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Present Company will make their latest visit to Derby Theatre on Friday and Saturday (February 7-8) when they perform Franz Lehar’s sparkling operetta The Merry Widow.

Lehar’s tale of romantic intrigues in a Paris Embassy in the Naughty Nineties remains one of the most popular operettas ever written.

First performed in Vienna in 1905, The Merry Widow was an immediate success, playing throughout Europe, the United States and, ultimately, the entire world. For over 100 years, the three-act operetta has broken box office records and delighted audiences wherever it has been played. It has been turned into films, television features, a full length ballet and even an ice show, while its songs, like Vilia, You’ll Find Me At Maxim’s and The Merry Widow Waltz, have become classic favourites featuring in recordings by countless artists. Its overture is probably the most often played piece of music on Classic FM.

Present Company are pulling out all the stops to make Lehar’s well loved vintage operetta one of their most glittering shows. This timeless musical includes some spectacular dance routines too - the Can-Can of course, and the show-stopping Grisettes’ Cake Walk. The show is remarkable for its dance routines for the gentlemen too, like the well-loved Women! Women! Women!, which always deserves the two encores included for it in the score.

No less than 37 enthusiastic and talented performers appear on stage, including Sarah and Richard Potts, Mike Spriggs, Andrew Lockwood and Judith Hanson. This strong principal line-up is matched by a formidable production team led by Jean Gemmell, with orchestra under the baton of Morris Fisher.

Jean Gemmell said: “It’s a delightful work to do. It’s the most popular of all operettas, simply because the music is so wonderful and the settings are so lavish.”

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“The first act is set in an embassy ballroom with all the men in white ties and tails or military uniforms and the ladies in ball gowns. The second is a party in a garden with everyone in Pontevedrian national costume; and the third act is set as Maxim’s nightclub in Paris, where half a dozen chorus girls dance the can-can.”

She added: “The costumes are wonderful; the music marvellous. We’re confident we’re going have a very merry run at Derby Theatre.”

The evening shows start at 7.30pm and there will be an additional Saturday matinee from 2.30pm.

Call the box office on 01332 593939 or go online at www.derbytheatre.co.uk