This show premiered in the off-Broadway Public Theater, on June 14, 1978 and closed on March 15, 1981 after 1165 performances. Directed by Word Baker, the musical written by Gretchen Cryer and Nancy Ford originally starred Gretchen Cryer as Heather; Nancy Ford also appeared later in the run as Heather (as did Betty Buckley). As it closed on Broadway it then opened here for a short run in the West End.
You can see that this revival has indeed been a long time coming, being hotly anticipated by many, including me. As you walk into the theatre space, it feels like you are right back in the seventies, the attention to detail for the set was superb as were the costumes. The cast are on stage talking amongst themselves and the ambience is relaxed and so we begin.
This is a story about a women who has turned thirty nine on that day. She is rehearsing and sound checking her new show, it’s opening night is that evening and her manager (Nicolas Colicos) has flown in to watch and give advice. Heather played magnificently by Landi Oshinowo has decided to take control over her life no longer content to be manipulated by the men within it, her new show demonstrates her new found inner strength. Oshinowo whom I recently saw in the UK tour of Barnum and who never fails to deliver an exquisite performance. Her vocals rich, smooth and immensely powerful I always enjoy.
Sharing her struggles to make a statement, evidencing the differences between man and women, are Rosanna Hyland and Kristen Gaetz. From the beginning Hyland and Gaetz harmonies are perfect and they complement one another beautifully. Colicos as the manager Joe finds it hard to understand Oshinowo new strength of character and this is probably where the show demonstrates it’s era most. Not a problem for me or most of the audience there, as I could empathise with it but a younger audience may struggle in engaging with the script. The songs range from power ballads to rockier numbers and all are performed well. I particularly enjoyed Natural High, Old Friend and Strong Woman Number which for me epitomised the ethos of the show. All this was underpinned by the wonderful accompaniment of Alice Offley, David Gibbons and Rich Craig. The musical direction of Nick Barstow shining through as did the direction of Matthew Gould.
The shows running time is just ninety minutes without an interval and is on at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 23rd July. A superb revival which definitely warrants a visit.