New show celebrating the musicals that flopped!

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A new musical at Eastbourne's Royal Hippodrome Theatre – headlined by West End stars Kerry Ellis and Dean John-Wilson – will explore songs from the musicals that flopped.

These aren’t necessary musicals that flopped and disappeared forever, but musicals which at one point or another failed to make their mark. Flopz comes promised as “a musical journey through the hidden gems of the West End’s and Broadway's unsuccessful but wonderful ventures” celebrating the “songs that popped from shows that flopped.”

Peformances will be at 3pm and 7.45pm on Saturday, May 25 with tickets from the venue – a chance to enjoy songs from shows including La Cage Aux Folles, Tick Tick Boom, Chess, The Pyjama Game and Merrily We Roll Along plus medleys of songs written by composers including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim and The Spice Girls. The musical director will be Carl Greenwood, with direction and choreography by Eastbourne-based Stuart Simons.

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Stuart explained: “It's a try-out. The idea is just to give it a go and see what happens. Originally the idea came from a friend of mine, Craig Rees. He always thought that there were so many wonderful songs out of musicals that flopped that someone should make a show out of them called Flopz and I thought about it for years and years. Unfortunately he died at a really young age, aged 30. He had a brain tumour but this was his idea and I thought that I should do it.

Dean John-Wilson (contributed pic)Dean John-Wilson (contributed pic)
Dean John-Wilson (contributed pic)

“My hometown is Eastbourne and I've got connections with the Hippodrome so that's why we're doing it here and I just felt that the concept is something that could take off and could lead to other things like Flopz The Movies and so on. Some of the concepts that could come out of it would be really interesting.”

As for the current Flopz, as Stuart explains, some of the featured shows have clearly been massive hits, for instance La Cage Aux Folles: “But it was written at the time of the AIDS crisis and because of that it didn't last a year. And The Pajama Game was a massive success in the 1950s but when it was redone in the 1970s it lasted about 24 performances. And also Merrily We Roll Along was a huge flop when it opened but then went on to be a big success and Mack and Mabel was also huge flop when it was first produced. The point is that these were shows that at a certain level and at a certain time didn't do very well for whatever reason. It could have been to do with the war or it could have been to do with illness but there was just something that happened that stopped them from being the successes that they should have been and maybe were later.

“I think the show is going to be amazing. It's going to be a really lovely night of massive musical treats and everyone will get to learn a little bit more about the history of some of their favourite shows. There will be a little bit of context in each of the sections.”

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And who knows what will happen next: “I don't mind if it doesn't get a massive box office. This is just like a litmus test to see whether there is an appetite for it and to see whether people get the idea and to see whether it could work. It could change but I've got some really lovely wonderful professionals that are doing it with me, and I do think it will go well.”

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