Made in Dagenham was a great film but can it really make a West End musical?
Made in Dagenham comes to the West End as a new musical comedy this month, (See earlier post New Musicals for Theatre Breaks October 2014).
Directed by Rupert Goold (Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre, American Psycho, Oliver!, Enron). Inspired by a true story and based on the hit movie, with themes of friendship, love and the importance of fighting for equal rights, the show is quite unlike anything else in the West End right now. It is a true story and an important part of the equal rights struggle of the 1960s
Made in Dagenham The Story.
The story (book) is by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors, The Heretic, England People Very Nice)
It is starts in Essex 1968 as Rita O´Grady (Gemma Arterton) is trying to get her husband out of bed, the kids off to school and get herself out to work at the factory on time.
When she gets there she hears that the ‘girls’ in the sewing room of Ford´s Dagenham car plant are to have their pay grade dropped to ´unskilled´. Rita’s is infuriated and leads her friends in a battle against the might of Ford and the corruption of the Union supposed to protect them.
The women’s battle grows bigger than anyone could have imagined. Some crack under the pressure but Rita is made of stronger stuff. She drives on to keep up the fight but starts to worry just how high a price she may have to pay.
Made in Dagenham – the Music
The music is by David Arnold (James Bond series, Hot Fuzz, and Sherlock) with lyrics by Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer The Opera, The Royal Opera´s Anna Nicole and Shoes at Sadler´s Wells).. It has a very sixties feel with lots of ensemble pieces. You can get a good idea of it from this extract on Sunday Night at the London Palladium:
Is it really a good candidate for a musical?
Well, it seems that the idea first came up when the film was being made and certain scenes seemed to lend themselves to a musical. I think that, like the film, the show does its best to respect the historic events it portrays. I also think it is a cracking story for a musical and we’ll all love it as much as we did the film!