News for March 2012

News

The long anticipated stage version of the hit Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner 1992 movie THE BODYGUARD has finally been confirmed as opening at the Adelphi Theatre this autumn.

Crowdpleaser Billy Elliot The Musical joins Les Miserables, Wicked and Jersey Boys as a nominee for this year's BBC Radio 2 Audience Award at the Oliviers.   The only award that can be voted for by the public, the winner will be announced at the lavish ceremony at the Royal Opera House on April 15th.

On first finding out that I would be going to see Rock of Ages , my first instinct was that of uncertainty.  Having a long history with musical theatre, the idea of a rock musical was not something I would normally sign up for.  In fact the concept of a jukebox musical has never really sat easily with me, and therefore I arrived expecting something similar to We Will Rock You, but thankfully I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Nominated for 10 Olivier Awards including Best Actor in a Musical for Bertie Carvel, the producers have announced some cast changes for Matilda The Musical staged at the Cambridge Theatre including the departure of Carvel as Miss Trunchbull. 

As Ghost The Musical enters its second year, over 250,000 new tickets go on sale today (28 March 2012) taking bookings at the Piccadilly Theatre to 20 April 2013.   

The musical based upon the intriguing Britain's Got Talent runner-up opened in Newcastle last night to an ecstatic audience and contented critics.  I Dreamed A Dream, named after the song that shot the shy and retiring spinster to global fame in 2009, will tour 11 cities in the UK and Ireland before a possible West End transfer. 

To celebrate making the final four shortlist for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for best long-running show at this year's Olivier Awards, the current West End cast of Les Miserables staged at the Queens Theatre have set about drumming up votes.

Jeremy Herrin will direct the World Premiere of Matthew Dunster’s Children’s Children running at the Almeida from 17 May – 30 June 2012, with press night on 24 May.  Designs are by Robert Innes Hopkins with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Ian Dickinson.  

Today, 23 March 2012, the National Theatre’s internationally award-winning production of War Horse releases over 250,000 new tickets for sale, taking bookings at the New London Theatre to 26 October 2013.

On my third trip to Legally Blonde I was amazed to see that it had improved from my previous visit. This show has unfortunately got its closing notice and at first I wasn’t surprised because of the slipping standard, but this time it was a much stronger and greatly improved performance.

You have friends visiting from abroad, and of course you have to show them around. After all, you live in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The sightseeing places in London can be visited as and when, but you need to book tickets for some of the famous landmarks, attractions and shows in advance.

Australian funnyman Barry Humphries is due to take the ultimate Drag Diva on her swansong tour in Australia this spring.  His gladiola-wielding alter-ego Dame Edna Everage transcended her way from a cult classic to a global institution in the 1980s and has enjoyed many successful shows both on stage and on television.   

The main dichotomy at play in Sondheim's musical thriller Sweeney Todd is horror versus humour.  On the one hand, Sondheim was influenced by cinema and intended Sweeney to be almost a staged horror film.  The mere proposition of a serial killer whose victims end up in meat pies is terrifying enough.  On the other hand, the book is filled with black comedy and a lighthearted view of murder, making the intensely dramatic moments all the more poignant.  Any production of Sweeney must balance these juxtaposed elements, luring the audience in with macabre humour before scaring the hell out of us.

This juke box musical sees popular, loved classic 80’s songs come to life in the incredible atmosphere of the theatre but does the mash up lack a quality storyline? Definitely not!

The West End in London is home to the best theaters in the world, where millions of theatergoers enjoy spectacular performances of plays, musicals and shows each year.

Brit-done-good Kate Winslet is gearing up to finally make her stage debut according to the Daily Mail.  Surprisingly the Hollywood actress has never played in the West End or on Broadway but her love of 1996 Tony Award-nominated play Skylight may just be the play to lure her away from the big screen.

Dancers Inc. presents REVOLUTION is an exciting multi-media dance spectacular launching in London’s West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on May 6th 2012.

After opening to huge critical acclaim Absent Friends , Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy of manners and social embarrassment, will complete its highly successful run at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 14 April 2012, as previously announced. 

Joining Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths as the ageing vaudevillian team Willie Clark and Al Lewis in Neil Simon’s award-winning comedy The Sunshine Boys at The Savoy Theatre are Rebecca Blackstone (Miss MacKintosh), Nick Blakeley (Eddie), Peter Cadden (Voice of TV Director), Johnnie Fiori (Registered Nurse), Adam Levy (Ben Silverman) and William Maxwell (Patient).

Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has been personally approached by Andrew Lloyd Webber to host his upcoming tv talent search for the lead in a touring version of Jesus Christ Superstar, according to the Daily Mirror.  

From the heights of the first film to its sequels and spin-offs, each consecutive Shrek film has gone downhill.   Shrek The Musical is just a watered down version of the original and continues the sequels' descent. Don't be fooled by the giant 'S' outside the theatre or the silly ears - this is not the Shrek you know and love.

 Exclusive ticket offer on Hay Fever at the Noel Coward Theatre. Book now!

Anyone who thinks that   Matilda the Musical is just for kids is in for a big surprise. What Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin have successfully accomplished through clever scripting and playful tunes is a performance both adults and children will relate to, and feel has been written specifically for them.

Already a critically acclaimed hit at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford, David Edgar's passionate epic is about the writing of the English language-defining King James Bible. Gregory Doran directs Written on The Heart from 19 April to 21 July at the Duchess Theatre .

Visit the Bliss family and their guests for the house party of the season at the Noel Coward Theatre!  The critics love Hay Fever on until 2nd June.

Like many people, I grew up with the MGM film, Singin’ in the Rain , with my VHS copy almost unwatchable by the end of its life. Thank goodness for DVD, and thank goodness for its return to the West End. With the movie firmly in my mind, for me the characters don’t go by their names of Don or Cosmo, it’s Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, so any recreation of these parts would seem be near impossible. I said near.  With the talented trio of Adam Cooper, Scarlett Strallen and Daniel Crossley leading the way, this production certainly measures up, get ready for Singin’ In The Rain - 2012 edit.

The phenomenal success of new musical Matilda based on the classic Roald Dahl book continues as it swept the board when the Olivier Awards nominations were announced earlier this week.  It leads the pack with ten nominations - the maximum possible for a musical this year.  This year's awards will be presented at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 11th April and will be hosted by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, the leads in new Adelphi show Sweeney Todd.

Tim McInnerny, Samantha Bond and Georgia Moffett will be joining Omid Djalili in Joe Orton’s great British comedy What The Butler Saw, which will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on Wednesday 16 May, following previews from Friday 4 May, for a strictly limited season, ending on Saturday 25 August.   

In 2011, Sadler's Wells announced it's highest ever attendance with over 700,000 going to see a production at it's theatres proving that it's mix of classical and innovative dance productions whether it be ballet, hip hop, Latin American or even tribal makes it one of the most exciting venues in London.

Shrek The Musical - join the adventure - exclusive ticket offer now on!

The star studded Olivier Awards will this year take place at the stunning Royal Opera House on 15th April.  Theatre fans can watch via their red button on tv, listen on BBC Radio 2, or really get involved in an exclusive live setting at the Covent Garden Piazza from 4pm.

After selling out at the Royal Court, Posh by Laura Wade was one of their highest-grossing productions ever and Jumpy by April De Angelis starring Tamsin Greig sold out within a record breaking four days.  Now the two hits transfer to the West End at the Duke of Yorks Theatre .  Posh will run from 11 May to 4 August and Jumpy from 16 August to 3 November.

I have been SO excited about this musical, and followed every bit of information about it (as regular visitors to this blog will no doubt know, hehe) and so seeing the show tonight was definitely one of my most anticipated visits to a theatre that I’ve ever had (and, believe me, I tend to go a lot, thanks to this blog and work!).

Hollywood actor and Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey has ranted about the rapidly rising cost to go to the West End theatres in London, warning that in the long term it will alienate the next generation of theatregoers.

STAR - the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers - was formed in 1997 and is the leading self-regulatory body for the entertainment ticketing industry across the United Kingdom, with many of the biggest names in ticketing as members.

Now at it's third theatre in London with it's second cast, One Man, Two Guvnors which transferred from the Adelphi Theatre to the Theatre Royal Haymarket , hasn't lost any of it's joyous humour with the lost of it's original cast to the Broadway production.  The new production is currently on sale until 15th September.

Beloved star of stage and screen Simon Callow reprises his critically acclaimed performance in Being Shakespeare at Trafalgar Studios.

Looking for something sequinalicious now that La Cage Aux Folles and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert have both deserted the West End?  Look no further!  For a limited August run the Drag Divas will be taking over the Arts Theatre and they mean business!

'THE KING GLIDES FROM SCREEN TO STAGE WITHOUT A STUTTER' - THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

More than 250,000 new tickets have today been released for sale for the West End hit musical Singin' In The Rain , now booking through to 23 February 2013.  Jonathan Church’s Chichester Festival Theatre production transferred to London’s Palace Theatre last month, where it has been playing to packed houses, standing ovations and huge critical acclaim.

