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Bat Boy to hit the big screen

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Bat Boy the Musical will be made into a film directed by John Landis, according to the West End show’s producer, Michael Alden.

Landis, who directed the film version of The Blues Brothers, is working on a script for the film with the three writers behind the stage musical, Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O’Keefe. Alden hopes to have a finished script by March and expects to start filming in the UK by 2006. The film will be produced independently by Michael Alden Productions.

Speaking of his pleasure at securing Landis as director, Alden said: “John is creatively a genius. His pitch was phenomenal. Also, Bat Boy is a story of a misunderstood outsider. The show is in a misunderstood theatre [The Shaftesbury Theatre] and John is a misunderstood director so I think that this has got to work.”

Alden feels that the West End production has helped to develop the show into a marketable commodity. He said: “Obviously, you want the show to be successful, but it can also be seen as a marketing vehicle for the film. When you bring something new [to the West End] it’s not so easy for a producer to make it a huge hit, so before I came here, I secured the film rights. I need to make sure that I have a commodity that has value.”

The show is currently booking up to February 14 but Alden added: “I am a real believer in serendipity. It’s up to the audience. I will stay as long as the audience wants me to.”

* The Far Pavilions, a new £4 million musical based on the novel by MM Kaye, will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre on April 14 following previews from March 24.

The world premiere show will have a company of 50 and will be directed by the Emmy Award-winning Gale Edwards. It will be designed by Lez Brotherston, with costume design by Andreanne Neofitou, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound design by Rick Clarke. It will be produced by Michael E Ward and John Whitney for Far Pavilions (UK) Ltd, in association with Arjun C Waney and Reita Gadkari.

* Sheila Hancock will host an event celebrating 100 years of Peter Pan this December in a series of events marking the centenary of JM Barrie’s creation.

Neverland Revisited will take place on December 18 at the Duke of York’s Theatre on St Martin’s Lane, the same venue in which Peter Pan made his first appearance. The event will feature actors who have played the roles of Peter Pan and Captain Hook in London productions of the play, including Susan Hampshire, Stephen Moore, Julia Lockwood, Ron Moody, John McCallum, Googie Withers, Janette Scott, Donald Sinden and Wendy Craig.

There will also be a presentation on the origins of Peter Pan and an introduction to the first production of the play. The event is free but admission is by ticket only.

* David Freeman’s production of Carmen will return to the Royal Albert Hall on February 17, 2005 for 12 performances.

The opera will be performed in the round using Amanda Holden’s translation, with dialogue translated by Freeman. Peter Robinson will conduct the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with choreography by Robert North, lighting by Andrew Bridge and sound by Bobby Aitken.

The production was first performed in 2002 and is now being revived with a new cast which includes Victoria Simmonds, making her debut as Carmen, sharing the title role with Imelda Drumm.

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