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Spring Awakening at the Novello Theatre

May 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Shows - Archive

Spring Awakening at the Novello Theatre in London



Novello Theatre, London
Opened: 26 March 2009
Closed: 30 May 2009

Spring Awakening comes to the Novello Theatre following its five star success at the Lyric Hammersmith. Michael Mayer’s European premiere of the award-winning Broadway show is based on Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking 1890s play – a daring exploration of teenage sexual awakening set against a backdrop of religious and parental repression. Acclaimed writer Steven Sater and songwriter Duncan Sheik’s award-winning new musical version retains the period setting of the original and introduces a superb collection of contemporary songs that serve to express the private anguish and ecstasy of the young characters. Stunning 21st century design and superb performances by the predominantly young cast combine to create an exhilarating energy that drives a remarkably compelling and timeless story.

Eastenders reunion in Calendar Girls

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under News

New cast of Calendar Girls announced including Eastenders stars June Brown, Anita Dobson, Jill Halfpenny and Jack Ryder. Also Jerry Hall to join the cast of the hit comedy.

Calendar Girls at the Noel Coward Theatre

 The huge success of Calendar Girls, the smash-hit West End play based on the movie, will see a brand new cast introduced from July 28.

June Brown (Dot Cotton in Eastenders) will be reunited with her on-screen pal Anita Dobson, who famously played Angie in the BBC soap, in the new cast at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. They will also be joined by former Eastenders Jill Halfpenny and Jack Ryder, who plays the photographer of the famous calendar.

Also in the new cast will be model and ex Mrs Jagger Jerry Hall, Jill Baker, Philadelphia lovely Sara Crowe and Gemma Atkinson from Hollyoaks.

Current stars including Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge and Sian Phillips will all leave the show as part of the cast change.

Apparently Tim Firth will rewrite parts of the play for the new cast including making Jerry Hall’s part an American.

With glowing reviews and a hugely successful UK tour behind it, Calendar Girls is proving a runaway smash-hit in the West End. Based on the successful film, this is the uplifting and inspiring true story about a Women’s Institute group who spark a global phenomenon.

Save £14.50 on tickets to Calendar Girls at the Noel Coward Theatre

Is televising theatre a good thing?

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Helen Mirren in Phaedre

With the announcement that David Tennant’s Hamlet is to be televised for BBC2 we ponder the question: is televising theatre a good thing?

Tennant enjoyed enormous critical and audience acclaim for his performance of the Danish Prince for the RSC, both in Stratford and, briefly, in the West End until a serious back problem caused him to pull out.

Gregory Doran, who directed the RSC version, wants to reunite the cast and create a film version of the production.

This comes alongside the National Theatre’s NT Live programme, which sees live theatre broadcast to cinemas in the UK and around the world. It kicks off with a biggie – Phedre starring Helen Mirren, broadcast to over 50 cinemas on 25 June.

Given that few people actually had an opportunity to see David Tennant in Hamlet, and that Phedre completely sold out in a few days, the idea of taking live performance outside the confines of a theatre has the opportunity to vastly widen its audience. Theatre is intrinsically elitist – it costs a lot to attend and is very location specific. By turning to cinema and TV, you reduce the expense and vastly expand potential audiences.

But is something lost? The magic of seeing live theatre cannot be recreated on screen. And it’s a vastly different medium. Some of the most boring TV and cinema happens when you simply take a static theatre piece and point some cameras at it. Far from inspiring new generations of theatregoers it could actually confirm their worst suspicions – that theatre is slow and uneventful and nothing compared to the breadth and scope of the best movies and tele.

Bringing TV and film stars such as Tennant and Mirren into theatre has to be a good thing for everyone. But doing a neat back-flip and putting the TV star in a play on TV could backfire. Here’s a wild, off-the-wall idea: maybe these stars could tour their plays to other places than Stratford and London? For centuries stage stars spent the majority of their time performing in front of audiences across the UK – feeling a strong sense of loyalty to the millions of people who wanted to see them perform live. What happened to that?

News Round-up: John Barrowman, La Clique, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

May 21, 2009 by  
Filed under News

La Clique to move to the Roundhouse; Breakfast at Tiffany’s to star Anna Friel; John Barrowman to join the cast of La Cage Aux Folles

La Clique to move to Roundhouse

La Clique

The hugely successful, Olivier Award winning burlesque show La Clique will reappear at the Roundhouse Theatre in Camden this Christmas after closing at the London Hippodrome on 27 June.

Despite repeatedly extending its run at the London Hippodrome, La Clique is closing to allow the venue to be converted into a new £15 million casino complex. La Clique will begin in its new home – in what many consider to be the perfect venue for the show – from 19 November.

