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Broadway Theatre Spring Round-up

March 8, 2011 

Our USA round-up of what’s hot on Broadway and beyond, including Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed…, transfers of Priscilla and Sister Act, Elaine Paige in Follies and much more.

Catch Me If You Can

Aaron Tveit, star of Catch Me If You Can

Aaron Tveit, star of Catch Me If You Can

Previews begin this week for major new Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can at the Neil Simon Theatre (opens 10 April), based on the Stephen Spielberg movie and the true story that inspired it. The show is led by rising new Broadway star Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal, Wicked) as con-man Frank Abagnale, and also stars Kerry Butler and Norbert Leo Butz. Aaron is featured in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair and there is a real buzz about him. The musical comes from the Hairspray and Love Never Dies creative team of Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (Choreography), with a book by Terence McNally (The Full Monty), and score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Spider-Man: Julie out?

The New York Times is reporting that Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark director Julie ‘The Lion King’ Taymor may have to fall on her sword and depart the production if she doesn’t seek help. Apparently the producers of the troubled, multi-million dollar show would like her to work with an expanded creative team to try and bring work on the production to a close – or she may have to leave the show. Other current decisions being made on the show include to what extent the script and music should be overhauled. The five-times rearranged opening night of 15 March now seems almost certain to be… rearranged!

London to Broadway: Priscilla, Sister Act, War Horse, Jerusalem

Patina Miller rehearses for Sister Act on Broadway

Patina Miller rehearses for Sister Act on Broadway

Four big West End shows are opening on Broadway in the coming weeks. Priscilla Queen of the Desert is currently in previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway (and the Palace Theatre, London!), starring Will Swenson as Tick. Swenson appeared in the recent Broadway and London productions of Hair, and is joined in Priscilla by Tony Sheldon, who revisits the role of Bernadette after wowing audiences in Australia and London, and Nick Adams (La Cage Aux Folles) as Adam.
Over at the Broadway Theatre previews start on 24 March for Sister Act, which wings its way to America following a decent run at the London Palladium. The star of the London show, Patina Miller, will reprise her role as nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier, joined by Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza) as Mother Superior.
Also transferring to Broadway, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse will start previews at the Lincoln Center in New York from 15 March, and the Royal Court’s smash-hit production of Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem will play the Music Box theatre from 2 April. The play will feature its Olivier Award-winning London star Mark Rylance, who is sure become a major Tony Awards contender for his tour de force performance as Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron.

Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed in Business…

Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed...

Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed...

Life after Harry Potter is going to be particularly glamorous for Daniel Radcliffe as he is currently starring in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (now in previews, opens 27 March). The show has hit the press recently over rumours that Warner Bros. are furious with the show’s producers for not letting Radcliffe out of performances to promote the final Harry Potter film later in the year.

Elaine Paige in Follies

Not long to go until the Eric Schaeffer revival of Sondheim’s Follies at the Kennedy Center in Washington (7 May – 19 June) starring Bernadette Peters as Sally, Jan Maxwell as Phyllis, Danny Burstein as Buddy, Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone – and our very own Elaine Paige as Carlotta. The casting of Paige caught many off guard (she’s TOO YOUNG you cry!) and it will be interesting to see if Paige turns up in Trevor Nunn’s mooted revival of the show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket later this year.

Hot tip: Gavin Creel in Prometheus Bound

Michael Cunio and Gavin Creel in Prometheus Bound. Photo: Marcus Stern.

Michael Cunio and Gavin Creel in Prometheus Bound. Photo: Marcus Stern.

Whilst Hair alumni Will Swenson is camping it up in Priscilla, fellow co-worker Gavin Creel, who also starred with Swenson in the London transfer of Hair, is currently wowing audiences in Prometheus Bound at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. Rumour mills are buzzing over whether the show might transfer to Broadway. Written by Tony and Grammy Award-winning playwright and lyricist Steven Sater, who scored a huge hit with Spring Awakening on Broadway and less so in London, and with music composed by Grammy Award-winning System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian, the show is inspired by Aeschylus’s Ancient Greek tragedy.

