MICHAEL CRAWFORD is to continue in his starring role of The Wizard in ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’s new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Michael has been thrilling audiences since the show opened at the LONDON PALLADIUM on 1 March 2011 and now he will star in the iconic role until Sunday 5 February 2012.
In addition to the eponymous role, Michael also plays the characters of The Wizard in disguise as both the doorman and the tour guide in the Emerald City, as well as Professor Marvel, for whom a new song has been specially written, The Wonders of the World. This is one of several brand new songs by ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER and TIM RICE, which also include Red Shoes Blues, a solo for The Wicked Witch of the West and Dorothy’s opening number Nobody Understands Me.
THE WIZARD OF OZ combines these new musical numbers, which mark the first time Andrew and Tim have worked together in over 30 years on a new production, with all the much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score.
MICHAEL CRAWFORD is internationally renowned for originating the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and loved by millions for his role as the hapless Frank Spencer in the classic British sitcom, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. His hugely successful career spans four decades, and includes his triumphant performance in the hit show Barnum at the London Palladium. He is a multi Olivier and Tony-award winning star whose acclaim encompasses theatre, television and film and he was appointed an OBE in 1988.
Michael stars alongside DANIELLE HOPE, the winner of the BBC smash hit talent show Over The Rainbow, who is Dorothy, EDWARD BAKER-DULY (Tin Man), DAVID GANLY (Lion), PAUL KEATING (Scarecrow), EMILY TIERNEY (Glinda) and HANNAH WADDINGHAM (as The Wicked Witch of the West).
The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum is directed by Jeremy Sams, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, set and costumes designs by Robert Jones, and produced by Bill Kenwright and the Really Useful Group.
Release issued by: Target Live
The writers of Betty Blue Eyes to present their new musical Soho Cinders in a one-off charity concert.
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, whose recent work includes Betty Blue Eyes at the Novello Theatre in London, are set to premiere a brand new work at the venue.
Soho Cinders will get its world premiere in a one-off charity concert at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 9 October 2011, in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.
An all-star cast of West End big-hitters has been announced to star in the show including Kerry Ellis, Hannah Waddingham, Beverly Rudd, David Bedella and Sandi Toksvig, and the concert will be directed by Jonathan Butterell.
Soho Cinders, which is billed as “Cinderella remixed”, is a modern musical satirical comedy about the love life of prospective Mayoral candidate James Prince, his fiancée and his law-student lover, Robbie.
Production photos of Betwixt at the Trafalgar Studios, starring Ellen Greene.
Legendary Broadway star Ellen Greene is currently performing in new British musical comedy Betwixt at the Trafalgar Studios in London.
Written and directed by Ian McFarlane, the show runs until 20 August at the venue and also stars Steven Webb, Ashleigh Gray, Benedict Salter and Peter Duncan.
In the show Greene, who is most famous for playing Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors in the West End, on Broadway and in the movie, plays multiple roles including identical triplets and Nymph Queen.
Photos by Roy Tan.
The Broadway, West End And International Sensation Stomp Celebrates Its 20th Birthday – And Enters Its 10th Year In The West End!
STOMP – the multi-award winning, international hit show – celebrates its 20th birthday this autumn with special events throughout London on Monday 14th November, culminating in a thrilling and unique performance of the show. For one night only, a number of high-profile comedian friends of STOMP will take part in a special routine, joining co-creator Luke Cresswell on stage to celebrate this milestone.
STOMP is also turning 10 in the West End – and to mark the occasion on November 14th there will be a series of special events at each of the venues it has played in London, before returning to its current home, The Ambassadors Theatre, for this 20th Birthday Gala Special. Names and further details to be announced.
Since its premiere at the Edinburgh Festival in 1991, Stomp has become a global phenomenon, showcasing a universal language of rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance that has resonated with audiences throughout the world. Eight performers use everything from Zippo lighters and plastic bags to bin lids and even the kitchen sink to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm.
STOMP has toured the globe almost continuously for 20 years, setting feet stamping, fingers drumming and adrenalin rushing for over 15 million people in 48 countries across 5 continents. It is currently playing in the UK, US, throughout Europe and South America.
From a single drum hanging around Luke Cresswell’s neck back in 1991, STOMP has taken on a life of its own. Creators and co-directors Cresswell and Steve McNicholas developed a pulsating, witty, utterly irresistible theatrical event that has become a worldwide phenomenon.
At its heart is a show that continues to evolve – inspired by the large-scale Las Vegas version, Stomp Out Loud, new music and choreography now join a fresh array of ordinarily mundane objects, onto which the cast work their musical magic. Huge ribbed tubes, previously used for recycling fluorescent lights, are themselves recycled into outsized Guiros, a Latin American percussion instrument, played by scraping the ridged sides with a stick. Stomp is fresher, faster and funnier than ever before.
