Monday 18 November 2019

Julian Fellowes hails West End-bound Hamilton for 'reinvention of the musical'

By Julia Hunt

Julian Fellowes said every form of art needs reinvention every now and then.

Downton Abbey author Julian Fellowes believes the West End needs to stage more surprises to keep British theatre fresh.

The writer, actor and director said the musical Hamilton, which will come to London from Broadway this year, is just one example of “reinventing” theatre.

His comments came during the annual Olivier Awards on Sunday, where his rock ‘n’ roll stage spectacular School Of Rock, was nominated for best new musical.

“The thing with something new is that you don’t know what it is until you see it and you can never anticipate the next new thing,” he told the Press Association.

“Surprises is what we need.

“I’m really looking forward to Hamilton, that’s the one I am excited to see because it will be a reinvention of the musical, every so often every form of art needs reinvention.”

The 67-year-old theatre veteran, who won an Oscar in 2002 for writing the screenplay for Gosford Park, added he felt the stage could also improve in giving key parts to people from a wider range of backgrounds.

He said: “This business of diversity casting is a big issue.

“I think we are moving forward and I’m pleased about that, but I hope to see more.”

With no plans to wind down his career, Julian will open his next show, Wind In The Willows, at the London Palladium in June.

“I’m always up for these awards,” he said.

Hosting the awards at the Royal Albert Hall, comedian Jason Manford had a more precise idea of what he would like to see on the West End stage.

Fresh from starring in the stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, he said to the Press Association: “Why has nobody thought of Bedknobs And Broomsticks?”

PA Media

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