As a freelance director Hugh Wooldridge has directed theatre and television
productions throughout Europe, Africa, Japan, Australia, Canada and the
United States: in England he has been a resident director with the
Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, the Thorndike Theatre, Leatherhead and
the Prospect Theatre Company at The Old Vic Theatre, London.
The Old Vic Company he directed the world premieres of the Graham Collier /
Malcolm Lowry Jazz Suite Under A Volcano and
The Undisput’d Monarch Of The English Stage with Gary Bond portraying
David Garrick: for the Royal Ballet he directed The World Of Giselle.
Other world premieres include the Charles Strouse opera, Nightingale, with
Sarah Brightman at the Buxton Opera Festival; Francis Wyndham’s
Abel And Cain (Haymarket, Leicester); the Donald Campbell / Robert Pettigrew
musical Blackfriars’ Wynd (Lyceum, Edinburgh); David Wood’s
There Was An Old Woman and Nutcracker Sweet (Haymarket, Leicester);
Mike Read’s musical about the life of Rupert Brooke, Young Apollo (Thorndike,
Leatherhead); Deborah Moggach’s Double Take (Minerva, Chichester) and the
British premieres of Richard Crane’s Decent Things (Bush Theatre, London)
and David Ives’s All In The Timing (Playhouse, Nottingham).
He directed and lit the original award-winning Jeeves Takes Charge at the
Lyric Hammersmith; the first productions of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and
T. S. Eliot Cats (Sydmonton Festival), and the Andrew Lloyd Webber / Don Black
song-cycle Tell Me On A Sunday with Marti Webb at the Royalty Theatre; also
Lloyd Webber’s Variations at the Royal Festival Hall (later combined
together to become Song And Dance) and Liz Robertson’s one-woman
show Just Liz compiled by Alan Jay Lerner at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London.
Whilst the Associate Head of Music for the ITV’s Television South (TVS),
he was responsible for many music and light entertainment programmes
including The A-Z of Music with Richard Stilgoe and his own Showcase series.
The latter featured, amongst others, Nigel Kennedy, Andrew Lloyd Webber,
Paul Jones, Benjamin Luxon, Rod Argent, Julian Lloyd Webber and
In 1987, for his own company The Jolly Good Production Company,
he co-produced with Liz Robertson and directed
An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London with
Placido Domingo and a host of stars which raised funds for Cancer Research
(available on CD). This event was remounted in March 1988 at the Opera House,
Manchester with Richard Harris.
In October 1989, he wrote and directed An Evening With Alan Jay Lerner at
the New York State Theatre, Lincoln Center starring Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli,
Robert Goulet, Sally Ann Howes, Rudolph Nureyev, Leonard Bernstein and many others.
Subsequently he has been responsible for numerous, major, fund-raising
events including The Night of 1000 Voices, originally a Gala Concert celebrating
the centenary of NODA and now an annual event at the Royal Albert Hall,
London; DANCEPOWER, a celebration of World Dance for the Red Cross at the
London Palladium; Comedy Tonight with the leading UK comic artistes at the
Royal National Theatre for The Roy Kinnear Trust; Around The World at
the Royal Albert Hall, London with Elaine Paige and Michael Flatley and his
then, newly-formed, Riverdance, for The Royal National Institute for the Blind;
the 125th anniversary of the Red Cross with Shirley Bassey; the
Ira Gershwin Centenary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall, London in aid of
Mencap - Who Could Ask For Anything More?; and more recently in New York
the inaugural Bernard Jacobs Award For Excellence In Theatre which was
presented to James Nederlander.
Other diverse theatre productions have included the European premiere of U.S.
playwright Dennis McIntyre’s Split Second at the Lyric Hammersmith; two multi-media
productions of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (Plymouth, Liverpool and U.K. Tour);
the first major revival of Howard Barker’s Claw (repeated with the Final Year 2005
students at RADA); a U.K. tour of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter; his own
Musicals’ Revue The Ones That Got Away at the Almeida Theatre and the
Barbican Centre (where it was featured as part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival);
The Fabulous Singlettes at the Comedy Theatre; the annual spectacular concert
performances of Jesus Christ Superstar introduced by Sir Tim Rice at the
Barbican Centre, London; the European Tour of The Rocky Horror Show starring
Clive Carter and Anita Dobson; and, as UK Associate, the long-running West End
production of Jerry Zaks’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe (the Prince of Wales Theatre).
