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Blood Brothers to close after 24 years in the West End

August 7, 2012 

Tell Me It’s Not True! After 24 years of emotional finales Willy Russell’s modern classic Blood Brothers is to bow out of the West End this year.

The long-running show will have notched up over 10,000 performances in London by its close on 27 October 2012, making it the third longest-running musical in town after Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.

Melanie C in Blood Brothers

Melanie C in Blood Brothers

The show started life at the  Liverpool Playhouse in 1983 before opening at the Lyric Theatre in London for a criminally short run. Bill Kenwright then stepped in and revived the show at the Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on 27 August 1988. It transferred to its current home at the Phoenix Theatre in 1991.

Blood Brothers has subsequently travelled the world and recently undertook a major tour of the UK. The show is set to continue to tour after its London run finishes this October.

Willy Russell’s musical is set in Liverpool and tells the tale of two twins who are separated at birth and later reunited by a twist of fate.

The current London cast includes Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs Johnstone, Philip Stewart as Narrator, Mark Rice Oxley as Mickey, Paul Christopher as Eddie, Abigail Jaye as Mrs Lyons and Louise Clayton as Linda.

The starring role of the mother, Mrs Johnstone, has been played by countless actresses over the last 24 years in the West End, including Barbara Dickson, Stephanie Lawrence, Clodagh Rodgers, Kiki Dee, Lyn Paul, Siobhan McCarthy, Katie Scott, four of the Nolan sisters (Linda, Bernie, Denise and Maureen), Spice Girl Melanie C and Niki Evans.

Blood Brothers has won many awards including an Olivier Award for Best Musical and a Best Actress in a Musical gong for the show’s star Barbara Dickson. Also Con O’Neill won Best Actor in a Musical in 1988 and Mel C was nominated this year for Best Actress in a Musical.

Blood Brothers joins a wave of West End shows exiting this Autumn including long-runner Chicago on 1 September, and big musicals The Wizard of Oz (2 September) and Ghost The Musical (6 October).

SPECIAL TICKET OFFER

Book tickets to Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre and save up to £33.50 on tickets

Matilda The Musical scoops 7 Olivier Awards

April 15, 2012 

Matilda The Musical dominated the 2012 Olivier Awards this evening at the Royal Opera House, winning seven awards.

The 2012 Olivier Awards were presented at the Royal Opera House today in a star-studded ceremony organised by The Society of London Theatre.

Matilda creators Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin

Matilda creators Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin

The awards were dominated by the RSC’s production of Matilda The Musical which scooped seven awards including Best New Musical, Best Director for Matthew Warchus, Best Actress in a Musical for the four young Matilda leads, Sophia Kiely, Kerry Ingram, Cleo Demetriou and Eleanor Worthington Cox, and Best Actor in a Musical for Bertie Carvel. The show also won Best Sound Design for Simon Baker, Best Theatre Choreography for Peter Darling and Best Set Design for Rob Howell. Based on Roald Dahl’s best-selling children’s book and written by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by comedian Tim Minchin, the show continues to play to packed audiences at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

Other big winners tonight included the Donmar’s production of Anna Christie which scooped Best Revival for Rob Ashford’s production and Best Actress for Ruth Wilson.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller were jointly awarded the prize for Best Actor for their alternating roles in Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein at the National theatre, plus Bruno Poet won Best Lighting Design for the show. The National Theatre also took home Best New Play for Collaborators by John Hodge, although missed out on any awards for its blockbuster comedy One Man, Two Guvnors now playing on Broadway and at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

The Open Air Theatre’s production of Crazy For You won both Best Musical Revival and Best Costume Design for Peter McKintosh. Other musical nods included the Radio Two Audience Award which went to Les Miserables and Nigel Harman winning Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Sheridan Smith, who won Best Actress in a Musical last year for her role in Legally Blonde, kept the momentum by taking home a Best Performance in a Supporting Role award for her role in Trevor Nunn’s Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre went to the Theatre Royal Stratford East in association with the Barbican and Traverse Theatre for Roadkill.

Tim Rice was honoured with a Special Award

Tim Rice was honoured with a Special Award

In dance, the Outstanding Achievement in Dance went to Edward Watson for his acclaimed performance in The Metamorphosis at the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Opera House’s Dame Monica Mason was presented with a Special Award by Zoe Wanamaker for her extraordinary contribution to British dance. The Best New Dance Production went to DESH by Akram Khan Company at Sadler’s Wells.

In the Opera categories, English National Opera triumphed by winning both awards: Best New Opera Production for Castor And Pollux and the Outstanding Achievement in Opera award for the breadth and diversity of its artistic programme.

Best Entertainment and Family show was won by Derren Brown for Svengali, taking home his second Entertainment Olivier Award.

The evening ended with a Special Award tribute to lyricist Sir Tim Rice, with Siobhan McCarthy and Maria Friedman singing I know Him So Well from Chess, Elaine Paige performing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita and the cast of The Lion Ling.

Hosted for a second year by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, who are currently starring in Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre, the awards celebrate the best of London’s West End Theatre.

LINKS

See the full list of Olivier Awards 2012 winners here

Olivier Awards microsite

WATCH the Olivier Awards on BBC iPlayer

 

Blood Brothers celebrates 22nd Birthday

August 27, 2010 

Willy Russell’s award-winning musical Blood Brothers celebrates its 22nd birthday today at the Phoenix Theatre in London.

Niki Evans in Blood Brothers

Niki Evans in Blood Brothers

The powerful show, about twins separated at birth, opened at the Albery Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre) on 27 August 1988. It transferred from the Albery to its current home at the Phoenix Theatre in 1991.

The starring role of the mother, Mrs. Johnstone, has been played by countless actresses over the last 22 years in the West End, including Barbara Dickson, Stephanie Lawrence, Clodagh Rodgers, Kiki Dee, Lyn Paul, Siobhan McCarthy, Katie Scott, four of the Nolan sisters (Linda, Bernie, Denise and Maureen), Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm and current star Niki Evans.

Blood Brothers originally ran at the Lyric Theatre in 1983 before its  revival in 1988, and won the Olivier Award for Best Musical and a Best Actress in a Musical gong for the show’s star Barbara Dickson. Also Con O’Neill won Best Actor in a Musical in 1988 and Mel C was nominated this year for Best Actress in a Musical.

The show currently features Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone, Philip Stewart as the Narrator, Stephen Palfreman as Mickey, Simon Willmont as Eddie and Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs Lyons.

Liverpudlian playwright Willy Russell is currently enjoying a revival, with two of his plays, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, running at the Trafalgar Studios in London.

SPECIAL OFFER: Save £31.50 on tickets to see Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre in London

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