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Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre

March 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Shows - Archive

Hairspray The Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London

SORRY THIS SHOW HAS NOW CLOSED

Shaftesbury Theatre, London

Opened: 30 October 2007
Closed: 28 March 2010

The Olivier and Tony award winning musical played over 1,000 performances and grossed over £50 million in the UK, becoming the longest running show at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 40 years.

Based on the cult John Waters movie, Hairspray is a colourful, fun and vibrant show which follows Tracy Turnblad – a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart – as she sets out to dance her way onto TV’s most popular dance show.

Stars of the show included Michael Ball, Brian Conley, Micky Dolenz, Chloe Hart, Belinda Carlisle,  Leanne Jones, Tracie Bennett and Mel Smith.

Over The Rainbow tonight

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under News

BBC One begins its new talent search Over The Rainbow tonight on BBC One. The show will find a new Dorothy to star in a major West End production of The Wizard Of Oz.

Over The Rainbow, hosted by Graham Norton, will start at 9pm tonight (Friday) on BBC One, followed by a live feature-length studio show on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Westendtheatre.com has launched a special micro-site to follow the show, from the start of auditions up to the opening night of the show in the West End.

Following the success of BBC musical talent shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything, Over The Rainbow will see Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a new Dorothy to lead the cast in his 2011 revival of The Wizard of Oz. A venue is yet to be announced for the production.

Andrew Lloyd Webber will be joined by a new panel of experts – actress Sheila Hancock, who is currently starring in Sister Act at the London Palladium, singer and TV presenter Charlotte Church and EastEnders actor John Partridge.

Friday’s show will cover the weeks of mass auditions that took place around the country, and Saturday will begin the weekly series of live studio rounds by showcasing the final 20 Dorothys in a studio-based “sing-off”‘.

Once the panel has agreed on the final 10 finalists, a wild card element will be introduced into the format, allowing viewers to vote to save one of the girls who is voted off by the panellists.

In the forthcoming West End show, Andrew Lloyd Webber will look to add some new songs to the stage show, which differs slightly to the 1939 MGM film immortalised by Judy Garland as Dorothy. “The film worked fantastically but we need some new songs for the stage show”, said Lloyd Webber”.

From April, the TV show will also search for a Toto, Dorothy’s little dog, to star in a one-off gala performance of The Wizard of Oz next year. The search will be led by I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger, who completes her West End stint as Nancy in Oliver! on Saturday and will then join the UK touring production of Spamalot.

BBC One, Friday 26 March 2010, 9pm

BBC One, Saturday 27 March 2010, 6.30pm

Westendtheatre.com – Over The Rainbow micro-site

Over The Rainbow – Interviews

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Movies and TV

JUDGE: ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

Following the success of How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, I’d Do Anything and Any Dream Will Do, Andrew Lloyd Webber is back to trawl the length and breadth of the UK for performers with extraordinary talent.

One of the richest men in the UK, the 61-year-old composer has written some of the greatest musicals of all time including The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats, Evita, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Starlight Express, Sunset Boulevard, The Woman In White and Aspects Of Love – and recently launched his new musical Love Never Dies.

What are you looking for in a Dorothy?

“I think this is our toughest challenge yet. Our Dorothy has to be young and rebellious and funny. She has to be a great actress with a great sense of humour and be able to sing brilliantly. She also has to be capable of holding centre-stage – she’s virtually never off-stage during the whole show. And that’s before I even get to the real list of qualities I’m looking for! She doesn’t have to be conventionally beautiful. The main thing she has to do is break your heart. The show is about a bored teenager from Kansas who wants to get away from home, but ends up discovering that home is where the heart is. Our Dorothy has to take us on that journey. It would be fabulous if we found a modern version of Judy Garland.”

Why are these programmes so successful?

“These shows have genuinely struck a chord with people. It really works when TV audiences can identify with the role you’re casting. People also love the fact that they feel part of the process of choosing a performer for something they can actually go and see. People know that the girl who wins Over The Rainbow will be on stage and they’ll be able to see her for the next 18 months, or whatever. Because of that, people invest more and take the voting far more seriously.”

And have they had much impact on the West End?

