20 May 2013
BREAKING NEWS: The UK’s biggest theatre owner, Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), has bought Foxwoods Theatre in New York.
ATG has acquired the Broadway venue from Live Nation Entertainment, following their 2009 deal to acquire 16 of Live Nation’s UK venues.
The 2,000 seater Foxwoods Theatre on Times Square is currently home to Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.
The purchase, which makes it the 40th theatre in ATG’s rapidly expanding portfolio, heralds a new international expansion for the group, with plans to acquire further venues in North America, Australia and Asia.
The move is a logical step for ATG, which already has a near monopoly on UK venues, to help drive growth for the company through international expansion. It also fits with ATG’s continuing push to produce its own theatre to stage and tour in its venues, including an on-going strategy to license Broadway IP such as Spamalot, Legally Blonde The Musical and 9 to 5 The Musical.
Their recent Broadway productions include The Mountaintop with Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett, Exit the King starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon and John Doyle’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Through their association with Sonia Friedman Productions they have co-produced The Book of Mormon, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Jerusalem.
Howard Panter, who with wife Rosemary Squire is co-CEO of ATG, said: “It is no secret that we at ATG have been looking to expand our impressive portfolio of UK theatres, by making acquisitions and alliances in strategic markets around the world. We have been waiting for the right opportunity and The Foxwoods Theatre is a perfect match for our ambitions.”
The acquisition of Foxwoods is an important step-change for ATG and sends a clear signal to the Broadway industry that they are serious players, both in terms of theatre production and ownership.
It may also fuel speculation that one of Broadway’s biggest shows, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, may soon find itself a London home in an ATG venue. Last month the original director of the show, Julie Taymor, finally settled her suit again the producers of the show for unpaid royalties and copyright claim. It is widely believed that this now paves the way for producers to open the show in the West End.
17 May 2013
Hattie Morahan stars as Nora in a West End transfer of the Young Vic’s acclaimed production of Ibsen’s classic A Doll’s House.
Directed by Carrie Cracknell, the critically acclaimed Young Vic production of A Doll’s House is running at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited 12 week run (8 August to 26 October 2013).
Hattie Morahan reprises her Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle award-winning role as Nora Helmer, with Dominic Rowan as Torvald, Nick Fletcher as Nils Krogstad and Steve Toussaint as Doctor Rank.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘If you ever see a production of the play, see this one… Hattie Morahan’s Nora is a once-in-a-lifetime performance.’
The Sunday Telegraph
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
‘An intense emotional thriller…Ian MacNeil’s set is like a spinning doll’s house come to life…Hattie Morahan’s Nora offers a piercing study in desperation.’
★ ★ ★ ★
‘Ferociously raw and palpably radical…Hattie Morahan is instantly enthralling.’
Independent on Sunday
★ ★ ★ ★
‘A sexy, passionate interpretation of Ibsen, potent and emotionally truthful.’
★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★
‘A riveting production of Ibsen’s classic led by a vivid, moving performance from Hattie Morahan.’
★ ★ ★ ★
‘There is so much to admire in this marvellous production… terrific.’
★ ★ ★ ★
‘Hattie Morahan is wonderfully luminous… Ian McNeil’s set is exquisite… warmly recommended.’
‘A bravura performance that elevates Morahan to the front rank of British actors.’
Theatre: Duke of York’s Theatre
16 May 2013
VIDEO: Cameron Mackintosh commissions Les Mis mural for the Queen’s Theatre
Producer Cameron Mackintosh has commissioned a new mural for the side of the Queen’s Theatre in London – home to his blockbuster show Les Miserables.
The Queen’s Theatre is part of his Delfont Mackintosh theatre group, and in a bid to brighten up the side of the theatre on Wardour Street, he has commissioned artist Martin Jarvis to create a Les Miserables mural.
The mural is also to celebrate the fabulous 12 months that the show has enjoyed including the audience and critical success of the movie version of the show starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.
Watch a video of the making of the mural below.
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Noel Coward’s Relative Values West End bound with Patricia Hodge, Rory Bremner and Caroline Quentin?
West End transfer gossip
Trevor Nunn directs a new production of Noel Coward’s Relative Values at the Theatre Royal Bath this summer (from 12 June 2013).
In a starry cast that features Katherine Kingsley, Patricia Hodge, Rory Bremner and Caroline Quentin, the rumours are that the play may be West End bound.
