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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

November 15, 2014 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the spectacular new musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane based on Roald Dahl’s much-loved book.

Featuring young Charlie Bucket and the madcap confectioner Willy Wonka, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Choclate Factory is brought to life in this major new West End musical directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes (Skyfall).

Starring Olivier Award winner Jonathan Slinger as Willy Wonka, this spectacular new musical features stunning sets and costumes by Mark Thompson (Mamma Mia!), breathtaking choreography by Peter Darling (Billy Elliot The Musical; Matilda The Musical) and acclaimed music and lyrics by the team that created Hairspray The Musical – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of the biggest and most spectacular shows you will ever see.


In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket to visit the weird, wonderful world of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. For five lucky winners it is the sweet-tooth chance-in-a-lifetime to venture into the sugary world of chocolate paradise. But not everything is as sweet as it seems in this darkly comic tale of chocolate gardens and Oompa-Loompas.


The cast includes Jonathan Slinger as Willy Wonka, Barry James as Grandpa Joe, Josefina Gabrielle as Mrs Teavee, and Derek Hagen and Lara Denning as Charlie’s parents Mr and Mrs Bucket.

The show also stars Ross Dawes (Mr Salt), Jasna Ivir (Mrs Gloop), Paul J Medford (Mr Beauregarde), Kraig Thornber (Grandpa George), Roni Page (Grandma Josephine) and Myra Sands (Grandma Georgina).

Full cast list: Jonathan Slinger, Barry James, Ross Dawes, Josefina Gabrielle, Jasna Ivir, Paul J. Medford, Lara Denning, Derek Hagen, Roni Page, Myra Sands, Kraig Thornber, Joe Allen, Meg Astin, Joel Baylis, Andy Brady, Simon Campbell, Georgia Carling, Andrew Carthy, Collette Coleman, Dan Cooke, Divine Cresswell, Billy Cullum, Connor Dowling, Kelly Edwards, Gemma Fuller, Kate Graham, Sam Lathwood, Lucinda Lawrence, Mark Oxtoby, Matthew Rowland, Rebecca Seale, Steven Serlin, Gregory Sims, Robert Tregoning, Tara Verloop, Michelle White, Mark Williamson.


“London’s Golden ticket” BBC Radio London
“Sam Mendes whips up a tasty confection that’s rich, dark and not too sweet” Sunday Times
“Sam Mendes masterminds a lavish feast of a musical” The Guardian
“Sam Mendes’s glossy, riotously colourful production remains as sweet as ever” Evening Standard
“Dahl’s superb novel is given a rip roaring rave of a production” Time Out
“A tremendously inventive show” Evening Standard
“Dazzling Charlie is a choc full of delights” Daily Express
“The hottest ticket in town” Time Out
“A fabulous spectacle” Daily Mail
“The year’s biggest blockbuster musical “ Daily Telegraph
“The West End’s biggest, most lavish stage musical, not just of the year but possibly any year” Sunday Express

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory extends at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

September 11, 2014 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory announces more dates at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and celebrations for Roald Dahl Day.

Alex Jennnigs as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Alex Jennnigs as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Hit Roald Dahl musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is extending booking at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The show will now be booking until 31 October 2015 and has sold over one million tickets so far in London.

September marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s original children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and celebrations will include the show hosting a Puffin Virtually Live event on 15 September – a national live-streamed event for schoolchildren. Also on Roald Dahl Day, which is the author’s birthday on 13 September, over 50 volunteers including some of the show’s production team, will take part in a sponsored skydive dressed as Oompa-Loompas in aid of the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity.

The award-winning West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features a cast that includes Alex Jennnigs as Willy Wonka, and is directed by Sam Mendes (Cabaret, Skyfall), with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig, set and costume designs by Mark Thompson and choreography by Peter Darling.

The Official Cast Recording album is now available on Sony Records, on CD and download.


Book tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane


Amazon: Buy the Charlie and the Choclate Factory cast recording

Caro Newling appointed President of the Society of London Theatre

June 24, 2014 

Industry News: Neal Street Productions co-founder Caro Newling has been named the new president of London theatre trade body the Society of London Theatre.

Caro Newling

Caro Newling

Newling will replace Mark Rubinstein in the role of President of SOLT.

She is currently co-founder of Neal Street Productions, which she set up in 2003 with Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris.

Neal Street are the producers of current Theatre Royal Drury Lane hit Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and UK tour of Shrek the Musical which kicks off next month at the Leeds Grand Theatre.