Together they received an Oscar nomination for the film BROOMS, performing at the 1996 ceremony, and an Emmy nomination for the HBO special Stomp Out Loud. Their work in Imax films is extensive: they co-directed the award winning giant-screen films, Pulse: a Stomp Odyssey and Wild Ocean 3D as well as the Stomp inspired feature Vacuums. Cresswell has also received a special achievement award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.
Luke and Steve created and composed the Lost and Found Orchestra, which explores found sound on an orchestral level. They recently purchased The Old Market in Brighton, which they have transformed into a thriving venue for the use of fellow artists and to support emerging local talent as a performance, workshop, recording and exhibition space, in the heart of Brighton and Hove’s Brunswick town.
Over the last 20 years, Stomp has garnered truly diverse recognition; from an Olivier Award and the headline-grabbing performance at the 1996 Oscars to the City of New York celebrating its 10th birthday at the Orpheum Theatre by renaming 2nd Avenue at 8th Street ‘Stomp Avenue’! Now, in 2011, with an
international community of performers totaling more than 100 over five companies, the ‘dustbin dance’ marks its new milestone in its characteristic show of joyous explosion!
Release issued by: Target Live
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) today announced that for the first time ever more than half the West End’s shows have extended their booking periods to offer sales 15 months in advance, anticipating an increased demand for theatre tickets as millions flock to the UK in 2012.
The theatre industry plans to capitalise on London’s high international profile in the run up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 2012 and the Olympic and Paralympic Games in July/August 2012 so visitors can plan a theatre trip into their itinerary now.
2011 has seen the opening of many acclaimed new musicals with those booking into 2012 including The Wizard of Oz, Shrek The Musical, Million Dollar Quartet and Ghost The Musical as well as the new production of the Broadway hit Rock of Ages, and the RSC’s transfer of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical which open this autumn.
Classic long-running popular shows announcing extended 2012 booking periods include The 39 Steps, Billy Elliot the Musical, Blood Brothers, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde the Musical, Les Misérables, Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Mousetrap, The Phantom of the Opera, Stomp, Thriller Live, War Horse, We Will Rock You, Wicked and The Woman in Black.
London theatre is a magnet for the world’s finest theatrical talent, with performances on the London stage over the coming year from Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes, Mark Rylance, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Patrick Stewart, David Suchet, Dominic West, Michael Sheen, Thandie Newton, James Earl Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas and Jude Law.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “My message to the good folks around the world is ‘Come to London in 2012 for a year like no other!’ We will be taking centre stage and whether you are coming for the Games or any other time during the year, surely no visit to our magnificent city will be complete without enjoying the spectacular entertainment London theatre has to offer. The capital’s theatre industry delivers the greatest shows on earth every night with a star-studded line-up of critically acclaimed and Olivier and Tony Award-winning productions. Visitors from around the UK and across the globe should snap up their tickets now for our world-class drama, musicals, dance and opera.”
SOLT President, Mark Rubinstein, said: “London theatre is something for everyone to be proud of and is a great ambassador for UK plc. The economic impact of London theatre on the UK economy is estimated at £2.6 billion per annum and we are thrilled that the doors of London theatres will be open for business as usual throughout 2012 with a huge range of superb productions ensuring that a great night out at the theatre is a must-do for millions.”
As the official body for London theatre, SOLT offers the most reliable and up to date information for theatregoers in 2012, from guidance on ticket buying to travel planning, via its website officiallondontheatre.co.uk, which also features all the latest theatre news, opening nights and a peek behind the scenes of the theatre capital of the world.
Release issued by: The Society of London Theatre
Laurence Olivier Award Winning Legally Blonde The Musical Releases Over A Quarter Of A Million New Tickets For Sale
Today, 27 July 2011, a further quarter of a million tickets are released for sale for the Laurence Olivier award-winning Legally Blonde The Musical, taking bookings to 27 October 2012. Since its opening at the Savoy Theatre in December 2009, almost 600,000 patrons have now seen Jerry Mitchell’s multi award-winning production.
College sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods doesn’t take no for an answer. So when her boyfriend Warner dumps her for someone serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and heads for Harvard Law! Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Carley Stenson is currently playing college sweetheart Elle Woods. She is joined by Lee Mead who plays Emmett Forrest and Natalie Casey as ditzy beautician Paulette Buonufonté. Peter Davison continues in the role of Professor Callahan as well as Nicola Brazil as Serena and Siobhan Dillon as Vivienne.