Stars on Broadway

There’s no shortage of stars turning up on Broadway over the next few weeks, with Frances McDormand having just opened in Good People at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Brian Cox, Chris Noth, Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland starring in That Championship Season at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, Billy Crudup in Arcadia at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (opens 17 March), Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger In The Baghdad Zoo at the Richard Rodgers Theatre from 11 March, Chris Rock in Motherf**Ker With The Hat at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre from 15 March, Kathleen Turner in High at the Booth Theatre from 25 March, Edie Falco, Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The House of Blue Leaves at the Walter Kerr Theatre from 25 April, and Tyne Daly and Sierra Boggess in Master Class at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from 24 May. Phew!

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Cast changes: Love Never Dies, Priscilla

March 7, 2011 

Major cast changes tonight, 7 March 2011, as Love Never Dies and Priscilla Queen of the Desert issue in new stars.

David Thaxton

David Thaxton

Celia Graham

Celia Graham

Haley Flaherty

Haley Flaherty

LOVE NEVER DIES: The new cast starts tonight in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre. David Thaxton, who is nominated in this year’s Olivier Awards for his role in Passion, replaces Joseph Millson as Raoul, Celia Graham takes over from Sierra Boggess as Christine and Haley Flaherty will replace Summer Strallen as Meg. Ramin Karimloo stays on as the Phantom.

Mark Moraghan

Mark Moraghan

Richard Grieve

Richard Grieve

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT: It is also all-change over at the Palace Theatre as Richard Grieve takes over from Ben Richards tonight in the lead role of Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Richard’s past roles include Jonny Foster in Emmerdale, Dr Lachlan Frazer in Home & Away and Sam Kratz in Neighbours. Also joining the cast is Mark Moraghan as Bob the mechanic. Mark is best known for playing Owen Davies in Holby City. They join existing stars of the show Don Gallagher as Bernadette and Oliver Thornton as Adam.

LINKS

Love Never Dies – tickets and booking, special offers

Priscilla Queen of the Desert – tickets and booking, special offers

 

RICHARD GRIEVE in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

February 9, 2011 

TV soaps star Richard Grieve gets back to the stage and dons the sequins in Priscilla

RICHARD GRIEVE in Priscilla Queen of the DesertRichard Grieve is no stranger to UK television viewers having played roles in Neighbours, Home & Away and Emmerdale. But a love of the stage has also driven him to appear in numerous plays and musicals over his career, both in his native Australia and in the UK. Up next for the versatile actor is his greatest challenge yet, playing the lead role of Tick in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre, following in the footsteps of Jason Donovan and Ben Richards in the part.

Richard trained at Victoria University in Melbourne and Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. His stage work includes The Misanthrope, Design for Living, Molière’s The Will, Mame, The Boy from Oz, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in Australia; and in the UK he has appeared in the UK tour of Footloose The Musical, Daisy Miller, Dial M for Murder, Teen Scream, There’s No Place Like a Home, A Daughter’s a Daughter, An Ideal Husband and Bells Are Ringing.

Richard’s TV work includes playing Sam Kratz in Neighbours, Dr Lachlan Frazer in Home & Away, Johnny Foster in Emmerdale, plus roles in The Man from Snowy River, Newlyweds, E Street, State Coroner and Wintertime.

Richard stars in Priscilla alongside Mark Moraghan as Bob, Don Gallagher as Bernadette and Oliver Thornton as Adam.

Book tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London

Richard Grieve To Join Priscilla Queen Of The Desert As The Show Motors Into Its Third Hit Year In The West End And Prepares To Open On Broadway

February 6, 2011 

As Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical approaches its second birthday in the West End, Richard Grieve, best known for his role as Jonny Foster in ITV1’s Emmerdale, will join the Company to play Tick from Monday 7 March 2011. Grieve joins cast members Don Gallagher (Bernadette) and Oliver Thornton (Adam) in the Olivier award-winning musical at the Palace Theatre, which is booking until 7 January 2012. Later this month the Broadway production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert will start previews on 28 February, with opening night on 20 March 2011.

Richard Grieve’s most recognised roles include Jonny Foster in Emmerdale, Dr Lachlan Frazer in Home & Away and Sam Kratz in Neighbours. His UK stage credits include national tours of Footloose The Musical, Dial M For Murder and There’s No Place Like A Home.

Based on the Oscar® award-winning film Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical tells the story of Tick, Bernadette and Adam, a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback.

