Month: April 2010

Mamma Mia!, Free Dinner and cast Q&A

Enjoy a fabulous meal at Planet Hollywood in London and top price tickets to see ABBA’s Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre – all for only £57.99 (ticket face value £62.50). PLUS enjoy a Q&A and meet=-the-cast session after the show, making this an unforgettable night out at the theatre.

AWARDS: Ayckbourn to receive Tony Award

Sir Alan Ayckbourn, one of the UK’s greatest living playwrights, is to be awarded a special Tony award in June to recognise his life’s work. The Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Alan Ayckbourn at the ceremony in New York on 13 June. Ayckbourn, who is 71, has written 74 full-length plays, and saw a revival of his play The Norman Conquests win a Tony Award last year. His 1975 play Bedroom Farce is currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London. He will collect his honour at a ceremony in …

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CASTING: Sister Act and Legally Blonde

It’s the great boy-band takeover of the West End as ex-Blue singer Simon Webbe and actor and pop singer Richard Fleeshman head to Theatreland. SISTER ACT Duncan James may be currently wowing them in Legally Blonde, but fellow Blue band mate Simon Webbe will be following in his footsteps later this year, by joining the cast of Sister Act at the London Palladium. Webbe, who has appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and is also a singer-songwriter, manager and recording artist, has had a few acting parts over the last few years but nothing as big …

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BEN RICHARDS in Priscilla Queen of the Desert

The Bill star Ben Richards to premiere in Priscilla Best known for his TV roles, BEN RICHARDS is to take over from Jason Donovan in June this year to play the lead role in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Richards is most famous for playing PC Nathaniel Roberts in Britain’s longest-running police drama, The Bill, as well as a long stint on racy series Footballer’s Wives. He is also an accomplished musicals actor having played numerous roles in high-profile West End shows including Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Danny Zuko in Grease, Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and …

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Jason Donovan to leave Priscilla

Jason Donovan to leave hit musical Priscilla. The Bill star Ben Richards to take over as Tick. Jason Donovan, the star of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre in London, is to leave the show this June. Donovan, who led the first UK cast of the show in the starring role of Tick, has appeared in the musical since March 2009. The role of Tick will be taken over by Ben Richards, best known for playing hunky PC Nathaniel Roberts in ITV drama The Bill. Britain’s longest-running police drama, The Bill was recently axed by ITV in …

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CASTING: Billy, Mamma and Chicago

Three big West End shows have announced new cast members, including EastEnder’s Emma Barton joining the cast of Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre. BILLY ELLIOT From 31 May Genevieve Lemon will join the cast of Billy Elliot in London at the Victoria Palace Theatre. She will play Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, played in the movie by Julie Walters. Australian actress Lemon has appeared in numerous musicals and plays including Billy Elliot in Sydney. Also 12 year old Aaron Watson from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, will join the cast to become the 23 young boy to play the title role of …

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BROADWAY: Douglas Hodge wows critics

The producers of the Menier Chocolate Factory production of  La Cage Aux Folles were celebrating last night as the show opened at the Longacre Theatre in New York to rave reviews. Ben Brantley of the New York Times, who  recently ripped apart Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new show Love Never Dies, said that Terry Johnson’s production was an “inspired revival” and “greatly affecting entertainment”. Douglas Hodge, who plays the central role of Albin in the show, enjoyed special praise from the critic, particularly in his rendition of the show’s famous song “I Am What I Am”: “Mr. Hodge breathes fire here, …

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Deathtrap to return to West End

Simon Russell Beale and Glee hunk Jonathan Groff to star in London revival of Deathtrap David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, producers of Brief Encounter, Equus and recent success Calendar Girls, have achieved another theatrical coup. Their planned revival of long-running Broadway and London play Deathtrap is set to be a huge hit all over again after attracting a heavy-hitting production team and cast for the project. Deathtrap, the 1978 thriller which was made into a film starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve, is making a West End reappearance at the Noel Coward Theatre this summer, from 21 August. Acclaimed actor …

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KERRY ELLIS in Oliver!

