Menier Chocolate Factory’s Willy Russell season to transfer to the Trafalgar Studios
The Menier Chocolate Factory’s double-bill of Willy Russell plays will join his long-running musical Blood Brothers in the West End from 8 July.
Educating Rita will star Tim Pigott-Smith, who will replace original cast member Larry Lamb, and Laura Dos-Santos. Shirley Valentine will once again feature TV star Meera Syal.
Educating Rita is directed by Jeremy Sams, who will direct Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz early next year. Shirley Valentine is directed by Glen Walford, and both shows have designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Paul Anderson and sound by David Ogilvy.
Tim Pigott-Smith received a 2010 Olivier Award nomination for his performance as Ken Lay in Enron at the Noel Coward Theatre. His extensive theatre credits include Pygmalion at the Old Vic, Little Nell for the Bath Theatre Royal, Hecuba for the Donmar Warehouse and Mourning Becomes Electra for the National Theatre as well as many productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. On film his credits include Alice in Wonderland, Quantum of Solace, V for Vendetta and Bloody Sunday. His more recent television credits include The Queen, Midsomer Murders, On Expenses and The Last Flight to Kuwait.
Laura Dos Santos has most recently starred opposite Bill Nighy in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Educating Rita, broadcast last Christmas. Her previous theatre credits include We Will Be Gone at the Camden People’s Theatre, Look Back In Anger at the Jermyn Street Theatre, Stags and Hens at the Royal Court Liverpool, On The Middle Day at the Old Vic Theatre, In Your Hands at the New End Theatre and The Morris at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre. Her television credits include Bad Girls, Fingersmith, Innocent Party and The Bill.
Jeremy Sams’ directing credits include The King and I at the Royal Albert Hall, The Sound of Music at the Palladium and on tour in the UK, Donkeys’ Years at the Comedy Theatre, The Little Britain live UK tour, Michael Frayn’s Noises Off at the National Theatre which transferred to the West End and Broadway and Spend Spend Spend at the Piccadilly Theatre and on tour nationally. His many adaptations and translations include The Rehearsal, Mary Stuart, La Bohème, The Magic Flute and The Merry Widow. His composing credits include Jane Austen’s Persuasion, for which he won a BAFTA and The Mother for the BBC, Arcadia for the National Theatre and The Merry Wives of Windsor for the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as the film score for Enduring Love for which he won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Score. He has also adapted the book of the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Meera Syal is best known for her television work including Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at Number 42 (for which she received a BAFTA nomination for Best Comedy Performance), Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee, My Sister Wife and Beautiful People. Later this year she will be seen in the new series of Dr Who playing geologist Nasreen Chowdhury opposite Matt Smith. Her theatre work includes Rafta Rafta, The Vagina Monologues and Serious Money. Syal is currently filming My First Love for Sky Arts Documentaries in which she returns to a past love, jazz singing. Following her mentoring sessions with Jacqui Dankworth, she performed at Ronnie Scott’s earlier this year.
Glen Walford was Artistic Director of Liverpool Everyman Theatre where she commissioned and directed the world premiere of Shirley Valentine. During her time as Artistic Director of Ludlow Festival her productions included The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Walford was the founding Artistic Director of London Bubble Theatre. She has directed extensively on tour and in London she has directed productions for the Royal Court, Bush, Tricycle and Hampstead Theatres.
As well as Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, both of which were made into major award-winning features films, playwright, lyricist and composer Willy Russell is the author of the long running West End hit Blood Brothers. His other work includes John Paul George Ringo…& Bert, Stags and Hens, One for the Road and Breezeblock Park. His writing for television includes Our Day Out and One Summer. Russell’s plays have been performed in many countries across the globe, winning countless awards as well as academic honours. Willy Russell’s Our Day Out The Musical will play at the Royal Court Liverpool this Autumn.
The Menier Chocolate Factory’s sold out run of Sweet Charity is to transfer in to the West End.
Starring ex-EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite in the title role of Charity Hope Valentine, the show will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 23 April.
Winner of a Tony Award, the musical has a book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields and features a number of legendary musicals songs including Hey, Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now and The Rhythm of Life.
Directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Stephen Mear and set design by Tim Shortall, the show is being brought in to town by David Ian and David Mirvish.
Sweet Charity follows the misadventures of the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a woman who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man.
Tamzin Outhwaite has proved a versatile actress across both stage and screen, having recently appeared in Matthew Warchus’ acclaimed production of Boeing-Boeing at the Comedy Theatre, and on television in Hustle, Hotel Babylon and new dramas The Fixer and Paradox.
It’s all change in the West End as a number of shows close to make way for transfers from other theatres. In an increasingly risk-averse climate for producers, a hit in a small venue or success in a limited run could mean money if it transfers into the West End. The subsidised National Theatre and Almeida are bringing in War Horse and Duet for One respectively, Cameron Mackintosh decides to keep Avenue Q running and Carrie’s War and Saturday Night transfer from smaller venues.
Duet For One
The Almeida’s recently acclaimed production Duet for One will transfer to the West End in May.
Tom Kempinski’s two-hander stars Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman and centres on a concert violinist (Stevenson) who goes to a psychiatrist (Goodman) in the wake of a tragedy.
Directed by Matthew Lloyd, it will transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre from 7th May.
There’s nothing like the threat of missing out to boost a show. Avenue Q - which has already run for 3 years at the Noel Coward Theatre, had announced its closure to make way for Calendar Girls.
But a new demand for tickets to catch the show before it exits London has promoted Cameron Mackintosh to transfer it to another one of his theatres – this time the Gielgud. It will reside there from 1 June.
Avenue Q will replace Enjoy starring Alison Steadman and David Troughton.
Heart-warming family drama Carrie’s War – about two young evacuees during the Second World War and based on the classic kid’s novel by Nina Bawden is transferring from Sadler’s Wells into the West End.
Much loved actress Prunella Scales stars in the play, which will begin on 18 June at the Apollo Theatre. The show also stars Sarah Edwardson, who reprises the role of Carrie, and Amanda Symonds and James Beddard.
Carrie’s War will replace Three Days of Rain at the Apollo, currently starring James McAvoy.
From World War II to the First World War – and the opening this month in the West End of the National Theatre’s critically smash-hit War Horse – galloping across the river from the National to the New London Theatre from next week – 28th March.
The award-winning adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, set during World War I,is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, and is told using the puppetry of the South African Handspring Puppet Company – including life-size horses and a tank!
Sondheim’s Saturday Night
Stephen Sondheim’s first Broadway musical Saturday Night will at long last enjoy a West End premiere, despite being penned by Sondheim in the 1950s.
After selling out run the Jermyn Street Theatre, it will come to the Arts Theatre for a short run from 25 March. Set it New York just before the Wall Street crash of 1929, the show stars Helena Blackman, who was runner up in the BBC1 talent show “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?”
A Little Night Music
After much speculation, Trevor Nunn’s critic-pleasing revival of A Little Night Music will wing its way across the river and into the Garrick Theatre from 28 March, replacing Zorro. Following the Menier Chocolate Factory’s sell out production of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrical musical, the talented and accomplished cast includes Hannah Waddingham as Desiree, Maureen Lipman as Madame Armfeldt, Alexander Hanson as Fredrik, Kelly Price as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Jessie Buckley as Anne Egerman.
Also controversial and oh so hip musical Spring Awakening based on Frank Wedekind’s classic play, will transfer from the Lyric Hammersmith to the Novello Theatre in mid March after Avenue Q has vacated the building. Spring Awakening shocked Broadway recently when it closed on 18 January after a respectable but all-too-brief run of two years despite winning eight Tony awards.
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