions at Southwark Playhouse include Parade, Grand Hotel and the recent Grey Gardens, opens his time at the Villiers Street venue with the revival of another previous hit, his 2013 production of Titanic.
The musical, by Maury Yeston and Peter Stone, follows the hopes and aspirations of the passengers aboard the fated ship. It runs from 28 May to 6 August.
Titanic is followed by a lighter, though Blitz-set, Radio Times (20 August to 1 October). Featuring songs by Me And My Girl’s Noel Gay, the tale of a desperate attempt to broadcast a radio show live to America for the first time is directed by Ben Woolf.
Southerland picks up the directorial reins for the final two shows in the season, Terrence McNally, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s tale of a changing America, Ragtime (8 October to 26 November) and the European premiere of Death Takes A Holiday (3 December to 21 January), in which the Grim Reaper hangs up his scythe and disguises himself as a prince to discover why people believe life is so precious. Of course, he doesn’t expect to fall in love.
Speaking about his appointment, Southerland said: “Having directed The Mikado at Charing Cross Theatre, I am thrilled to have been appointed Artistic Director. It’s doubly exciting to be able to premiere Titanic composer Maury Yeston’s Death Takes a Holiday to round off this first season.”
Southerland’s long-term collaborator Danielle Tarento also joins Charing Cross Theatre, co-producing the season alongside Steven M. Levy, Sean Sweeney and Vaughan Williams.