News for June 2012


Trevor Nunn is to direct a cast including Rob Brydon, Nigel Harman and Ashley Jensen in Alan Ayckbourn’s A Chorus of Disapproval opening at the Harold Pinter Theatre later this year.  Joining the trio on stage will be Teresa Banham, Daisy Beaumont, Georgia Brown, Rob Compton, Matthew Cottle and Steven Edis, who is also the show’s Musical Director. Further casting will be announced shortly.

Jennifer Saunders is one half of the comedy duo French and Saunders and an original member of The Comic Strip. She is one of the most influential women in British television comedy.

The Spice Girls (Victoria Beckham (nee Adams), Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm and Geri Halliwell) are more than just a girl group, a hugely successful business and symbols of girl power. They have influenced not only music, but fashion, charity and politics. They are iconic, the symbol of an age and what is more they continue to inspire and entertain the world today.

Melanie Brown, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham reunite for the Viva Forever! launch at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Tickets for the new musical, Viva Forever are now on sale!

The first photos from the official Viva Forever launch are coming in from the Spice Girls news conference.

Leah Mcgrath was our lucky winner for a recent #TicketTuesday competition on our Facebook and Twitter sites.  She went to see the hit show Thriller Live! which has been wowing audiences since January 2009 at the Lyric Theatre.  On the anniversary of Michel Jackson's death we remember the magic and unique talent that was the King Of Pop, with the show that celebrates his incredible legacy.   Here is Leah's exclusive review:

There is obviously something about the Prince Edward Theatre London that makes it a magnet for musicals.   Since Evita opened there in January 1978 it has enjoyed an almost unbroken spell of musicals right up to the present day.   The theatre opened in April 1930 with a performance of Mexican-set musical comedy Rio Rita, and later that same year legendary cabaret artiste Josephine Baker was shaking her hips for all she was worth made her London debut, wowing the crowds with her 'Bananas Dance'.   Perhaps as the irrepressible Baker undulated her way around the stage mesmerising her audience she cast a similar spell on the theatre that would leave it forever clamouring for the joy of music and dance.

Girl power, friendship and female identity to be themes in the new Judy Cramer produced musical, Viva Forever!

It's a fierce chart battle this week in the albums chart between pop princess Cheryl Cole and pop prince Justin Bieber.    As both are vying to claim the coveted number one position, a surprise fly in their ointment has appeared in the shape of the soundtrack to the movie version of Rock Of Ages.    Although compilation albums are excluded from the main album chart so the battle's final outcome will not be affected, the soundtrack's success will be a bit of an ego-bruiser for the poplets.

What is the enduring popularity of We Will Rock You? Celebrating it's 10th year annivesary this 14th May, the show continues to be an audience favourite.  Last year it won the Olivier Audience Award for most popular show as voted for by the audience beating off stiff competition from the likes of Les Miserables, Billy Elliot and Jersey Boys.

If you are looking for the very best theatre tickets London has to offer but don't want to pay a fortune in the process, then the easiest and most cost effective way to go about it would be to get online and start your search. Nearly all of the theatre tickets available for purchase to the public are sold through various ticket agencies. There are numerous theatre ticket agencies all with a different allocation of seats on offer, and a lot of the time all at different prices, some offering more of a discount than others.

It may or may not be a record but the Novello Theatre has had a fair few names changes.  Most of them taking place during its first few years.  When it opened in 1905 it was named the Waldorf Theatre, but just four years later in 1909 it became the Strand Theatre.  That would only last for 2 years until 1911 as it became the Whitney Theatre, but lo and behold two years later in 1913 it was back to being the Strand Theatre.  A name it would keep for the next 92 years until 2005 when it got it's current name the Novello Theatre.

Jennifer Saunders, one half of the hugely popular duo French and Saunders and writer and star of Absolutely Fabulous has revealed in an interview on Radio 4's Chain Reaction that she has dedicated the musical Viva Forever to her children.

The West End production of The 39 Steps is a show that refuses to die.   Seldomly playing to capacity audiences these days it still musters enough interest to tick over and is now well into its sixth West End year.    The stage version is adapted by Patrick Barlow and is based on the 1915 novel by John Buchan, but actually leans more towards the better known 1935 Alfred Hitchcock film version.   Taking the wry comedic undertones from the film to the next level it emerges as a twisted farce version of the Hitchcock classic.   This is heightened by the fact that only four actors appear on stage - one as the lead Richard Hannay, one as the three woman he has romantic liaisons with and another two playing between 100 and 150 other roles, from men, women and children to inanimate objects.  They change into these roles at lightning speed, oftentimes having to play multiple characters at the same time with the frenetic pacing played for laughs.

