February 24, 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward has posted closing notices at the Aldwych Theatre.
The new musical, which premiered on 19 December 2013, will end its run at the Aldwych Theatre on 29 March 2014.
The show about society osteopath Stephen Ward and the Profumo Affair of the 1960′s stars Alexander Hanson in the title role alongside Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler and Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies.
The show closes on the same day as Lloyd Webber’s former writing partner Tim Rice’s new musical From Here to Eternity closes at the Shaftesbury Theatre, highlighting the tough conditions for new musicals in the West End.
Stephen Ward’s producer Robert Fox said in a statement that he was “very proud of the show and our wonderful Company” and that, “Andrew has never been afraid to embrace difficult and challenging subject matters”.
Directed by Richard Eyre, Stephen Ward features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black.
February 3, 2014
Video: A new trailer for Stephen Ward The Musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Aldwych Theatre
A brand new trailer has been released for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre.
The show stars Alexander Hanson (Jesus Christ Superstar) as Stephen Ward, Charlotte Spencer (Mary Poppins) as Christine Keeler, Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf (Private Lives) as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn (Bracken Moor) as John Profumo and Joanna Riding (The Pajama Game) as Valerie Hobson.
Stephen Ward – Trailer
January 20, 2014
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward, set during the Profumo Affair, is extending its run at the Aldwych Theatre.
The West End production is extending its run until 31 May 2014 at the Aldwych Theatre.
Set during the 1960′s and focusing on the Profumo Affair that rocked British society, the show features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black, direction by Richard Eyre and set and costume designs by Rob Howell.
Stephen Ward stars Alexander Hanson as Stephen Ward, Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler, Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo, Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson, Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecombe.
January 13, 2014
Despite Nick Curtis’s rather sensational headline in Friday’s Evening Standard, “Cameron Mackintosh: Why I am determined that a theatre of mine will never collapse”, Mackintosh didn’t dig the knife into Nica Burns but offered some tough love.
The business of owning West End theatres is a complicated one, and theatre owner and producer Cameron Mackintosh’s take on the honour (for it is an honour) is that it’s a game for the rich, the passionate and the brave.
He sensibly gives Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres and the owner of the Apollo Theatre, a wide birth and heartfelt tribute, despite Nick Curtis’s headline. Burns owns the theatre which saw plaster from its roof collapse on to theatregoers in December during a production of the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Prudent of Mackintosh to go easy on her given that his theatre, the Gielgud, has been chosen by the National Theatre as the new home for Curious, following their decision to abandon the Apollo as a venue for the show citing economic factors.
Nica Burns was said to be “blindsided” by the decision, as may she might. There’s clearly not much room for loyalty between theatre producers and owners in the West End, even when subsidised theatres are part of the mix.
Running West End theatres is a business after all, although one reserved for rich impresarios according to Mackintosh, who has no time for people who take their eye off the ball (on Andrew Lloyd Webber: “for many years, his passion was paintings and that’s where he was spending his money”), or for companies like Ambassador Theatre Group who sell to private equity rather than run theatres as producer-managers (“All these theatres were built for private entrepreneurs… and that’s where they belong, rather than with hedge funds”.)
The upshot of all this seems to be that you don’t make as much money from owning theatres as you do from producing successful hit shows, which is kind of obvious really. The venue is there to serve the play within it. Effectively the show subsidises the venue, particularly when the venue happens to be ageing, historic buildings that are part of our national heritage.
Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber should be celebrated without question for using some of their hard-earned producer profits to shore up a selection of our historic West End theatres, theatres that are old and in need of continual attention and restoration. Mackintosh particularly has proved that with enormous passion and careful use of money (albeit quite a lot of it) these venues are actually fit for purpose – or can be made to be.
Mackintosh is against Lloyd Webber’s idea of West End theatres gaining charitable status, and it would be wholly wrong for the buildings to become some kind of odd National trust heritage site (or worse, demolished altogether).
But it’s time to face some hard facts. The buildings are getting older and older. If the National can exist in the parallel worlds of being subsidised by the tax payer but also aggressively commercial, then why can’t physical West End theatre buildings also live some kind of duel existence between the commercial and the subsidised, whether from charity or government?
It also seems time for the Society of London Theatre to be more proactive and get its members organised around this issue. There is no one body better placed to lobby, fund-raise or champion than SOLT.
A good start would be SOLT members Mackintosh and Lloyd Webber, who happen to be the two most successful British theatre producers of all time. Whilst these two men can’t save every theatre in the West End and have already done much, wouldn’t it be extraordinary if they would consider kicking off some kind of endowment or foundation to help all West End theatre buildings remain operational, beautiful and above all, safe?
SOLT members Rosemary Squire and Howard Panter, joint chiefs of ATG, the largest theatre group in the West End, and The Stage newspaper’s most powerful people in British theatre for the fifth year running, are also uniquely placed to champion and support an initiative.
The West End has always been a wholly commercial place and long may the rivalry continue! But the roof collapse at the Apollo damages the entire West End brand, not just the Apollo Theatre or Nimax brand. It’s in the whole of the West End Theatre industry’s interest to sort this out.
January 8, 2014
Marti Webb returns to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s stand-out musical Tell Me on a Sunday.
