London’s third longest-running musical, Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, has posted closing notices after 10,000 performances and nearly 24 years in the West End.
The Bill Kenwright production is due to give its final performance at the Phoenix Theatre on 27 October 2012. And, despite earlier rumours that it may move directly into the Playhouse Theatre, where another Kenwright production, Dreamboats and Petticoats closed last week, there are no immediate plans to transfer to another venue.
Blood Brothers was first seen as a comprehensive school production in Russell’s native Liverpool in 1981, before receiving a professional premiere at the Liverpool Playhouse and subsequent West End transfer to the Lyric Theatre, where it had a brief run, two years later. In 1988, Kenwright revived the musical to award-winning effect at the Albery Theatre, transferring it in January 1991 to the Phoenix Theatre, where it has been running ever since.
The touring production, starring Marti Pellow, continues an extensive UK-wide schedule. A spokesperson for Bill Kenwright Ltd said of the West End closure: “This is the end of a chapter, but by no means the end of Blood Brothers.”
The current West End cast of Blood Brothers features Vivienne Carlyle (as Mrs Johnstone), Philip Stewart (Narrator), Mark Rice Oxley (Mickey), Paul Christopher (Eddie) and Abigail Jaye (Mrs Lyons). No further productions have yet been announced for the 1000-seat Phoenix Theatre.
What a shame to see another fantastic show close.