See La Clique at the Hippodrome and save £7

West End Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Breakfast At Tiffany's

Classic Hollywood film Breakfast At Tiffany’s is to get the musical treatment in a major new stage production to open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in September.

Anna Friel (Pushing Daisies) will make her West End debut as Holly Golightly in the part immortalised by Audrey Hepburn on screen.

Sean Mathias will direct the musical play and Oscar-winning song Moon River, penned by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the original film, will be included alongside three new tunes.

Playwright Samuel Adamson has adapted the Truman Capote story and the production will also star American actor Joseph Cross as Holly’s friend William.

Sean Mathias, whose current production of Waiting for Godot staring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart is also playing at the Haymaket, is expected to oversee a whole season at the theatre. Possible future productions could include Gwyneth Paltrow starring in Chekhov’s The Three Sisters.

Book tickets to Breakfast At Tiffany’s at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

Barrowman to star in La Cage

John Barrowman

TV and stage actor John Barrowman will join the cast of La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre in London from 14 September.

The Torchwood star will follow in Graham Norton’s footsteps to play the central role of Albin, a glamorous drag queen on the Cote d’Azur.

Winner of best revival at this year’s Olivier Awards, Roger Allam currently starring in the role, with press reviews this week heralding his performance as “sensational” (Charles Spencer – The Telegraph) and “a joy to watch” (Time Out).

Book tickets to La Cage Aux Folles and save £20

Major shows to close on 30 May

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Sunset Boulevard, Spring Awakening, Shout and Joseph to all close on 30 May.

Spring Awakening

A number of major West End shows are closing this month – with only days left for theatregoers to catch them.

Despite astonishing critical acclaim, Spring Awakening at the Novello Theatre is to close early on 30 May. Spring Awakening had its European premiere at Lyric Hammersmith earlier this year, where the mix of Frank Wedekind’s classic story about teenage sexual discovery fused with teen rock garnered numerous five star reviews. Stephen Daldry’s 1992 National Theatre production of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls will go into the Novello from 22 September.

Also on 30 May, the successful production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy theatre will close. Directed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, the Watermill Theatre’s production stars Kathryn Evans and Dave Willetts.

Another Andrew Lloyd Webber show, Joseph, starring Gareth Gates at the Adelphi Theatre, will also close on 30 May. The production originally starred Lee Mead, winner of the BBC talent show Any Dream Will Do.

A day after these three shows close, Shout – the musical set in the swinging 60s starring Su Pollard – is closing at the Arts Theatre a month early on 31 May.

And finally, The Last Cigarette starring Felicity Kendal, Jasper Britton and Nicholas Le Prevost is to close early, with its final performance on 23 May. The show transferred from the Chichester Minerva theatre last month into the Trafalgar Studios.

Save £20 on discount tickets to Spring Awakening

Save £24.50 on discount tickets to Sunset Bouelvard

Save £15.25 on discount tickets to Joseph

Save £13 on discount tickets to Shout!

Save £20 on discount tickets to The Last Cigarette

New kid on the square

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

The West End’s newest venue The Leicester Square Theatre is proving to be a comedy hit

Leicester Square Theatre

The newest theatre to arrive on the London scene is the Leicester Square Theatre, slap bang in the heart of Theatreland. And its combination of comfort and clever programming is proving a hit with a diverse audience of theatregoers.

Fast becoming the home of comedy and cabaret, the 400 seater venue reopened last summer. Originally a Ballroom and then a church hall, the theatre has had over £600,00 spent on it to ensure it ranks as one of the most comfortable venues in London, with cinema style seating and two bars within the auditorium.

A blazing new line-up over the next few months sees a host of international talent from theatre, cabaret and comedy including current show Stop Messing About – which ends this Saturday 24 May. Billed as the Kenneth Williams extravaganza, and from the people behind Round The Horne… Revisited, it’s a brilliantly funny show set during a BBC radio recording featuring Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims and Hugh Paddick.

Other forthcoming attractions worthy of note include controversial American comic Sandra Bernhard, hitting London hard with an updated revival of her sensational standup show Without You I’m Nothing. Also burlesque queen Miss Polly Rae is back with her Hurly Burly Girlys and lots of special guests. Camp extravaganzas featuring Jim Bailey as Judy Garland, and Steven Brinberg and Rick Skye as Barbra and Liza Live, promise nights of untold glamour and unashamed diva worship. Comedy club Just The Tonic has been touring successfully for 15 years and already has a home in Nottingham, and has now set up in London on Saturdays at 10pm featuring an impressive line-up of both new and established comedians. Finally Sammy J brings his hit Edinburgh show In The Forest of Dreams to London for a strictly limited run, featuring 14 puppets that are strictly for adults!

Westendtheatre.com offers discount tickets at many of the Leicester Square Theatre’s shows including Stop Messing About, Sandra Bernhard, Just the Tonic Comedy Club and Jim Bailey as Judy Garland. See below for details.