Priscilla is a heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could ever have dreamed. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and featuring a score of dance-floor classics, Priscilla is a sensational journey to the heart of fabulous.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical had its world premiere in Sydney in October 2006 and subsequently wowed audiences and critics alike in Melbourne and New Zealand, becoming the most successful Australian musical of all time. After a return Sydney season and a recent well received run in Toronto, further international dates are in discussion for productions in Italy, Brazil, Scandinavia and Germany.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical is written by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott. Direction is by Simon Phillips, Choreography is by Ross Coleman, Musical Supervision and Arrangements by Stephen ‘Spud’ Murphy and Production Design is by Brian Thomson. Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner have re-created their Oscar®-winning Costume Designs, which were originally designed for the film. BAFTA Award winning Make Up design is recreated by Cassie Hanlon. Lighting is designed by Nick Schlieper and Sound design by Michael Waters.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical is produced in London by Liz Koops and Garry McQuinn for Back Row Productions, Michael Hamlyn for Specific Films, Allan Scott, John Frost, Michael Chugg, David Mirvish and The Really Useful Group, in association with MGM on Stage, Darcie Denkert and Dean Stolber, based on the Latent Image/Specific Films Motion Picture, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

Release issued by: Premier PR

LINKS

Book tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London

Free Hotel Rooms in London

January 10, 2011 

Free Hotel Rooms in London

Celebrate winter with our great new hotel and theatre promotion, with blockbuster shows including Love Never Dies, Legally Blonde, Priscilla, Jersey Boys and Billy Elliot.

Westendtheatre.com has partnered with 18 top London shows and a range of Central London hotels to offers visitors to the city a fabulous winter treat.

Running until the end of March 2011, you can book a free room in a central London hotel when buying a top-price theatre ticket to one of a selection of shows.

Prices start at just £45 ($70 USD / €55 Euros) per person for a three star hotel, continental breakfast and a best seat to a major West End show, based on two people sharing.

An amazing selection of big-budget West End musicals are featured in the promotion including: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to the Phantom of the Opera – Love Never Dies; Legally Blonde, based on the smash-hit movie; Tony award-winning Elton John musical Billy Elliot; a new musical adaptation of Love Story; fabulous, spectacular show Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Jersey Boys featuring the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons; Dirty Dancing; sexy, sassy Kander and Ebb show Chicago; joyous 1960s musical Dreamboats and Petticoats; Grease The Musical; Willy Russell’s powerful musical Blood Brothers; theatre, dance and percussion show Stomp; and Michael Jackson tribute show Thriller Live.

Comedy and drama included in the promotion ranges from a riotously funny adaptation of The 39 Steps, to Samantha Bond in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, terrifying thriller The Woman in Black, and classic comedy When We Are Married.

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See all shows in the promotion and book now

Terms and conditions of the promotion:

Prices are per person and based on two people sharing a twin or double room in one of our chosen Central London 3* hotels. Valid for select performances and subject to availability. Once booked, the package is non transferable and cannot be exchanged or refunded. All prices include VAT and all other transaction and booking fees. Selected shows are subject to a £5 supplement. For full terms and conditions visit www.westendtheatre.com/theatre-breaks

DON GALLAGHER in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

January 9, 2011 

Don Gallagher stars as former Les Girls Bernadette in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

DON GALLAGHER in Priscilla Queen of the DesertWest End star Don Gallagher has appeared in a wealth of plays and musicals in his long career including Roger de Bris in The Producers, His Dark Materials and Stuff Happens at the National Theatre, a number of seasons at the RSC, and roles in Les Misérables and Martin Guerre.

He is also no stranger to the TV world, with his credits including Casualty, Miss Marple, The Changeling, Hancock and Joan, Poirot, Ballet Shoes, Where the Heart Is and Inspector Linley.

In Priscilla Don stars as glamorous transwoman and drag queen Bernadette, played in the Oscar-winning movie by Terence Stamp.

Don stars in Priscilla Queen of the Desert alongside Richard Grieve as Tick, Mark Moraghan as Bob and Oliver Thornton as Adam.

