Half a Sixpence (2016 musical)

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Half a Sixpence
Half a Sixpence 2016 West End Poster.jpg
Poster for the West End production
MusicGeorge Stiles
David Heneker
LyricsAnthony Drewe
David Heneker
BookJulian Fellowes
by H. G. Wells
Productions2016 Chichester
2016 West End

Half a Sixpence is a musical based on the 1905 novel Kipps by H. G. Wells and the original 1963 musical, with music by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and lyrics by Anthony Drewe and Heneker, featuring several of the original songs by Heneker, and book by Julian Fellowes.

This production was produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre where it premiered in July 2016 before transferring into the West End in London at the Noël Coward Theatre in October 2016.

The show closed on 2 September 2017 after three extensions to its limited run.[1]


The original musical of Half a Sixpence, based on the novel Kipps by H. G. Wells, featured music and lyrics by David Heneker and book by Beverley Cross. The musical was originally written as a star vehicle for British pop star Tommy Steele who performed the role of Kipps originally in London in 1963, Broadway in 1965 and in the 1967 film adaptation. It was evident that the show relied on Steele as the star vehicle as he featured in twelve of the musical's fifteen songs.

Following the success with Mary Poppins, producer Cameron Mackintosh reunited the same team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe to adapt Heneker's original songs and create new material for the production, with Julian Fellowes re-writing an entirely new book. The creative team also reunites Stiles and Drewe with Fellowes after Mary Poppins and the new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows (which also reunites director Rachel Kavanaugh, who also directed Stiles and Drewe's Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2007).


Chichester and West End production[edit]

The musical premiered at Chichester Festival Theatre (as part of the final season of Jonathan Church as artistic director and Alan Finch as executive producer) from 14 July to 2 September 2016 as a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh. It was originally announced that Bryan Dick would star as Kipps, however he later withdrew to appear in the West End production of Hobson's Choice.[2] It was later announced that newcomer Charlie Stemp would take over as Arthur Kipps alongside Devon-Elise Johnson as Ann Pornick, Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow, Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham and Vivien Parry as Mrs Walsingham.[3] The production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, designed by Paul Brown, choreographed by Andrew Wright, orchestrations by William David Brohn, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and video design by Luke Halls.

Following rave reviews in Chichester, the production transferred to the West End in London at the Noël Coward Theatre with previews beginning 29 October and press night on 17 November 2016. It featured the original Chichester cast and ran for ten months in the West End following three extensions to its limited run. Combined with the Chichester run, the production played around 400 performances.[4]

Characters and cast[edit]

Character Chichester
West End
Arthur Kipps Charlie Stemp
Chitterlow Ian Bartholomew
Ann Pornick Devon-Elise Johnson
Helen Walsingham Emma Williams
Mrs Walsingham Vivien Parry
Lady Punnet Jane How
James Walsingham / Photographer Gerard Carey
Swing David Birch
Mrs Bindo-Bott Kimberly Blake
Uncle Bert James Paterson David Burrows
Head Waiter / Assistant Dance Captain Nick Butcher
Shalford / Foster Jon Conroy
Mrs Wace / Dance Captain Jaye Julliet Elster
Mr Wace Tim Hodges
Sid Pornick Alex Hope
Flo Bethany Huckle
Swing Samantha Hull
Mary Rebecca Jayne Davies
Miss Ross Jenifer Louise Jones
Hayes Matthew Dale
Policeman Philip Marriott
Carshot / Maxwell Harry Morrison
Buggins Sam O' Rourke
Pierce Callum Train
Mildred Lauren Varnham
Aunt Susan / Lady Dacre Annie Wensak

Musical numbers[edit]

Half a Sixpence (2016 Cast Recording)
Half A Sixpence 2016 Cast Recording.jpg
Soundtrack album cast recording by
Released18 November 2016 (2016-11-18)
LabelFirst Night Records

Cast Recording[edit]

On Friday 18 November 2016, the 2016 London Cast Recording was released by First Night Records on CD and iTunes digital download.[5] It features 23 tracks and was recorded live during the final three performances in the Chichester run.

1."Half a Sixpence"2:49
2."Look Alive"3:38
3."Money To Burn / Money To Burn (Reprise)"4:25
4."Believe In Yourself"2:12
5."She's Too Far Above Me"1:51
6."A Proper Gentleman"3:34
7."Half a Sixpence (Reprise)"2:02
8."Long Ago"1:47
9."Back the Right Horse"2:55
10."Just a Few Little Things"3:58
11."A Little Touch of Happiness"3:33
12."If the Rain's Got to Fall"4:27
13."The One Who's Run Away"3:27
14."Pick Out a Simple Tune"5:23
15."You Never Get Anything Right / I Know Who I Am"3:08
16."We'll Build a Palace / I Only Want a Little House"3:46
17."In the Middle There's Me"2:50
18."Long Ago (Reprise)"1:36
19."Flash, Bang, Wallop"5:52
20."Flash, Bang, Wallop (Reprise)"1:55
22."Simple Tune Bows"1:27
23."Playout (Bonus Track)"3:21
24."The Joy of the Theatre (Bonus Track)" 
Total length:74:38

Awards and nominations[edit]

London Production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2017 BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards Best Revival of a Musical Nominated [6]
Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical Charlie Stemp Nominated
Best Actress in a New Production of a Musical Devon Elise-Johnson Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a New Production of a Musical Emma Williams Won
Best New Regional Production Won
Whatsonstage.com Awards Best New Musical Nominated [7]
Best Actor in a Musical Charlie Stemp Won
Best Actress in a Musical Devon Elise-Johnson Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Ian Bartholomew Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Emma Williams Won
Best Direction Rachel Kavanaugh Nominated
Best Choreography Andrew Wright Won
Best Costume Design Paul Brown Nominated
Laurence Olivier Awards Best Actor in a Musical Charlie Stemp Nominated [8]
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Ian Bartholomew Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Emma Williams Nominated


  1. ^ "Half a Sixpence to close in the West End this September". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  2. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Bryan Dick Departs Chichester's HALF A SIXPENCE; Will Remain with HOBSON'S CHOICE for West End Run". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Full casting announced for HALF A SIXPENCE - Chichester Festival Theatre". Chichester Festival Theatre. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Half a Sixpence to close in the West End this September". Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Half a Sixpence (2016 London Cast Recording) by Various Artists on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 19 November 2016.
  6. ^ "2016 BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards (UK / West End)". www.broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  7. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy. Whats On Stage Awards Nominations 2017 Whats On Stage, 1 December 2016
  8. ^ Bowie-Sell, Daisy (6 March 2017). "Full List of Olivier Award Nominees Announced". Whats On Stage.

External links[edit]