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Gina Beck And Matt Willis To Join Cast of Wicked From Monday 12 December 2011. Desmond Barrit Returns To Play ‘The Wizard’

September 14, 2011 

WICKED, the smash hit musical that tells the untold story of the Witches of Oz, is pleased to announce that Gina Beck and Matt Willis will join the cast on Monday 12 December 2011 to star as Glinda and Fiyero respectively. Desmond Barrit is returning to the show to play The Wizard. They will be joined by Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Christopher Howell (Doctor Dillamond) and Adam Pettigrew (Boq).

Gina Beck (Glinda) recently finished a two-year season starring as ‘Christine Daaé’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera at London’s Her Majesty’s Theatre. She made her West End debut in 2006 as ‘Cosette’ in Les Misérables at the Queens Theatre and recently performed in the 25th Anniversary Concert at The O2. Gina is currently starring in The Belle’s Stratagem at the Southwark Playhouse.

Matt Willis (Fiyero) first shot to fame as a member of the chart-topping, BRIT award-winning band Busted. In 2006 he won the popular ITV show I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!. He has subsequently made countless TV appearances, many alongside his wife, presenter Emma Willis. Having originally trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, Matt returned to his theatre roots in 2010, to make his West End debut as ‘Nick Hurley’ in Flashdance. He most recently starred as ‘Chuck’ in the UK national tour of Footloose.

Desmond Barrit (The Wizard) originally starred in WICKED in 2008/09. The Olivier award-winning RSC and National Theatre actor has just finished playing ‘Falstaff’, directed by Sir Peter Hall, to great acclaim.

Gina Beck (Glinda), Matt Willis (Fiyero), Desmond Barrit (The Wizard), Lillie Flynn (Nessarose), Christopher Howell (Doctor Dillamond) and Adam Pettigrew (Boq) will join current WICKED stars Rachel Tucker (Elphaba) and Julie Legrand (Madame Morrible) from Monday 12 December 2011.

WICKED recently played its 2000th performance and will celebrate its landmark 5th birthday on Tuesday 27 September 2011. The “hugely popular musical” (The Times) has now been seen by almost 4 million people since its West End premiere in 2006.

Acclaimed as “the hit musical with brains, heart and courage” (The Sunday Telegraph), WICKED has won multiple awards including the 2010 Olivier Award for Most Popular Show and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best West End Show in both 2011 and 2010.

Release issued by: Wicked Press Office

LINKS

Book tickets to Wicked at the Apollo Victoria in London

MARK EVANS in Wicked

February 7, 2011 

Watch out for Mark Evans – new star of Wicked and a man on the up!

Mark EvansMark Evans has been tipped for greatness for a while now, so a lead role in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre – replacing none other than Lee Mead in the part of Fiyero – is a good sign.

He has already been singled out by Lord Lloyd Webber, as a finalist in the BBC’s 2009 search for a Eurovision star, and parts in Jet Set Go! at the Jermyn Street Theatre, High School Musical, Wicked and The Rocky Horror Show have all put the young actor firmly on the map.

His full credits include: On stage as Curly in Oklahoma (UK Tour); Prince Charming in Snow White with Craig Revel Horwood; Brad in The Rocky Horror Show (UK National Tour); Richard in Jet Set Go! (Jermyn Street Theatre); Prince Charming in Cinderella (Churchill Theatre Bromley); Troy Bolton in High School Musical (Hammersmith Apollo); plus roles in Chess (Royal Albert Hall); Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Spamalot (Palace Theatre) and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (UK Tour).

Mark’s TV work includes the lead in Marcaroni (S4C); a finalist in Your Country Needs You with Andrew Lloyd Webber (BBC and film includes Lake Placid and Showing Brain.

LINKS

Book tickets to Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London

Special Offer: Free dinner deal at Wicked


In the West End This Week: Wicked, Oliviers

February 7, 2011 

What’s coming up in the West End this week, including The Wizard of Oz, Wicked, Shoes, the Olivier Awards and The Children’s Hour.

Monday 7 February 2011

Mark Evans in Wicked

Mark Evans in Wicked

A new cast joins Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Lee Mead said farewell to the company on Saturday night, and a number of new cast members join the show tonight including Mark Evans as Fiyero, Zoë Rainey as Nessarose and Ben Stott as Boq, alongside current stars Rachel Tucker as Elphaba and Louise Dearman as Glinda.

The Olivier Award nominations will be announced today at 11am at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. This year’s awards – which will be presented on 13 March at Drury Lane – promise to have upped the star and glamour quotient and will be televised by the BBC.

