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Allan Knee’s award-winning play Syncopation arrives in London this Spring

Syncopation photo

The Bridewell Theatre is set to host the ballroom-inspired play Syncopation this Spring.

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Renowned for the musical Little Women and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan, Allan Knee brings his comedic drama to London from 14 March – 13 April 2024.

Set in New York in 1912, Syncopation narrates the story of two individuals finding themselves and their rhythm in life through dance. It’s a touching and humorous narrative about personal discovery and dancing to one’s own tune.

Inspired by ballroom legends Irene and Vernon Castle, who shaped modern ballroom dancing and were depicted by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in cinema, the story revolves around Henry Ribolow, a meatpacker, and Anna Bianchi, a seamstress. They decide to pursue fame as ballroom dancers in pre-war New York. Anna, responding to Henry’s newspaper advertisement, gets swept up in the liberating and passionate world of dance. The backdrop is a New York brimming with revolutionary ideas, pulsating with the rhythms of the city and Ragtime music.

Manilla Street Productions presents this special rendition of Syncopation for the London stage, complete with a handpicked Ragtime and jazz soundtrack. The score features timeless classics such as By the Light of the Silvery Moon and Little Brown Jug, along with Scott Joplin’s Elite Syncopations and Irving Berlin’s Always.

Leading the cast are West End and Broadway stars Devon-Elise Johnson (Mamma Mia!, Half a Sixpence, Titanic the Musical) and Jye Frasca (Wicked, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins), playing Anna and Henry.

Karen Jemison directs the play, with choreography by Jenny Thomson, renowned for her work on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC), So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), and Dancing with the Stars (ABC).

Director Karen Jemison said: “Syncopation has everything you could want in a play and more – wonderful Ragtime music, a touching comic drama with two highly engaging characters and lots of ballroom dancing! There are not many plays featuring ballroom dancing and this unique piece of theatre is a perfect fit for London. I think audiences will be blown away by the talents of this cast and the beautiful writing of Allan Knee.”

For more information and tickets, visit sbf.org.uk/whats-on/view/syncopation

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About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.