New Sherlock Holmes Stage Play In Development For Broadway & London; Tony-Winner Rob Ashford To Direct

EXCLUSIVE: A new stage play adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is being developed with an eye toward the West End and Broadway. The Tony- and Olivier Award-winning Rob Ashford is set to direct.

The announcement was made today by producer Antonio Marion. Current plans are for the play to be developed in London prior to West End and Broadway stagings.

Written by British writing team Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, the new Sherlock Holmes play is described as an original tale offering a “deeply theatrical exploration of the mind of the famous detective,” while remaining faithful to the world created by Conan Doyle. Akram Khan will serve as choreographer/movement director.

Staged as “a mystery within a mystery,” the new play is described by producers as involving a case presented to Holmes that forces him to confront his own murky past: “But is the unravelling of his childhood just a dangerous diversion?”

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Ashford said in a statement, “When we identified that the setting of our production wasn’t necessarily a place, but perhaps an emotion, with characters driven by their souls and desires, I realized we had a project that demanded being brought to life on the stage. Wagstaff and Abel have created a new, sweeping Sherlock Holmes with modern versions of the classic characters fighting hidden demons in a visceral, emotional, sensual thrill ride that could derail at any moment”

Said Marion, “Rob Ashford & Akram Khan are two of our industry’s premier creative forces, with a keen eye on bringing this story to life utilizing the inherent devices of the theater all while modernizing our production for a new audience in a new generation. They will take our production to new heights, bringing audiences a theatrical experience unlike anything we’ve seen on the stage.”

Khan commented, “Ever since I was a teenager growing up in London, I’ve felt a sense of familiarity and often connected with the struggle and bond to each other that Holmes & Watson inhabit. Their complex and dynamic relationship is what makes great theater. It’s the adventure of a lifetime to work with Rob and these literary legends on a new production which will bring a new generation of audiences to the world of Holmes.”

Additional details, including casting, the creative team and venue, will be announced later.

Ashford’s Broadway credits include Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Frozen, Evita, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Promises, Promises, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek, John Water’s Cry Baby, Curtains and The Wedding Singer. London credits include The Entertainer, Romeo and Juliet, The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade, Anna Christie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Parade, Guys and Dolls, Evita, and Frozen. He also directed and choreographed Peter Pan Live! and The Sound of Music Live! for NBC, among numerous other credits.

Khan’s many dance and stage credits include  collaborations with the National Ballet of China, singer Kylie Minogue, Florence and the Machine, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost. Khan’s work includes a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, three documentaries with Swan Films for Channel 4, an episode of the Netflix series Move, and many others.

Abel co-adapted Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, currently on a UK tour, and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train, which transferred to the West End following a successful UK tour, and Wagstaff wrote the book for multi award-winning musical Flowers For Mrs Harris. Her adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong opened in the West End, and a new production later toured extensively; an award-winning online performance was released in lockdown. Her other credits include an adaption of Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d, and, with Abel, The Da Vinci Code and The Girl on the Train.

Producer Marion’s Broadway credits include Betrayal (2019 revival starring Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox), Groundhog Day, Big Fish, Ghost, Evita and MJ The Musical (Marketing Consultant). Other credits include Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical.

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