Norma Jeane’s suicide signalled the death of glamorous Hollywood’s innocence and the fizzling out of Cole’s own prestige. We join him - the now-unknown architect behind many of Golden Age Hollywood’s most iconic leading ladies and largely uncredited father of theatrical jazz dance - on this tragic morning.
Visited by legends of the hour Lana Turner, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth and his former assistant Gwen Verdon, rather than grieve, Cole obsesses over memories of how hard Norma Jeane was to work with. As audiences watch him slowly accept reality and graciously say farewell, they are treated to an intimate and untold true story, and an insightful glimpse behind the glitz of showbiz, into the life of a figure who made it tick.
A two-hander, the play features Tim English as Cole, and a myriad of female demigoddesses including Lana Turner, Norma Jeane, Martha Graham, Ann Miller, Gwen Verdon, Jane Russell, Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth all convincingly embodied by a single actress, Rachel Stanley.
Featuring Cole’s original choreography from as early as his 1938 club act (at New York’s Rainbow Room), famous routines such as Gwen Verdon’s Egyptian Dance from the 1951 movie ‘David and Bathsheba’ and thrilling, never-seen choreography, ‘Goodbye Norma Jeane’ is an extensively researched and thoughtful ode to one of dance’s under-acknowledged heroes. Its first run, under original name ‘Good-bye Miss Monroe’, was nominated for a Matilda Award in 2014 which was followed by a sold-out season in Melbourne, Australia.
Goodbye Norma Jeane
16th March – 7th April
Tuesday – Saturday 7:15pm, Sunday 5pm
(Note – no performance Tuesday 19th March)
72 Albert Embankment London, SE1 7TP
Press Night – Monday 18th March at 7:15pm
Previews 16 & 17 March priced between £12 - £16
Written by Liam Burke
Directed by Robert McWhi
Liam was Assistant Producer at Timeline Films in Los Angeles and is credited for research and assistant editor on the documentary “The Woman With The Hungry Eyes”. He wrote “The History of Los Angeles” pilot, a film adaptation of “Little Me” by Patrick Dennis, and was on the Hollywood Mobile Film Unit team that served L.A. Public Schools (Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education). His first play “The Tall Poppies” received a reading at The Old Vic, London, in 2010. As a journalist he has covered Arts and Entertainment in a variety of positions: film critic, dance critic, feature writer, and news reporter, for publications such as the Santa Barbara News Press, The Standard-Examiner, LGNY, Noozhawk, Dance Magazine (USA), and Dance Australia. His poetry and short stories have been published in the James White Review and he won a first prize at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe for Spoken Word in 2003. Liam studied Creative Writing at Empire State College (SUNY) in New York City for which he received the Richard Porter Leach Fellowship. A former performer he made his professional debut at the age of 10 and enjoyed a career in dance companies and musical theatre than spanned Australia, the UK, Europe and the USA. Liam also spent several years as Creative Assistant to Susan Stroman on Broadway and can be seen in the dance films SWING KIDS, CENTER STAGE and THE PRODUCERS.
For Above The Stag: The Musical of Musicals, He Shoots! He Scores!, The Bus, Rent Boy the musical (Boyz Award for Best Musical or Play), Torsten the Beautiful Libertine, Get ‘Em Off!; For the Landor Theatre: Follies (Time Out Critics Choice), I Love You Because (WhatsOnStage.com award for Best Off-West End Production), Pete & Me, Happy Jack, On The Ceiling, Into The Woods, Do I Hear A Waltz?, Vincent River, Closer Than Ever and Tomorrow Morning all won Time Out Critics Choice, as did 2011’s Ragtime which went on to win 3 Off West End awards as well as a WhatsOnStage. com award nomination. Also: Curtains, A Class Act, Sleeping Arrangements, Next Thing You Know, [title of show] No Way To Treat A Lady, The Man Inside, Sincerely Yours, She Loves Me, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, Personals and Romance Romance. Other shows include: House Guest, Lloyd George Knew My Father, The Dresser, The Ladykillers (Theatre Royal, Windsor); Beauty and The Beast (Watersmeet, Rickmansworth); Strictly Murder (Manor Pavilion, Sidmouth); Mousetrap Theatre Project’s 21st Birthday Gala (Prince Of Wales Theatre); Fashion Victim The Musical (Mayfair Theatre); Rhythm Of Life (St James’ Studio); The World According to Nancy Dell’Olio (Hippodrome Casino); and Dick Whittington (Farenham Hall, Fareham).
Tim English – performs as Jack Cole
Tim was most recently the Resident Director of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ at the Prince Edward Theatre (2015-2017). Prior to that, he spent several years in the same role for ‘The Lion King’ UK and International Tour (2012-2015).
He has been a performer on stage for over thirty years, appearing in ‘Priscilla - Queen of the Desert’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Oliver!’, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Always’, ‘Me and My Girl’, ‘Elvis the Musical’, ‘West End Gold’ and ‘Showstoppers’.
On television he appeared in three series of ‘Red Dwarf’, ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ and ‘Eastenders’. Tim has voiced and presented several TV commercials and appears in the award winning independent film ‘Blood Means Nothing’, directed by Mark Oxtoby.
Tim has appeared in, directed or produced corporate events throughout the world and is currently on the faculty at ArtsEd (Arts Educational Schools London).
Rachel Stanley – performs as all of his muses
Rachel’s recent theatre credits include Ester Prokrifki in ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ (UK Tour, 2018); Mum in ‘Gangsta Granny Tour’ (The Garrick, London, 2017); Mrs Fezziwig in ‘SCROOGE’ (Leicester Curve, 2017); Mrs Meers in ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ (Kilworth House, 2016); Elle’s Mum in ‘Legally Blonde’ (Leicester Curve, 2016); Female Vocalist in ‘Judy Garland SongBook’ (UK Tour, 2015); Betty Haynes in White Christmas (Dominion 2014 & seasons in Edinburgh, Manchester, Plymouth & Southampton); Grace Farell in Annie (New Zealand Tour & UK Tour, 2015/2016). Her Panto credits include The Wicked Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Orchard Theatre Dartford 2016 and Grand Opera House Belfast, 2015); Mrs. Darling/Mermaid in Peter Pan (Qdos Entertainment Pantomimes, 2014-2015); Cinderella in Cinderella the Musical. Rachel’s film credits include Les Miserables directed by Tom Hooper (Baracade Productions); De-Lovely directed by Irwin Winkler (MGM); Little Bird by Annie Lennox (Music Video), Galavant (Disney and ABC Series).