A musical play. Book, music & lyrics by David Wood.
Since its first production, at the Towngate Theatre, Basildon in 1976, THE GINGERBREAD MAN has become an internationally successful musical play for children, as well as something of a classic in Great Britain.
The first London season was presented by Cameron Mackintosh and David Wood in 1977 at the Old Vic.
It returned the following year. There have since been a dozen West End seasons, including two at Sadler’s Wells, and the play has toured nationally several times.
Well known actors who have appeared in the play include Bernard Cribbins, Peter Duncan, Imelda Staunton, Clive Dunn, Ronnie Stevens, Kevin Whateley and Ken Stott.
The play has been performed by most British repertory companies. Abroad, productions have been mounted in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Finland, Sweden (at the National Theatre – the Dramaten) and Switzerland.
In West Germany it has become one of the most popular children’s shows ever.
In Japan, the play toured in repertoire for many years. David Wood’s own production has recently been seen in Troy (in Upstate New York) and Dubai.
The 25th anniversary production took place at the Norden Farm Arts Centre, Maidenhead for Christmas 2001/2.
There have been two storybook versions of THE GINGERBREAD MAN, as well as a cassette version, narrated by Bernard Cribbins.
Thirteen episodes of a model animation series based on the play have been seen on television and home video.
The Whirligig Theatre production of the play was televised by Channel 4.
David Wood writes: Of all my plays, this has proved the most popular. For nearly thirty years it has played in theatres large and small all over the world, and never seems to date.
I have directed it myself on more than a dozen occasions, on Susie Caulcutt’s brilliant set, with Sheila Falconer’s inventive choreography and Peter Pontzen’s delightful musical arrangements.
The play takes place on an antique kitchen dresser. The Gingerbread Man, newly baked by the Big Ones, meets Salt, Pepper and Herr Von Cuckoo, who lives in the cuckoo-clock.
He has a sore throat which is ruining his “cuckoos”, thus threatening to land him in the dreaded dustbin.
The Gingerbread Man’s efforts to help Cuckoo’s sore throat are hampered by the villainous scavenger Sleek the Mouse and by The Old Bag – an old tea-bag who lives in the tea pot on the top shelf.
There is lots of constructive audience participation, humour, action and songs.
The play has a cast of six, two female and four male.
“Theatre at its best” Jack Tinker, Daily Mail “Worth travelling miles to see” BBC Kaleidoscope “The perfect children’s play”
“How the children loved it. It was clear they were not merely engrossed with the goings-on on stage, but in many cases almost beside themselves with excitement … a superb success.”
“No one knows better than David Wood how to excite a child’s interest and imagination and not for nothing has he earned the title of ‘the National Children’s Dramatist’, a title fully deserved on the evidence of his GINGERBREAD MAN … rapturously welcomed by a large and vociferous audience of youngsters… for two hours of sheer enchantment this show would be hard to beat.”
Aberdeen Press and Journal
“…splendid … the company succeed in stirring the loudest audience participation I have ever heard and, much more remarkable, commanding the most absolute breath holding silences.”
The play and piano/vocal score are published by Samuel French Ltd. First Class Professional & Foreign Rights : Casarotto Ramsay Ltd. UK Repertory Rights : Samuel French Ltd. UK Amateur Rights : Samuel French Ltd. The play is included in David Wood : Plays One (Methuen) US Stock and Amateur Rights: Samuel French Inc.