“There was one moment last year when all five finalists from I’d Do Anything had lead roles in West End musicals. They were in five different shows that I had nothing to do with! That was an extraordinary moment. There has been a complete sea change over the past four years. That struck me with a vengeance when I was at the auditions for Over The Rainbow. When we did How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? four years ago, very few young people aspired to do musical theatre, but now 16-year-old kids are desperate to be in these shows. There are now at least 10,000 kids who aspire to be on the musical theatre stage. They’ve also acquired a lot of great skills. Watching them audition now, that immediately hits one in the gut. The fact is, these programmes have turned a whole generation on to musical theatre. And it’s not just musical theatre that has benefited. The West End overall has had its best ever season three years in a row since we started doing these programmes. I’m on the ground floor, and I’ve seen it happen. It’s a whole new ball game now – and I couldn’t be happier about it!”

Do you get on with Graham Norton?

“Graham and I both want the same thing – which is the best for the artists. He gets even more upset than I do when one has to leave the show. Graham is one of the wittiest people I know, but he’s also prepared to play a lead in a West End show, La Cage Aux Folles. Certain presenters are unlikely to be cast as West End leads. But it shows Graham’s love of performing. He understands things from the performers’ point of view.”

You are a famous cat lover? Are you enjoying searching for a Toto for your new show?

“All these Totos have been thrust in my direction. As a cat man, it’s been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do!”

Finally, this is your fourth show for the BBC. Are you still enjoying the experience?

“I don’t sit there in the TV studio with some grand strategy, I’m there because I love it. I’m delighted to be there because I think we’ve helped make musical theatre cool again.”

PRESENTER: GRAHAM NORTON

46-year old presenter Graham Norton is presiding over the fourth in a successful run of searches for new musical theatre stars – having already presented How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything. He presents a chat show for the BBC and  in January last year made his West End debut as Albin in the musical La Cage Aux Folles.

How does this search differ from the others?

“It’s the biggest challenge we’ve ever set the public. Dorothy is such an iconic role, and it’s so difficult to get beyond the associations with Judy Garland – no one has ever come close.”

How do people auditioning compare to previous years?

“The standard is phenomenally high, I’m really impressed by the overall level. Everyone who’s gone through can really sing – it’s quite extraordinary. We’re now down to the last 50, and there is not a single dud among them. No one out of the final 110 was bad – they could all do it. Finding the best 50 was really hard. As we told some of them, ‘I’m afraid you’re not going to Dorothy Farm,’ they would sob. We had to remind them: ‘Look, you’re really good. Thousands of people went for this and you got down to the last 100 or so!'”

We hear a lot of young people have auditioned this year.

“We had a lot of 16-year-olds. I worried beforehand that they might not be able to handle it – I remember what I was like at 16 and I would never have been able to cope at that age. But I needn’t have worried. We had call-backs at the Hackney Empire, which is a massive 2,000-seat theatre. These tiny girls were walking out on stage in this big, gaping cavern and saying, ‘this is my dream,’ before performing brilliantly. They were so self-possessed. They were just 12 when these shows started back in 2006, and now they’re starring in them!”.

Has that changed the tone of this year’s show?

“The vibe on this show has been much nicer. Because a lot of older women auditioned to play Nancy, there was a much stronger whiff of despair on I’d Do Anything. If someone is 40, they may not have many more opportunities left to make it in musical theatre. But if someone is 17, it’s much easier to say goodbye to them because you know they’ll have hundreds more opportunities.”

What kind of Dorothy would you cast?

“The winner will require a great range of characteristics. She will have to be innocent and vulnerable, as well as tough as old boots! If you cast someone who is too much of a little girl, she’ll get lost in Oz. Dorothy is competing in Oz with an awful lot of scenery, as well as men in lion, tin and scarecrow suits. You have to be quite a performer to compete with that!”

And how do you get on with ALW?!

“What I love about him most is that he’s such a relentless enthusiast. He retains such a passion for what he does. Also, he and I tend to have similar opinions about the contestants.”

PANELIST:  SHEILA HANCOCK

Sheila Hancock is an award-winning actress and best-selling author, and is currently appearing in big West End musical Sister Act as Mother Superior.

Why did you decide to join the panel for Over The Rainbow?