Book tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London

OLIVER THORNTON in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

January 9, 2011 

Oliver Thornton camps it up in Priscilla

OLIVER THORNTON in Priscilla Queen of the DesertSome are born great, some achieve greatness and some have all that AND are very hot indeed. Oliver Thornton is the multi-talented actor currently playing Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London, originally played in the Oscar-winning movie by Guy Pearce.

Born and raised in South Wales, Oliver trained at Mountview and has spent his career so far appearing in a range of big, blockbuster musicals. Roles include Mark in Rent at the Duke of York’s, Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s, Enjolras in Les Misérables at the Palace and Queen’s theatres, Harrison in Chicago at the Adelphi and Rusty in Starlight Express on the UK tour and in its home in Bochum, Germany.

Film roles include De-Lovely and his much praised performance as Adam has earned him Whatsonstage and Broadway.com theatregoers choice awards.

The big question on all of our lips is, what’s up next after Priscilla… Priscilla on Broadway?

Oliver stars in Priscilla Queen of the Desert alongside Richard Grieve as Tick, Mark Moraghan as Bob and Don Gallagher as Bernadette.

Book tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London

Priscilla Queen of the Desert – Christmas in the West End

November 20, 2010 

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre – Christmas in the West End

VIDEO: Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre

November 2, 2010 

Ben Richards (The Bill) stars in this fabulous feel-good musical full of dazzling costumes and dance-floor classics, based on the Oscar award-winning film.

Book tickets to Priscilla Queen of the Desert
More information about the show
More information about the Palace Theatre

VIDEO

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre

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Celebrity Endorsement : The Musical

October 15, 2010 

Bette Midler, Michael Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith… is celebrity endorsement of musicals the future of theatre?

It’s one thing for a star name to be jettisoned into a musical to liven things up and provide some celebrity “tits and ass”. But what about celebrities simply endorsing a show because, well, they can?

Bette Midler performing at Caesars Palace

Bette Midler performing at Caesars Palace

This comes after news that the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, will act as a “producer” on the new Broadway production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in New York, running from 28 February.

Midler is joining a growing list of celebs on both sides of the Atlantic who are investing their time and money in shows without feeling the need to haul themselves on stage, from Elton John bank-rolling gay play Next Fall, to Will Smith and Jay-Z  injecting a million dollars into Fela! – which is coming to the National Theatre next month.

And in the UK let’s not forget Whoopi Goldberg’s involvement in Sister Act, providing money and showbiz face-time, but with minimal artistic input from the lady herself (not counting the few days she actually starred in it).

Michael Ball has also recently lent his cash and name to the Chichester transfer of new musical Love Story, which opens at the Duchess Theatre next month.

All this is nothing new in TV land, where getting an executive producer credit on a show is contracted as part of the deal and relates to getting some extra dollars. It’s the stuff of a million US dramas where the headline star is given an Exec Producer credit.

Michael Ball and the cast of Love Story

Michael Ball and the cast of Love Story

But in the UK, is there still an expectation that anyone with Producer in their title should actually do just that, and even carry the can for the production?

You only need to look back to “executive producers” Ant & Dec and the TV phone voting scandal to see how wrong it can go, and how the title does carry some responsibility for the way the show is made and marketed.

So is this the way that theatre is going? Musicals have become a big, global business with millions of dollars at stake, so attaching a star name like Bette Midler, Michael Ball and Whoopi Goldberg to a project – especially a project without any onstage star names – seems like a clever marketing ploy.

It could also be a genuine way for the celebrity endorser to broaden their career in entertainment and become engaged and active in the business of putting on shows rather than just starring in them – something that Michael Ball seems to be doing.

And despite Bette Midler pumping a rumoured “significant” amount of money into Priscilla, she has also met with the director of the show, Simon Phillips, and given him extensive notes on his new production, and plans to attend rehearsals ahead of the pre-Broadway try-out in Toronto next week to add her thoughts (we’d love to know what Simon Phillips thinks of this input!)

If celebrity endorsement of shows is the shape of things to come, and is sold to us as something more than just an investment and a credit above the title, we will need to hear from the celebrities themselves about why they want to be involved. Bette’s Priscilla press release quote about her participation simply confirms our worst suspicions: “A new star on Broadway and her name is PRISCILLA!! So much fun, it’s practically illegal!!  In fact, it IS illegal in four states!!”

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