The Wizard of Oz starts previews tonight. This mega new production at the London Palladium, rebooted by Jeremy Sams and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright, sees Over The Rainbow star Danielle Hope join Michael Crawford and Hannah Waddingham.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

A big theatre day! Shoes – the hugely successful Sadler’s Wells show – opens tonight at the Peacock Theatre to give the show a much deserved West End airing.

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, starts previews at the Noel Coward Theatre on Tuesday.

Also much deserving is Clybourne Park, which gets its official opening at the Wyndhams Theatre starring Sophie Thompson and Stephen Campbell Moore. Bruce Norris’ satirical comedy, directed by Dominic Cooke for the Royal Court, has been sweeping the boards at various awards including the recent South Bank Sky Arts Awards and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards.

Also on Tuesday, Showstopper the Improvised Musical begins at the Ambassadors Theatre in London with the the all-singing, all-dancing cast creating a brand new musical from scratch every night in this award-winning production. Plus, the Southwark Playhouse opens its new production of Sondheim’s Company directed by Joe Fredericks.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Elisabeth Moss in The Children's Hour

Elisabeth Moss in The Children's Hour

The Children’s Hour gets its official opening night at the Comedy Theatre tonight, starring Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Keira Knightley and Ellen Burstyn in Lillian Hellman’s controversial play.

Friday 11 February 2011

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee starts previews as the Donmar Warehouse.

And coming up

Next week sees The Woman in Black celebrate its 23rd birthday, having opened in the West End on 15 February 1989. 2011 promises to be a big year for the show, with a brand new movie version of Susan Hill’s classic horror story opening in cinemas starring Daniel Radcliffe.

Wicked Day this weekend

October 29, 2010 

West End blockbuster Wicked will be celebrating this weekend, Sunday 31 October 2010, with its annual WICKED DAY.

Now in its fifth year, WICKED DAY is a free day of family fun that celebrates the show and raises money for charity. This year’s event will take place at St Pancras International station in London between 12 noon and 4pm and feature live performances from the cast of the show, plus Halloween-themed events including face-painting and workshops.

Proceeds from the day will go to the Woodland Trust and New Horizon Youth Centre in Kings Cross.

Wicked Day 2009

Wicked Day 2009

LINKS

More information on Wicked Day
Book tickets to Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London
Great mal and ticket deals to Wicked

Apollo Victoria Theatre – History

October 12, 2010 

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Apollo Victoria Theatre

History of Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Apollo Victoria originally opened as a cinema called the New Victoria on 15 October 1930 showing George Arlis movie Old English. It cost £250,000 to build – quite significant at the time. Despite being built as a cinema, the venue has always staged shows from its very opening – with a host variety and big bands playing at Apollo Vic. In 1933 a Royal Matinee for King George V was staged at the theatre and in June 1939 the cinema presented a live relay of the Epsom Derby, in an early experiment in “event cinema” which is only now starting to take off with the advent of digital cinemas.

In the 1950s the theatre was nearly demolished but was saved and continued to play host to ballet, live shows and films.

However, the New Victoria cinema finally closed down in 1976, finding it hard to compete with TV and video. The building was empty for five years and then bought by Apollo Leisure, who reopened it as a dedicated theatre space -the Apollo Victoria – in 1981.

A mixed bill of film and variety at the New Victoria in the 1940s

A mixed bill of film and variety at the New Victoria in the 1940s

It re-opened with a Shirley Bassey concert, followed by The Sound of Music starring Petula Clark. In 1982 Camelot opened starring Richard Harris but it was not a success. Wayne Sleep was up next with his dance show Dash in 1983, and then Topol returned to London to play Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. The theatre was then transformed in 1984 when Andrew Lloyd Webber opened Starlight Express, removing 1,000 seats to accommodate giant roller-skating ramps that weaved through the stalls. The show ran for 18 years and over 7,400 performances.

When Starlight closed it was an opportunity to refurbish the theatre and architects Jaques Muir and Partners came in to restore the auditorium. As part of this they removed over 3,500 power-hungry incandescent lamps and replaced them with 88,000 LEDs – a first for theatre auditoriums.

Following Starlight, Lloyd Webber was back at the theatre in 2002 with Bombay Dreams, which ran for 1,500 performances, closing in 2004. Saturday Night Fever opened next, from July 2004 to October 2005, followed by a short run of Movin’ Out, featuring the music of Billy Joel, in 2006.

Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria

Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria

The Apollo Victoria’s current show is a smash-hit – on Broadway, in London and around the world. Wicked opened on 27 September 2006 with Idina Menzel, Helen Dallimore, Nigel Planer, Adam Garcia, Miriam Margolyes, Katie Rowley Jones, James Gillan and Martin Ball, and has continued to pack them in at the theatre.

Apollo Leisure sold the Apollo Victoria to Live Nation in 2000. This year the theatre was sold by Live Nation to the Ambassador Theatre Group.

The Apollo Victoria’s design

The building is widely believed to be the most important and architecturally interesting cinema building ever erected in the UK.
The New Victoria was designed by E. Wamsley Lewis in 1929, with W E Trent also onboard as architect to Provincial Cinematograph Theatres – who owned the site. The theatre has two impressive Germanic Art Deco facades – one on Wilton Road and one on Vauxhall Bridge Road. Both are linked with a single foyer. Originally the facades were lit up at night by concealed neon tubes – something that has been brought back in recent years. The theatre is faced in Portland stone, with two bas-relief panels by sculptor Newbury Abbot Trent on either side of the Wilton Road entrance. Also look out for a small Charlie Chaplin figure carved into the wall. Newbury Abbot Trent also produced a relief paying homage to the movies and movie stars, which is on the main foyer staircase.

The auditorium in the 1930s

The auditorium in the 1930s

The auditorium -which is rumoured to have been inspired by “a mermaid’s dream of heaven” consisted of pale blue and green marine life with technically ambitious lighting effects of pink, green and blue. A dolphin used to adorn the walls but has long since disappeared – but some of the aquatic features can still be seen today, including a rather sexy mermaid above the Gents toilet door. The circle had the design of an ocean liner with port holes on the doors.

Book tickets to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria in London

THEATRE INFO

MORE INFORMATION about the Apollo Victoria Theatre, including directions, maps, seating plans and what’s on

LINKS

Cinema Treasures – Apollo Victoria
Wikipedia – Apollo Victoria
Arthur Lloyd – Apollo Victoria

The auditorium today

The auditorium today

Further reading:

The Great Theatres of London
London’s Theatres
Scene/Unseen: London’s West End Theatres

Theatre of the month: Apollo Victoria Theatre

October 12, 2010 

Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Apollo Victoria Theatre in London celebrates its 80th birthday this year. Celebrations have included an all-star charity gala featuring the cast of the venue’s current show, Wicked, and past productions including Starlight Express. The theatre’s birthday forms part of a historic year for West End theatres, with a number of venues celebrating their 80th anniversaries this year.

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Apollo Victoria Theatre

History of Apollo Victoria Theatre

The Apollo Victoria originally opened as a cinema called the New Victoria on 15 October 1930 showing George Arlis movie Old English. It cost £250,000 to build – quite significant at the time. Despite being built as a cinema, the venue has always staged shows from its very opening – with a host variety and big bands playing at Apollo Vic. In 1933 a Royal Matinee for King George V was staged at the theatre and in June 1939 the cinema presented a live relay of the Epsom Derby, in an early experiment in “event cinema” which is only now starting to take off with the advent of digital cinemas.

In the 1950s the theatre was nearly demolished but was saved and continued to play host to ballet, live shows and films.

However, the New Victoria cinema finally closed down in 1976, finding it hard to compete with TV and video. The building was empty for five years and then bought by Apollo Leisure, who reopened it as a dedicated theatre space  -the Apollo Victoria – in 1981.

A mixed bill of film and variety at the New Victoria in the 1940s

A mixed bill of film and variety at the New Victoria in the 1940s

It re-opened with a Shirley Bassey concert, followed by The Sound of Music starring Petula Clark. In 1982 Camelot opened starring Richard Harris but it was not a success. Wayne Sleep was up next with his dance show Dash in 1983, and then Topol returned to London to play Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. The theatre was then transformed in 1984 when Andrew Lloyd Webber opened Starlight Express, removing 1,000 seats to accommodate giant roller-skating ramps that weaved through the stalls. The show ran for 18 years and over 7,400 performances.

When Starlight closed it was an opportunity to refurbish the theatre and architects Jaques Muir and Partners came in to restore the auditorium. As part of this they removed over 3,500 power-hungry incandescent lamps and replaced them with 88,000 LEDs – a first for theatre auditoriums.

Following Starlight, Lloyd Webber was back at the theatre in 2002 with Bombay Dreams, which ran for 1,500 performances, closing in 2004. Saturday Night Fever opened next, from July 2004 to October 2005, followed by a short run of Movin’ Out, featuring the music of Billy Joel, in 2006.

Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria

Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria

The Apollo Victoria’s current show is a smash-hit – on Broadway, in London and around the world. Wicked opened on 27 September 2006 with Idina Menzel, Helen Dallimore, Nigel Planer, Adam Garcia, Miriam Margolyes, Katie Rowley Jones, James Gillan and Martin Ball, and has continued to pack them in at the theatre.

Apollo Leisure sold the Apollo Victoria to Live Nation in 2000. This year the theatre was sold by Live Nation to the Ambassador Theatre Group.

The Apollo Victoria’s design

The building is widely believed to be the most important and architecturally interesting cinema building ever erected in the UK.
The New Victoria was designed by E. Wamsley Lewis in 1929, with W E Trent also onboard as architect to Provincial Cinematograph Theatres – who owned the site. The theatre has two impressive Germanic Art Deco facades – one on Wilton Road and one on Vauxhall Bridge Road. Both are linked with a single foyer. Originally the facades were lit up at night by concealed neon tubes – something that has been brought back in recent years. The theatre is faced in Portland stone, with two bas-relief panels by sculptor Newbury Abbot Trent on either side of the Wilton Road entrance. Also look out for a small Charlie Chaplin figure carved into the wall. Newbury Abbot Trent also produced a relief paying homage to the movies and movie stars, which is on the main foyer staircase.

The auditorium in the 1930s

The auditorium in the 1930s

The auditorium -which is rumoured to have been inspired by “a mermaid’s dream of heaven” consisted of pale blue and green marine life with technically ambitious lighting effects of pink, green and blue. A dolphin used to adorn the walls but has long since disappeared – but some of the aquatic features can still be seen today, including a rather sexy mermaid above the Gents toilet door. The circle had the design of an ocean liner with port holes on the doors.

Book tickets to see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria in London

LINKS

Cinema Treasures – Apollo Victoria

Wikipedia – Apollo Victoria

Arthur Lloyd – Apollo Victoria

Further reading:

The auditorium today

The auditorium today

The Great Theatres of London
London’s Theatres
Scene/Unseen: London’s West End Theatres

Apollo Victoria Theatre in London – Map

October 11, 2010 

A London map highlighting the location of the Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LL

Read more about the theatre, including What’s On, Journey Planner, Seating Plan, Parking and Transport


Back to all London Maps of Theatres

Opening this week: Onassis, Flashdance

October 11, 2010 

This week’s West End openings range from classic American drama to modern Greek tragedy, with Pittsburgh flashdancing and West End blues thrown in. Plus the 80th birthday of a Wicked West End theatre.

THE COUNTRY GIRL

The Country GirlOpening tonight, Monday 11 October, at the Apollo Theatre is Clifford Odets’s classic drama The Country Girl, about a once-great theatre star who is given the chance to make a major comeback.

Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw reunite on stage after their onscreen appearance in Judge John Deed to star in the show.

Special offer: Book tickets to The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre

ONASSIS

On Tuesday 12 October at the Novello Theatre Robert Lindsay opens in Onassis, playing controversial Greek tycoon Aristotle in Martin Sherman’s new play. Based on the last years of this life, this powerful drama reveals his passionate and interwoven relationships with Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, and his son Alexandros. Stand-out supporting performances come from Anna Francolini as Callas and Lydia Leonard as Jackie.

Special offer: Book tickets to Onassis at the Novello Theatre

FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL

Flashdance The MusicalDespite technical problems with the rain machine that postponed the start of previews, Flashdance the Musical is set for a trouble-free first night on Thursday 14 October at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Based on the 80s movie about an 18 year old girl from Pittsburgh who is a welder by day and a ‘flashdancer” by night, the musical features the star of the UK tour, Victoria Hamilton Barritt, and former Busted boyband member Matt Willis. Grease producer David Ian is the man behind the show, with direction by Nikolai Foster and choreography by the ubiquitous Arlene Phillips. The show’s well-known score includes Maniac, Manhunt, Gloria and the Academy Award winning title song Flashdance – What a Feeling. Ten original songs have also been created for the musical.

Special Offer: Book tickets to Flashdance the Musical at the Shaftesbury Theatre

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

Thursday also sees the opening night for the new venture at the King’s Head pub theatre in Islington: London’s Little Opera House opens with a new version of The Barber of Seville, directed by Robin Norton-Hale. Artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher is promising an exciting season of opera on a small scale including Madame Butterfly as a Bangkok lady-boy.

