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A Chorus Line – Round-up of reviews

February 23, 2013 

A round-up of reviews of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

Reviews are in for the major new revival of Tony award-winning Broadway musical A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, featuring the late Marvin Hamlisch’s score and a brand new production by Bob Avian.

Starring Scarlett Strallen as Cassie, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Diana, John Partridge as Zach and Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila, critics have been kind to the show, with most reviews raving about both the show and production.

In A Chorus Line, auditions are underway for a new Broadway musical. For everyone present, it’s the chance of a lifetime. It’s the one opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed of – to have the chance to dance. Told through captivating song, riveting drama and stunning choreography, the auditionees describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.

Read reviews from The Guardian, Telegraph, Daily Mail and more.

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Whatsonstage Awards winners announced

February 18, 2013 

The winners of the Whats On Stage awards have been announced, including The Bodyguard winning Best New Musical.

Heather Headley and the cast of The Bodyguard perform at this year's Whatsonstage Awards. The Bodyguard scooped Best New Musical. Photo: Peter Gibbons

Heather Headley and the cast of The Bodyguard perform at this year’s Whatsonstage Awards. The Bodyguard scooped Best New Musical. Photo: Peter Gibbons

At a ceremony last night, 17 February 2013, at the Palace Theatre in London a host of West End stars gathered for the annual awards, voted for by members of the theatregoing public.

Hosted by Mel Giedroyc and Rufus Hound, over 60,000 people voted for this year’s awards.

Big winners included Chichester’s West End transfer of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton both taking home awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical. The show also picked up gongs for Best Musical Revival, Best Director for Jonathan Kent and Best Lighting Designer for Mark Henderson.

Other musicals to take home prizes last night included The Bodyguard, which against stiff competition scooped the Best New Musical award. The arena tour production of Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar saw Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical awards go to  Tim Minchin and Melanie C respectively.

And hot on the heels of the new film version of Les Miserables, Cameron Mackintosh’s original London production at the Queen’s Theatre won Best West End Show and Best Takeover for Ramin Karimloo for his performance as Jean Valjean.

In other musical awards, pop star Will Young received the London Newcomer of the Year award for his West End debut performance as the Emcee in Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre. Broadway star Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba in Wicked, scooped Best Solo Performance for her West End concert last year, Boy George musical Taboo at Brixton Club House won Best Off-West End Production, and Green Day’s Broadway musical American Idiot took Best Regional Production for its autumn tour.

In drama, Sheridan Smith continued her awards run as she took Best Actress in a Play for Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic. Best Supporting Actress in a Play went to Natalie Casey, currently starring in the National tour of 9 to 5 The Musical, for her performance in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s revival of Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party, which also won Best Play Revival.

Best Actor in a Play went to Rupert Everett for his current theatrical performance as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

Shakespeare’s Globe’s Richard III and Twelfth Night double-bill earned earned three awards: Best Ensemble Performance for the company, Best Shakespearean Production for Twelfth Night and Best Supporting Actor in a Play for Stephen Fry as Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

The National Theatre’s stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was named Best New Play ahead of its transfer to the Apollo Theatre in the West End, and Graham Linehan’s stage version of the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers won Best New Comedy.

In other awards, Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony was rewarded with the Theatre Event of the Year gong. And the late Marvin Hamlisch was honoured in the Best Original Music category for his score for Sweet Smell of Success, which received its UK premiere in October at London’s Arcola Theatre. Hamlisch’s musical A Chorus Line is now running at the London Palladium.

LINKS

Whatsonstage Awards 2013 – complete list of winners

VIDEO

Highlights of the Whatsonstage Awards 2013

Photos: A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

February 12, 2013 

Production photos of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. Photo: Roy Tan

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium. Photo: Roy Tan

A new revival of legendary Broadway musical A Chorus Line has started previews at the London Palladium, the first time the show has been in the West End since 1976.

Featuring classic songs including One Singular Sensation and Hope I Get It, the original 1975 Broadway production won 9 Tony Awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The cast of this new London production includes Scarlett Strallen as Cassie, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Diana, John Partridge as Zach and Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila.