I thought long and hard about doing this show. Having talked to people involved in previous series, and learning that there is a proper ‘process’ to the show, a proper ‘training’ if you will, and hearing how well the contestants are looked after, coached and advised, it felt like something I’d like to be involved in.

Of course it’s a TV show, and family entertainment, but its roots are in the casting process and an acknowledgment of how hard a career in musical theatre is going to be. It’s also one of the only shows on television that show off live musical theatre and how great it can be.

Are you looking forward to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Of course, in this field he is a world leader, so it’s lovely to be working with him.

What are you looking forward to most about working on the show?

Watching the contestants evolve, being there for them and the possibility that Dorothy and some of the other girls will have successful careers I can follow.

What kind of qualities are you looking for in the contestants?

You have to believe her. That’s it at the end of the day. It’s difficult for someone like me who remembers seeing the film originally to erase the image of Judy Garland so I will be looking for someone who can bring a believable new characterisation to the role. Technically there’s a long list of things she has to be able to do but what I want to see is someone who makes every audience member, night after night, care about Dorothy and her journey.

What is your role on the panel? What kind of panellist are you?

I hope I’ll be fair and honest, and be able to detect potential.

How do you know when you’ve found your ‘Dorothy’ – who is your ideal Dorothy? And Toto?

The thing with Dorothy, and I think one of the essential reasons both the character and film have become so iconic, is that she is a good person. She loves her family, she cares about the people around her, she’s open to the world despite being naive to it and she is almost entirely positive, all wonderful qualities.

To find an actress who can convey that, combined of course with talent that’s required of a huge part like this, is the ultimate aim.

Toto is a sticking point for me, I’m not a great fan of dogs, they tend to bite me! I’ve suggested my cat Stanley does the role, in a dog coat!

You’ve had a hugely successful theatre and musical theatre career. Which was your favourite role to play?

To play Mrs Lovett in one of the best musicals ever written, Sweeny Todd, at Drury Lane was hugely fulfilling but on the whole my favourite roles are the ones I’m currently playing so at the moment it’s the Mother Superior in Sister Act at the London Palladium.

How do you think your experiences of musical theatre will help budding performers on Over The Rainbow?

I always approach musicals as an actor who sings so I hope that I’ll be able to help with really interpreting the lyrics. The other two judges have different experiences so I hope we can all complement each other to guide, support and be honest with the girls.

What character out of the Wizard of Oz would you like to be?

The Wizard-ess of Oz!

PANELIST: CHARLOTTE CHURCH

Charlotte Church is one of the UK’s most successful performers, having achieved national success at only 11 years old. She has gone on to record a number of multi-million selling albums, star in TV and films and present a successful chat show for Channel 4.

Why did you decide to join the panel for Over The Rainbow?

I’m a big fan of the previous shows Andrew has made and a big fan of Andrew’s work in general.

Are you looking forward to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Very much so. He’s an icon of the music business and Pie Jesu, which Andrew wrote, started my career off.

What are you looking forward to most about working on the show?

Getting dressed up each week and hearing some terrific voices.

What kind of qualities are you looking for in the contestants?

A beautiful voice and all the right emotions to suit the part.

What is your role on the panel? What kind of panellist are you?

We will have to see. I’ve never been a judge before.

How do you know when you’ve found your ‘Dorothy’ – who is your ideal Dorothy? And Toto?

In an ideal world, someone who could give Garland a run for her money. Not so sure about who could play Toto.

How does it feel returning to work following a break?

I’m looking forward to it. I’m very lucky in that I can bring the children to work with me.

You’ve had a hugely successful performing career. How do you think your experiences will help budding performers on Over The Rainbow?

Well, I certainly know what pressure and nerves feel like.

What character out of the Wizard Of Oz would you like to be and why?

The Wizard of course! He helps to solve Dorothy’s problems by using common sense.

PANELIST: JOHN PARTRIDGE

John Partridge is an actor who is currently starring as Christian Clarke in BBC One’s EastEnders. He has performed in numerous plays and musicals including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and Starlight Express and the national tour of Miss Saigon.

Why did you decide to join the panel for Over The Rainbow?

The obvious answer is as a friend of Dorothy I should have some insight, but in reality, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Are you looking forward to working with Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Of course – Andrew is a legend. The ‘Don’ of musical theatre.