One of Noël Coward’s most successful comedies, Relative Values in set in the early 1950s and deals with the culture clash between the glittering world of Hollywood and the stiff upper lip of the English aristocracy.
The National Theatre’s acclaimed political play This House is to transfer into the West End this Autumn for a 16 week season. James Graham’s hit play This House will run at the Aldwych Theatre from September 2013.
The critical and audience hit about the phoney war between Labour and Tory whips in 1974, which sees both sides become embroiled in a war of attrition.
The cast will include players from the National Theatre production including Julian Wadham, Phil Daniels and Reece Dinsale.
1974. The UK faces economic crisis and a hung parliament. In a culture hostile to cooperation, it’s a period when votes are won or lost by one, when there are fist fights in the bars and when sick MPs are carried through the lobby to register their vote.
Set in the engine rooms of Westminster, James Graham’s This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes: the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.
Theatre: Aldwych Theatre
Dirty Dancing is back in the West End, as the smash-hit musical arrives at the Piccadilly Theatre in London from 13 July 2013.
Based on the movie starring Patrick Swayze, Dirty Dancing is currently on a hugely successful national tour before heading back into the West End for a strictly limited season.
Written by Eleanor Bergstein, script writer of the original movie, the production features all the much-loved characters and original dialogue from the iconic film with exciting extra scenes added in.
The tantalising dance sequences and brand new choreography come alive on stage, set to all the hits from the unforgettable soundtrack, including ‘Do You Love Me?’, ‘Hungry Eyes’ and the Academy Award Winning ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’, plus many additional songs, making the show a truly extraordinary live experience.
It’s the summer of 1963, and 17 year old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is about to learn some major lessons in life as well as a thing or two about dancing.
On holiday in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents, ‘Baby’ shows little interest in the resort activities, and instead discovers her own entertainment when she stumbles upon the staff quarters when an all-night dance party is in full swing. Mesmerised by the raunchy dances move and the pounding rhythms,’Baby’ can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle the resort dance instructor.
‘Baby’s’ life is about to change forever as she is thrown in at the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady both on-stage and off with breathtaking consequences.
Theatre: Piccadilly Theatre
2 May 2013
Viva Forever!, the musical based on the music of the Spice Girls, has posted closing notices at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.
Judy Craymer, the producer of Viva Forever!, has announced that the show is to close at the Piccadilly Theatre on 29 June, 2013. The musical opened six months ago in December 2012.
In a particularly honest press statement Craymer, who is also the producer of Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre, said that it was with, “a heavy heart that we’ve had to make this very difficult decision to post closing notices”.
The show opened with mixed reviews from critics, and has undergone a number of changes to make it lighter and funnier, but that, “despite the wonderful audiences and extremely positive feedback we just can’t make it work”, she said.
Craymer went on to say that, “I’m so proud of everyone involved in this production. Viva Forever! may be taking it’s leave for now in the West End but the legacy of Spice Girls will never fade.”
Featuring 16 of the Spice Girls’ greatest hits, the team behind the worldwide smash-hit musical Mamma Mia! have produced the show, written by Ab Fab’s Jennifer Saunders.
Viva Forever! follows the highs and lows of a mother and daughter as they work their way through a TV reality singing contest, with the show set against the songs of the Spice Girls.
Directed by Paul Garrington and featuring a book by Jennifer Saunders, the cast includes Sally Ann Triplett, Hannah John-Kamen, Bill Ward, Sally Dexter, Lucy Montgomery, Simon Slater, Tamara Wall, Siobhan Athwal, Lucy Phelps and Dominique Provost-Chalkley.
The musical would have faced stiff competition from a forthcoming Harry Hill penned show, X Factor – It’s Time To Face The Musical!, that has the backing of Simon Cowell and will open in the West End next year.
Save up to 38% on tickets to see Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.
28 April 2013
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time scoops 7 awards at this year’s Olivier Awards.
At a glamorous event at the Royal Opera House in London, the Society of London Theatre’s annual Olivier Awards were held this evening, Sunday 28 April 2013, hosted by Sheridan Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
The show of the night was undoubtedly the National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, which is now playing at the Apollo Theatre in London. The show, based on Mark Haddon’s acclaimed novel, won 7 awards including best new play, best director for Marianne Elliot, best actor for Luke Treadaway and best supporting actress for Nicola Walker. The show equaled that of last year’s big winner, Matilda the Musical.