The West End revival of A Chorus Line is directed and choreographed by Bob Avian, who co-choreographed the original production alongside Michael Bennett. Avian also directed the 2006 New York revival of the show.

The show’s music is by Marvin Hamlisch with lyrics by Edward Kleban, and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante.

Photos by Roy Tan.

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Full Casting Is Announced For A Chorus Line At The London Palladium

January 5, 2013 

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Diana),  John Partridge (Zach), Scarlett Strallen (Cassie) and Leigh Zimmerman (Sheila)  will be joined by Lucy Adcock (Judy), Georgie Ashford (Trisha), Ed Currie (Bobby), Frances Dee (Kristine), Segun Fawole (Butch), Harry Francis (Mark),  Simon Hardwick (Al), Rebecca Herszenhon (Val), James  T Lane (Richie), Marc Leslie (Roy), Vicki Lee Taylor (Maggie), Daisy Maywood (Bebe), Alice Jane Murray (Lois), Alastair Postlethwaite (Larry), Andy Rees (Greg), Adam Salter (Mike), Alexzandra Sarmiento (Connie), Michael Steedon (Tom), Gary Watson (Don) and Gary Wood (Paul). Further casting includes  Rebecca Giocopazzi, Genevieve Nicole and Ashley Nottingham.

Alice Jane Murray and Marc Leslie were selected to join the cast of A Chorus Line from the open auditions that were held at the London Palladium back in September 2012. Selected from 2000 hopefuls, 19 year old Alice will be making her west end debut.

For the first time since its first London season, which opened in 1976 and won the Olivier Award for Best Musical, a full London revival of the Broadway Production will be staged at the London Palladium from February 5th 2013, with a press night  on Tuesday February 19th.

Following the announcement of a limited season through to July 2013, booking has now been extended to January 2014.

The role of imperious director Zach will be played by West End leading man and TV star John Partridge, best known for his role as Christian Clarke in EastEnders. John has appeared in numerous musical theatre productions including Cats, Starlight Express, Tommy, Grease,  The Drowsy Chaperone,  Rent  and Miss Saigon. John is currently one of the presenters of the National Lottery programme and  he was selected by the BBC to join Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charlotte Church and Sheila Hancock as a judge on BBC1’s Over The Rainbow.

Scarlett Strallen is currently starring as Kathy in the West End production of Singin’in the Rain,  for which she received an Olivier Award nomination. Her previous theatre work includes Clara in Passion at the Donmar Warehouse, the title role in Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway and  Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

Leigh  Zimmerman has appeared twice in the West End production of  Chicago playing Velma Kelly and in 2005 she was Olivier nominated for her role as Ulla in The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her Broadway credits include The Will Rogers Follies, Crazy For You and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt was most recently seen playing Gypsy Rose Lee in Leicester Curve’s production of  Gypsy. She also  played the lead role of Alex in Flashdance in the West End and the role of Anita in the international tour of West Side Story.

Michael Bennett’s production of  A Chorus Line won nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when it opened on Broadway in 1975 and went on to become the then longest running musical on Broadway achieving an astonishing 6137 performances. It features some of musical theatre’s best loved songs:  One (Singular Sensation),  What I Did For Love,  I Can Do That,  Hello Twelve, Hello Thirteen, Hello Love and Hope I Get It.

The production will be directed by Broadway and West End veteran director and choreographer Bob Avian. Avian was Michael Bennett’s long term collaborator and his co-choreographer on the original production. Avian was also responsible for directing the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said:  “I am delighted to welcome  A Chorus Line into The London Palladium. This classic Broadway production has not been seen in the West End for almost 35 years. Marvin Hamlisch was a great friend and supporter in my early career  and I can think of no more fitting tribute to him than this major revival.”

This long anticipated revival will become a tribute to the show’s composer Marvin Hamlisch who tragically died in early August last year. Hamlisch’s contribution to the stage and screen is widely recognised as being seminal. Perhaps his best known songs include  The Way We Were and  Nobody Does It Better and along with his musical theatre work his scores for films include  Ordinary People and  Sophie’s Choice.