The current cast comprises Stephane Anelli (Padamadan, Nikos), Emma Bateman (Gabby, Stenographer), Nicola Brazil (Serena), Thomas Camilleri (Carlos), Natalie Casey (Paulette), Peter Davison (Professor Callahan) Siobhan Dillon (Vivienne Kensington), Kimmy Edwards (Judge, Saleswoman), Chris Ellis-Stanton, (Grandmaster Chad, Dewey, Kyle), Ibinabo Jack (Pilar), Ellie Kirk (Margot), Suzie McAdam (Enid), Sorelle Marsh (Courtney, Mom, Whitney), Lee Mead (Emmett), Sean Mulligan (Pforzheimer), Dawn Sievewright (Kate, Chutney), Carley Stenson (Elle Woods), Lincoln Stone (Dad, Winthrop, Reporter), Simon Thomas (Warner), Robbie Towns (Aaron), Dominic Tribuzio (Kiki), Tamara Wall (Brooke, Shandi), Stephen Webb (Lowell) and Tara Young (Cece, District Attorney) as well as Jonathan Mawson, Jane McMurtrie, Lucy Miller, Ruthie Stephenson and Gregor Stewart as swings.
Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning Jerry Mitchell, Legally Blonde The Musical has 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.
Legally Blonde The Musical is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G. Bartner, Ambassador Theatre Group, Bud Martin, Adam Zotovich, Jamie Hendry Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions.
Release issued by: Premier PR
The Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS comes to the West End for a 5-week Christmas run, prior to UK tour
The Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS A new musical play with book by Helen Edmundson and songs by Neil Hannon, based on the book by Arthur Ransome comes to the West End for a 5-week Christmas run, prior to UK tour.
Vaudeville Theatre, 15 December 2011 – 14 January 2012
Suitable for 6yrs+
The critically acclaimed Bristol Old Vic production of SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS, a new musical play with book by Helen Edmundson and songs by Neil Hannon, comes to the West End this Christmas for a strictly limited 5-week run, presented by the National Theatre and The Children’s Touring Partnership. Tickets are on sale from Monday 25 July for performances at the Vaudeville Theatre from 15 December – 14 January (press night: Monday 19 December.)
Based on the much-loved book by Arthur Ransome, this delightful and imaginative production is directed by Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and co-director of the National Theatre’s Tony Award-winning smash hit War Horse. SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS has music and lyrics by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and is written by Helen Edmundson, who adapted the National’s Coram Boy.
All aboard The Swallow! Follow Captain John and his able crew as they set sail to Wildcat Island on an exotic adventure to encounter savages, capture dastardly pirates and defeat mortal enemies.
An action-packed musical adventure for the whole family (ages 6+), SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS is a story of an idyllic era, of endless summer evenings and the beauty of youthful imagination.
SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS opened at Bristol Old Vic in December 2010 for a sell-out run and was a critical and popular hit; it was originally developed at the National Theatre Studio. Following its run at the Vaudeville Theatre, the production will embark on a UK tour (dates to be announced on 1 September; for more information please visit www.swallowsamazons.co.uk).
The director of movement is Toby Sedgwick, who won an Olivier Award for War Horse; with set design by Robert Innes Hopkins, costume design by Robert Innes Hopkins & Liesel Corp, musical direction and arrangements by Sam Kenyon, lighting design by James Farncombe, sound by Jason Barnes and additional musical arrangements by Andrew Skeet.
Published in 1930, Swallows and Amazons was the first in a series of twelve books by Arthur Ransome (1884-1967). Set in 1929 in the Lake District, it tells of the school holiday exploits of the Walker and Blackett children and their sailing dinghies – the Swallow and the Amazon.
Helen Edmundson’s many adaptations include Coram Boy, which played two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre, and Anna Karenina, Mill on the Floss, War and Peace, Gone to Earth (Shared Experience). Other work includes The Clearing (Bush Theatre), Mother Teresa is Dead (Royal Court), and a version of Calderon’s Life is a Dream (Donmar). Her new play, The Heresy of Love, opens for the RSC at the Swan in February 2012.
Neil Hannon is a singer, lyricist and composer. Although he is best known for writing, recording and performing as The Divine Comedy, he has also written extensively for TV and film, including the music to Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He has collaborated with everyone from Michael Nyman to Tom Jones, and his cricket-themed project The Duckworth Lewis Method was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Swallows and Amazons is his first venture into the world of musical theatre.
Tom Morris was appointed Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic in September 2009. As Associate Director of the National Theatre (2004 – 2009), he developed and co-directed (with Marianne Elliott) War Horse which is currently running in the West End and on Broadway, where it received 6 Tony Awards; and co-directed Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. Previously he was Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre from 1995 to 2004. He sits on the board of Complicite and is Chair of the JMK Trust.
Established in 2010 and led by independent producer Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre, the Children’s Touring Partnership receives generous support from Arts Council England. Their inaugural production, Goodnight Mister Tom, premiered at Chichester in January 2011 and subsequently toured the UK for fourteen weeks. The Children’s Touring Partnership will be presenting the tour of Bristol Old Vic’s stage adaptation of Swallows and Amazons throughout spring 2012.
