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Supermodel Christie Brinkley To Make West End Stage Debut As Roxie Hart In The Smash-Hit Musical “Chicago” At The Cambridge Theatre

June 9, 2011 

FROM MONDAY 11 JULY FOR A LIMITED 4-WEEK SEASON. AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT TO STAR AS VELMA KELLY

Christie Brinkley, who made her Broadway debut as Roxie Hart in CHICAGO earlier this year, receiving great critical acclaim, will come direct from New York to play the role in London’s West End from Monday 11 July for a strictly limited four-week season, ending on Saturday 6 August. She will be joined by Amra-Faye Wright, who has been playing Velma Kelly opposite Christie on Broadway. Amra-Faye will also star in the Cambridge Theatre production from 11 July to 6 August. Jonathan Wilkes will continue in the role of Billy Flynn, James Doherty as Amos Hart, Jasna Ivir as Mama Morton and R. Whitehead as Mary Sunshine, all until 27 August, when CHICAGO will leave the Cambridge Theatre.

Christie Brinkley is one of America’s most successful and recognisable models, appearing on over 500 magazine covers worldwide. She made her acting debut in 1983 opposite Chevy Chase in the film National Lampoon’s Vacation and also appeared in the sequel, National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation. On television, her appearances have included the 1990s series Mad About You starring Helen Hunt and, more recently, Ugly Betty.

As an environmentalist and political activist, Christie has addressed the United Nations and has been a Democratic delegate.

CHICAGO opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 to rave reviews and immediately became a sell-out hit. CHICAGO won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Musical Production’ as well as the 1998 Critics Circle Drama Award for ‘Best Musical’. CHICAGO transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006. CHICAGO is produced in London by the Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler.

CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. CHICAGO is choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and directed by Walter Bobbie. The West End production of CHICAGO is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team.

Release issued by Amanda Malpass Media

LINKS

SPECIAL OFFER: Book tickets to Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre in London

RSC’s production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical transfers to the Cambridge Theatre

May 19, 2011 

• The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical will preview at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End from Tuesday 18 October 2011

• Tickets go on sale to RSC Members on Friday 20 May at 9am

• Tickets go on sale to the public on Saturday 21 May at 9am

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s world premiere production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical will transfer to London’s Cambridge Theatre on Tuesday 18 October.

Priority booking for RSC Members opens at 9am on Friday 20 May. General booking opens on the following day, Saturday 21 May, at 9am. For the initial booking period tickets are available for performances up to and including Sunday 12 February 2012.

Matilda The Musical played to sold-out audiences at the RSC’s The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon for twelve weeks from November 2010 to January 2011. Roald Dahl’s magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers has been a favourite novel for millions of people across the world since it was published in 1988.

The new stage musical, which captured the imagination of young and old alike during its short run, is written by the highly acclaimed playwright Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by the anarchic Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin, and direction by Matthew Warchus.

The production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, musical supervision and orchestration by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

The entire creative team will reassemble to create the London production.

Many adult cast members from the original production will reprise their roles at the Cambridge Theatre: Marc Antolin, Verity Bentham, Bertie Carvel (Miss Trunchbull), Paul Kaye (Mr Wormwood) Michael Kent, Melanie La Barrie, Matthew Malthouse, Alastair Parker, Nick Searle, Emily Shaw, Josie Walker (Mrs Wormwood) and Lauren Ward (Miss Honey). Further casting will be announced soon.

The casting process is currently under way to find the four young actresses who will play the role of Matilda and three teams of nine young performers who will re-create the roles of Bruce, Lavender, Amanda, Nigel, Eric and the other pupils at Crunchem Hall Primary School.

Matilda The Musical is produced in the West End by the Royal Shakespeare Company with André Ptaszynski as Executive Producer.

This production was developed with the support of Company Dramaturg Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.

Release issued by: RSC

LINKS

RSC website

JONATHAN WILKES in Chiacgo

May 13, 2011 

Jonathan Wilkes stars in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre in London

JONATHAN WILKES in ChiacgoJonathan Wilkes has joined the cast of long running West End musical Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre (until 26 June), playing the role of Billy Flynn.

He has taken over the role from David Bedella, who will join the cast of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Road Show at the Menier Chocolate Factory this summer.

Wilkes has appeared on the West End stage as Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, and on tour has featured in We Will Rock You, The Wedding Singer, Guys and Dolls, Tommy, Grease, The Rocky Horror Show and Godspell.

He started his career by winning the Cameron Mackintosh Young Entertainer of the Year award in 1996 and going on to present TV shows, write and record albums, and sing and tour with Robbie Williams.

Wilkes stars in Chicago alongside Debbie Kurup as Velma Kelly, Sarah Soetaert as Roxie Hart, James Doherty as Amos Hart, Jasna Ivir as Mama Morton and R. Whitehead as Mary Sunshine.

