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Susan McFadden to star in Legally Blonde

December 20, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Sheridan Smith to leave Legally Blonde on 8 January; Susan McFadden to take the lead.

Susan McFadden

Susan McFadden

Susan McFadden is to take over from Sheridan Smith in the lead role of Elle Woods in the West End production of Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre.

The Irish actress, who won ITV talent show Grease is the Word in 2007 and played Sandy in the current production of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, has been covering the role of Elle and playing the part of Serena in Legally Blonde since October.  She will take over from Sheridan Smith from 10 January 2011.

McFadden, who has been cast in a number of shows produced by Legally Blonde co-producer Ambassador Theatres, has extensive theatre credits in both the UK and Ireland including a national tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Wakefield, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin, plus Singin’ in the Rain, Annie, Dance of Desire and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

The rest of the Legally Blonde principal cast will continue to appear in the show, including Denise Van Outen as Paulette, Simon Thomas as Warner, Alex Gaumond as Emmett, Siobhan Dillon as Vivienne, Carley Stenson as Margot, Aoife Mulholland as Brooke and Peter Davison as Callahan.

The comedy musical, which opened in January, is based on the movie starring Reese Witherspoon about college sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods, who goes all out to prove to her ex-boyfriend Warner that she’s more than just a dumb blonde – by joining him at Harvard Law School.

The show is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke.

Book tickets to Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre in London

Andrew Lloyd Webber keeps theatres

December 15, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Andrew Lloyd Webber has pulled out of a deal to sell four of his West End theatres to a consortium led by Michael Grade.

The original deal for the theatres was rumoured to be around £50 million and the consortium buying the theatres was led by former BBC Chairman and ITV Chief Executive Michael Grade and theatre agent Michael Linnit.

A statement released by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group regarding the sale to the GradeLinnit consortium said that “at the eleventh hour, GradeLinnit raised issues relating to a long-standing contractual agreement between one of the theatres and a production company about a possible future production. GradeLinnit decided that they would not want to take this contract forward as owners of the theatre. The Really Useful Group has chosen to continue with the agreement and therefore the sale will not be going ahead.”

The deal had included the New London Theatre, current home to War Horse, the Palace Theatre, where Priscilla Queen of the Desert is playing, Chicago venue the Cambridge Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre, which has run Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera since 1986.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and his Really Useful Group will continue to own the four theatres and West End flagship venues the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, currently housing Oliver! and then Shrek The Musical, the London Palladium, which sees Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz open in February, and a 50% stake in the Adelphi Theatre, home to Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies.

It is expected that Michael Grade will be particularly disappointed that the sale has not gone through. His family’s history is entwined with London theatre, with his uncle Lew Grade staging Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the 1950s and 60s for his ATV network. Michael has recently recorded a Radio 2 history of the venue timed for its centenary this December.

His uncle Bernard Delfont converted the London Hippodrome into the Talk of the Town restaurant in 1958, bringing in a host of entertainers including Frank Sinatra, Eartha Kitt and Judy Garland, and staging the Folies Bergère. In the early 1990s Bernard Delfont struck a deal with Cameron Mackintosh to take on his Prince Edward and Prince of Wales theatres, creating the company Delfont Mackintosh, which today owns seven West End theatres.

Lloyd Webber has been slowly divesting of his theatre assets. In 2005 Really Useful sold four theatres to Nimax Theatres – the Lyric, Apollo, Garrick and Duchess for £11.5 million. And in a frank interview with the Daily Mail in July, Lloyd Webber talked of the stress involved in keeping the theatres going and the large debt owed on them: “We’ve got an overdraft of about £100 million against the theatres, which is too much… it’s simply beyond me.”

Producers associated with the venues that were to be sold include Cameron Mackintosh, producer of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler and their production of Chicago at the Cambridge and Liz Koops and Garry McQuinn at Back Row Productions, producers of Priscilla at the Palace Theatre.

It has long been rumoured that Cameron Mackintosh would like to buy the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for his Delfont Mackintosh company, but Lloyd Webber has so far been unwilling to divest of the venues.


More information on the New London Theatre, Cambridge Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Palace Theatre

Dreamboats & Petticoats – Half Price tickets at the Playhouse Theatre

December 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Offers

Incredible offer – save over HALF PRICE on tickets to see this smash-hit show.

