Tonight is a big night over in the land of Oz as international Wicked star Jennifer DiNoia joins the West End production at the Apollo Victoria Theatre as Elphaba. Since opening in September 2006, Wicked has become the 13th longest-running musical in West End history and been seen by over 6 million people.
DiNoia stars in Wicked London until 31st January 2015. The global star first joined the cast in 2006 and has subsequently performed the role of Elphaba to huge acclaim across North America in the national tour, in both the Broadway and Chicago productions, and internationally in Seoul and Sydney. She is a Wicked legend and her performance promises to be unmissable!
Dance ‘til Dawn has begun previews at the Aldwych Theatre ahead of its official opening next Monday (3rd October 2014). Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone’s new show follows the success of their previous West End hit Midnight Tango. Best known for starring in Strictly Come Dancing (BBC), Vincent and Flavia have been dancing together for twenty years. Their new production is directed by Olivier Award winning choreographer and director Karen Bruce who also worked on Midnight Tango.
I recently spoke to Flavia and Vincent who told me Dance ‘til Dawn is totally different to anything they have done before: “It’s kind of like musical theatre meets Ballroom and Latin” Flavia explained. “We wanted it to be very different and didn’t really want it to be compared to Midnight Tango because that was so special in itself. We wanted to create something completely different and wanted to dance Ballroom and Latin as well as Argentine Tango.”
Vincent thinks it is a show for everyone. “There have been couples coming together and the guys said ‘It’s just for the ladies’ but then they enjoyed it more than the women did.” The pair also told me that they love meeting fans after the show. Vincent said, “There are women who are 90 years old who say, ‘That was the best day of my life!’ I mean after 90 years that was the best day of their life! It’s brilliant!”
Whilst on the subject of dance shows, Michael Flatley's Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games – which completed its sold out run at the London Palladium over the weekend – will return to the West End for a six month run at the Dominion Theatre next year between 9th March 2015 and 5th September 2015.
Flatley said: “It was always my dream to bring Lord Of The Dance to the West End. We have had such a wonderful reception from the audiences who have raised the roof at the Palladium every night. I am absolutely thrilled that this great cast of stars and talented dancers will make their new home at the Dominion next year."
In other news, further casting has been announced for the West End premiere of Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. Wicked star Willemijn Verkaik will play Paulina alongside the previously announced Tamsin Greig (Pepa), Haydn Gwynne (Lucia), Jerome Pradon (Ivan), and Anna Skellern (Candela).
The cast will also include: Ricardo Afonso (Taxi Driver), Sarah Moyle (Pepa’s Concierge), Haydn Oakley (Carlos) and Rebecca McKinnis (Christina). Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre opens on 12th January 2015 (previews from 20th December 2014). The 20 week limited run ends on 9th May 2015.
It has been revealed that James McAvoy will star in the first West End revival of The Ruling Class. Directed by Jamie Lloyd, the production marks the final show in the second Trafalgar Transformed season. McAvoy previously starred in Lloyd’s production of Macbeth which earned him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor.
Peter Barnes’ satirical comedy runs at Trafalgar Studios between 6th January and 11th April 2015. Lloyd – whose recent directing credits include Richard III starring Martin Freeman, Urinetown and The Commitments – is “honoured” to be directing the show whilst McAvoy “can't wait to play this challenging role in Barnes' forgotten masterpiece.”
Finally, Chichester's production of Taken At Midnight starring Penelope Wilton will transfer to the West End next year for a run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket between 15th January and 14th March. The Play That Goes Wrong has extended its run at the Duchess Theatre until September 2015 and this week marks your last chance to catch Evita at the Dominion Theatre! The West End revival ends its limited engagement at the Dominion Theatre on Saturday (1st November).