Tony award-winning musical The Rink is making a comeback after nearly 20 years at Southwark Playhouse tonight – but for a limited time only.
John Kander’s and Fred Ebb’s musical originally premiered on Broadway in 1984, starring Chita Rivera as Anna and Liza Minnelli as Angel.
This year’s London revival stars Caroline O’Connor as Anna and Gemma Sutton as Angel.
Sutton, whose previous credits include Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre (2015), Cilia (2014) and Doctors (2000), said: ‘’Knowing that Liza Minnelli had played the part was intimidating at first but when I read the script I was so taken by the character of Angel that I really try to separate Liza from the character of Angel.”
The actress admitted she has never seen Minnelli’s performance: ‘‘In a way that’s great because I don’t have a preconceived idea of the character, I can just go with what I interpret being hippie in the 60s.
‘’I’ve made my own version of Angel and I’m just having a great time exploring the character.’’
The musical follows Italian housewife Anna, the owner of a roller skating rink in a seaside resort on the Eastern Seaboard who has decided to sell it to developers.
When Anna’s estranged 30-year-old daughter Angel comes back home after a long absence and tries to reconnect with her mother and the town she left behind, things get complicated.
Sutton said: ‘’It’s a real story about family and about a parent and child relationship and the complexity of what makes us human and the damage that our past does to us as we grow up.
‘’It’s about dwelling into that past and how the tiniest thing from the past and what we said at the time really affects us.’’
The Rink is directed by Adam Lenson and choreographed by Fabian Aloise, with musical direction by Joe Bunker.
When asked about working with Lenson, Sutton explained how his passion for cinema influenced his creative approach to the musical and admitted he’s a very different director to ones she has worked with before.
“It’s good to be out of the comfort zone,” she said.
“You think in a different way and so interesting things happen.’’
The rehearsals have been going on for five weeks and Sutton said she can’t wait for the premiere performance.
“We feel ready to get the show in front of an audience and see what they think,’’she said.
The musical will be on at Southwark Playhouse from May 25 to June 23 2018.
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