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Miss Saigon Picks Up Awards, Kimberley Walsh & Ben Forster Cast In Elf + More #WestEndUpdate

By Andrew Tomlins

Last Sunday (15th February), Mel Giedroyc and Steve Furst hosted the 2015 WhatsOnStage Awards at the Prince of Wales Theatre.  The evening’s biggest winner was Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre) which won an almighty 9 awards from its 12 nominations.

Miss Saigon Picks Up Awards, Kimberley Walsh & Ben Forster Cast In Elf + More #WestEndUpdate

Eva Noblezada was voted Best Actress in a Musical whilst Jon Jon Briones won Best Actor. Miss Saigon also triumphed in other categories including: Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Rachelle Ann Go), Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Kwang-Ho Hong), Best Direction (Laurence Connor), Best Choreography (Bob Avian & Geoffrey Garratt), Best Set Design (Totie Driver & Matt Kinley), Best Musical Revival and Best West End Show.

Elsewhere, Shakespeare In Love was named Best New Play whilst Memphis the Musical was voted Best New Musical. Kerry Ellis, who is currently starring in Cats at the London Palladium, won Best Takeover in a Role for her performance in Wicked. Mark Henderson, Vanessa Kirby, Mark Gatiss, Billie Piper and David Tennant were amongst the evening’s other winners.

This week’s hottest casting news is that Kimberley Walsh is set to star alongside Ben Forster in the West End premiere of Elf The Musical! The production begins performances at the Dominion Theatre on 24th October 2015 for a strictly limited 10-week season.

Former Girls Aloud singer Walsh will play Jovie. She returns to the West End having played Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Forster, who won ITV’s Superstar competition, reprises his performance as Buddy from Elf’s UK premiere in Plymouth last year. He recently starred in the West End revival of Evita. Bring on October!

It seems Thriller Live is continuing to go from strength to strength! Last month the production celebrated the start of its record-breaking 7th year at the Lyric Theatre and in April the show will overtake Oliver! to become the 18th longest running musical in the history of the West End. To celebrate its ongoing success, producers have extended Thriller’s booking period to 17th April 2016.

Alex Gaumond has become the latest musical theatre star to be cast in Lonny Price's production of Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum. He will play Beadle Bamford alongside Bryn Terfel as Sweeney, Emma Thompson as Mrs Lovett, John Owen-Jones as Pirelli and Philip Quast as Judge Turpin. The show runs for just 13 performances between 30th March and 12th April so make sure you snap up tickets quickly!

In other casting news, it has been revealed that David Calder will play Winston Churchill in the upcoming West End revival of Peter Morgan’s The Audience starring Kristin Scott Thomas as The Queen. Also joining the company are: Mark Dexter as David Cameron, Michael Gould as John Major, Gordon Kennedy as Gordon Brown, Sylvestra Le Touzel as Margaret Thatcher, David Robb as Anthony Eden and Nicholas Woodeson as Harold Wilson.

The Audience first opened in the West End in February 2013 where it enjoyed a sold out run with Helen Mirren leading the cast. Mirren is currently reprising her iconic performance on Broadway. The Audience returns to London at the Apollo Theatre from 21st April 2015.

Finally, A View From The Bridge has opened to rave reviews at the Wyndham's Theatre, you have just over a week to catch Frozen Sing-Along at the Dominion Theatre and actor/comedian Sean Hughes is taking over as Mr Perks in The Railway Children at the King’s Cross Theatre next month. This weekend the West End bids farewell to The Scottsboro Boys which closes at the Garrick Theatre to make way for the return of Let It Be.


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By Andrew Tomlins

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