Theatre lovers all over the UK have been waiting in eager anticipation for Stephen Ward the Musical. They won’t have to wait much longer as the show is set to hit the stage in a couple of months. If you have heard of Mr. Ward himself then you are likely to have a little clue regarding what the musical is all about; that’s right – it covers the 1963 Profumo Affair. Ward was one of the central figures in this controversial political upheaval. The monumental occasion has gone down in history as it had a profound effect on the ruling Conservative government. However, instead of picking up a history book or taking to the internet you can find out all about this phenomenal story by taking a trip to the theatre!
So let’s delve a little bit deeper into the British scandal of 1963 for those who are unaware. The Profumo Affair is actually named after the Secretary of State of War at the time; John Profumo. The politician had an affair with Christine Keeler. This caused such a scandal because Keeler was alleged to be the mistress of a presumed Soviet spy. John Profumo was forced to resign because of this and his subsequent lying when questioned about the affair in the House of Commons. The reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s government was seriously compromised as a result.
But, what does this all have to do with Stephen Ward you may be wondering? Well, Ward was a long standing acquaintance of Christine Keeler. He was also a fashionable osteopath at the time and a well-known party organiser for the aristocratic kind. It was indeed at one of Ward’s parties whereby Keeler and Profumo first met. In fact, Christine Keeler was a showgirl and one of Ward’s protégées. They even lived together, yet their relationship was strictly platonic. Ward was arrested as part of the Profumo Affair fallout. His charges related to procuring prostitutes and knowingly living with prostitutes and earning money from this as well. His character was attacked immensely and thus on the night before the final trial day he took an overdose of sleeping tablets. He was found in a coma. The jury still proceeded with their verdict – guilty. However, the procuring charge was rejected. Nevertheless, Ward died three days after the verdict was given.
The story is undoubtedly a roller-coaster. It is filled with ups and downs. It covers an array of exciting themes; love, heartbreak, tragedy, betrayal, the world of the elite, prostitution and crime. But most importantly of all; it is a true tale – it follows something that has gone down in British history. The musical is assured to be engaging from the very offset. It is coming to London in December. So pick up your tickets before it is too late. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a book by Don Black, and lyrics from Christopher Hampton, you can be certain you are in for a treat. It is also directed by Richard Eyre and choreography is provided by Stephen Mear. Start off Christmas with a real bang by getting your hands on tickets for Stephen Ward the Musical.
Keira Rose is an experienced theatre reviewer. She writes for various online publications and reviews shows ranging from Stephen Ward to We Will Rock You to Mamma Mia!