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A new musical, Indecent Proposal, comes to Southwark Playhouse

Norman Bowman

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

INDECENT Proposal, a new musical by Dylan Schlosberg and Michael Conley, inspired by the novel by Jack Engelhard, is to receive its world premiere at Southwark Playhouse. Directed by Charlotte Westenra, it will run from Friday, May 29 to Saturday, June 27, 2020.

Everyone has their price, Jonny. I think a million dollars is yours.

Atlantic City. 1988. Jonny and Rebecca are very much in love and very much in debt. He’s a struggling singer-songwriter, who spends most of his time playing backup for Annie, a singer at the Oasis Casino Hotel Resort, and she works part-time at the casino and for a local charity. They struggle to make ends meet but they’re happy and that’s enough. Or is it?

When wealthy stranger Larry Harris arrives in town and offers Rebecca a million dollars to spend a night with him, will the lure of money outweigh the promise of fidelity? Will Rebecca accept Larry’s indecent proposal? Will her marriage survive if she doesn’t? Will Jonny stick around if she does?

Based on the Jack Engelhard novel which sparked a world-wide debate when it was made into the hit 1993 film, Indecent Proposal is a chamber musical with a dynamic and fast-paced narrative and a moving and exciting score.

While staying true to the book’s setting of Atlantic City in the 1980s, it reimagines the work through the lens of the current social and political climate, allowing audiences to consider what they would do in a similar situation, whilst they watch this couple grapple with the fallout from a stranger’s proposition.

The role of Jonny will be played by Norman Bowman (pictured), whose notable credits include: 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); Eugenius! (London Palladium); and King Lear (Royal Exchange Theatre).

The role of Annie – Jonny’s good friend and fellow casino singer – will be played by Jacqui Dankworth MBE, whose notable credits include: Into the Woods (original London cast, Phoenix Theatre); and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (RSC).

The roles of Rebecca and Larry are yet to be announced.

Speaking of the piece and its exploration of power, fidelity, gender politics and a woman’s sexual autonomy, director Charlotte Westenra said: “I am so excited to share this beautiful, important story that is of its time but also painfully relevant today. Like in the show, people with influence still use it to take more than we’re sometimes willing to give. The fact that it happens all the time doesn’t make it right, even if you agree to give it. We can’t wait for audiences to come and contribute to the conversation and ask themselves what they would do if they were to receive an indecent proposal.”

Produced by Neil Marcus for 10 to 4 Productions, Indecent Proposal will have musical direction by John Reddel, set and costume design by Anna Kelsey, lighting design by Hartley Kemp and movement by Jane McMurtrie.

For more information or to book tickets, visit southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/indecent-proposal/.

Also at Southwark Playhouse: Paines Plough’s production of Sam Steiner’s You Stupid Darkness! (until February 22) and Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical The Last Five Years (February 28 to March 28, 2020).