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Gershwin's Strike Up The Band to be revived Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MARK Giesser is returning to Upstairs at the Gatehouse to direct George and Ira Gershwin’s madcap musical Strike Up The Band. Written with George S. Kaufman in 1927, the production will run from March 6 to March 31, 2019.

While the original script was rewritten by Morrie Ryskind in 1930, this production presents the original, with the dark satire on America’s war-mongering over a trade deal re-established.

In 1927, Horace J. Fletcher is a typical self-made American businessman. His cheese factory dominates the market, he influences the White House, and he’s secured his business future by agreeing to marry his daughter, Joan, to his factory manager. He does, however, have one problem – Switzerland has the audacity to protest America’s heavy new tariff on imported cheese.

Fletcher convinces the US government to declare war, backing it with his bucks. Jim Townsend, a newspaperman, suspects all may not be wholesome, but he and Joan fall for each other. Will making the world safe for American cheese be more than just a walk in the Alps?

Director and producer Mark Giesser has written, directed and produced extensively in both Off-Broadway and London Fringe venues. Recent productions include his adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s classic short story The Lady With A Dog, the UK premiere of Alan Alda’s Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, and the 60th anniversary UK revival of the stage play of Gigi.

Tickets: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: £18/16 (concessions); Friday, Saturday and Sunday: £20/18 (concessions). To book, call the box office on 020 8340 3488.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, with Sunday matinees at 4pm.

Running Time: 150 minutes (including interval).