Release issued by: National Theatre press office
Adam Vesperman Joins London Production Of Billy Elliot The Musical To Become Twenty Seventh Billy Elliot
Today 25 July 2011, in the production’s seventh year in the West End, 13 year old Adam Vesperman from Seattle, USA, will make his West End stage debut as Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre, becoming the twenty-seventh boy to play the title role in the hit west end show Billy Elliot The Musical.
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.
The internationally award-winning show, which opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005, has been seen by over 7 million people worldwide, including 3.3 million in the West End. Now in its seventh year in the West End, Billy Elliot the Musical, has performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago and Seoul, South Korea, and is currently performing at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway, on tour across North America and at the Canon Theatre, Toronto.
Billy Elliot the Musical features music by Elton John, book and lyrics by Lee Hall, 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.
Adam Vesperman is thirteen years old from Seattle, Washington, in the United States. Adam lives with his Mum, Dad, his sister Delaney and two dogs, Joey and Pepsi. He started dancing when he was 7, training in jazz and hip-hop and is now trained in a variety of dance styles, including contemporary and ballet. On joining the Billy Elliot Company Adam said: “After a few auditions around America, I was the happiest boy on earth when I found out that I would be coming to London and to train to be Billy Elliot. It’s so hard being 5,000 miles away from my family and friends for so long, but it’s worth it. Being Billy has changed my life so much – the training, experience, and best of all the wonderful people I get to work with. I miss my family a lot, but being in the show keeps us so busy that I don’t really think about it too much. I am the sixth American Billy to star in the London production and I hope that I can maintain the high quality shown by my predecessors.”
Adam Vesperman joins twelve year old Ryan Collinson from Southport, Josh Baker (13 years old from Rochester), Dean Charles-Chapman (13 years old from Romford, Essex) and Scott McKenzie (13 years old from Dumbarton, Scotland) 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) 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) 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, Gillian Elisa, 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
Lend Me A Tenor, the musical comedy by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll, is to close early at the Gielgud Theatre in London.
Based on Ken Ludwig’s award-winning play, the show opened on 15 June but has failed to find an audience and will now close on Saturday 6 August 2011.
The producers, Martin Platt and David Elliott, said in a statement that, “Despite mostly wonderful notices from the press, great feedback from our audiences and nightly standing ovations, this has not translated into growing sales and we feel it is in everyone’s best interests to close the production on August 6th.”
The show stars Matthew Kelly, last seen in the West End in the short-lived production of Sign of the Times at the Duchess Theatre, and Joanna Riding, who previously starred in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, also at the Gielgud, and which also closed early.
Other cast include Damian Humbley, Michael Matus, Sophie-Louise Dann and Cassidy Janson, with direction by Ian Talbot.
Critics largely enjoyed the show, with Michael Coveney in the Independent saying that, ““Sure, the whole shebang’s a bit of a throwback, but it’s fun and finished to a very high standard”, but others, including Nick Curtis in the Standard, found that there was, “a disjunction here between retrogressive comedy and modern musical sentiment, and the result is blandness.”
The next confirmed production at the Gielgud is not until November, with a stage adaptation of movie classic The Ladykillers.
LEND ME A TENOR THE MUSICAL, the uproarious new musical comedy by Peter Sham and Brad Carroll, based on Ken Ludwig’s award-winning play, which opened at the Gielgud Theatre earlier this summer to some rave reviews, is to close. Despite receiving a series of 4-star reviews and standing ovations, the production’s last performance will be Saturday 6 August.
Producers Martin Platt and David Elliott said, “We wish to thank the extremely dedicated cast of LEND ME A TENOR THE MUSICAL, author Peter Sham and composer Brad Carroll and everyone who has taken part in the project.
Despite mostly wonderful notices from the press, great feedback from our audiences and nightly standing ovations, this has not translated into growing sales and we feel it is in everyone’s best interests to close the production on August 6th.”
Lend Me A Tenor The Musical stars Matthew Kelly as ‘Henry Saunders’, Joanna Riding as ‘Maria Merelli’, Damian Humbley as ‘Max’, Michael Matus as ‘Tito Merelli, Sophie-Louise Dann as ‘Diana Divane’, Cassidy Janson as ‘Maggie Saunders’, and Gay Soper, Jane Quinn and Michelle Bishop as the ‘Ladies of the Opera Guild’. The production is directed by Olivier award-winning director Ian Talbot and choreographed by Tony-nominated choreographer Randy Skinner. The production is designed by Paul Farnsworth, with lighting by Tim Mitchell, and sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster. The Musical Supervisor is Tony Award Winner Paul Gemignani, the Musical Director is Colin Billing, and orchestrations are by Chris Walker.
LEND ME A TENOR THE MUSICAL is produced by Martin Platt and David Elliott and Eileen & Allen Anes with Jason E. Grossman and M. Kilburg Reedy.
Release issued by: Target Live