What are you looking forward to most about working on the show?

The chance of finding new musical talent.

What kind of qualities are you looking for in the contestants?

I’m looking for a triple threat – someone who can sing, dance and act equally!

What is your role on the panel? What kind of panellist are you?

I will try to be as honest and truthful as I can – sometimes the truth hurts!

You’ve had a successful musical theatre career. What roles have you played, and which was your favourite?

I’ve played many roles over 20 years, and have loved them all for so many different reasons.

How do you think your experiences of musical theatre will help budding performers on Over The Rainbow?

I went into Cats at 16, so I know the pressure that a young performer is under.

What character out of the Wizard Of Oz would you like to be?

I would love to be the King of the Flying Monkeys!

All interviews courtesy of the BBC

Over The Rainbow – TV Show

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Movies and TV

OVER THE RAINBOW TV SCHEDULE

  1. BBC ONE: Friday 26 March 2010 9pm – 10pm  Episode 1 (of 11): Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber looks for a Dorothy to take the starring role in The Wizard of Oz
  2. BBC ONE: Saturday 27 March 2010 6.30pm – 8pm Episode 2 (of 11): The final 20 girls audition for the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
  3. BBC ONE:  Saturday 3 April 2010 – 7.25pm -8 .40pm Episode 3 (of 11): Start of the live studio shows featuring the 10 Dorothys and the Wild Card Dorothy as voted for by you
  4. BBC ONE: Sunday 4 April 2010 – 6.20pm Episode 4 (of 11)
  5. BBC ONE: Saturday 10 April 2010 – 7.00pm Episode 5
  6. BBC ONE: Sunday 11 April 2010 – 8.15pm Episode 6
  7. BBC ONE: Saturday 17 April 2010 – 7.15pm Episode 7
  8. BBC ONE: Sunday 18 April 2010 – 6.15pm Episode 8
  9. BBC ONE: Saturday 24 April 2010 – 7.05pm Episode 9
  10. BBC ONE: Sunday 25 April 2010 – 7.15pm Episode 10
  11. BBC ONE: Saturday 1 May 2010 – 7.10pm Episode 11
  12. BBC ONE: Sunday 2 May 2010 – 7.15pm Episode 12
  13. BBC ONE: Saturday 8 May 2010 – 6.45pm Episode 13
  14. BBC ONE: Sunday 9 May 2010 – – 7.15pm Episode 14
  15. BBC ONE: Saturday 15 May 2010 – 7.10pm Episode 15
  16. BBC ONE: Sunday 16 May 2010 – 8.10pm Episode 16
  17. BBC ONE: Saturday 22 May 2010 – 7pm Episode 17 – FINAL
  18. BBC ONE: Saturday 22 May 2010 – 8.55pm Episode 18 – FINAL RESULTS

MORE ABOUT THE TV SHOW

Over The Rainbow, hosted by Graham Norton, started at 9pm on Friday 26 March on BBC One, followed by a live feature-length studio show on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Following the success of BBC musical talent shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything, Over The Rainbow saw Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a new Dorothy to lead the cast in his 2011 revival of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

Andrew Lloyd Webber was joined by a new panel of experts – actress Sheila Hancock, who is currently starring in Sister Act at the London Palladium, singer and TV presenter Charlotte Church and EastEnders actor John Partridge.

SATURDAY 22 MAY

Watch Saturday’s episode on BBC iPlayer

Watch Saturday’s RESULTS SHOW on BBC iPlayer

CONGRATULATIONS DANIELLE – you are the winner of Over The Rainbow. We can’t wait to see you in the show.

(see our news feature here).

Danielle Hope - winner of Over The Rainnbow

SATURDAY 15 MAY and SUNDAY 16 MAY

Watch Saturday’s episode on BBC iPlayer

Watch Sunday’s episode on BBC iPlayer

And then there were three. The winner of Over The Rainbow, to find a Dorothy to star in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s new production of The Wizard of Oz, edged a step closer on Sunday as Steph left the show. That leaves Danielle, Lauren and Sophie in the final on Saturday (22nd May, 7pm). It was NAIL-BITING, with Lord LW deciding to save Lauren – which meant poor Steph had to go. Saturday will prove a close call.

