James Woolf & Edmund Jolliffe
When Chaplin was making his film City Lights in late twenties Hollywood, it was a project haunted by conflict, ill temper and bad luck. Leading lady Virginia Cherrill was sacked after being on the payroll for a year, only to be re-employed ten days later with a 100% increase in her salary.Playwright James Woolf took this as his inspiration to write a fictional musical about Hollywood hopefuls using the film of City Lights as a backdrop.
Woolf and composer Edmund Jolliffe began their collaboration in October 2000 since when earlier incarnations of the show have been seen in a fringe production and two other workshops. Benet Catty was brought on as the new director early in 2005 in time to stage two one-off performances.
These shows, which represented an abridged version of the complete show, were seen on the stage of the Old Vic as a Sunday night event and later at Jermyn St theatre in Piccadily for an industry matinee.
The showcases raised a substantial portion of the £25,000 target required to stage the production and plans were afoot for an off-west end production in 2006 until various rights issues caused the project to be shelved.