Caro Newling worked with Sam Mendes at the Donmar Warehouse from 1992 to 2002.

She will become SOLT’s 31st president joining an impressive list of theatrical luminaries that includes ATG’s Rosemary Squire and Nimax’s Nica Burns, and big names of West End past including impressario Emile Littler, theatre manager Frederick Carter and founding president Charles Wyndham.

She said in a statement that: “It’s a huge privilege to be stepping up at this point. There are certainly challenges ahead, but I’m equally looking forward to celebrating the phenomenal achievements of our creative industry”.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Book tickets

The Society of London Theatre

Neal Street Productions

South Bank Show to return

May 6, 2014 

The South Bank Show is to return to television with a new series on Sky Arts.

The South Bank Show

The South Bank Show

Each of the 6 episodes will feature a specific artist including actor Daniel Radcliffe, playwright Abi Morgan, TV producer John Lloyd, singer Angel Blue, author Kate Atkinson, and an episode around King Lear with the National’s Simon Russell Beale and Sam Mendes.

The South Bank Show starts on Sky Arts on 22 May 2014.

Also under the South Bank brand is a new series coming to Sky Arts called South Bank Show Masterclasses. The series of 15 episodes will each see a creative person conducting a masterclass in their chosen discipline.

Creatives include outgoing National Theatre cheif Nicholas Hytner on directing a play, The Iron Lady writer Abi Morgan on screenwriting, dancer Edward Watson, Joan Armatrading on song writing, soprano Angel Blue on singing opera, costume designer Jacqueline Mills, Simon Armitage on poetry, Tracey Emin on mono printing, and Peter Lord on creating stop motion animation.

The South Bank Show Originals will also see 30 archived programmes from past ITV series updated and screened including dancers Merce Cunningham and Michael Flatley, plus Pavarotti, Francis Bacon, Dolly Parton, Joseph Heller, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Ingmar Bergman.


Elaine Paige’s new show about West End and Broadway theatre will start on Sky Arts on Wednesday 14 May at 8pm.


Sky Arts

NATIONAL THEATRE: Platform talks confirmed for 2014

April 8, 2014 

The National Theatre has confirmed its forthcoming series of Platforms talks for 2014.

The eclectic programme of talks, discussions and interviews includes writers Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett and Enda Walsh ; directors Sam Mendes, Carrie Cracknell  and Neil Bartlett ; and actors Kenneth Cranham and Michael Palin.

All Platforms begin at 6pm at the National Theatre and last for 45 minutes. Most are only £4 (£3 concessions).

Alan Ayckbourn
Thu 10 April, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The legendary playwright discusses his work.

Adam Penford on A Small Family Business
Tue 15 April, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director talks about his new production of Ayckbourn’s play.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry
Tue 29 April, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Melvyn Bragg, Richard Dawkins, Mike Leigh, Simon McBurney, Ian McEwan, Ben Okri, Simon Russell Beale and Simon Schama read from Amnesty International’s new book; directed by Richard Eyre.

Alan Bennett
Wed 7 May, 7pm (1hr), Olivier £4/£3
The playwright discusses his work with Nicholas Hytner.

Family Values – A Taste of Honey: Helen and Jo
Fri 9 May, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Lyttelton
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Lesley Sharp and Kate O’Flynn.

Craig Brown and Friends
Fri 9 May, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
In celebration of his 25 glorious years with Private Eye, Craig Brown presents a parodic One-Stop Literary Festival – with a little help from his friends Eleanor Bron, Ian Hislop, Jan Ravens, Peter Serafinowicz and A N Wilson.

First World War Poetry
Fri 16 May, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Kenneth Cranham and Deborah Findlay read WWI poetry, with Josephine Hart’s potent introductions.

O’Casey: Beyond Dublin
Sat 17 May, 10.30am (90mins), Lyttelton, £5/£4
A chance to explore the later work of playwright Sean O’Casey with Abbey Theatre archivist Mairead Delaney, director Wayne Jordan, author James Moran, and readings by NT actors. Chaired by P J Mathews.

Sam Mendes on King Lear
Mon 19 May, 5.30pm, Olivier £4/£3
The film and stage director talks about his acclaimed production.

Michael Palin
Mon 2 June, Olivier BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Michael Palin tells the story of how the famous shows and films were conceived, argued about, and brought to hilarious life in his new book, Monty Python at Work.

