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Phantom sequel Love Never Dies to open in London

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Ramin Karimloo

Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s new sequel to The Phantom of the Opera – “Love Never Dies” – will have its world premiere in London, as reported today by Baz Bamigboye in the Daily Mail.

It was initially believed that the new blockbusting musical would open simultaneously in New York, London and Shanghai, but it now appears that managing the logistics of this has proved too complex. However, the show will still break new ground in opening productions around the world in quick succession – starting with London and then following with Toronto, Shanghai and then Broadway.

In London, the show will play at the Adelphi Theatre, owned by Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group, in late October or early November.

Lloyd-Webber also revealed to Baz that, as predicted by previous rumours, Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess will launch the show in the two main leads.

Variety recently reported that the show would open in Toronto at the Canon Theater, where the original Phantom launched in Canada in 1989, although Lloyd-Webber has now confirmed that it will open after London at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and then go to Broadway.

The show’s music is written by Lloyd Webber with a book by Ben Elton, who has more than proved his musical credentials with We Will Rock You, which continues to pack them in and celebrates the start of its 8th year in London from the end of April.

The book is based on an original idea by best selling author Frederick Forsyth, and is set in Coney Island in 1907.

Ramin KarimlooRamin Karimloo (pictured) is currently appearing as the Phantom in the West End and will continue in the role in the new production. The actor was born in Iran and brought up in Canada.

A notice placed on the Actors’ Equity Association website says of the plot that, “the mysterious “Maestro” who runs the theatre at Coney Island announces a one-off concert by legendary Parisian soprano Christine Daaé. Her arrival in New York with husband Raoul, Victome de Chagny and son Gustave, and their subsequent meeting with the “Maestro,” bring the cataclysmic events of 10 years earlier at the Paris Opera crashing back into all their lives.”

Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell – the dream team from the Hairspray musical – will stage the show.

O’Brien said to Baz that Lloyd-Webber was enormously passionate about the project: “‘It is like the last flowering of a great era of lyric romanticism – the theatre doesn’t seem to have that any more.”

It is unclear whether Jospeh, currently playing at the Adelphi Theatre starring Gareth Gates, will extend its run until Love Never Dies Opens.


Original article published 20 March 2009

Ray Quinn back to Grease

March 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Ray Quinn


Former UK talent content finalist Ray Quinn is to rejoin the cast of Grease to play the lead role of Danny Zuko.

Currently a finalist in celebrity ice dance contest Dancing on Ice, Ray Quinn shot to fame in UK talent show the X-Factor.

Playing the lead from 11 May at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End, Ray said that he was “thrilled to be playing Danny in the West End…  I can’t believe my luck, it’s a dream come true!”

Ray Quinn first started professional performing at the age of 12 in soap opera Brookside, going on to win the award for Best Dramatic Performance at the British Soap Awards 2002.


Transfer News: Juliet Stevenson, Avenue Q, Prunella Scales and War Horse

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under News

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.


Avenue Q

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.



Carrie’s War

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.



War Horse

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?”

V&A Theatre and Performance galleries to open

March 16, 2009 by  
Filed under News

In 2007 the sad demise of Britain’s only national museum for the performing arts – the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, London – left a gaping hole in celebrating the UK’s heritage in culture and performance.

This Wednesday that sad state of affairs is to be  redressed with the opening of the new Theatre and Performance galleries at the V&A museum in London.

Promising to be the largest of their kind in the world, the space will explore the whole process of performance – from conception through to design, rehearsal and development and an audience’s reaction. More than 250 objects from the V&A’s collections will be on display including costumes, set models, stage props, original posters and playbills, theatrical prints, paintings, and photographs.

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England People Very Nice – Review

March 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Reviews

England People Very Nice

The National Theatre, under its artistic director, Nicholas Hytner, is one of the cultural glories of the great city of London and the Olivier the only theatrical venue in the West End in which you’re likely to see contemporary plays conceived on an epic scale.

It would be heartening to report that Richard Bean’s England People Very Nice was as successful as it is ambitious, but despite its many qualities and its sheer breadth of scale, it’s not the triumph it might have been.

A play-within-a play, it involves a group of muti-racial asylum seekers and would be immigrants in anxious limbo as they await to be informed by letter who will be granted work permits and who will be sent back to their countries of origin. To pass the time, they decide to put on a play of their own about immigrants, integration, and multiculturalism over the last four hundred years.

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Priscilla Queen of the Desert hits London

March 10, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical shimmies into the West End tonight, starting previews at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End.

Billed as the ultimate feel-good show, pre-opening buzz and reports from its run in Sydney suggest that the musical’s timing is perfect. With acres of chiffon, millions of sequins and some show stopping numbers, it promises to banish any feelings of gloom from the capital.

