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Photos: Alison Steadman in Blithe Spirit

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Show - Photos

Production photos of Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre in London.

Noel Coward’s blissful comedy Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre features an all-star cast including Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), Ruthie Henshall (Chicago), Hermione Norris (Spooks) and Robert Bathurst (Hattie). The Theatre Royal Bath revival is directed by the award-winning Thea Sharrock (After the Dance).

In the play, the novelist Charles Condomine (Bathurst) and his second wife Ruth (Norris) are haunted when an eccentric medium (Steadman) manages to conjure up the ghost of Charles’s neurotic and beautiful first wife, Elvira (Henshall), at a séance.

LINKS

Book tickets to Blithe Spirit at the Apollo Theatre

Lincoln Center Theater Production of South Pacific at the Barbican on sale now

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Theatre Press Releases

‘Rapturous and revelatory!’ New York Times

‘Gorgeous! SOUTH PACIFIC doesn’t just float; it soars!’ USA Today

‘The best Rodgers and Hammerstein in a generation’ Washington Post

Breathtaking and lavish, this Lincoln Center Theater production which reinvented the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, won seven Tony Awards in 2008, played to sold-out houses on Broadway for two years and is currently selling out across North America.

This international hit now has its European premiere at the Barbican. Tickets for the Barbican run, which plays from Monday 15 August – Saturday 1 October, go on sale today.

Set on a tropical island during World War II, this is the sweeping romantic story of two couples, threatened by the realities of war and by their own prejudices. Its portrayal of Americans stationed in an unfamiliar culture in wartime remains as relevant today as when it first thrilled audiences.

Considered one of the finest musicals ever written, the score includes Some Enchanted Evening, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and There is Nothin’ Like a Dame.

Featuring a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 25, this landmark production arrives at the Barbican for a strictly limited seven-week London season. South Pacific is directed by Bartlett Sher, Musical Staging is by Christopher Gattelli, Sets are by Michael Yeargan, Lighting is by Donald Holder, Costumes are by Catherine Zuber, Sound is by Scott Lehrer, Music Direction is by Ted Sperling and Original Orchestrations are by Robert Russell Bennett.

Supported by American Airlines

Release issued by: Barbican press office

LINKS

Barbican website

New this week: Oz, Blithe Spirit, Flare Path

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Some big-hitting West End shows open this week in London, including The Wizard of Oz, Million Dollar Quartet, Flare Path and Blithe Spirit.

Monday 28 February 2011

Million Dollar Quartet, the musical that recreates the historic day when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis all made music together, opens tonight at the Noel Coward Theatre starring a multi-talented cast including Bill Ward (Coronation Street).

Tuesday 1 March 2011

The Wizard of Oz cast, left - right Edward Baker-Duly, David Ganly, Paul Keating and Danielle Hope

The Wizard of Oz cast, left - right Edward Baker-Duly, David Ganly, Paul Keating and Danielle Hope

It’s the premiere tonight of the musical that has received more publicity, hype and good old-fashioned audience anticipation than any other show for years as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkly new production of The Wizard of Oz opens at the London Palladium. Rebooted by Jeremy Sams and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright, the show sees Over The Rainbow star Danielle Hope make her West End stage debut joined by Michael Crawford as the Wizard and Hannah Waddingham as the Wicked Witch.

Also today, tickets go on sale for the Olivier Awards at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The 13th March ceremony is open to theatregoers for the first time and promises a starry night of West End celebs and excerpts from the shows.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Noel Coward’s blissful comedy Blithe Spirit starts previews at the Apollo Theatre featuring an all-star cast including Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), Ruthie Henshall (Chicago), Hermione Norris (Spooks) and Robert Bathurst (Hattie). The revival is directed by the award-winning Thea Sharrock (After the Dance).

Thursday 3 March 2011

Previews starts for Hurly Burly at the Garrick Theatre, featuring the luscious Miss Polly Rae in an all singing, all dancing burlesque-inspired revue with a contemporary twist.

Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit

Alison Steadman as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit

Also tonight, In A Forest, Dark and Deep starts previews at the Vaudeville Theatre with Lost star Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams (The Ghost Writer) in Neil LaBute’s new psychological thriller.

