Betty Blue Eyes

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Betty Blue Eyes
Betty Blue Eyes logo.jpg
Original West End production
MusicGeorge Stiles
LyricsAnthony Drewe
BookRon Cowen
Daniel Lipman
BasisA Private Function by
Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mowbray
Premiere19 March 2011 (2011-03-19): Novello Theatre
Productions2011 West End
2013 Wichita
2018 Linz, Austria

Betty Blue Eyes is a 2011 stage musical comedy based on the 1984 film A Private Function,[1] and features music by George Stiles, with lyrics by Anthony Drewe. The book was written for the stage by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, adapted from Alan Bennett's original screenplay.


Betty Blue Eyes is based on the 1984 film A Private Function, by Alan Bennett.[2] The show marked producer Cameron Mackintosh's first new musical in over 10 years[3] and when describing what drew him to the project (which he has described as "delicious"), Mackintosh said:

"The score was written by friends of mine, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, whom I've known for 25 years and [who,] of course, did all the terrific new songs for Mary Poppins ... The book was written by two Americans [Cowen and Lipman], and it was their idea... I read it and I thought it was the most original piece I had read in a long, long time. I mean, I knew they were working on it, because the moment I heard it was a musical version of A Private Function — a film I loved, by Alan Bennett, which was very, very funny and off-the-wall — I was intrigued..."[4]

Production history[edit]

Betty Blue Eyes opened at the Novello Theatre in the West End, London, on 13 April 2011, following previews from 19 March.[5] The production was directed by Richard Eyre, with musical staging by Stephen Mear design by Tim Hatley and orchestrations by William David Brohn. The cast consisted of Sarah Lancashire as Joyce Chilvers, Reece Shearsmith as Gilbert Chilvers, David Bamber as Doctor Swaby, Jack Edwards as Mr Allardyce, Ann Emery as Mother Dear, Mark Meadows as Lockwood and Adrian Scarborough as Inspector Wormold. The voice of the show's animatronic pig Betty was provided by Australian actress Kylie Minogue.[6] Despite positive reviews[7] the musical closed in London on 24 September 2011, after a run of just six months.[8][9]

The first production outside the UK[10] and the shows American premiere took place at Music Theatre of Wichita in Wichita, Kansas from 24 to 28 July 2013.[11] Music Theatre of Wichita previously recorded the North American cast album for George Stiles and Anthony Drewe's musical Honk!. The production was directed by Wayne Bryan and featured Justin Robertson, Larry Raben, Tracy Lore, and Mary Stout.

In March 2014, a new production, directed by Daniel Buckroyd, opened at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester ahead of a UK Tour in a co-production between the Mercury Theatre Colchester, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Salisbury Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse.[12]

In February 2018, the first German-speaking production, directed by Christian Brey, will open at Musiktheater Linz, Austria under the title Betty Blue Eyes - Das Musical mit dem Schwein. The German translation is provided by Roman Hinze. [13]


Musical numbers[edit]

Cast album[edit]

Featuring 20 songs on the physical CD[14] with an additional two bonus tracks available as digital downloads only[15] from the London production of Betty Blue Eyes, the cast album was released by First Night Records[16] on 3 October 2011.[17] The recording was made at the Novello Theatre over five performances.[18]

Betty Blue Eyes (Original London Cast Recording)
Betty Blue Eyes (Cast Cd).jpg
Soundtrack album cast recording by
Released3 October 2011 (2011-10-03)
LabelFirst Night Records
1."Overture - Austerity Britain"1:58
2."Fair Shares for All"3:42
3."A Place on the Parade"3:46
4."Magic Fingers"4:37
5."Painting By Heart"5:07
7."Nobody Part 2"2:42
8."A Private Function"2:59
9."Betty Blue Eyes"3:59
11."Steal the Pig"4:59
12."Another Little Victory"4:50
13."It's an Ill Wind"3:00
14."Pig no Pig"6:53
15."The Kind of Man I am"3:25
16."Since The War (Bonus Track)"3:03
17."A Private Function (Reprise)"1:40
18."Finale Ultimo - Confessions"8:18
19."Magic Fingers (Reprise)"2:18
20."Betty Blue Eyes (Reprise)"1:29
22."Magic Fingers (Bonus Track)"5:37

Principal roles and cast members[edit]

Characters Original West End actor
Gilbert Chilvers Reece Shearsmith[19]
Joyce Chilvers Sarah Lancashire[19]
Dr James Swaby David Bamber[20]
Henry Allardyce Jack Edwards[20]
Mother Dear Ann Emery[20]
Francis Lockwood Mark Meadows[20]
Inspector Wormold Adrian Scarborough[20]
Betty (Voice) Kylie Minogue[21]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2012 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical[22] Nominated[23]
Best Actor in a Musical Reece Shearsmith[22] Nominated[23]
Best Actress in a Musical Sarah Lancashire[22] Nominated[23] Awards Best New Musical[24] Nominated[25]
Best Actor in a Musical Reece Shearsmith[24] Nominated[25]
Best Actress in a Musical Sarah Lancashire[24] Nominated[25]
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Ann Emery[24] Nominated[25]
Best Lighting Designer Neil Austin[24] Nominated[25]


  1. ^ "Economic woes prompt Betty Blue Eyes to close". The Guardian. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Alan Bennett's 'A Private Function' hits the stage". The Telegraph. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Hogging the limelight". The Sunday Times. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth (March 21, 2011). "Cameron Mackintosh's New Musical". Archived from the original on 23 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Betty Blue Eyes Posts Early Closing Notices, 24 Sep". Whats On Stage. 22 August 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  6. ^ "West End in shock as rave reviews and Kylie fail to save musical's bacon". London Evening Standard. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Why Betty failed to bring home the bacon". The Telegraph. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Cameron Mackintosh musical Betty Blue Eyes to close". BBC News. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  9. ^ Husband, Stuart (March 16, 2011). "Behind the scenes of 'Betty Blue Eyes'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  10. ^ "Music Theatre of Wichita's BETTY BLUE EYES, Opening 7/24". Broadway World. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Wichita audiences to get first American bite of 'Betty Blue Eyes'". The Wichita Eagle. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  12. ^ "BETTY BLUE EYES". Colchester Mercury. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Landestheater Linz BETTY BLUE EYES, Opening 24 February 2018". Landestheater Linz. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Track List Announced for Cast Recording of London's Betty Blue Eyes". Playbill. 31 August 2011. Archived from the original on 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Betty Blue Eyes Cast Album to Be Released by First Night Records". Theatre Mania. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  16. ^ "First Night to Release BETTY BLUE EYES Cast Album". Broadway World. 1 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Betty Blue Eyes [CD]". Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Betty Blue Eyes Original London Cast". First Night Records. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith Set for Betty Blue Eyes Musical in West End, Richard Eyre to Direct". Theatre Mania. 1 October 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  20. ^ a b c d e "Full Cast Announced for Cameron Mackintosh's Betty Blue Eyes; Previews Begin in March". Playbill. 20 January 2011. Archived from the original on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Kylie Minogue brings home Sir Cameron's bacon". The Telegraph. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  22. ^ a b c "Olivier Awards: full list of nominations". The Telegraph. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  23. ^ a b c "Full list: Olivier award winners 2012". The Guardian. 15 April 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  24. ^ a b c d e "Full List: 2012 Awards Nominees". Whats On Stage. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Full List: 2012 Award winners". Whats On Stage. 19 February 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013.

External links[edit]