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Ciaran Kellgren, star of Peter Pan

May 13, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Peter Pan

PEOPLE TO WATCH: Rising young star Ciaran Kellgren to reprise role of Peter Pan in spectacular production

2009 is definitely proving to be an important year for much talked about young actor Ciaran Kellgren.

The 23 year old Lamda graduate has so far played relatively minor roles on TV and stage including Corporal Weir in ITV’s Cold Blood and parts in Macbeth and A Christmas Carol in Liverpool.

But from next Tuesday you will see rather more of him as he cavorts naked in Channel 4’s Shameless, playing Debbie’s one-night-stand Mark for five episodes.

And later this month he will be flying his way around Kensington Gardens as Peter Pan in a spectacular new multi-million pound production of the classic JM Barrie story.

Ciaran Kellgren

Ciaran Kellgren in Peter Pan

The producers have spent £750,000 on a specially built 1,100 seater pavilion in Kensington Gardens that will feature an array of 3D and CGI sets that encompass the whole auditorium.

It promises to be a spectacular production, blending high-tech movie-making techniques with some dramatic live action performances – including much flying and dangerous thrills and spills.

A new adaptation of the classic story has been written by Tanya Ronder, and the production is directed by Ben Harrison and designed by William Dudley

Peter Pan is the story of the boy who never grew up. He takes the Darling children on a thrilling trip to the magical world of Neverland and introduces them to pirates – most notably Captain Hook – Indians, a crocodile and the Lost Boys.

Other members of the cast include movie actor Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, The Mummy) as Captain Hook / Mr Darling and Abby Ford as Wendy Darling.

Book tickets to Peter Pan at the O2

Ciaran Kellgren

Ciaran Kellgren in Shamless, Channel 4 / E4

Special offer on La Cage Aux Folles

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Offers

Save up to £25.50 on tickets to see La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre in London.

Enjoy a very special offer on tickets to see La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre in London – the Menier Chocolate Factory production now starring Olivier Award Winners, Roger Allam (Privates on Parade, Les Miserables, City of Angels) and Philip Quast (Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum).

Winner of the Olivier Award for Best Musical, La Cage aux Folles is a timeless and deliciously funny tale of family values, unconditional love, and above all, the need to celebrate who we are. The idyllic existence of Georges and the dazzling drag artiste Albin, star of the La Cage aux Folles club, is threatened when Georges’ son announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing politician, who wants to close down the local colourful nightlife! With a visit from the prospective in-laws imminent, they all decide to take drastic action to hide their lifestyle…but can they keep it up?

Jerry Herman’s (Hello, Dolly!, Mack and Mabel and Mame) fabulous score includes I Am What I Am, The Best of Times and Song on the Sand.

Roger Allam and Phillip Quast are contracted to perform until 12th September.

John Barrowman will play the role of Albin from the 14th September until the 28th November. Barrowman created the role of Captain Jack Harkness in the BBC series Doctor Who and Torchwood and has been a judge on talent search shows “I’d Do Anything”,”Any Dream Will Do” and “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria”. He has also starred in numerous theatrical productions worldwide, including the London productions of Anything Goes, Phantom Of The Opera and Sunset Boulevard.

‘A Total Triumph’ Daily Mail.

‘Bravo! At last a musical to sweep away those credit-crunch blues. This joyous show deserves every hurrah and standing ovation it receives’ Daily Telegraph.


Book now and save up to £25.50 on tickets to see La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre in London.

Also great theatre and dinner packages available

Cat cast announced

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under News

London cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof announced

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

The London cast of Broadway transfer Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has been announced. James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and Adrian Lester will star in the Tennessee Williams revival, directed again by Debbie Allen.

The all black production proved a sensation on Broadway with sold-out performances and critical acclaim. Multi award winning performers James Earl Jones (The Great White Hope, Star Wars) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) will reprise their roles of Big Daddy and Big Mama, joined by popular British actor Adrian Lester (Hustle).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is an intense and emotional drama centred on a powerful Southern family’s reunion for the birthday party of the patriarch Big Daddy. Williams won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1955 play.

More details to be announced. Sign up for westendtheatre.com’s newsletter to be the first to hear about booking.

Guardian launches Performing guides

May 8, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Newspaper publishes two free guides covering Acting and Singing

Guardian - Performing

The Guardian is launching a two part guide this weekend that covers the world of performance and performing. A guide to acting, available free on Saturday in the Guardian, and a guide to singing available free in the Observer on Sunday, will feature techniques, exercises and practical advice from a range of teachers and performers including Imelda Staunton and Annie Lennox.

Saturday 9 May: Part one – Acting
Sunday 10 May: Part two – Singing

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