Save £29 on tickets to see Dreamboats & Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre, London

Offer valid Monday – Thursday (Save £20 on Friday evenings)

Dreamboats and Petticoats

Inspired by the hit albums, successful producer Bill Kenwright (Blood Brothers) presents Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical, written by Marks and Gran, the team behind Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds Of A Feather and Shine On Harvey Moon.

The show takes yo29 back to a time when each passing week brought another classic track. It’s 1961 and emotions are running high as talented young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win the hearts of their adoring female fans – and more importantly, the gorgeous Laura. But when Laura shows that she’s no slouch with the guitar, rock ‘n’ roll fame beckons…..

This joyous show features hit songs including Lets Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, In Dreams, Bobby’s Girl, Three Steps To Heaven, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Almost Grown, Sleepwalk, Runaround Sue, The Locomotion, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, What A Wonderful World, Half Way To Paradise, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, Let’s Twist Again and many more hits from music’s golden era!

Save £29 on tickets to see Dreamboats & Petticoats at the Playhouse Theatre, London

JONATHAN CAKE in A Flea in her Ear

December 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

Jonathan Cake to co-star with Tom Hollander and Lisa Dillon in A Flea in her Ear

JONATHAN CAKE in A Flea in her Ear

Jonathan Cake has been spending a fair amount of time on Broadway of late, so it’s good to see him come back to London – and to have some fun this Christmas in Richard Eyre’s new production of French farce A Flea in her Ear at the Old Vic.

His recent Broadway escapades include New York Theatre Workshop’s April production of Restoration written and starring Claudia Shear, plus Braham in Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist opposite Matthew Broderick, Iachimo in Cymbeline and Jason in Deborah Warner’s Medea with Fiona Shaw.

On the London stage Jonathan has appeared in numerous productions including the National’s Baby Doll and an acclaimed performance in Coriolanus at Shakespeare’s Globe.

TV credits include Extras, Mosely, A Dance to the Music of Time, The Government Inspector, Cold Lazarus, Six Degrees, Empire and Law and Order, with films ranging from First Knight to Brideshead Revisited.

Cake is co-starring in A Flea in her Ear alongside Tom Hollander, Lisa Dillon, Di Botcher, Oliver Cotton, Freddie Fox, Fiona Glascott, Lloyd Hutchinson, Tim McMullan, John Marquez, William Maxwell, Rebecca Night, Maggie Service and Walter van Dyk.

The revival of Georges Feydeau’s 1907 French farce A Flea in her Ear is directed by Richard Eyre in a version by John Mortimer.

Book tickets to A Flea in her Ear at the Old Vic Theatre in London


December 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

Hannah Waddingham to play the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.

HANNAH WADDINGHAM in The Wizard of OzWest End star Hannah Waddingham is not through with playing evil witches.

After wowing audiences in Regent’s Park this summer playing the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Open Air Theatre, she will return to fairytale nastiness this winter playing the Wicked Witch of the West in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster new production of The Wizard of Oz, which opens at the London Palladium this February.

Hannah has enjoyed a successful stage career, including Olivier Award nominations for the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot and Desiree Armfelt in Trevor Nunn’s production of A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the Garrick Theatre.

Her other roles include Suzanne Valadon in Lautrec at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Christine Warner in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge Theatre) Satan in Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s The Night, Bad Girls The Musical at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, A Chorus of Disapproval for Theatr Clywd and Rizzo in Grease at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

The Wizard of Oz previews from 7 February 2011 at the London Palladium starring Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy, Michael Crawford as the Wizard, Paul Keating as Scarecrow, Edward Baker-Duly as  Tin Man, David Ganly as the Cowardly Lion and Emily Tierney as Glinda, The Good Witch.

Book tickets to The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium

Billy Elliot – Save £21.50 on tickets

December 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Offers

Winner of 10 Tony awards, BILLY ELLIOT is the worldwide smash-hit musical based on the acclaimed film.

SPECIAL NEW YEAR OFFER: Save £21.50 on tickets to Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London

Valid Monday to Thursday 4 January to 17 February 2011, excluding 14 February

Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot the Musical is an inspirational story of one boy’s dream to realise his ambitions against the odds.  A funny, heart-warming and feel-good celebration of one young boy’s dreams, Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John alongside the award-winning creative team behind the film – writer Lee Hall, director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling.