SPECIAL OFFER: Book tickets to Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre in London

Jonathan Wilkes To Star As Billy Flynn In The Smash-Hit Musical Chicago At The Cambridge Theatre From Monday 9 May For A Limited 7-Week Season

May 4, 2011 

DEBBIE KURUP TO STAR AS VELMA KELLY FROM 23 MAY – 18 SEPTEMBER TICKETS ARE £20 FOR UNDER 20s MONDAYS TO THURSDAYS AND FRIDAY AND SATURDAY MATINEES

Jonathan Wilkes will star as Billy Flynn in the smash-hit West End musical CHICAGO at the Cambridge Theatre from Monday 9 May for seven weeks only, until 26 June. His last West End engagement was as Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. On tour, Jonathan has starred in We Will Rock You, The Wedding Singer, Guys and Dolls, Tommy, Grease, The Rocky Horror Show and Godspell. Debbie Kurup will be reprising the role of Velma Kelly, which she originally played in 2006, also from 9 May for seven weeks only. Her most recent West End role was as KT in the original cast of Sister Act at the London Palladium.

Sarah Soetaert will continue to star as Roxie Hart, James Doherty as Amos Hart, Jasna Ivir as Mama Morton and R. Whitehead as Mary Sunshine.

CHICAGO opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 18 November 1997 to rave reviews and immediately became a sell-out hit. CHICAGO won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Outstanding Musical Production’ as well as the 1998 Critics Circle Drama Award for ‘Best Musical’. CHICAGO transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006. CHICAGO is produced in London by the Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler.

CHICAGO, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. CHICAGO is choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and directed by Walter Bobbie. The West End production of CHICAGO is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team.

Release issued by: Amanda Malpass Media

LINKS

SPECIAL OFFER: Book tickets to CHICAGO at the Cambridge Theatre in London

Andrew Lloyd Webber keeps theatres

December 15, 2010 

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.

LINKS

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

VIDEO: Chicago at the CambridgeTheatre

November 2, 2010 

Kander and Ebb’s sexy, sassy musical about murderous showgirls. The hottest ticket in town.

Book tickets to Chicago
More information about the show
More information about the Cambridge Theatre

VIDEO

Chicago at the CambridgeTheatre

LINKS

Watch more videos on West End Theatre TV

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Lloyd Webber sells venues to Michael Grade

October 27, 2010 

Lord Lloyd Webber has agreed to sell four of his West End theatres to a consortium headed by Michael Grade, according to The Stage newspaper.

Michael Grade, former head of ITV

Michael Grade, former head of ITV

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

The deal includes 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 West End flagship venues the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, currently housing Oliver! and then Shrek The Musical, the London Palladium, which sees Sister Act close on Saturday and 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.

Final contracts are still to be signed. Really Useful Group chief executive Andre Ptaszynski has told staff at the venues that “we are fully committed to a process of information provision and consultation, where appropriate, with staff (and trade unions) to make sure that we cover all employee issues and concerns.”

Michael Grade’s family 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.

Michael Grade’s ability to run leisure and entertainment companies has often come under fierce criticism. He took over Bernard Delfont’s First Leisure Corporation, set up with Max Payne, in 1997, leaving in 1999 after a turbulent few years. He received harsh criticism from Delfont’s widow, Lady Delfont, who told the Daily Telegraph in 1999 that, “At no time did we understand that Michael Grade’s job was to asset-strip a thriving company.”

His recent tenure at ITV was during a troubled time for the broadcaster and, as Chairman of Pinewood Shepperton studios, he recently faced calls to step down by one of its leading investors, the funds group Crystal Amber, charged with an unconvincing performance since the company floated six years ago and a lack of adequate direction.

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.”

Lloyd Webber has a close association with all four venues he is divesting: the Palace Theatre was famously the office of Prince Edward, who worked for Lord Webber on a number of his shows from the venue; the Cambridge Theatre housed his production of The Beautiful Game in 2000; the New London was where his acclaimed, internationally successful production of Cats started in 1981; and Her Majesty’s Theatre has been home to his most successful ever production, The Phantom of the Opera, which celebrated its 10,000th performance at the venue this week.

LINKS

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

Cambridge Theatre in London – Map

October 11, 2010 

A London map highlighting the location of the Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, London, WC2 9HU

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


Back to all London Maps of Theatres

Michael Grade turns attention to West End

September 6, 2010 

Michael Grade, of the legendary Grade and Delfont entertainment dynasty, is eyeing up the West End as his next conquest.

Should we be scared?

Michael Grade at ITV

Michael Grade at ITV

Andrew Lloyd Webber, who owns a number of London theatres and has recently talked about his keenness to divest of a few, is in talks to sell four venues: the New London, where War Horse is currently playing, the Palace (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), the Cambridge (Chicago) and Her Majesty’s (The Phantom of the Opera).

It is believed that the theatres would be bought for around £50 million by a consortium led by Grade, theatre agent Michael Linnit and financial backers.

The package of theatres doesn’t include the three flagship venues of the group: the Adelphi, currently home to Lloyd-Webber’s musical Love Never Dies, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the London Palladium.

Michael Grade’s family 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.