Rebecca Front and Michael Simkins
Fri 13 June BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Two actors share their comedy experiences in their new books, Curious and The Rules of Acting.

Family Values – A Small Family Business: Jack and Poppy
Thu 26 June, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Olivier
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Nigel Lindsay and Debra Gillett.

Family Values – The Silver Tassie: Sylvester and Harry
Thu 3 July, 3pm (1hr) £5/£4 Lyttelton
A series of interviews with members of the acting company, discussing the plays and what they’ve discovered about the relationships at the heart of them with Aidan McArdle and Ronan Raftery.

Connections Writers
Mon 7 July, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The writers of this year’s Connections plays discuss their experience of the festival.

Kate Adie
Thu 31 July, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
In Fighting on the Home Front, the distinguished journalist explores the momentous legacy of women in WWI.

Neil Bartlett
Fri 1 Aug BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director and writer talks about his novel, The Disappearance Boy, set in the tarnished world of 1950s variety theatres.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Carrie Cracknell and Ben Power
Tue 12 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The director and playwright talk about their new version of Euripides’ tragedy.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Acts of Madness
Tue 19 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Classicist Edith Hall and psychiatrist Femi Oyebode take a contemporary view of whether Medea’s behaviour is determined by ‘madness’.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Motives and Murder
Thu 21 Aug, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Forensic psychiatrist Christopher Cordess and academic Julia Stroud look at the result of social environments on revenge killings and their psychological impact.

Medea: Ancient and Modern – Women in Ancient Greece
Mon 1 Sep, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
Historian Bettany Hughes and theatre scholar Oliver Taplin discuss the place of women in religion and their depiction as dangerous and tragic figures.

Enda Walsh on Ballyturk
Fri 19 Sep, Lyttelton, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The writer and director discusses his new play.

John Lahr
Mon 22 Sep, Lyttelton BS, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
As his definitive biography of Tennessee Williams is published, John Lahr talks to Nicholas Hytner.

Rona Munro and Laurie Sansom on The James Plays
Fri 26 Sep, Olivier, 6pm (45 mins), £4/£3
The playwright and director discuss this trilogy of plays about the kings of Scotland.


National Theatre website

National Theatre on WestEndTheatre.com

Photos First Look: Cabaret on Broadway

April 3, 2014 

Production images released for Sam Mendes’ new production of Cabaret on Broadway.

Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Photo: Joan Marcus

Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Photo: Joan Marcus

Sam Mendes has revived his acclaimed production of Cabaret at Studio 54 theatre in New York.

Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) reprises his Tony-winning performance as the Emcee with Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) as Sally Bowles.

With choreography by Rob Marshall (Chicago the movie), the show is proving to be a massive hit on Broadway.

Photos by Joan Marcus.


Book tickets to Cabaret on Broadway at Studio 54

News: Photo mash-up of Cabaret – Behind-the-scenes


Cabaret at Studio 54 | Broadway Tickets

March 20, 2014 

Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams star in Sam Mendes’ revival of Kander & Ebb’s classic musical Cabaret.

Kander & Ebb’s classic musical, immortalised on film by Liza Minelli, returns to Broadway in this major new revival by the award-winning Roundabout Theatre Company and directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

Transforming New York’s iconic Studio 54 into a cabaret space, the audience will be immersed in the action and part of the nightly goings-on in Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub.

Cabaret stars Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), who recreates his Tony Award winning performance as the Emcee, alongside Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, My Week with Marilyn), who makes her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles. The show also stars Tony nominees Danny Burstein (Follies) and Linda Emond (Death of a Salesman).

Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall recreate their critically-acclaimed staging of a show that features a much-loved score that includes hits such as “Maybe This Time,” and “Cabaret”.


Aspiring American writer Cliff Bradshaw meets and falls in love with the glamorous but impulsive headliner Sally Bowles. Meanwhile, Cliff’s landlady Fraulein Schneider enjoys a late-in-life romance with Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. But his background spells trouble as the Nazi movement gains power and the decadent nightlife world becomes a dangerous place.

Photos: Cabaret on Broadway starring Michelle Williams and Alan Cumming

March 20, 2014 

Sam Mendes’ revival of CABARET for the Roundabout Theatre Company has kicked off at Studio 54 in New York starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams.

Here’s a photo mash-up of the opening and rehearsals for the much-anticipated (UNDERSTATEMENT!) show.