This original story captured the hearts and minds of the world when the movie was released in October 2000. Nominated for 3 Oscars and 13 Bafta awards this poignant film broke box office records across the world.

“Billy Boy – this is the greatest musical yet” Daily Telegraph.

“Brit Musical of the decade has arrived” Daily Express.

“Billy’s a whizz! He’ll lift your spirits, make you cry and send you home high with hope” Daily Mail.

BOOK NOW: Save £21.50 on tickets to Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London

LISA DILLON in A Flea in her Ear

December 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

Lisa Dillon returns to the Old Vic in A Flea in her Ear

LISA DILLON in A Flea in her EarGlamorous actress Lisa Dillon cannot get enough of the Old Vic theatre in London. She has recently completed a run in Noel Coward’s Design for Living at the South London venue, and now stars in French farce A Flea in her Ear, alongside Jonathan Cake and Tom Hollander.

Dillon is best known for playing Mary Smith in the BBC’s Cranford, but its for her stage work that she is getting the attention. Prior to Design for Living she played another Noel Coward classic – this time Private Lives at the Vaudeville with Kim Cattrall, directed by Richard Eyre – who also directs A Flea in her Ear. She also starred in Coward’s Present Laughter at the National Theatre in 2008 alongside Alex Jennings.

Lisa originally trained at RADA and since graduating her wide-ranging roles have included the lead in Euripides’ Iphigeneia at Aulis at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield, Desdemona in Othello with the RSC, Hedda Gabler at the Almeida and Duke of York’s, Tennessee Williams’ Period of Adjustment, Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Under the Blue Sky in the West End, and Hilda in The Master Builder with Patrick Stewart and directed by Anthony Page, which earned her an Ian Charleson Award for Outstanding Newcomer in 2004.

Her on-screen credits include Cambridge Spies and Bright Young Things.

This new production of Georges Feydeau’s 1907 French farce A Flea in her Ear is directed by Richard Eyre in a version by John Mortimer.

Book tickets to A Flea in her Ear at the Old Vic Theatre in London

PAUL KEATING in The Wizard of Oz

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Cast - Archive, Star Watch Archive

Andrew Lloyd Webber casts Paul Keating as Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

PAUL KEATING in The Wizard of Oz

Paul has been twice nominated for Olivier Awards – and we think this next project could be the one.

The multi-talented actor has been cast as the Scarecrow in Lord Lloyd Webber’s great big revival of musicals classic The Wizard of Oz – to open at the London Palladium in February.

Paul’s impressive list of stage credits includes the lead role in Tommy at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Tick… Tick… BOOM! at the Duchess Theatre, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors with Sheridan Smith at Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End, the Pet Shop Boys musical Closer to Heaven, the Balladeer in Assassins, La Cava at the Piccadilly Theatre and Victoria Palace, the Full Monty at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Prince of Palma in Don Carlos directed by Michael Grandage, Buttons in Cinderella at the Old Vic Theatre and Blowing Whistles at the Leicester Square Theatre.

On-screen appearances include Metrosexuality and Bring Me The Head Of Mavis Davis.

The Wizard of Oz previews from 7 February 2011 at the London Palladium starring Over the Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy, Michael Crawford as the Wizard, Paul Keating as Scarecrow, Edward Baker-Duly as  Tin Man, David Ganly as the Cowardly Lion and Emily Tierney as Glinda, The Good Witch.

Book tickets to The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium

Opening this week: Love Story, Potted Panto

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under News

This week’s West End openings include romantic new show Love Story, Christmas treats with Potted Panto, The Night Before Christmas and The Nutcracker, plus Derek Jacobi in King Lear.

Emma Williams and Michael Xavier in Love Story

Emma Williams and Michael Xavier in Love Story

Love Story
Love Story gets its official opening night at the Duchess starring Emma Williams and Michael Xavier on 6 December. Erich Segal’s best-selling novel Love Story, which was famously turned into a film starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, has been given the musicals treatment by Howard Goodall and Stephen Clark.