Based on the Oscar award-winning film, PRISCILLA tells the story of Tick (Jason Donovan), Bernadette (Tony Sheldon) and Adam (Oliver Thornton), three glamorous Sydney drag queens who agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback.

The road trip that ensues proves to be a heart-warming, uplifting adventure as they hop onboard a battered old bus (nicknamed Priscilla) searching for love and friendship.

An array of outrageous costumes, spectacular sets and a score of dance-floor classics promises to raise the bar on fun in the West End this Spring. An unashamed crowd-pleaser.


Olivier Award Winners 2009

March 9, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Elena Roger – Olivier winner for Piaf

It was a star-studded affair at Grosvenor House last night for the annual Olivier Awards from the Society of London Theatre.

The surprise win was Black Watch – a play based on interviews with soldiers who served in Iraq. It started at an army drill hall in Edinburgh and has toured the world – winning four awards including Best New Play for the National Theatre of Scotland and writer Gregory Burke, and Best Director for John Tiffany.

It was also a night of reverence as a number of old school actors were given major awards including Patrick Stewart winning Best Performance in a Supporting Role for the RSC’s Hamlet, Derek Jacobi’s Best Actor win for Twelfth Night and Margaret Tyzack’s Best Actress award for The Chalk Garden. These last two productions were Donmar Warehouse shows – who had another good year seeing the Best Actress in a Musical gong go to Elena Roger for Piaf.

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Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre – Save £22.50

March 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorised

Save £22.50 on tickets to see Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre in London

Valid Monday to Thursday evenings and Friday matinees until the 31st May (excludes 3 May)

Enjoy Dirty Dancing, the classic story on stage, and save £22.50 on tickets.

The show is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, breathtaking emotion and sensationally sexy dancing.

Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash-hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. featuring hit songs, including “Hungry Eyes”, “Hey Baby”, “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life.”

Don’t miss your chance to see this truly spectacular musical theatre event. You’ll have the time of your life.

‘The live theatre phenomenon of our globalised age’ Sunday Times.

Save £22.50 on tickets to see Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre in London

Valid Monday to Thursday evenings and Friday matinees until the 31st May (excludes 3 May)

Ghost The Musical

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under News


It’s been announced today that acclaimed director Matthew Warchus (The Lord of the Rings) is to direct a new musical based on the Oscar winning film Ghost.

In a run of film-to-stage shows hitting London and Broadway, it will join shows such as Sister Act, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Spiderman and 9 to 5 The Musical.

Scheduled to open in the West End in 2010 the music and lyrics are to be penned by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart plus six-time Grammy® award winner Glen Ballard, and written by Oscar winner Bruce Joel Rubin who will adapt his original screen play for the stage and write the lyrics.

The original film was an enormous hit for Paramount and starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg.

The plot revolves around a man who is murdered but remains as a ghost trapped between this world and the next, leaving his wife Molly in grave danger. With the aid of a phony storefront psychic, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving and protecting her.


Olivier Awards 2009

March 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Awards, Olivier Awards


Awards announced: 2 March 2009

Best new play Black Watch by Gregory Burke (Barbican)

Best director John Tiffany for Black Watch (Barbican)

Best actress Margaret Tyzack for The Chalk Garden (Donmar Warehouse)

Best actor Derek Jacobi for Twelfth Night (Donmar at the Wyndham’s)

Best performance in a supporting role Patrick Stewart for Hamlet (Novello)

Best company performance The Histories (Roundhouse)

Best new comedy God of Carnage (Gielgud)

Best revival The Histories (Roundhouse)

Best entertainment La Clique (Hippodrome)

Best new musical Jersey Boys (Prince Edward)

Best musical revival La Cage aux Folles (Playhouse)

Best actress in a musical Elena Roger for Piaf (Donmar and Vaudeville)

Best actor in a musical Douglas Hodge for La Cage aux Folles (Playhouse)

Best supporting performance in a musical Lesli Margherita for Zorro (Garrick)

Best theatre choreographer Steven Hoggett for Black Watch (Barbican)

Best lighting design The Chalk Garden (Donmar Warehouse)

Best set design August: Osage County (NT)

Best costume design The Histories (Roundhouse)

Best sound design Black Watch (Barbican)

Outstanding achievement in an ­affiliate theatre The Pride (Royal Court)

Best new opera production Partenope (ENO)

Outstanding achievement in opera Edward Gardner (ENO)

Best new dance production Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal’s Cafe Muller/The Rite of Spring (Sadler’s Wells)

Outstanding achievement in dance Royal Ballet of Flanders for Impressing the Czar (Sadler’s Wells)

Special award Sir Alan Ayckbourn

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