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One Affair, Two Shows: Keeler and Stephen Ward Will Go Head to Head in the West End

One Affair, Two Shows: Keeler and Stephen Ward Will Go Head to Head in the West End
Paul Nicholas & Sarah Armstrong
Paul Nicholas and Sarah Armstrong will co-star in 'Keeler.'

Shows in London's West End sometimes behave like its buses: You wait forever for one, and then two on the same topic appear at once. This fall, the infamous Profumo Affair is headed to the stage in both a play and a musical. First up: Gill Adams' Keeler, directed by and starring Paul Nicholas, will have a limited engagement at the Charing Cross Theatre from October 31 through December 14, opening on November 6. Meanwhile, Andrew Lloyd Webber's take on the Profumo Affair, his new musical Stephen Ward, is due to begin performances at the nearby Aldwych Theatre on December 3. Nicholas will appear as Stephen Ward in the play, while Alexander Hanson will perform the title role in the musical. 

Interestingly, Nicholas and Lloyd Webber have a long history as collaborators rather than adversaries. The actor was the first Jesus in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar and created the role of the Rum Tum Tugger in Cats.

The Profumo Affair was Britain's biggest political sex scandal of the 20th century. In 1963, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, was forced to resign after it emerged that he had lied to Parliament about the nature of his relationship with a young showgirl, Christine Keeler. She was also involved with a Russian spy during her affair with the Secretary of State. The ensuing scandal was in part responsible for the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the suicide of Stephen Ward, who had introduced Keeler to Profumo.

Keeler is based on the 2001 autobiography The Truth At Last by Christine Keeler with Douglas Thompson. In addition to Nicholas, the cast will feature Sarah Armstrong (Christine Keeler), Stacy Leeson (Mandy), Alex Dower (Eugene), Michael Good (Profumo), Andrew Harrison (Lord Astor), Marcus Adolphy (Lucky Gordon), Hannah Gordon (Doris), Carina Birrell and Stephen Joseph. Sets will be designed by Charles Camm, lighting by Mike Robertson and costumes by Jonathan Lipman.

Click below to see early footage of Lloyd Webber introducing Paul Nicholas, who then gives a rendition of Cats' "Magical Mr. Mistofelees."

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