Like Callas herself, I will wear my heart on my sleeve and put it out there straight away - Masterclass is a masterful piece of theatre.

Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen take the lead roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont in Top Hat which receives its West End stage premiere at the Aldwych Theatre previewing from 19 April, with press night on 9 May 2012.  The show is currently booking at the Aldwych Theatre until 26 January 2013.    

The current touring version of South Pacific featuring ex-Eastenders star Samantha Womack is rumoured to be heading back to the West End this autumn.  The classic musical scored stunning  reviews for its 2008 Broadway revival in leading to the 2011 production at the Barbican featuring some of the Broadway cast members including Tony-winning Paolo Szot. 

The question of whether the Olympics will be good for London theatres has been on producers minds.   Ever since it was confirmed that London would host the games for a record breaking third time, debate has been raging as to how it would affect the West End.

The ultimate love story continues in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, LOVE NEVER DIES; released in the UK on Blu-ray™ and DVD and Download.

However, by the 1940's and into the 1950's the American musicals overwhelmed the old-fashioned British Coward/Novello-style shows changing forever the history of London musicals .  One of the last big successes of which was Novello's Perchance to Dream in 1945 which ran for 1,021 performances.  They just couldn't compete with the Golden age of American musicals that saw the standards being raised with Oklahoma.

A musical is a defined as a play where songs and dances are fully integrated into a story with three main components - music, lyrics and book.  There is a long history of London musicals with the modern Western musical theatre emerging during the 19th century, culminating with the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain.

This Autumn, the Apollo theatre will be transformed into an Elizabethan playhouse, as Tim Carroll's productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III transfer from Shakespeare's Globe for a strictly limited season.

Former Spice Girl Melanie C and Neighbours star turned popstar Jason Donovan are assisting Andrew Lloyd Webber in his search for the lead in his new Jesus Christ Superstar production.  Superstar is the theatre producer's latest tv search following on from I'd Do Anything, Any Dream Will Do,  How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and Over The Rainbow.  

An Instinct For Kindness written and performed by Chris Larner and directed by Hannah Eidinow won critical acclaim and a Fringe First Award at its Edinburgh Fringe premiere in 2011.  As part of a UK tour, it will play a three week season in London's West End at the Trafalgar Studios .  

Danielle Hope will star as ‘Eponine’ and Tam Mutu will star as ‘Javert’ in the legendary musical Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre from Monday 18 June. They join the previously announced Gerónimo Rauch, who will star as ‘Jean Valjean’. Further casting to be announced.

Most people don't know much about London theatre ownership, most likely people think that each theatre is family owned and operated and has been that way since its beginning. The fact is that nearly all of the prominent theatres in London's West End are part of big chains who own several of the famous theatres in London.

Carley Stenson will replace Kimberly Walsh when she joins the new West End company of Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, with Dean Chisnall and Neil McDermott as Shrek and Lord Farquaad.  Richard Blackwood continues in his role of Donkey which he has played since the show opened on 14 June 2011.

Today's sees the last performance by Russell Grant at the London Palladium until at least 20th March if not longer as he has to step aside from his roles in the Wizard of Oz .

Everybody wants to know stage door secrets .  With all these well-known celebrities passing through the West End in the last few years there must be a sea of scandal that is out there - but how do we get to it?   The acting profession is high-octane - fragile egos can be easily bruised by a crushing review or a harsh public criticism in rehearsal by an over-zealous director.

For the first time this century, Paul Merton is returning to his stand up roots and touring with his show Paul Merton Out Of My Head .  He brings his UK tour to the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre from 1st October to 20th October.

Temporarily joining the cast of Sweeney Todd this summer at the Adelphi Theatre is Jason Manford.  He will be replacing Robert Burt from 2nd July to 27th July in the role of Pirelli, the Italian Barber.

We reveal the what really goes on at a London theatre ticket agency!

Jonathan Ansell, well known from The X Factor pop opera group G4, will play the lead role of Charles Darnay in a new musical version of A Tale of Two Cities , running at The Charing Cross Theatre from 5 April until 12 May, with press night on 17 April 2012.  The full cast will be announced shortly.

Come July this year, London is going to be overflowing with an influx of people from all around the world here in the capitol to enjoy and cheer for their country in the 30th or XXX Olympic Games.  Whether you are a local resident or a visitor from abroad, everyone will be asking the question, " what to do during the London Olympics ? "

Simon Callow returns to the Trafalgar Studios this March to reprise his role in critical hit Being Shakespeare. 

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