Release issued by: The Corner Shop PR

LINKS

Book tickets to A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

September 8, 2012 

A major new revival of Tony award-winning Broadway musical A Chorus Line comes to the London Palladium, featuring the late Marvin Hamlisch’s sublime score in a brand new production by Bob Avian.

The cast of this new London production includes Scarlett Strallen as Cassie, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Diana, John Partridge as Zach and Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila.

The West End revival of A Chorus Line is directed and choreographed by Bob Avian, who co-choreographed the original production alongside Michael Bennett. Avian also directed the 2006 New York revival of the show.
The show’s music is by Marvin Hamlisch with lyrics by Edward Kleban, and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante.

In A Chorus Line, auditions are underway for a new Broadway musical. For everyone present, it’s the chance of a lifetime. It’s the one opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed of – to have the chance to dance. Told through captivating song, riveting drama and stunning choreography, the auditionees describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.

The show features classic songs including One Singular Sensation and Hope I Get It, and the original 1975 Broadway production won 9 Tony Awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

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More information

Theatre: London Palladium

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

 

A Chorus Line to open at the London Palladium

September 7, 2012 

Broadway classic A Chorus Line to be revived in the West End

A Chorus Line at the London Palladium

A new revival of classic Broadway musical A Chorus Line is to be given a multi-million pound production at the London Palladium.

It will be the first time since 1976 that the show has been revived in the West End.

A Chorus Line will start previews at the London Palladium on 2 February and open on 19 February 2013.

The musical is about dancers auditioning for a Broadway show, throwing a spotlight on the cutthroat world of showbusiness by delving into how it has shaped their lives and the sacrifices they’ve had to make. Classic songs from the show include One (Singular Sensation and Hope I Get It.

The original 1975 Broadway production won 9 Tony Awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The West End revival will be directed and choreographed by Bob Avian, who co-choreographed the original production alongside Michael Bennett. Avian also directed the 2006 New York revival of the show.

The show’s music is by Marvin Hamlisch, who died last month, and the production is being seen as a tribute to his work. Lyrics are by Edward Kleban, with a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante.

Casting is underway for the show.

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Kander & Ebb charity gala cancelled

March 11, 2012 

Story Update:

Kander & Ebb tribute at the Victoria Palace Theatre cancelled

Chita Rivera, star of Kander & Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman, one of the stars to have appeared at the gala. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

Chita Rivera, star of Kander & Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman, one of the stars to have appeared at the gala. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

A major charity gala which was to have been held in London on 29 April 2012 to celebrate the work of legendary songwriters Kander & Ebb has been cancelled.

The all-star gala at the Victoria Palace Theatre wass being produced by veteran promoter and producer Barry Mishon in collaboration with John Kander, and was to have aided the Ovarian Cancer Action charity.

The charity today announced that it had decided to withdraw from the show, “ for no other reason than due to the current economic climate in which we are operating”, and that they were, “unable to afford to proceed with this venture. Had we been able to continue, we had complete confidence that it would have been a great success, but the environment necessitates that the focus and spend of the Charity must be solely on its core charitable activities at the current time. We reiterate our extreme disappointment at having to arrive at this conclusion, and thank everyone sincerely, particularly Barry, for the time, effort, enthusiasm and determination which has gone into this to date.”

Barry Mishon, the producer of the show, thanked everyone for their  ”great support” but said that he was “dismayed and very upset” on hearing the news.

Stars who had signed up to appear included Tony award winning Chicago choreographer Ann Reinking, Chita Rivera, Marvin Hamlisch, Janie Dee, Maria Friedman, Tyne Daly, Stefanie Powers, Billy Stritch, Clive Rowe, Claire Moore, Linzi Hately, Bonnie Langford, Sally Ann Triplett, Ria Jones, Sian Phillips and Frances Ruffelle.

John Kander and Fred Ebb are two of the most successful musical theatre songwriting partnerships of all time, with their work including Cabaret, Chicago, Zorba, The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman. Fred Ebb passed away in 2004.

