Last Updated on 11 July 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team
P Burton-Morgan and Ben Glasstone’s new musical The Rhythmics is to premiere at Southwark Playhouse in London this winter
A new “life-affirming” musical, The Rhythmics, about an all-male rhythmic gymnastics troupe, is to have its premiere at Southwark Playhouse this winter.
The show, featuring book and lyrics by P Burton-Morgan and music and lyrics by Ben Glasstone, will run at the London theatre from 2 December 2021 to 8 January 2022, with opening night on 7 December.
With a guitar-led score, it explores the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs involved with an all-male rhythmic gymnastics troupe which twirls its “ribbons of fire” all the way from Manchester to the world championships.
Burton-Morgan, who is artistic director of production company Metta Theatre, said: “So thrilled to finally share the world premiere of this original new British musical with live audiences. I can’t think of anything more uplifting to welcome people back into theatres than this heart-warming and hilarious tale of community and connection. A tonic for our times; Ben’s joyous score is an absolute bop.”
Burton-Morgan will also direct, with choreography by Mark Smith and Erika Gundesen as musical director, Ellie Vekerk as musical supervisor, James Nicholson as sound designer, Francine Huin-Wah as costume designer, Jane Deitch as casting director, and Will Reynolds as set and lighting designer.
A cast album for the show was created last year during lockdown under socially distanced rules in studios across London, Brighton and Glasgow and has been released this month via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Apple Music and other digital platforms.
The full production will feature BSL integrated choreography from Deaf Men Dancing’s Mark Smith, as well as captions throughout all performances, to make the show accessible for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.
The show is presented by Aria Entertainment and Metta Theatre, two leading production companies devoted to British musical theatre.
Metta Theatre’s previous shows include a street-dance Jungle Book at Theatre Royal Windsor and on tour, circus-musical Little Mermaid at Theatre by the Lake and on tour, and BSL integrated hip hop musical In The Willows at Exeter Northcott and on tour.
Aria Entertainment, founded in 2012 by Katy Lipson, has most recently produced Cruise at London’s Duchess Theatre and is producing the tour of musical The Addams Family and The Last Five Years at London’s Garrick Theatre from September.
Glasstone’s credits include music and lyrics for over 30 professional productions including work for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal & Derngate, the Royal Opera House, the Unicorn Theatre, Little Angel and Polka Theatre as well as Monstro’s upcoming show, the King of Nothing. His musical The Mouse Queen, co-written with Tim Kane, ran both off-West End and Off-Broadway. He won the Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award in 2017 for his musical Reanimator and also won runner-up in the Stiles + Drewe Best New Song Prize in 2019 for the song, “My Thing”, with Burton-Morgan from The Rhythmics.
Burton-Morgan has an extensive background in writing and directing theatre and opera, including musicals Jungle Book, Little Mermaid and In The Willows.