Book tickets to The Barber of Seville at London’s Little Opera House

THE MUSIC OF THE BLUES BROTHERS – A TRIBUTE

Finally, on Friday 15 October Hartshorn – Hook Productions presents ‘The Music of the Blues Brothers – a Tribute’, the most electric rock’n’roll party of the year. Following spectacular success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer with a month of sell-out shows and 5-star reviews, this raucous live tribute show is now rolling into London. This Tribute is directed by the award-winning Patrick Wilde and is backed by the tightest rhythm and blues band in the city. We tear through the best in American Blues, Soul and Rock’n’Roll classics including Gimme Some Lovin, Think, Minnie The Moocher, Sweet Home Chicago, and Jailhouse Rock. So dig out your sunglasses and get ready to shake your tail feather because this supercharged high-octane Tribute is about to take London by storm.

Books tickets to The Music of the Blues Brothers – A Tribute

APOLLO VICTORIA THEATRE

Apollo Victoria TheatreFriday also sees the 80th birthday of the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. Celebrations have included an all-star charity gala yesterday, Sunday 10 October, featuring the cast of the venue’s current show, Wicked, and past productions including Starlight Express. The Apollo Victoria forms part of a historic year for West End theatres, with a number of venues celebrating their 80th anniversaries this year.

Designed by E. Wamsley Lewis and W E Trent, the Apollo Victoria originally opened as a cinema on 15 October 1930 showing George Arlis movie “Old English”.


Anniversaries: Phoenix, Wicked, Stomp

September 24, 2010 

A number of West End anniversaries are celebrated in London this week, including the 80th birthday of the Phoenix Theatre.

Phoenix Theatre

Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in Private Lives

Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in Private Lives

Today, 24 September 2010, marks the 80th anniversary of London’s Phoenix Theatre. Commissioned by Sidney Bernstein, who started Granada television, the Charing Cross Road theatre opened in 1930 with Noel Coward’s classic play Private Lives, staring Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Olivier and Adrianne Allen.

Other notable successes for the theatre included Noel Coward again, this time with his Tonight at 8.30 one-act plays in 1936, Canterbury Tales in 1968, Night and Day in 1978 and a long list of famous players including John Gielgud, Vivien Leigh, Paul Scofield and Vanessa Redgrave. The Phoenix Theatre currently hosts Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers, which opened at the venue in November 1991.

The Phoenix theatre was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Bertie Crew and Cecil Masey with Theodore Komisarjevsky.

A number of West End venues are celebrating their 80th birthdays this year,  following a boom in theatre building in the Art Deco 1930′s, including the Prince Edward, Cambridge, Trafalgar Studios, Apollo Victoria and Adelphi theatres.

Stomp and Wicked

Lee Mead in Wicked

Lee Mead in Wicked

Long-running West End shows Stomp at the Ambassadors Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre also celebrate birthdays this month. Stomp celebrates its 8th birthday tomorrow, having opened at the Vaudeville Theatre on 25 September 2002. The high-energy show, which combines theatre, dance, comedy and percussion, moved to its current home at the Ambassadors in 2007.

On Monday 27 September big-budget Broadway musical Wicked celebrates its 4th birthday at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. Currently starring Lee Mead, Rachel Tucker and Louise Dearman, Wicked remains one of the most successful shows on both sides of the Atlantic. The Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman musical is based on the best-selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, a companion novel to L. Frank Baum’s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

PHOENIX THEATRE QUICK FACTS

Hard to now imagine but the original site had been a factory, before becoming a Music Hall called the Alcazar.

In 1969 the owners of the Phoenix, Gerald and Veronica Flint-Shipman, organised a midnight matinee for Noel Coward’s 70th birthday, attended by Princess Margaret. A few days before, he opened the Noel Coward bar in the theatre’s foyer.

In 1976 the Phoenix hosted a Hollywood season of four plays featuring particularly starry names: Rock Hudson and Juliet Prowse in I Do I Do, Glynis Johns and Louis Jordan in 13, Rue De L’Amour, Lee Remick in Bus Stop and Douglas Fairbanks Jr in The Pleasure of His Company.

On reviewing the theatre when it first opened, The Stage newspaper said that, “Each seat has sufficient body and leg room and is provided with its own hat rack”.

LINKS

News: Historic year for West End venues

ArthurLloyd.co.uk: Phoenix history

Blood Brothers – book tickets

Stomp – book tickets

Wicked – book tickets

Apollo Victoria Theatre

September 22, 2010 

Apollo Victoria Theatre
Apollo Victoria Theatre, 17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LL
View Map
View Seating Plan
What’s playing and coming up at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

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