The leading musicals of the night were Chichester Festival Theatre’s Sweeney Todd and Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre, which both won 3 awards. Sweeney Todd won best musical revival, best actor in a musical for Michael Ball and best actress in a musical for Imelda Staunton, and Top Hat scooped best new musical, best theatre choreographer for Bill Deamer and best costume design for Jon Morrell.
Helen Mirren won a best actress award for her role as The Queen in Peter Morgan’s play The Audience at the Gielgud Theatre, alongside her co-star Richard McCabe, who won best supporting actor.
Billy Elliot The Musical won the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award, voted for by members of the theatregoing public. Other awards included Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre to the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court for its Season of New Writing, Best Revival for A Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Apollo Theatre, Best Entertainment and Family for Goodnight Mr Tom at the Phoenix Theatre and Leigh Zimmerman won Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her role in A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.
Playwright Michael Frayn and dancer and choreographer Gillian Lynne were presented with Special Awards at the event. Roger Allam gave Michael Frayn his award, and David Suchet and Michael Crawford presented Gillian Lynne with her Special Award.
Live musical performers included Matthew Morrison, Idina Menzel, Michael Ball, Tim Minchin, Sheridan Smith and Petula Clark, with the casts of Cabaret, A Chorus Line, The Bodyguard and Top Hat included in the night.
28 April 2013
Billy Elliot The Musical has won the Audience Award at this year’s Olivier Awards.
After being nominated for the last 3 years, the musical has finally won the public vote at this year’s Olivier Awards.
On a stage in Covent Garden’s piazza on Sunday 28 April, host Sheridan Smith and BBC Radio 2 presenter Elaine Paige presented the award to the show, followed by a performance by Tade Biesinger from Billy Elliot.
65,000 votes were cast by members of the theatregoing public for the Audience Award, with Matilda The Musical, The Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked in competition for the award.
22 April 2013
The Sunday Times has published its annual Rich List of the UK’s wealthiest people. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013, the Rich List is the definitive guide to the wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland.
Based on this year’s Rich List, we’ve put together the richest movers and shakers in the West End Theatre industry, including producers and theatre owners, musicians and writers.
|£825m||UP £100m||Cameron has had a good year with the movie version of Les Miserables proving a critical and box-office success, and giving a boost to the London show. Les Mis wlil also make a return to Broadway in 2014. His new production of Barnum playing at Chichester this summer is expected to transfer into the West End. Also expect more movie musicals.|
Andrew Lloyd Webber
|£620m||UP £30m||The Phantom of the Opera continues to do good business for Lloyd Webber with the West End and Broadway productions still running, and Tokyo, Budapest, Hamburg and UK and US tours bringing in money. Last year’s Evita on Broadway starring Ricky Martin did well, as did the UK arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar off the back of an ITV talent search. His recent sale of the Palace Theatre has boosted cash. New musicals in the pipeline include Profumo affair show Stephen Ward and a stage version of School of Rock.|
|£375m||We add Simon Fuller into the West End Rich List this year through his involvement in the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre. Simon Cowell (worth £250m) will earn a place in the list next year when his new musical “X Factor – It’s Time To Face The Musical!” launches in 2014.|
|£240m||UP £20m||Elton John’s musical of Billy Elliot continues to perform well in London and on a North America tour, as does Disney’s The Lion King, for which John wrote the music. His forthcoming biopic Rocketman – a movie musical about his early life, through his film company Rocket Pictures, could also make the move to the stage.|
|£149m||Tim Rice has been busy on his first new musical for over a decade, a stage adaptation of From Here To Eternity, opening at the Shaftesbury Theatre in September 2013. His work with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar, and with Elton John on Disney’s The Lion King, continue to bring in money for the lyricist.|
Brian May & Roger Taylor
|£95m, £90m||Queen’s rock musical We Will Rock You, based on the band’s back catalogue, continues to defy expectations at the Dominion Theatre in London as it passed its 10 year mark last year and has kicked off a massive World Tour this February. More international productions are planned.|
|£65m||Judy Craymer’s attempt to replicate the enormous success of Mamma Mia!, which is playing at the Novello Theatre in London, as well as on Broadway and in multiple other territories, has proved a challenge. Her new musical, Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre, based on the music of The Spice Girls, didn’t get the same critical and audience reaction as Mamma Mia!, but continues to run and is building its own fanbase.|