Mark Bramble

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b. 7 December 1950, Maryland, USA. A librettist and director for the musical theatre, Bramble was raised on his parents’ farm in Maryland. The retired actress Tallulah Bankhead was a neighbour and family…
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b. 7 December 1950, Maryland, USA. A librettist and director for the musical theatre, Bramble was raised on his parents’ farm in Maryland. The retired actress Tallulah Bankhead was a neighbour and family friend, and she was instrumental in young Bramble being offered a job in the offices of New York impresario David Merrick. After four years of invaluable work experience, he left and began the long haul of writing shows - and persuading someone to produce them. He began his two major works in the early 70s, but they had to wait. After working off-off-Broadway and in the regional theatre in the mid- to late 70s, he collaborated with veteran librettist and lyricist Michael Stewart on the book for The Grand Tour, a show that was based on Franz Werfel’s play Jacobowsky And The Colonel, and played for 61 performances at the Palace Theatre on Broadway early in 1979. He worked with Stewart again for the 1980 off-Broadway production of Elizabeth And Essex, adapted from Maxwell Anderson’s Elizabeth And The Queen. Bramble’s big breakthrough came in April 1980, when the first of those two previously mentioned early works, Barnum, for which he had written the book, opened at the St. James Theatre in New York, and ran for 854 performances. There was more to come in August of that same year, when a stage version of the 30s’ much loved movie musical, 42nd Street, with a Stewart-Bramble libretto, began its run of 3, 486 performances at the Winter Garden. After this great success, the remainder of the 80s was not so fruitful. In 1983, his revised version of The Three Musketeers, which was also his first show as a director, folded after only eight performances. This bitter disappointment, and the experience of being badly mugged on a New York street, persuaded him to relocate to London in 1985. Since then his projects have included Fat Pig (1987, Leicester Haymarket), an adaptation of Jérome Savary’s Paris production of a musical based on Colin McNaughton’s children’s book, involving, like Barnum, circus tricks and acrobats, and Notre Dame (1991, Old Fire Station, Oxford), a musical based on Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame De Paris. In 1992, Bramble wrote and directed Someone Else’s Rainbow, a one-woman show about Judy Garland, starring Elaine Loudon, which was presented for the benefit of London Lighthouse. He also spends a great deal of his time overseeing and directing productions of Barnum and 42nd Street around the world.