SATURDAY 8 MAY and SUNDAY 9 MAY

This weekend’s double eviction was FRAUGHT! We said goodbye to Jenny Douglas, 18, from Edinburgh on Saturday and Jessica Robinson,18, from Middlesbrough on Sunday. That leaves just four girls to go (GULP): Danielle, Lauren, Sophie and Steph (pics below).

Other news this weekend was that the stage show – which will star the winning Dorothy – has now gone on sale. Click here to book tickets to see The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

SATURDAY 1 MAY and SUNDAY 2 MAY

It was the battle of the Stephs on Sunday night. Never mind Stephanie - you did a fine job of Tell Me On A Sunday but Steph just pipped you to the post in the Lord’s final judgment.

SATURDAY 24 APRIL and SUNDAY 25 APRIL

Emilie may have been saved by the public in the wildcard vote but couldn’t be saved on Sunday as the Lord favoured Sophie.

SATURDAY 17 APRIL and SUNDAY 18 APRIL

The Green goddess from Cheshire has gone! Dani did her best – and belted out a fabulous final Maybe This Time but the Lord saved Danielle. Starting to get a bit too close to call now…

SATURDAY 10 APRIL and SUNDAY 11 APRIL

Bronte was ditched on Sunday – well done Lauren for hanging on in there.

SATURDAY 3 APRIL and SUNDAY 4 APRIL

Poor Amy wasn’t saved in the sing-off with Steph :(

SATURDAY 27 MARCH

In the show we met the 10 Dorothys chosen to continue, alongside the 10 Wild Card Dorothys – one of which you can vote to save for this Saturday’s show. The WILD CARD DOROTHYS are:

Camille Mesnard (21) from Marseille (but now lives in Merseyside)

Claire Harbourne (18) from Lancashire

Claire Hillier (25) from Wales

Emilie Fleming (19) from Tyne & Wear

Emma Warren (20) from Dublin

Katie Honan (19) from the Republic of Ireland

Phillipa O’Hara (23) from Belfast

Sarah Middleton (21) East Midlands

Tasheka Coe (28) from West Midlands

Tegan Edwards (17) Norfolk

FRIDAY 26 MARCH

Friday’s show covered the weeks of mass auditions that took place around the country.

Here’s the list of the 20 Dorothys in full:

Amy Diamond (22) from Cheshire

Bronte Barbe (18) from Cheshire

Camille Mesnard (21) from Marseille (but now lives in Merseyside)

Claire Harbourne (18) from Lancashire

Claire Hillier (25) from Wales

Dani Rayner (16) from Cheshire

Danielle Hope (17) from Greater Manchester

Emilie Fleming (19) from Tyne & Wear

Emma Warren (20) from Dublin

Jenny Douglas (18) from Scotland

Jessica Robinson (18) from Middlesbrough

Katie Honan (19) from the Republic of Ireland

Lauren Samuels (22) from London

Phillipa O’Hara (23) from Belfast

Sophie Evans (17) from Wales

Sarah Middleton (21) East Midlands

Steph Fearon (21) from London

Stephanie Davis (17) from Merseyside

Tasheka Coe (28) from West Midlands

Tegan Edwards (17) Norfolk

COMING UP

This Saturday the live studio rounds start, showcasing the final 10 Dorothys in a studio-based “sing-off”‘ plus the Wild Card Dorothy voted by you to stay.

Also from this week, the TV show will also search for a Toto, Dorothy’s little dog, to star in a one-off gala performance of The Wizard of Oz next year. The search will be led by I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger, who completes her West End stint as Nancy in Oliver! on Saturday and will then join the UK touring production of Spamalot.

  1. BBC ONE: Saturday 17 April 2010 – 7.15pm Episode 7

Over The Rainbow

March 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Movies and TV

Welcome to our special westendtheatre.com celebration of all things Over The Rainbow.  Over The Rainbow, which finished on 22 May on BBC One, saw 20 contestants battle it out to play the role of Dorothy in a multi-million pound new production of The Wizard of Oz. The lucky winner was Danielle Hope, 18 from Greater Manchester, who won the show in a closely fought final with runner-up Sophie Evans, 17 from Wales.