But in the last few years Michael Grade’s ability to run leisure and entertainment companies has come under fierce criticism. He took over Bernard Delfont’s First Leisure Corporation, set up with Max Payne, in 1997, leaving in 1999 after a turbulent few years. He received harsh criticism from Delfont’s widow, Lady Delfont, who told the Daily Telegraph in 1999 that, “At no time did we understand that Michael Grade’s job was to asset-strip a thriving company.”

His recent tenure at ITV was largely believed to have been unsuccessful, and as Chairman of Pinewood Shepperton studios he is currently facing calls to step down by one of its leading investors, the funds group Crystal Amber, charged with an unconvincing performance since the company floated six years ago and a lack of adequate direction.

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.”

Let’s hope these precious assets are not beyond Michael Grade.

Historic year for West End theatres

August 20, 2010 

An historic number of West End theatres celebrate important anniversaries this year, including 80th birthdays for three theatres in September.

A boom in theatre building in the Art Deco 1930’s has resulted in six West End theatres celebrating their 80th anniversaries in 2010.

September proves a particularly important month, with three theatres celebrating their 80th: the Cambridge Theatre on Earlham Street on 4 September; Charing Cross Road’s Phoenix Theatre on 24 September; and the Trafalgar Studios on Whitehall, formerly known as the Whitehall Theatre, on 29 September.

Already this year the Prince Edward Theatre has celebrated its 80th birthday on 3 April, and later in the year the Apollo Victoria Theatre will mark its 80th on 15 October and the Adelphi Theatre on 3 December.

London Palladium in 1912, courtesy of The Theatres Trust

London Palladium in 1912, courtesy of The Theatres Trust

Celebrations will include a charity gala for the Apollo Victoria on 10 October featuring the cast of the venue’s current show, Wicked, and past productions including Starlight Express.

Advisory Body, The Theatres Trust, commented on the anniversaries: “The West End theatres that celebrate their 80th anniversaries this year are among the UK’s best examples of art deco and moderne style venues. Each is distinctive and unique, built to appeal to a public eager for entertainment, plays, films, variety and musicals. It is a mark of their quality that they continue to do so to this day.”

2010 also marks theatrical milestones for a number of other venues, notably the 100th anniversary of the famous London Palladium on 26 December. A special Facebook page has been set up for the London Palladium’s centenary allowing theatregoers and theatre professionals to remember the historic venue. Also, on Radio 2 this autumn a two-part documentary series, The London Palladium Story, will tell the story of the theatre, narrated by Michael Grade.

Also this year the Peacock Theatre, originally called the Royalty Theatre, will celebrate its 40th birthday in June, and the former Leicester Square Theatre, now the Odeon West End cinema, will turn 80.

QUICK THEATRE FACTS

Adelphi Theatre

Opened: 3 December 1930

Designed: Ernest Schaufelberg, incorporating parts of the former Sans Pareil theatre

Location: Strand, London, WC2E 7NA Adelphi Theatre Map

First production: Ever Green by Benn W. Levy and Lorenz Hart

Current production: Love Never Dies

Apollo Victoria Theatre

Opened: 15 October 1930

Designed: E. Wamsley Lewis and W E Trent

Location: 17 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LL Apollo Victoria Theatre Map

First production: originally opened as a cinema (film: George Arlis in Old English)

Current production: Wicked

Cambridge Theatre

Opened: 4 September 1930

Designed: Wimperis, Simpson and Guthrie with Serge Chermayeff

Location: Earlham Street, London, WC2 9HU Cambridge Theatre Map

First production: Charlot’s Masquerade by Ronald Jeans

Current production: Chicago

London Palladium

Opened: 26 December 1910

Designed: Frank Matcham

Location: London Palladium, Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF London Palladium Map

First production: A Variety Show and one act play called The Conspiracy.

Current production: Sister Act

Peacock Theatre

Opened: June 1960

Designed: Lewis Solomon and Kaye and Partners

Location: Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT Peacock Theatre Map

First production: opened as a cinema

Current productions: include La Boheme, Euridice

Phoenix Theatre

Opened: 24 September 1930

Designed: Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Bertie Crew, and Cecil Masey, with Theodore Komisarjevsky

Location: Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP Phoenix Theatre Map

First production: Noel Coward’s Private Lives

Current production: Blood Brothers

Prince Edward

Opened: 3 April 1930

Designed: Edward A. Stone with Marc-Henri and Laverdet and Gaston Laverdet

Location: Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4HS Prince Edward Theatre Map

First production: Rio Rita by Harry Tierney

Current production: Jersey Boys

Trafalgar Studios

Opened: 29 September 1930

Designed: Edward A. Stone with Marc-Henri and Laverdet and Gaston Laverdet

Location: Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY Trafalgar Studios Map

First production: The Way To Treat A Woman by Walter Hackett

Current productions: include Shirley Valentine, Educating Rita, State Fair

LINKS:

The Theatres Trust

Arthur Lloyd website

Celebrations include a charity gala for the the Apollo Victoria on 10 October featuring the cast of the venue’s current show, Wicked, and past productions including Starlight Express.

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