Book tickets to Cabaret on Broadway at Studio 54



March 10, 2014 

The new cast has been announced for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Joining the already announced Alex Jennings, who will replace Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka, the cast will include Barry James as Grandpa Joe, Josefina Gabrielle as  Mrs Teavee, and Richard Dempsey and Kirsty Malpass as Charlie’s parents Mr and Mrs Bucket.

The new cast make their first appearance on 19 May 2014.

Clive Carter (Mr Salt), Jasna Ivir (Mrs Gloop), Paul J Medford (Mr Beauregarde), Billy Boyle (Grandpa George), Roni Page (Grandma Josephine) and Myra Sands (Grandma Georgina) will all continue in the cast, and new ensemble members include Dan Cooke, Divine Cresswell, Connor Dowling, Gemma Fuller, Robert Jones, Matthew Rowland, Rebecca Seale, Gregory Sims, Paulo Teixeira and Laura Tyrer.

Earlier today Sam Mendes’ production of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scooped seven Olivier Award nominations including Best New Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Douglas Hodge.


Book tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


Barry James: Barry’s theatre credits include the role of Seymour in the West End premiere of The Little Shop of Horrors, and Thenardier on the 1988 Grammy Award-winning symphonic cast recording of Les Misérables. Other theatre credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Oliver!, She Loves Me (Olivier-nominated), Grand Hotel (all West End), Sweeney Todd (Olivier-nominated), The Merchant of Venice, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (all NT) and the 25th Anniversary Celebrations of The Phantom of the Opera at The Royal Albert Hall.

Josefina Gabrielle: She began her career as a soloist with the National Ballet of Portugal. Her theatre credits include: Two Into One (Menier Chocolate Factory); Puss In Boots (Hackney Empire); Merrily We Roll Along (Olivier award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Menier Chocolate Factory, Harold Pinter Theatre and Digital Theatre); The King and I (UK tour; MTA nomination for best actress in a visiting company); Me And My Girl (Sheffield Crucible); Sweet Charity (Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre Royal Haymarket – Clarence Derwent Award winner and Olivier award nomination for Best Supporting Actress); Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The 39 Steps (Criterion); The Witches of Eastwick (Prince of Wales); Chicago (Adelphi and Cambridge Theatres); Oklahoma! (National and Lyceum theatres, London, and Gershwin Theatre, New York; nominated for Olivier Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical and Astaire Award for Outstanding Dance); Fame (Cambridge Theatre) and Carousel (National and Shaftesbury Theatres). Her screen credits include Miranda, Doctors, Ronnie Ancona & Co, Heartbeat, Totally Frank, Born and Bred, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Sunburn and Oklahoma!

Richard Dempsey: His theatre credits include the world tour of Propeller’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice and Neil Kellerman in the UK Premiere of Dirty Dancing. Other theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Noel Coward Theatre), Victor/Victoria (Southwark Playhouse), Alice in Wonderland Me (Bristol Old Vic), Citizenship/Burn, Honk! (both National Theatre).

Kirsty Malpass: She has recently finished working opposite Tim Pigott-Smith at the Park Theatre. She made her West End debut in the award winning Jerry Springer the Opera and has worked extensively throughout the West End, regional theatre and in national tours, with directors such as Edward Hall, Matthew Warchus and Jeremy Sams, for whom she made her most recent musical theatre appearance playing Maria in The Sound of Music. She last performed at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in The Lord of the Rings.


Photos: King Lear starring Simon Russell-Beale at the National Theatre

January 22, 2014 

Production photos of King Lear starring Simon Russell-Beale at the National Theatre.

Simon Russell-Beale and Adrian Scarborough in King Lear at the National Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet.

Simon Russell-Beale and Adrian Scarborough in King Lear at the National Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet.

Opening tomorrow night (23 January 2014) at the Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre is King Lear (until 25 March 2014).

Sam Mendes follows Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on stage and Skyfall on film by directing this new production of Shakespeare’s classic, featuring Simon Russell Beale in the title role.

He is joined by Stephen Boxer as Gloucester, Tom Brooke as Edgar, Kate Fleetwood as Goneril, Anna Maxwell Martin as Regan, Adrian Scarborough as Fool, Stanley Townsend as Kent, Sam Troughton as Edmund and Olivia Vinall as Cordelia.

Other cast include Cassie Bradley, Richard Clothier, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Simon Manyonda,  Daniel Millar, Michael Nardone, Gary Powell, Hannah Stokely and Ross Waiton.

The production will be designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Paul Pyant, video design by Jon Driscoll, fight direction by Terry King and sound design by Paul Arditti.

Photos by Mark Douet.


National Theatre

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