Top Islington theatre to stage lost musical by great American composer Cole Porter

13:16 17 August 2012

John Savident as the Magician in Aladdin. Photo by Matt Martin Photography.

John Savident as the Magician in Aladdin. Photo by Matt Martin Photography.


The historic stage premiere of the last musical written by one of America’s greatest composers will be hosted at a top Islington theatre this week.

Cole Porter’s long-forgotten work Aladdin was written in 1958 but has never before been seen in the theatre.

It was performed just once, for a US television special that was broadcast live but not recorded.

Now it is being revived at Sadler’s Wells in Rosebery Avenue by one of the UK’s foremost experts on the musical theatre of the period.

Director and producer Ian Marshall Fisher, who runs the Lost Musicals project, said: “This will be a huge historical moment and an important moment in theatre.

“It’s the last show he ever wrote. It was commissioned because Rodgers and Hammerstein had got 100 million viewers with a live special that caused a power surge in the US.

“The CBS television network wanted to repeat the trick and they called on Porter. It was quite an event – millions of people tuned in to see this live spectacle.

“It was the thing that was going to make everyone stand still, just like the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. It was exactly the same sort of thing.”

The musical, a collaboration between Porter and the famous US writer and humorist S J Perelman, opens on Sunday at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio.

It stars John Savident, most famous for playing Fred Elliot in Coronation Street for more than a decade, as the magician. The cast of the original CBS broadcast included British actor Basil Rathbone.

Although he lived until 1964, aged 73, Cole Porter never wrote another lyric or note of music after Aladdin.

It has remained buried ever since, but Mr Marshall Fisher believes it deserves to be recognised as a great work alongside his other musicals such as Kiss Me, Kate.

“It’s got beautiful Cole Porter melodies and his smart wit and there’s no question it deserves a place up there in the canon,” he said.

Aladdin opens on Sunday, with performances until September 2.


Latest Islington News Stories


Lorries are set to be banned from using Tufnell Park Road in response to the utter chaos brought on by the last-minute closure of Holloway Road.


Islington social entrepreneur Jay Stewart’s work has been recognised in a national competition. Jon King meets the CEO of Gendered Intelligence in Pentonville Road.


Every week, we take to the streets to unearth something being manufactured or produced right here in Islington. This week, we found a small cafe that has a vegan-friendly chocolate brunch menu...


A man was rushed to hospital after being found by police lying in a Newington Green road early this morning.

An Islington writer has performed his poem Swan in every London pub that shares its name – whether he has permission to or not.

Two teachers in their 40s were savagely attacked without warning in a King’s Cross pub – leaving one with permanent eye damage.

Yesterday, 13:00

A bloodsoaked man stumbled into a supermarket this morning after the fourth stabbing in Dalston in the space of nine days.

Yesterday, 12:13

The teenager arrested by armed police in Holloway Road on Friday over an “explosive device” has been remanded in custody until next month.

Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now