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Oscar Wilde production wins Leicester Square Theatre’s New Musical Project

De Profundis wins Leicester Square Theatre musical competition.
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A new musical based on Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis will premiere at the Leicester Square Theatre in May after winning the venue’s inaugural New Musical Project competition.

The show is written by Paul Dale Vickers, who was one of six finalists in Leicester Square Theatre’s initiative, which received more than 100 entries and was aimed at discovering, developing and producing a new musical.

Each finalist presented a showcase of their entry to a panel of judges, including George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with De Profundis selected as the show that will now be staged in full in the theatre’s lounge space.

It will run from May 1 to June 8, starring Alastair Brookshaw, whose credits include Parade at the Southwark Playhouse.

De Profundis, based on a letter Wilde wrote to his lover Bosie from prison in 1897, will be directed by Katie Pesskin and will have musical direction by Michael Riley.

Vickers said he had read De Profundis when he was at drama school more than 20 years ago and was “immediately drawn to the obvious sense of drama within the letter”.

He created a short non-musical version of it then, before returning to it some years later and realising that it had potential as a “sung-through piece of theatre”.

“For this musical version I let the rhythm of the words themselves dictate the shape of the music and allowed the sentiment to drive the chords and melodies. Much of the lyrical content is taken directly from the letter with some invention required to tie ideas together. De Profundis is a piece of musical theatre in the conventional sense, however, I am experimenting with form in terms of structure as the piece is essentially an elaborate soliloquy,” he said.

Vickers, who initially studied acting at Bretton Hall, University of Leeds, has played the role of Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables, and is a lecturer in musical theatre.

De Profundis is being produced by Martin Witts and Lesley Ackland for London International Arts.

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