Friday 4 March 2011

Trevor Nunn begins his artistic directorship of the Theatre Royal Haymarket tonight with the start of previews for Flare Path. Terence Rattigan’s Second World War romance sees Sienna Miller, James Purefoy and Sheridan Smith star.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Kneehigh theare company, who scored a huge hit in London and on Broadway with their stage take on Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter, are back with a brand new production. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, based on the classic French film, begins previews at the Gielgud Theatre tonight starring Joanna Riding, Meow Meow and Andrew Durand.

Also on Saturday, A Flea in Her Ear closes at the Old Vic Theatre starring Tom Hollander and Ordinary Days starring Daniel Boys ends at the Trafalgar Studios.

New Billy Elliot Joins West End Cast As Hit Musical Is Shortlisted For Bbc Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Theatre Press Releases

Twelve year old Josh Baker from Rochester has just become the twenty-fifth boy to play the title role in the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical as the hit show is shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award, the only category voted for by the public. Voting is now open and will close on 9 March with the awards ceremony on Sunday 13 March 2011. Now in its sixth year at the Victoria Palace Theatre, the critically acclaimed, internationally award-winning musical has been seen by over 6 million people worldwide, including 3 million in the West End. Since its world premiere in 2005 a total of 53 boys, including Jamie Bell who played Billy Elliot in the award-winning film, have now performed the title role worldwide, making Josh Baker the 54th boy to play Billy.

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. Set in the North East of England against the background of the historic 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy pursues his passion for dance in secret to avoid disapproval of his struggling family.

Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, and is directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling. The production features scenic design by Ian MacNeil, the associate director is Julian Webber, costume design is by Nicky Gillibrand, lighting design by Rick Fisher and sound design by Paul Arditti. Musical supervision and orchestrations are by Martin Koch.

As well as the current London production, Billy Elliot the Musical has performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and Seoul, South Korea, and is currently performing at the Imperial Theater on Broadway and on tour across North America. Currently in previews, Billy Elliot the Musical will officially open at the Canon Theatre, Toronto on March 1st. Productions are also in the works for Japan, Germany and Holland.

Josh Baker said “My name is Josh Baker and I am 12 years old. I live with my mum, dad and little brother Max in the historic town of Rochester. I started acting when I was 5 years old when I appeared in Holby City and A Complete Guide to Parenting with Peter Davison. I started dancing at the age of 7 learning ballet, tap and jazz at Brooke’s Academy of Dance. I then went on to join Italia Conti Associate School and last year I joined Stage Theatre Society (STS). I was over the moon when I found out I would be playing the role of Billy and am really excited about my first performance. I love being part of such a great musical – the training has been very hard but also great fun! I can’t wait for all my friends from Stage Theatre School to come and see me performing in the West End.”

Josh Baker joins Dean Charles-Chapman (13 years old from Romford, Essex), Scott McKenzie (13 years old from Dumbarton, Scotland) and Rhys Yeomans (13 years old from Oldham, Lancashire) who alternate the role of Billy; Reece Barrett (12 years old from Exeter), Connor Kelly (12 years old from Scunthorpe), Connor Lawson (12 years old from Shotton, County Durham) and Joe Massey (11 years old from South Wirrell) who alternate the role of Billy’s best friend Michael; Francesca Mango (11 years old from Northumberland), Emily Smith (11 years old from County Durham) and Emily Williams (9 years old East Wingate, County Durham) who alternate the role of Debbie. They perform alongside Genevieve Lemon (Mrs. Wilkinson), Martin Marquez (Dad), Tom Lorcan (Tony), Diane Langton (Grandma), Chris McGlade (George), Kay Milbourne (Dead Mum), Kevin Patricks (Mr. Braithwaite),
Barnaby Meredith (Older Billy) and ensemble members Ashley Andrews, David Bardsley, Romy Baskerville, Paul Basleigh, Alan Bradshaw, Spencer Cartwright, Caroline Deverill, Helen French, Tim Funnell, Sergio Giacomelli, Shaun Henson, Stevie Hutchinson, Stuart Ramsay, Derek Richards and Russell Wilcox and swings Craig Armstrong, Dawn Buckland, Lucinda Collins, Kieran Jae and Mike Scott.