Playing for a limited run at the Duchess Theatre from 17 February to 1 March 2014, Tell Me on a Sunday sees Marti Webb return to the role that made her famous in this intelligent, acclaimed musical.
Tell Me on a Sunday charts the course of an English woman newly arrived in New York. Brimming with optimism, she sets out to make it big, looking for success, companionship and love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and faces up to her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches, she begins to wonder whether she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.
STARRING MARTI WEBB
Marti Webb performs the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s classic, in a role for which she enjoyed huge critical acclaim. Tell Me on a Sunday reached Number One in the charts and the single Take That Look Off Your Face reached Number Two, with the show being continually performed around the world.
Don’t miss this rare musical treat in the West End.
December 24, 2013
A round-up of reviews for Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre
A new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is an event any day of the week, but the first night of Stephen Ward was particularly eventful given that it was the same night as the roof collapse over at the Apollo Theatre.
The show is about vilified society osteopath Stephen Ward, who was victim of the political fall-out from the Profumo scandal in 1960′s Britain.
Lloyd Webber and lyricist Don Black aim to press home the miscarraige of justice suffered by Ward at the hands of the British establishment.
Richard Eyre directs an accomplished cast including Alexander Hanson as Stephen Ward, Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler, Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies and Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson. Other cast include Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecomp, plus Martin Callaghan, Kate Coyston, Jason Denton, Julian Forsyth, Amy Griffiths, Paul Kemble, Emma Kate Nelson, Carl Sanderson, Emily Squibb, John Stacey, Helen Ternent and Tim Walton.
Read reviews below from the Standard, Guardian, Telegraph, Variety and more.
December 16, 2013
Production photos of Stephen Ward The Musical at the Aldywch Theatre
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new musical Stephen Ward gets its world premiere this week at the Aldwych Theatre in London.
Directed by Richard Eyre, the new musical features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black.
Set in 1963, the show deals with the Profomo scandal that rocked British society and brought down a government.
At the heart of the scandal was society Osteopath Stephen Ward, friend to film stars, spies, models, government ministers and aristocrats. His chance involvement with the young and beautiful Christine Keeler led to one of the biggest political scandals and trials of the 20th century, and saw his dramatic fall from grace and eventual suicide.
A talented cast includes Alexander Hanson as Stephen Ward, Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler, Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo, Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson, Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecombe.
Stephen Ward opens this Thursday, 19 December 2013.
West End Theatre at the Royal Variety Performance including Dame Edna and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
November 29, 2013
This year’s Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium saw the West End’s Dame Edna make a surprise appearance, and the casts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Hill’s I Can’t Sing! – The X Factor Musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward perform.
The annual Royal Variety Performance in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund was held this Monday 25 November 2013 at the London Palladium attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Hosted by comedian and actor John Bishop, the show saw Dame Edna, who is currently performing at the Palladium in Eat, Pray, Laugh! Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour, surprised the Royal guests by appearing in the Royal Box at the start of the show. She also did an onstage set.
West End theatre casts that performed during the night included new musical I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical, which opens at the London Palladium on 27 February 2014. Harry Hill, the show’s writer, introduced a musical segment from the show, with Nigel Harman as Simon Cowell being lowered God-like down on to the stage, and the show’s star Cynthia Erivo, who plays Chenice, proving that she can definitely sing!
The Royal Variety Performance also included a number from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new show at the Aldwych Theatre, Stephen Ward, featuring Alexander Hanson and Charlotte Spencer. The segment was introduced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Also the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, including Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka, did a set from the show that is currently running at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Other artists who performed on the show included Strictly Come Dancing champion Flavia Cacace and the cast of Dance ‘Til Dawn, Britain’s Got Talent winners Attraction, Mary J. Blige, Gary Barlow, Jessie J, Rizzle Kicks, Olly Murs, Robbie Williams, John Newman, Caro Emerald, Chas & Dave, Bryn Terfel, Gareth Malone with his new choir Voices and Torvill & Dean.
Comedy came from Jason Byrne, Hal Cruttenden, Jimmy Carr and Seann Walsh.
The event will be screened on ITV1 at 7.30pm on Monday 9 December 2013.
Book tickets to Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour at the London Palladium
Book tickets to Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre
Book tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Book tickets to I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical at the London Palladium
Watch a sneak preview of the Royal Variety Performance including Dame Edna
November 20, 2013
Broadway’s longest-running show, and winner of seven Tony Awards, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical masterpiece The Phantom of the Opera is a timeless story of seduction and despair.
November 4, 2013
Production photos of Keeler at the Charing Cross Theatre.
You wait ages for a Profumo-themed show, and then two come along at once.
Richard Eyre is currently busy rehearsing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward, which centres on the society Osteopath at the heart of the very British 60′s scandal the Profumo Affair for a forthcoming Aldwych Theatre opening.
But over at the Charing Cross Theatre Keeler mania is in the shape of a new play by Gill Adams based on Christine Keeler’s autobiography The Truth At Last. With veteran performer Paul Nicholas as Stephen Ward, Sarah Armstrong as Christine Keeler and Stacy Leeson as Mandy Rice-Davies, this Paul Nicholas-directed play promises to give ALW’s show a run for its money.