“Henry! Henry! I can’t find Dorothy! She’s somewhere out in the storm! Dorrrrrrotheeeeeee!”

Andrew Lloyd Webber is bringing the classic musical The Wizard of Oz to the London Palladium in March 2011. The role of Dorothy was made famous by Judy Garland in the hit 1939 MGM film, and has remained a dream role ever since.

The yellow brick road, munchkins, wicked witches and little dogs called Toto are all part of the musical legend of Oz, with the film remaining one of the best-loved movie musicals of all time.

We have followed the ups and downs of the stage-struck girls, as they battled it out to win the part of a lifetime and become the star of a hit West End show (see our Over The Rainbow TV section).

“Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?”

Over The Rainbow, hosted by Graham Norton, started at 9pm on Friday 26 March on BBC One, followed by a live feature-length studio show on Saturday 27 March at 6.30pm.

Following the success of BBC musical talent shows How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything, Over The Rainbow saw Andrew Lloyd Webber search for a new Dorothy to lead the cast in his 2011 revival of The Wizard of Oz. He was joined by a new panel of experts – actress Sheila Hancock, who is currently starring in Sister Act at the London Palladium, singer and TV presenter Charlotte Church and EastEnders actor John Partridge.

“I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”

Check out the menu above for news and information as the series progresses, including the Over The Rainbow TV show, interviews with the contestants and panelists and information about The Wizard of Oz West End show.


CASTING: Orlando Wells to join The Woman In Black

March 24, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Orlando Wells

Son of Susannah York, Orlando Wells, is to join the cast of long-running West End thriller The Woman in Black from 6 April 2010. Wells, whose acting credits include The History Boys, As If and A Very British Sex Scandal, will be joined by Michael Mears (Nation, You Never Can Tell) in the two-hander.

London’s long-running ghost story, The Woman in Black is based on a short novel by Susan Hill and has been scaring audiences at the Fortune Theatre since 1989.

Special offer: Save £20 on tickets to see The Woman In Black at the Fortune Theatre

Meal Deal: Enjoy a free dinner at Christopher’s restaurant and £5 off tickets for only £37.50

OPENING: Tap Dogs returns to the West End starring Adam Garcia

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Tap Dogs, the Australian all-male dance show, will return to London from 15 June for a strictly limited season. The show stars Adam Garcia (Wicked) and will run at the Novello Theatre.

Book tickets to Tap Dogs

Olivier Winners Announced

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under News


Last night at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, the 34th annual Laurence Olivier Award winners were announced.

The awards, which are the London equivalent of the Tony Awards and run by the Society of London Theatre, saw a number of surprise wins, with many of the top awards going to plays and musicals that are no longer running in town.

For the first time this year, the Olivier’s were broadcast live on the Society of London Theatre’s website alongside coverage on BBC’s Radio 2. The web stream allowed an international audience to enjoy the show for the first time, with some colourful tweeting from theatregoers accompanying the live video. The awards have not been televised since 2003.

Hosted by Anthony Head, who is currently starring in Six Degrees of Separation at the Old Vic Theatre, entertainment at the ceremony featured musical numbers from shows including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sister Act and Melanie C from Blood Brothers.

PLAYS

Best Actress and Actor winners Rachel Weisz and Mark Rylance

As with other award ceremonies this year, much of the attention centred on drama. Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem, which started at the Royal Court Theatre and is now playing at the Apollo Theatre in the West End, won two awards including Best Actor for Mark Rylance, a popular choice with critics and audiences alike, and Best Set Design but missed out on the Best New Play. This was won by The Mountaintop, a two-hander by young American playwright Katori Hall which only played a short run in the West End last summer despite great notices from critics.

Mark Rylance’s award for Best Actor beat some big hitters including Jude Law, James McAvoy, Ken Stott, Samuel West and James Earl Jones, who is currently starring in Debbie Allen’s production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre, which won Best Revival.

Rachel Weisz picked up a Best Actress gong for her role as Blanche DuBois in the Donmar Warehouse production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and Rupert Goold won Best Director for Enron, currently playing at the Noel Coward Theatre.

MUSICALS

Two musicals garnered many of the musical awards on offer last night, and both have now closed in London: Spring Awakening and Hello, Dolly!.