The show had its premiere earlier this year at the Chichester Festival Theatre and was well received by critics, with The Stage calling it a “gorgeous new chamber musical”. The producers of the show include West End star Michael Ball, Adam Spiegel and Stephen Waley-Cohen and it is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with design by Peter McKintosh and musical direction by Stephen Ridley. Read our interview with Michael Ball.  Book tickets to Love Story at the Duchess Theatre.

King Lear at the Donmar

Derek Jacobi gives his King Lear at the Donmar Warehouse, opening on 7 December in a new production by Michael Grandage. Also starring Gina McKee. Book tickets.

The Night Before Christmas

Magical family show The Night Before Christmas opens at the Ambassadors Theatre on 8 December. Meet Father Christmas and see a wonderful story come to life in this brand new show, full of songs, poems and stories. Book tickets.

Potted Panto
Those CBBC rascals Dan and Jeff bring Pantomime mayhem to the Vaudeville with Edinburgh family hit Potted Panto on 10 December. CBBC’s Dan and Jeff, the masterminds behind Potted Potter and Potted Pirates, turn their attentions to that much loved British institution, the pantomime. Potted Panto crams seven much-loved pantomimes into one show. Dan and Jeff career through Cinderella in 3D, dazzle with a Dick Whittington featuring Jeff as the Mayor of London and struggle to work out how two people can play seven dwarves and which of them will make the prettiest princess. From conventions and costume to heroes and villains, the dastardly double act explores all the elements of the art form we both love and loathe as a nation. Book tickets to Potted Panto at the Vaudeville Theatre.

English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker
On the same night English National Ballet open their seasonal production of The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum in a sumptuous new production by Artistic Director Wayne Eagling to celebrate the Company’s 60th birthday. Book tickets.


And next week… A Flear in her Ear opens on 14 December at the Old Vic starring Tom Hollander, Lisa Dillon and Jonathan Cake.

Offers on classic comedy

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Offers

Theatre ticket discounts on classic plays including A Flea in her Ear, When We Are Married and An Ideal Husband.

The West End is packed full of classic comedies this Winter starring a wealth of showbiz talent including Tom Hollander, Maureen Lipman and Samantha Bond.

Westendtheatre.com has put together some extra special offers on these plays to ensure that your Winter goes with a bang.


An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband

Samantha Bond returns to the London stage in Oscar Wilde’s perfect comedy An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre. This glittering new production of Oscar Wilde’s witty and stylish critique of social morality sees Bond (Outnumbered) play Mrs Cheveley, pitted against her real-life husband Alexander Hanson (A Little Night Music, The Sound Of Music) as Sir Robert. The play also stars Elliott Cowan and Rachael Stirling. Wilde’s 1895 play was last produced in London by Peter Hall in 1996, and this time the directing honours go to Lindsay Posner.

“This richly entertaining evening.” (The Telegraph)

BOOK NOW: Save £10.50 on tickets to see An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre


When We Are Married

When We Are Married

Classic playwright J B Priestley is back in the West End and on fine comic form in When We Are Married, at the Garrick Theatre. An all-star cast feature in his beautifully witty play about three highly respectable couples who were all married in the same Yorkshire church on the same day – and are celebrating 25 years of wedded bliss. Then out of the blue, disaster strikes: the vicar was never licensed – they’ve been living in sin all these years! Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the play stars a who’s who of British comic acting talent including Lynda Baron, Roy Hudd, Sam Kelly, Maureen Lipman, Susie Blake, Michele Dotrice, David Horovitch, Rosemary Ashe and Simon Rouse. Not to be missed.

“A hugely enjoyable evening.” (The Independent)

BOOK NOW: Save £17 on tickets to see When We Are Married at the Garrick Theatre


A Flea in her Ear

A Flea in her Ear

Tom Hollander stars in A Flea in Her Ear at the Old Vic. Written by Georges Feydeau in 1907, A Flea In Her Ear is a classic French farce set against a backdrop of jealousy, misunderstandings and confrontation. Richard Eyre directs an all-star cast including Tom Hollander (Rev), Lisa Dillon (Design for Living) and Jonathan Cake (Mosely). This adaptation of A Flea in her Ear by John Mortimer is returning home to the Old Vic, where it was originally performed by the National Theatre in 1966 starring Albert Finney.

(Now previewing. Opening night 14 December)

BOOK NOW: Save Half Price on tickets to see A Flea in her Ear at the Old Vic Theatre


See all our special theatre offers here

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