West End star moves from Wicked to Oliver! Broadway and West End fast-rising star Kerry Ellis has recently joined the cast of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, taking over from “I’d Do Anything” winner Jodie Prenger in the role of Nancy. Kerry Ellis has recently completed two years in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre playing Elphaba, having previously played the role for six months at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. Before Wicked took her career to new heights she has appeared in numerous stage roles including the original London cast of the Queen and Ben Elton musical …

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DAVID ESSEX in All The Fun Of The Fair

70s and 80s pop supremo returns to the West End with new show He may be best known as a recording artist who sold millions of albums, but David Essex is also a theatre pro. He first came to prominence in musical theatre, starring as Jesus in the original West End production of Godspell in 1972 and Che in Evita in 1978. He also appeared in Sir Peter Hall’s She Stoops To Conquer at the Queen’s Theatre, Footloose The Musical at the Novello Theatre and most recently a national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love. He has also …

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Fantastic Fridays Hotel & Theatre Breaks

Westendtheatre.com presents a brand new promotion offering special deals on West End hotels and theatres when staying on a Friday evening in London. Our “Fantastic Fridays” promotion runs until the end of October 2010 and offers a Top Price Seat to a hit show and a Friday night stay in a central London 4 Star hotel for only £79* per person. Shows included in the special theatre and hotel package range from smash-hit musicals such as Wicked, Chicago, Grease, Blood Brothers, Dreamboats and Petticoats and Stomp, to hilarious comedy The 39 Steps and thriller The Woman in Black. More information …

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OPENING: What’s new this month

April is usually a bouyant month for the West End. Here’s a round-up of what’s opening in London theatre-land (dates are for opening First Nights). 6 April: POLAR BEARS at the Donmar Warehouse. Mark Haddon’s new play starring Jodhi May. 7 April: WET WEATHER COVER at the Arts Theatre, starring Michael Brandon and Steve Furst. 7 April: JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN at the Trafalgar Studios. Stephen Adly Guirgis’s high octane prison drama. 8 April: EDUCATING RITA at the Menier Theatre starring Laura Dos Santos and Larry Lamb, directed by Jeremy Sams. 8 April: SHIRLEY VALENTINE at the Menier Theatre. …

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Lloyd-Webber stalls Broadway LND

The Broadway opening of Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel, has been officially postponed. In a statement, the producers of the Broadway show said that the premiere will be delayed for several months, until around Spring 2011, whilst Lord Webber deals with “post-operative problems” from his treatment for prostate cancer. He is currently starring in BBC One talent show Over The Rainbow to find a new Dorothy to star in a multi-million pound West End production of The Wizard of Oz. Love Never Dies, which continues to do well at the box-office at the Adelphi Theatre in London, …

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Sondheim 80th Birthday Concert – Review

This weekend at the Cadogan Hall in London and the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, two performances of a special concert were held to celebrate the 80th birthday of musicals composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

All the Fun of the Fair – Save £22.50

Save £22.50 on tickets to see All The Fun of the Fair at the Garrick Theatre in London Valid Tuesday to Sunday performances until the 9th May David Essex and Boogie Nights creator Jon Conway invite you to a roller coaster ride of a musical, underscored by a helter- skelter of David Essex hit songs. Inspired by David’s debut album ‘All The Fun Of The Fair’, David plays fun fair owner Levi Lee, recently widowed and father of a rebellious teenage son. Danger and mysticism lurk in the future, as predicted by the gypsy fortune teller who is in love …

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Hair starts London previews

Hair, the acclaimed Broadway musical revival, starts previews tonight at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Cameron Mackintosh has brought over the entire New York cast of James Rado and Gerome Ragni’s 1967 tribal rock musical, starring the sexy and charismatic Gavin Creel as Claude. The show, set  against the backdrop of the Vietnam war draft during the 1960s, centres on a group of hippies who champion peace, love and freedom and features a famous score including songs Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine, Let The Sunshine In and, of course, Hair. The current Broadway production by the Public Theater, which won a …

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CASTING: Open Air’s Into The Woods

West End star Hannah Waddingham, who enjoyed success in Trevor Nunn’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, will return to Sondheim this summer in Into The Woods. Part of this year’s Open Air Theatre season in Regent’s Park, the show helps celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 80th year which also sees a revival of Passion at the Donmar Warehouse starring Elena Roger and a special South Bank Show Revisited on ITV1 in April. Directed by Timothy Sheader, Hannah Waddingham plays the central role of the Witch, alongside Olivier award winner Jenna Russell (Sunday in the Park with George) as the …

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