Spring Awakening was not a commercial success at the Novello Theatre, where it ran for a short time until May 2009 after a sell-out run at the Lyric Hammersmith, but managed to pull four Olivier awards including Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Aneurin Barnard and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for Iwan Rheon. It also won Best Sound Design for Brian Ronan.

Hello, Dolly!, which played at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park last summer, won Best Musical Revival, Best Actress in a Musical for Samantha Spiro and Best Theatre Choreographer for Stephen Mear.

However, all was not completely lost for musicals still playing in London, with Priscilla winning Best Costume Design and Wicked picking up the Audience Award for Most Popular Show.

Special awards were also granted to two of London Theatre’s most significant living practitioners: The Society’s Special Award honoured Dame Maggie Smith, whilst legendary theatre producer Michael Codron was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award after nearly 60 years in the business.

See a full list of Olivier Award winners here.

Olivier Awards – Winners 2010

March 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Awards, Olivier Awards

Awards announced: 21 March 2010

Audience Award for Most Popular Show
Wicked
Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, book by Winnie Holzman at the Apollo Victoria theatre
Best Actress
Rachel Weisz
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Donmar Warehouse
Best Actor
Mark Rylance
JERUSALEM at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and now at the Apollo theatre
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Ruth Wilson
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Donmar Warehouse
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Eddie Redmayne
RED at the Donmar Warehouse
Best Revival
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Directed by Debbie Allen at the Novello theatre
Best Entertainment
Morecambe
By Tim Whitnall, at the Duchess theatre
Best New Play
The Mountaintop
By Katori Hall at Trafalgar Studio 1
Best New Comedy
The Priory
By Michael Wynne at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Best Musical Revival
Hello Dolly!
Book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, at the Open Air theatre
Best New Musical
Spring Awakening
Music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, based on the play by Frank Wedekind, at the Novello theatre
Best Actress in a Musical or Entertainment
Samantha Spiro
HELLO DOLLY! at the Open Air theatre
Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment
Aneurin Barnard
SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre
Best Supporting Performance in a Musical or Entertainment
Iwan Rheon
SPRING AWAKENING at the Novello theatre
Best Director
Rupert Goold
ENRON at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and now at the Noël Coward theatre
Best Theatre Choreographer
Stephen Mear
HELLO DOLLY! at the Open Air theatre
Best Lighting Design
Burnt By The Sun
Designed by Mark Henderson at the National Theatre, Lyttelton
Best Set Design
Jerusalem
Designed by Ultz at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs and now at the Apollo theatre
Best Costume Design
Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert – The Musical
Designed by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner at the Palace theatre
Best Sound Design
Spring Awakening
Designed by Brian Ronan at the Novello theatre
Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
The Royal Court for COCK
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Best New Opera Production
The Royal Operas TRISTAN UND ISOLDE
At the Royal Opera House
Outstanding Achievement in Opera
Nina Stemme
For her performance in the Royal Operas TRISTAN UND ISOLDE at the Royal Opera House
Best New Dance Production
The Brandstrup-Rojo projects GOLDBERG
At the Royal Opera House
Outstanding Achievement in Dance
Rambert Dance Company
For an outstanding year of new work
Outstanding Achievement
Michael Codron
Special Award
Maggie Smith

Oliver! – Save £23 on top price seats

March 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Save £23 on top price tickets to see Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London

Valid Monday to Friday performances until the 12th June Excludes School Holidays

Oliver! is one of the most popular shows in the West End. Starring Griff Rhys Jones as Fagin and Broadway & West End Star Kerry Ellis as Nancy (from 29th March), Oliver! is one of Britain’s best-loved musicals, bringing Dickens’ timeless characters vividly to life.

Cameron Mackontosh presents this triumphant new staging of Lionel Bart’s masterpiece, featuring a cast and orchestra of over 100 and Lionel Bart’s sensational score of songs including Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You’ve Got to Pick-a-Pocket or Two, I’d Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah, As Long As He Needs Me and many more.

Rupert Goold (Best Director, 2008 Olivier Awards), has restaged Sam Mendes’ acclaimed production, and along with Tony award winning director and choreographer Matthew Bourne, uses every inch of London’s greatest musical stage with even more sensational sets by Anthony Ward.

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