LINKS

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

Ovarian Cancer Action website

Ann Reinking signs up for Kander & Ebb charity gala

November 20, 2011 

Tony award winning choreographer Ann Reinking has been confirmed to star in a major charity gala celebrating the work of legendary songwriters Kander & Ebb, in London this April.

Reinking, who won a Tony Award  for her choreography for Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, will join names including Marvin Hamlisch, Janie Dee, Maria Friedman and Billy Stritch at the event.

The current production of Chicago is one of the most successful musical revivals ever. It is now in its 15th year on Broadway and has recently returned to the West End’s Garrick Theatre starring Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera.

The all-star gala is being produced by veteran promoter and producer Barry Mishon in collaboration with Kander, and will be in aid of the Ovarian Cancer Action charity.

John Kander and Fred Ebb are two of the most successful musical theatre songwriting partnerships of all time, with their work including Cabaret, Chicago, Zorba, The Rink and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Fred Ebb passed away in 2004.

Musical directors for the event will be Gareth Valentine and Donald Pippin.

Tickets will go on sale soon.

LINKS

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

Ovarian Cancer Action website

STAGE SPY CHECK-LIST

    • Show: Kander & Ebb Charity Gala
    • Theatre: West End venue TBC
    • Musical Directors: Gareth Valentine, Donald Pippin
    • Stars: Ann Reinking, Maria Friedman, further names to be announced
    • Opens: April 2012
Ann Reinking in Chicago

Ann Reinking in Chicago

Should No. 10 be celebrating the West End?

October 19, 2010 

Should Number 10 be following the White House’s lead and doing its bit to support the West End, asks Paul Raven

The next in the “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House” is up again on PBS in the USA this Wednesday, 20 October (see a preview here).

Iidina Menzel sings at the White House

Iidina Menzel sings at the White House

The show will feature Nathan Lane as emcee and songs from Idina Menzel – singing Defying Gravity from Wicked – Brian d’Arcy James, Audra McDonald, Chad Kimball, Marvin Hamlisch, Karen Olivo and Assata Alston.

The show was taped back in July in the East Room of the White House in front of President and Mrs Obama, who are great supporters of Broadway and theatre in general.

This kind of event is an incredible showcase for Broadway, and provides not only great publicity but also sends out a clear message that the creative theatre arts in America are important – and something that can be enjoyed by everyone.

As we hurtle towards unprecedented cuts in Arts spending, organisations such as SOLT should be lobbying hard for politicians to provide support in other ways for the West End: it may be commercial theatre, but it is also at the epicentre of our cultural life in the UK and needs to be publicly celebrated.

BBC Radio 2 – The Musical

September 9, 2010 

Don’t miss this excellent new series on BBC Radio 2 all about the musical.

Sian Phillips, presenter of episode one of The Musical

Sian Phillips, presenter of episode one of The Musical

The eight part series started on Monday, 6 September 2010, at 10pm UK time (listen again here) and each week will cover a different aspect of the world of musical theatre and its 80 year history.

The Musical is presented by a different name in musical theatre each week – with this Monday’s show voiced by award-winning actress Sian Phillips.

This first programme, “Stories with Songs”, revealed the importance of a good book – or story – in a musical, and the contradiction between this and why so few musicals choose to adapt existing stories rather than originate their own. Shows used to demonstrate include The Boy Friend, A Chorus Line, Chess, Starlight Express and Sunday In The Park With George, with lots of showbiz contributions from the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Patti Lupone, John Barrowman, Elaine Stritch, Maria Friedman, Sandy Wilson, Ruthie Henshall, Tim Rice, Elaine Paige, Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Grandage.

Episode two, “Drawn From Life” will be presented by musicals star, Sondheim aficionado and current artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, Daniel Evans, and covers some of the life-stories of real people used in musicals, from Gypsy and Evita to The King and I.

The Musical is produced by Malcolm Prince, who also produces Elaine Paige’s Sunday show on Radio 2.

A number of other theatrical documentaries will come to Radio 2 this autumn including a look at the history of the London Palladium in its centenary year.

LINKS

Listen to The Musical – Episode 1

BBC Radio 2 – The Musical

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