Broadcaster BBC in the UK has announced its Christmas 2021 schedule and it includes two major theatre treats; plus Sky is showing Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Half a Sixpence
Anything Goes, this summer’s smash-hit revival at the Barbican Theatre of Kathleen Marshall’s Broadway production, is to be shown on BBC Two on Boxing Day at 6.40pm.
Also, Sondheim’s Eightieth Birthday Celebration, will be broadcast on BBC Four this Christmas, on Monday 27 December at 7pm. The repeat showing is timed to celebrate the life of Stephen Sondheim, who died last Friday aged 91.
The production of Cole Porter’s classic musical Anything Goes stars award-winning Broadway actressSutton Foster as Reno Sweeney, with Robert Lindsay as Moonface Martin, Felicity Kendal as Evangeline Harcourt and Gary Wilmot as Elisha Whitney.
The toe-tapping show, which features hit songs including”I Get A Kick Out of You”, “You’re the Top”, “It’s De-Lovely!” and “Anything Goes”, is directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, following her hit 2011 Broadway production.
Anything Goes is returning to London next Summer from 15 July to 3 September, once again playing the Barbican Theatre. Book tickets to Anything Goes.
The Sondheim concert, which took place in 2010 at the Royal Albert Hall to honour Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday, is introduced by Katie Derham and includes excerpts from his hit shows A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods. The concert features West End talent including Bryn Terfel, Maria Friedman, Simon Russell Beale and plenty of special guests. BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by David Charles Abel plays Sondheim’s music.
Other Christmas highlights this year include the screen premiere of the recent West End production of Half of Sixpence – called Kipps for TV. Cameron Mackintosh co-produced the revival in 2016 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London following its sell-out run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, and the show was recorded for cinema and TV. The show goes out on 29 December at 6.30pm on Sky Arts (Freeview channel 11).
Kipps / Half a Sixpence stars Charlie Stemp, who is currently starring in Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre, as Arthur Kipps and Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham. The show has a revised book by Julian Fellowes with some new songs added by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The original 1967 movie of Half a Sixpence was choreographed by Gillian Lynne (The Phantom of the Opera), and had a screenplay by Maggie Smith’s husband Beverley Cross. It starred the fabulous Tommy Steele.
To get more of your West End fix from Christmas TV, tune in to ITV on 19 December at 7.20pm for this year’s 2021 Royal Variety Performance. Hosted by Alan Carr, and held in thepresence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the show features the casts of Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre, and Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre.
The show also has comedy from Bill Bailey, Judi Love and Josh Widdicombe, and music from Elvis Costello, Years & Years, Sir Rod Stewart and Ed Sheeran.
Also this Christmas on ITV, John Barrowman is back with his All Star Musicals show – this time a Christmas special called All Star Musicals at Christmas. The first of two episodes airs26 December 2021 at 8pm, with judgesElaine Paige, Samantha Barks, (Frozen The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Trevor Dion Nicholas (Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre). Read more aboutAll Star Musicals at Christmas here.
BBC Four has recently been showing a series called “Sunday Night at the Musicals”, which is now on BBC iPlayer, and includes repeat showings of Kiss Me Kate at the Royal Albert Hall, the 2017 West End production of An American in Paris; and the 2012 BBC Proms recording of John Wilson on Broadway.
Also BBC Four has recently premiered new interview series “This Cultural Life”, the first episode featuring Sir Kenneth Branagh.