March 2023 may be defined for some as the month where Humza Yousaf was elected, or Gary Lineker was briefly suspended by the BBC, but for many it was a crucial month for pop culture and for the future of the (off) West End.
First, we have to go back to 2016.
Many events happened in the world in 2016, but perhaps the most influential phenomenon of the whole year was when Terry Sanderson crashed into Academy Award winner, intrepid entrepreneur, former (consciously uncoupled) London resident Gwyneth Paltrow on the ski slopes of Utah.
Although the crash itself occurred in 2016, the resulting trial and damage settlement suit ended on March 30th, 2023.
It was a settlement that changed the course of skiers everywhere, and also the stages of London’s musical theatre scene.
Here’s what happened:
Dr Terry Sanderson, optometrist and liar, alleged that Paltrow had crashed into him while skiing, causing him to suffer from a brain injury, and several broken bones.
He claimed that the injuries affected his career, and, far worse, meant that he could no longer enjoy wine tastings.
Paltrow, who wished to remain maligned solely for her scented candles and not her skiing abilities, countersued for one dollar claiming that Sanderson crashed into her and only pursued a suit once he realised that he could get a hefty settlement out of suing the yonic egg aficionado.
The suit came down to who was uphill when the crash took place, as skiing right of way laws give priority to the downhill skier.
So, whoever was uphill was responsible for the crash. After a long arduous trial of watching people ski, the jury returned to find Sanderson at fault for the crash.
Why does it matter:
In a West End world that’s been defined in recent years by musical versions of old intellectual property and reruns of the same tired shows, the Gwyneth Goes Skiing announcement was a breath of fresh mountain air for musical comedy lovers.
It has music from genuinely critically acclaimed producer Leland, who has written for pop stars such as Troye Sivan and Charli XCX, and stars from the musical comedy hit Diana the Untold and Untrue Story.
Its December run sold out, and they have announced another run from January 30th to February 16th at the Pleasance Theatre.