“This partnership with the celebrated Chocolate Factory is a thrilling step forward for TheatreWorks,” says TW Artistic Director Robert Kelley. “We’re proud that our long and distinguished history with composer Andrew Lippa has led to this electrifying American Premiere.”
We are honored to be co-producing The Life of the Party this summer with The Menier Chocolate Factory, reuniting author and star Andrew Lippa with director David Babani. Built in 1870 to house a chocolate factory, this unique space now comprises a restaurant and bar, rehearsal room, and 150 seat theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Babani, the Chocolate Factory has been producing musicals, plays, live music, and stand-up comedy and is considered one of London’s premiere off-West End companies.
The Chocolate Factory received great international acclaim when their 2005 production of Sunday in the Park with George opened on Broadway, receiving eight Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and acting nods for stars Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell.
Check out highlights from the Broadway production:
2010 proved to be a major year for Chocolate Factory productions on Broadway, with their revivals of La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music both picking up Tony nominations for Best Revival of a Musical. La Cage went on to win the award, providing Babani with his first Tony.
Check out Hodge and the Broadway cast (including A.J. Shively from our 2014 production of Marry Me a Little) at the 2010 Tony Awards:
Their 2013 production of Merrily We Roll Along starring The Life of the Party’s Damian Humbley opened to rave reviews, eventually transferring to London’s West End:
The Menier Chocolate Factory received international acclaim for their “exquisite” mounting of the European premiere of The Color Purple. The production transferred to Broadway in 2016, eventually winning Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actress for leading lady Cynthia Erivo.
Check out this trailer featuring footage from the original Chocolate Factory production:
The cast, creatives, and writers weigh in on the Chocolate Factory’s re-imagining in this news story about the original production:
The Life of the Party is a rare opportunity to see work of David Babani and the Menier Chocolate Factory without having to leave home. We couldn’t be more excited to be bringing London’s finest fringe theatre to the Bay Area!