His most recent productions have been An Evening With Tim Rice (Henley Festival
and Holder’s Festival, Barbados introduced by Tim Rice); the Variety Club stellar
tribute to lyricist Don Black; a celebration of 350 years of Jewish Music with Michael Ball,
Maria Friedman and Michel Legrand (the new Roundhouse); the workshop production
of the screenplay of the Andrew Lloyd Webber movie, The Phantom Of The Opera; the live,
stadium-event, version of BBC TV’s Robot Wars also a full-scale revival of the Rice /
Lloyd Webber musical Evita featuring a cast of 125 (Grand Theatre, Leeds).
An international Millennium Musicals’ Celebration for the
Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchester (Gasteig, Munich); the UK Tour of the Rodgers and
Hammerstein revue, Something Wonderful; Noël Coward, The Centenary Celebration
(Savoy Theatre, London); a major revival of Peer Gynt for Orchestra, Chorale,
Dancers and Acting Company in Chicago (the first such production since 1876);
Sondheim Tonight, a gala celebration of the music of Stephen Sondheim
(Barbican Centre); The Royal Anniversary Gala celebrating the 50th Wedding
Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Philip
(Royal Festival Hall); Jack In Review for Sir Cameron Mackintosh (London Palladium);
the all-star Gala, BAM Salutes Sondheim at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in
New York; The Richard Rodgers Awards and The 50th Anniversary Gala Concert
for the Civic Light Opera in Pittsburgh celebrating the talents of Mary Martin,
Julie Andrews, Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince and Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber;
the international Gala Concert For Hal Prince starring Len Cariou in Munich,
Germany (also available on CD); and two all-star revivals of Rebecca for
the Du Maurier Estate.
Hugh Wooldridge created and directed the original production of
The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber (also seen in the Prince Edward Theatre,
London and the London Palladium; and the Irish, North American and Scandinavian
productions); the U.K. Tour of The Magic Of The Musicals starring Marti Webb
(also seen at the London Palladium); the 20th Anniversary Tour of
Jesus Christ Superstar – In Concert starring the original Jesus, Paul Nicholas,
in England and two full scale, American productions of Jesus Christ Superstar
which have toured throughout Europe; and the 150th Anniversary celebrations
of Thomas Cook Ltd in the presence of the late Princess of Wales.
Hugh Wooldridge created SEASONS, a spectacular work for the percussionist
Evelyn Glennie which features words specially written by Christopher Fry spoken
by Dame Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Robert Powell and Imogen Stubbs. This work
was also performed by Denmark’s the Safri Duo at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
He wrote the format for, and was the Creative Consultant to, BBC’s
His production of his own Alan Jay Lerner revue, The Night They Invented Champagne was seen in Cape Town and Johannesburg; and the UK production re-titled Almost Like Being In Love completed a season at the Royal National Theatre, London with Sian Phillips, John Standing, Clive Carter, Anita Dobson and Anna Francolini; most recently he adapted and directed Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Josh Groban, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow (available on DVD and double CD). This was aired by PBS in the US
and internationally in Spring 2009; in London and the UK, Chess in Concert was the
first musical theatre concert to be shown in mainstream cinemas.
In May 2010, he devised and directed the 10th Anniversary production of The Night of 1000 Voices featuring Kerry Ellis, Philip Quast, Adam Pascal and the Queen composer and guitarist, Brian May (www.thenightof1000voices.com). This was repeated in 2012 introduced by Hugh Bonneville.
In 2010/12 he directed the Bill Kenwright/UK Tours of The Haunting by Charles Dickens adapted by Hugh Janes with Paul Nicholas, Sean Maguire and Charlie Clements, subsequently with David Robb and James Roache; the 21st Anniversary production of his The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber for the University of Oklahoma, and ANTHEMS: The Concert with Kerry Ellis, Brian May, Adam Pascal and Escala at the Royal Albert Hall which won the Whatsonstage.com Jo Hutchinson International Award for Best Solo Performance.
Most recently at the Royal Albert Hall he has directed the all-star version of the Jeremy Lloyd / Jim Parker classic, The Wonderful World of Captain Beaky and his Band, for UNICEF with Sir Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, Joanna Lumley, Alan Titchmarsh, Hugh Bonneville, the National Youth Ballet and many others and Seasons of Love for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research – a celebration of the Calendar Girls with John Alderton, Lynda Bellingham, Janie Dee, Patrick Doyle, Patricia Hodge, Tim Firth, Sue Holderness, Celia Imrie, Lesley Joseph, Willy Russell, Christopher Timothy, Stephen Tompkinson, Stilgoe & Skellern, Julie Walters and many more…
Between 2010 and 2012, Hugh Wooldridge was the Beatrice Carr and Ray Wallace Visiting Professor at the A. Max Weitzenhoffer College of Fine Arts based at the University of Oklahoma.
Hugh Wooldridge is a member of The Dramatists’ Guild (U.S.) and The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (U.S.), and The Directors’ Guild of Great Britain (U.K.).
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