Billy Elliot the Musical is presented in London by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films and Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Aspect and is based on the Universal Pictures/ Studio Canal film.

Release issued by: Premier PR

LINKS

Book tickets to Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London

Million Dollar Quartet – Reviews Round-up

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews Round-up

A round-up of reviews for Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre

Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis), Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins), Gez Gerrard (Jay Perkins/Bass), Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash) & Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley) in Million Dollar Quartet. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Ben Goddard (Jerry Lee Lewis), Robert Britton Lyons (Carl Perkins), Gez Gerrard (Jay Perkins/Bass), Derek Hagen (Johnny Cash) & Michael Malarkey (Elvis Presley) in Million Dollar Quartet. Photo: Helen Maybanks

Million Dollar Quartet is the hugely successful Broadway musical that has now made its way to the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre.

It tells the electrifying story of one night in 1956 when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis all came together to make music in the recording studio of Sun Records’ producer Sam Phillips.

The stars of the show, including Bill Ward as Sam Phillips, Ben Goddard as Jerry Lee Lewis, Derek Hagen as Johnny Cash, Robert Britton Lyons as Carl Perkins and Michael Malarkey as Elvis Presley, all get great notices from the critics, particularly Ben Goddard.

Whilst the book of the show comes in for some criticism, the music and performances more than makes up for it.

Read extracts of reviews, below, from the Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Evening Standard.

Book tickets to Million Dollar Quartet at the Noel Coward Theatre

Oscar winner Tom Hooper to direct Les Miserables movie?

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Stage Spy

Tom Hooper, who won the best director Oscar last night for The King’s Speech, is also tipped to take on another potential award-winner. The Los Angeles Times reports that a big-budget movie remake of the hit stage musical Les Miserables is all systems go, and that he is to helm the project.

Hooper, who picked up the directing Oscar last night along with The King’s Speech star Colin Firth as Best Actor, was also offered Iron Man 3 as a new directing project…. but we think Les Mis fits much better!

He told 24 Frames that he wouldn’t mind directing another historical or period piece after The King’s Speech, “I’m certainly on the lookout” he said.

Tom Hooper collects his Best Director Oscar for The King's Speech

Tom Hooper collects his Best Director Oscar for The King's Speech

RUMOUR CHECK-LIST

  • Movie: Les Miserables
  • Director: Tom Hooper
  • Casting: ???
  • Producer: Working Title, Cameron Mackintosh
  • Date of release: 2012?
Source: LA Times (23/02/11)

Olivier Audience Award short list announced

February 27, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Olivier Awards News

The short list for this year’s Olivier Audience Award was announced today by Elaine Paige on her BBC Radio 2 show.

Gareth Gates in Les Miserables - on the short list for the Olivier Audience Award

Gareth Gates in Les Miserables - on the short list for the Olivier Audience Award

The short list of shows are Billy Elliot the Musical, Jersey Boy, Les Misérables and We Will Rock You. They received more votes than the 14 other eligible shows in the Audience Award category, and were voted for by members of the theatregoing public.

Voting has now reopened to choose the winner, until 9 March 2011. The winner will be announced at the Olivier Awards at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Sunday 13 March.

Queen musical We Will Rock You and Billy Elliot both made it on to the short list last year but were beaten by Wicked as the Audience Award winner 2010. Wicked was not included in the awards line-up this year. The nomination of Les Misérables follows the show’s recent win at the Whatsonstage Awards for its 25th anniversary O2 concert and UK touring production. Jersey Boys is the biographical musical telling the story and featuring the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which opened at the Prince Edward theatre in 2008.

Also on Elaine Paige’s show this Sunday, a new song written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the new London Palladium production of The Wizard of Oz was given its world premiere. Red Shoes Blues was sung by Hannah Waddingham, who plays the Wicked Witch of the West in the show alongside Danielle Hope as Dorothy and Michael Crawford as the Wizard.

