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Christopher John "Kit" Hesketh Harvey is a British musical performer, translator, composer and screenwriter.
Born on the 30th April 1957 in Nyasaland (now Malawi), into a Foreign Office family, he was educated as senior chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and then Tonbridge School in Kent. He gained a choral scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge where he studied under John Rutter and joined the Footlights.
He worked for six years as a staff producer for the BBC-TV Music and Arts Department, leaving to write the script for Merchant Ivory's Maurice (1987), and has worked on the Vicar of Dibley series for the BBC. He wrote Full Throttle, starring Rowan Atkinson, and Hans Andersen: My Life As A Fairytale (Hallmark).
He was the writer and singer of the musical comedy act Kit and The Widow, which over thirty years had a number of West End and Broadway theatre runs and international tours. They had their own series on BBC Radios 3 and 4, and two TV specials on Channel 4. They toured on several occasions as paid escorts to Joan Rivers. He starred in the 1996 production of Salad Days at the Vaudeville Theatre, and in Tom Foolery (Jermyn Street and national tour). He co-devised and starred in the original production of the Sondheim revue, Putting It Together. In 2011, he starred in Cowardy Custard (national tour) with Dillie Keane. He co-starred with Tim Minchin in the first BBC Comedy Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011: the last time that Kit and the Widow appeared on stage together. He makes occasional appearances on the many BBC Radio 4 series such as Just a Minute and Quote Unquote. He presents one-off documentaries on off-beat subjects for Radio 4. He was also a panellist on the unbroadcast pilot episode of QI.
Winner of the 1988 Vivian Ellis Award for writers for music theatre, he subsequently studied as a pupil of Stephen Sondheim, and his musicals include Writing Orlando (Barbican 1988) and Yusupov (Bridewell Theatre). He adapted the English version of Jacques Offenbach's La Belle Hélène (2006) directed by Laurent Pelly for English National Opera. His translation of The Bartered Bride for Charles Mackerras at the Royal Opera House was Grammy-nominated, and he has translated many other operas, including The Turk In Italy, Le roi malgré lui, The Marriage Of Figaro, The Daughter of the Regiment, Véronique, Bluebeard and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Original libretti include Varjak Paw (composer Julian Phillips). He adapted and produced The Caribbean Tempest, starring Kylie Minogue, in Barbados and Sydney 2000. He co-produced Shadwell Opera's Magic Flute at the Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh,(Herald Angel Award 2009). He collaborated in 2011 with Gifford's Circus, writing lyrics to War And Peace. His plays include Five O'Clock Angel at the Hampstead Theatre. He writes regularly for Country Life magazine (2009 IPC's Writer Of The Year). His radio play, A La Villa Bab Azzoun, produced by Moving Theatre, won the 2009 Prix Europa. His work for military charities has taken him to the conflict in Kabul, as well as to Saudi, Africa and the Far East.
His translation of The Merry Widow was in Opera North's 2010/11 season, transferring in July 2011 to the Sydney Opera House, and will be seen in Melbourne in 2012. Armonico Consort are currently touring his piece Monteverdi's Flying Circus. In 2011 he directed (for Merry Opera) his own adaptation of La Belle Helene, Troy Boy, and in 2012, his adaptation of La Traviata, currently on tour. His translation of The Magic Flute will be seen this summer in Scottish Opera's production directed by Sir Thomas Allen.
In 1986, he married the actress and academic Catherine Rabett and they have two children, Augusta (b 1987) and Rollo (b 1990). He is the brother of novelist and journalist Sarah Sands, the editor of the Evening Standard. He lives in Norfolk and Cornwall.
- "Kit Hesketh-Harvey". PBJ Management. Retrieved 2008-06-18.