History of the show

Early days

The show was originally planned as a school production by Theolyn and Will, but it soon became obvious that the idea had greater potential and they were subsequently joined by Will's brother Tim as script-writer.

Roll Over Jehovah! was originally conceived as a homage to the medieval mystery play, with a view to its being performed with a minimal set in a variety of settings. The only constraint was that there should be an elevated area on stage representing heaven, where Jehovah and Lucifer interacted, and a lower stage representing the human world.

The show was entered in Cameron Mackintosh's Quest For New Musicals in 1994, where it was selected as one of the top twenty out of over two hundred submissions. Unfortunately, the Quest ran out of funding and was discontinued before finding an outright winner, but the writers were sufficiently encouraged to seek the help of a producer.

In 1999, after reading the script and playing early song demos to a group of friends, the writers were introduced to Adrian Hilton, who offered to produce and direct the show commercially.

New End Theatre production (Autumn 2000)

Roll Over Jehovah! began a six-week run at The New End Theatre on 5th September 2000. The cast included two West End stars, Richard Swerrun (Joseph, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat), and Thor Kristensson (Jean Valjean, Les Miserables), with choreography by Wayne Sleep. Adrian Hilton enlisted excellent lighting and sound designers (Mike Robertson and Scott Myers) and did a creditable job of bringing an unusual show to the stage for the first time.

Download the New End programme (PDF)

Reviews were very good. But in the second week of the run London theatre was blighted by the fuel crisis, and audience figures across the city plummeted. Although ticket sales never picked up, and the production did not recoup initial expenditure, Adrian wanted to go for a second, bigger production. Unfortunately, that never came to pass and Adrian turned his attention elsewhere. He has since moved on to another career in academia.

The Second Coming (2025?)

That didn't stop us dreaming about another life for the show, and we continued to develop further material based on our experience with the New End production. Will's untimely death in 2021 paradoxically made the surviving authors even more determined that his fine work should have the chance to shine again. We have therefore put together a substantially rewritten version in the hope of reaching a new and wider audience.