Mention the name Tim Rice to theatre fans and musical geeks and the words Andrew, Lloyd and Webber usually follow. Not so these days - Rice and Lloyd-Webber are two separate entities with the latter recently occupied by his revisit of Jesus Christ Superstar and its accompanying TV series Superstar.
Lyricist Rice has been taking things back to basics for the past year or so - he's been busy creating a new musical for the West End, something that has been exciting fans since it was first reported last year. The chosen story isn't a subtle one - From Here to Eternity is based upon the novel of the same name by James Jones, later adapted into a 1953 film starring Burt Lancaster, Frank Sinatra and Deborah Kerr. For its time, the original novel was as racy as Fifty Shades of Grey and had to be cleaned up before being submitted for the silver-screen.
Homosexuality, gritty nightlife, sex on the beach, adultery and a bit more sex makes for standard viewing these days but in the '50s, no way. Although the storyline, about US soldiers stationed in Hawaii just prior to the Pearl Harbour bombing, might appear as rugged as any other action plot, Jones' original book contains enough salty situations to steer most West End lyricists away from trouble - Rice has promised to stay true to the book.
Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End will present the new Tim Rice version, with Tamara Harvey directing and new music from Stuart Brayson with the first preview shows planned for 30th September onwards. The run is intended to continue until 26th April 2014.
Tickets on sale now - demand will be huge - it's Rice's first new lyrical exploits since 2002.