Theatreland may have quietened down for a few weeks over Christmas, but now it’s back to business as usual with non-stop breaking news and exciting openings!
The hottest news at the moment is that it looks like Kinky Boots is set to open in the West End in August. A casting call has revealed that previews will begin in London "on or about" 21st August 2015; however, a theatre and any further information is yet to be confirmed.
Based on the 2005 film, Kinky Boots has been one of the most popular shows on Broadway since opening in 2013. I saw the musical in New York last year and loved every second, it is the best feel-good show since Legally Blonde. With six Tony Awards under its belt, Kinky Boots has a score by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein. It is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell – the genius behind Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Legally Blonde.
Whilst we await news of a stage adaptation of Disney’s Frozen, it has been announced that Sing-Along Frozen will be screened at the Dominion Theatre between 18th and 28th February 2015, making it the perfect half term treat. Frozen, which is the highest grossing animated movie of all time, will be screened in high-definition with lyrics on the screen.
The Dominion Theatre is also screening Psycho on Wednesday 4th March 2015 with a live 40-piece orchestra. Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack will be performed live by the Cinematic Sinfonia, conducted by Anthony Gabriele. Following the screenings of Sing-Along Frozen and Psycho, Michael Flatley's Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games begins previews at the Dominion from 13th March following its sold out run at the London Palladium.
Hay Fever is transferring to the West End's Duke of York's Theatre following its run at the Theatre Royal Bath. Beginning previews from 29th April 2015, the show stars Felicity Kendal who is said to give a sensational performance as Judith Bliss. Noël Coward’s comedy of bad manners first played the West End in 1925.
There is no shortage of West End transfers at the moment, as last week it was also confirmed that Lindsay Posner’s new production of Harvey by Mary Chase will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 2nd May 2015 following its short UK Tour. James Dreyfus and Maureen Lipman lead the cast as Elwood P. Dowd and Veta Louise Simmons.
Cats has extended its run at the London Palladium to 25th April 2015. As previously reported, West End and Broadway superstar Kerry Ellis will star as Grizabella from 9th February 2015, taking over from Nicole Scherzinger. There will be no performances on and between 2nd and 17th March 2015. Following Cats, Beyond Bollywood will make its UK premiere at the London Palladium on 8th May 2015 for a limited run of sixty performances.
In casting news, Ethan Le Phong has stepped into the role of Thuy in the West End revival of Miss Saigon at the Price Edward Theatre. He plays the role until 16th March 2015 in place of Kwang-Ho Hong. Le Phong, who was formerly a swing in the production, previously appeared in Miss Saigon on Broadway. His West End credits include The King and I, South Pacific and We Will Rock You.
Gillian Elisa is now starring as Grandma in Billy Elliot. She took over from Ann Emery who originated the character in 2005 and who recently retired from the role at the age of 84, having worked with all 39 London Billy Elliots. Elisa, who has been alternating the role since 2011, joins a stellar cast including Ruthie Henshall as Billy’s dance teacher Mrs Wilkinson, Deka Walmsley as Dad and Chris Grahamson as Tony.
Acclaimed stage actress Natalie Dew, former Over The Rainbow contestant Lauren Samuels and Sweeney Todd’s Jamie Campbell Bower are set to lead the West End cast of Bend It Like Beckham which begins performances at the Phoenix Theatre on 15th May 2015. Gurinder Chadha – who also directed and co-wrote the 2002 movie – will direct the musical which features original music by Howard Goodall.
Elsewhere, Taken At Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket), My Night With Reg (Apollo Theatre) and The Ruling Class (Trafalgar Studios) have all begun previews. Wicked is continuing to break records at the Apollo Theatre where it grossed £1,023,819.00 in just one week earlier this month and NT Live are teaming up with the Young Vic to broadcast A View From The Bridge to cinemas around the world in March. The production, which stars Mark Strong, begins performances at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 10th February.