Warner Brown works with equal ease on both sides of the Atlantic. His work in straight plays and musical theatre encompasses everything from the traditional form to the radical avant garde. With Broadway legend Michael Feinstein, he has been commissioned by MGM to write the stage musical of The Thomas Crown Affair and his musical The Gold Room, also written with Feinstein, is scheduled for UK production in 2015. It was recently workshopped in New York City with Tony-winner Victoria Clark and Jonathan Groff from ‘Glee’.
Warner has been commissioned to write the screenplay for the Bill Kenwright Films motion picture A Minute To Midnight.
For BBC Worldwide, Warner wrote the arena show Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular, creating an entirely new genre of theatrical presentation. His work on this has won many international awards, including the Billboard Magazine Creative Content Award. Two companies are currently touring internationally – playing in venues from Madison Square Garden to the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai – making it ‘the most popular family show of all time’. An episode of CSI: Las Vegaswas based upon the show and it has even earned the ultimate honour of being parodied on The Simpsons. Warner is artistic consultant to the new arena production Where’s Waldo?
Warner has been commissioned to write the libretto to the operaThe Director’s Cut, with Joshua Schmidt, composer of Adding Machine and A Minister’s Wife, and, with director Jonathan Butterell, he is currently developing the new musical Elsie de Wolfe Isn’t Dead, co-written with Gwyneth Herbert. With composer Jenny Giering, he is developing the platform musicalThe Collector for Haydn Gwynne and with composer Michael Reed he has written the musical The Deal, about incidents in the life of Vaslav Nijinsky. The Cole Porter Trusts granted Warner stage rights to the songs of Cole Porter for his dark original musical The Black and White Ball, which opened in London. Warner has just completed the new musical The Truth About Light, written with Jimmy Roberts, composer of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
Warner has also written a number of plays, including Laughing Dove, Wavelength and The Prospero Suite, directed by John Doyle. He has worked extensively in Europe, beginning withMusical Of The Year – starring the unlikely combination of Sir Peter Ustinov and Al Jarreau – and directed by Julia McKenzie. His most recent European musical, Garbo – The Musical, received its world premiere at Oscarsteatern in Stockholm, Sweden. For this he wrote book and lyrics, with music by ‘Meatloaf’ rock legend Jim Steinman.
Warner’s musical Flickers premiered at Broadway’s Circle-In-The Square Theater. For Gillian Lynne, and at the request of Diana, Princess Of Wales, he wrote Dance For Life at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre, starring international dance legends Darcy Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov, with Sir Derek Jacobi and Moira Shearer. He was Script Consultant for a number of televised Royal Variety Performances, in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen.
Warner has extensive writing credits for the BBC and was Script Associate of the BBC Classic Musicals Series, for which he adapted fourteen musicals and directed such artists as Anthony Newley, Tyne Daley, Barbara Cook, Julia Migenes and Steven Berkoff. He has music publishing deals with Warner/Chappell Music, Josef Weinberger and Samuel French for a number of his musical theatre works.
Warner began his London career by having two works open within two weeks of each other: the political study Scandal and the musical The Biograph Girl, written with Irma la Doucecomposer/lyricist David Heneker. The Biograph Girl went on to play worldwide and, in a centenary tribute to Mr Heneker, Warner was commissioned to write a new version of the classic Heneker/Cross musical Half A Sixpence. This went out on a year-long UK national tour, produced by Bill Kenwright, starring Gary Wilmot.
Further work in London includes Six For Gold, a critically-acclaimed series of six one-act musical plays performed over a two-night cycle; his new version of Cinderella at the London Palladium; the ‘musical noir’ Tallulah For A Day, starring Marti Webb; and the revue Sleep With Friends, starring Janie Dee. His ‘musical noir’ The House On The Corner was reviewed as ‘the class act’ of the Edinburgh International Festival and David Heneker and Warner Brown were the subjects of the BBC 2 TV documentary The Making Of A Musical, with Ian Carmichael.
In October 2012 Warner inaugurated The Sidney Brown Memorial Award in honour of his late father. The Award is judged by a panel of industry luminaries and goes to the best new unproduced musical of the year. It was presented by Michael Ball. In 2013 the Award was re-named The S&S Award, now in honour of both his late parents, and was presented at a special gala at the St James Theatre by Don Black.