LINKS

Olivier Awards microsite

Olivier Awards – nominations

LISTEN: Red Shoes Blues from The Wizard of Oz, sung by Hannah Waddingham

LISTEN: Elaine Paige announces the Olivier Audience Award short list

Royal Mail release Musicals Stamps

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The Royal Mail is celebrating seven decades of UK stage musicals with a set of stamps, issued today.

Royal Mail Musicals Stamps set

Royal Mail Musicals Stamps set

Eight shows are featured: Queen’s We Will Rock You, West End classic Oliver!, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Me and My Girl – first produced in 1937, Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show, Elton John’s Billy Elliot, and (slightly bizarrely) Return to the Forbidden Planet.

Roger Taylor and Brian May of Queen helped launch the stamps at the Dominion Theatre today, and said: “We’re thrilled that We Will Rock You has been immortalised on a Royal Mail stamp. The image on the stamp takes us back to when we were touring as Queen and embodies the rock and roll music that we wanted to celebrate in We Will Rock You the musical.”

We know they can’t include everything but they have left out some biggies: Andrew Lloyd Webber doesn’t feature, which is odd given that he is probably Britain’s most successful living musicals composer. And the world’s longest running musical, Les Miserables, is strangely absent (yes, it was written by two French men, but the production is most definitely British). And no Leslie Bricusse, Noel Coward, Ivor Novello or Sandy Wilson work?

Click here to see the full set of Musicals stamps

LINKS

Royal Mail website

Sign of the Times – Save £28.50

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Offers - Archive

Save £28.50 on tickets to Sign of the Times at the Duchess Theatre

Matthew Kelly and Gerard Kearns in Sign of the Times

Matthew Kelly and Gerard Kearns in Sign of the Times

Tim Firth (Calendar Girls) brings his warm and witty play into the West End starring Matthew Kelly as a disillusioned sign erector whose life is changed by a clumsy teenager – played by Shameless star Gerard Kearns.

Save £28.50 on tickets to Sign of the Times by Tim Firth, the writer of Calendar Girls, one of the most successful British films of all times.

The show stars Olivier Award winner Matthew Kelly (Of Mice and Men, Waiting for Godot) and, making his West End debut, Gerard Kearns, best known to millions as Ian Gallagher in the hit TV series Shameless.

Frank Tollit has put up giant letters on the sides of buildings for over twenty-five years. From forty-foot yellow IKEAs to five-foot red COMETs, Frank’s done them all. But in his heart, he’s always yearned to work with smaller letters… novels… spy novels. Stories of unexpected encounters in dangerous places, disasters, treachery and daring rescues. However, a lifelong lack of success is driving Frank to the edge. Not even in one of his wildest plots could Frank have dreamed that salvation would turn up in the shape of a clumsy young teenager.

Sign of the Times is a heart-warming, human comedy about finding happiness in unpredictable times.

Save £28.50 on tickets to Sign of the Times at the Duchess Theatre

E4 Udderbelly Festival returns to Southbank

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The summer comedy festival Udderbelly, sponsored by E4, is returning to the Southbank this summer.

The Udderbelly Festival 2010 tent on the Southbank

The Udderbelly Festival 2010 tent on the Southbank

Running from 28 April to 17 July 2011, with tickets on sale from 24 February, this is the third year for the big purple venue and promises another great programme of comedy, cabaret, theatre and music.

All comedy tickets are under £20 and headline acts set for 2011 include ‘National Treasures’ Paul Daniels, Roy Walker and Jim Bowen, alongside JennyÉclair, Howard Marks, Gina Yashere, Spymonkey and Australia’s biggest comedian, Wil Anderson.

New comedy talent is represented by cabaret superstars such as Frisky & Mannish, The Boy With Tape on His Face, Abandoman and Carl Donnelly.

The Udderbelly Festival, together with the Southbank Centre, will also be celebrating the Royal Wedding on 29th April with champagne cocktails and the wedding live on big screens – plus Royal Wedding themed shows.

The E4 Udderbelly Festival will also be helping the Southbank Centre celebrate their 60th anniversary. The full programme, including Udderbelly Festival’s headline show, will be published in March.

LINKS

Book tickets to the Udderbelly Festival at the Southbank

E4 Udderbelly Festival website

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