Doctor Who fans will be queuing up to see Arthur Darvill who plays Rory alongside Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC show appear in OUR BOYS at the Duchess Theatre alongside Cian Berry and Laurence Fox. 

OUR BOYS opens at the Duchess Theatre, London. The play, written by Jonathan Lewis is to be directed by David Grindley and star Laurence Fox, Arthur Darvill and Cian Barry.

Nestled between the Apollo Theatre and the Queens Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Gielgud Theatre has been housing fantastic theatre for over a century.   The four storey building towers majestically over Shaftesbury Avenue with its height all the more emphasised by the turret at its peak.   The interior sports sumptuous Baroque ornamentation and beautifully decorated columns supporting its boxes.    Restoration work on the outside of the theatre began in 2007 by the Delfont Mackintosh Group who took over ownership from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group a year earlier.    Interior work was finally completed in January 2008.   The theatre originally seated 970, although over the years the removal of some boxes and other seating have reduced this number to 889.    The recent restoration work included reinstating the boxes at the back of the Dress Circle.

The Lion King has been running at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End solidly since it opened in 1999.    Lion King tickets sales are still strong for a show that has been running over a decade and it remains the most popular cross generational show in London.    In fact the show is still so loved by young and old alike that it has recently announced a UK touring version which will begin in Bristol this August.   The show's success is due in part to a powerful emotional script, ingenious staging using puppetry and shadow work and of course people's knowledge of the 1994 animated Disney movie on which the musical version is based.    What is often overlooked is just how good the songs are that feature in the film, and subsequently the stage show.   A successful musical needs to have those instantly recognisable songs that are synonymous with the production.  

All London shows have a shelf life.    The capital's longest-running show, The Mousetrap, has recently celebrated its 60th year onstage, but that is truly one of the exceptions.   There are few heavy hitters that have managed to keep their grasp on the West End - Phantom Of The Opera is the next longest, now going into its 26th year and Blood Brothers is nearing its 24th.   The Woman In Black is the second longest play currently still in the West End now in its 23rd year with the recent film version giving sales an extra boost.   Longrunning shows are the exception rather than the rule in theatre - in the years these shows have been playing literally thousands have shows have begun and ended in their wake.

A brand new West End musical based on the classic Roald Dahl children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is set to open next year at the London Palladium.

Indhu Rubasingham launches her inaugural season at The Tricycle with the World Premiere of Red Velvet, written by Lolita Chakrabarti with Adrian Lester in the role of Ira Aldridge; followed by The Tricycle’s first festive family show, The Arabian Nights, written by Mary Zimmerman and adapted from The Book Of The Thousand Nights and One Night.  In 2013, The Tricycle present an Eclipse Theatre production of One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, by Don Evans, followed by another World Premiere: Paper Dolls, written by Philip Himberg and adapted from the award-winning documentary by Tomer Heymann, produced by Stanley Buchthal.

It's a high-profile name smorgasboard heading to the Noel Coward Theatre for a series of five plays as part of the newly formed Michael Grandage Company's inaugural season. Grandage was the Artistic Director of London's Donmar Warehouse from 2002-2012 and he has recently launched his company to produce film, television and theatre mainly in London and New York.     The company's stated aim is to bring high quality work to people at an affordable price. 

Judi Dench, Jude Law, Daniel Radcliffe, Sheridan Smith, Simon Russell Beale, David Walliams, Ben Wishaw to star in  Michael Grandage Company’s season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

As the games draw closer, so does the Olympic Torch and it has been announced that The Olympic Torch will visit every London borough as well as many of London's most recognised landmarks on day 69, the second last day of the Olympic Torch Relay.

 Jill Halfpenny has taken on the role of the infamous Beverly in Abigail's Party at the Wyndhams Theatre, and London Theatre Direct have this exclusive interview.

With excitement building for the upcoming Spice Girls musical, we take a quick look at what the girls from the iconic group have achieved since they disbanded and what they are up to at the moment.    Even though the group split in 2000, barely a day goes by without some rumour that they are reforming for a one-off gig such as the Queen's Jubilee or The Olympics.    We clearly want more Spice…and luckily with this new show we're gonna get it!

The rubber-faced star of the Mr. Bean tv and film series and cult comedy classic Blackadder will star in his first West End play for 25 years at the Wyndham's Theatre.   His most recent West End foray was as Fagin in Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver at the London Palladium in 2009. 

Director Lindsay Posner has collected a top-notch gaggle of familiar stage and screen faces who all revel in the chance to re-interpret one of Mike Leigh's all time classics.    Ex-Eastender Jill Halfpenny leads the cast but this beloved ensemble piece gives everyone their time to shine.

The cast of Jermyn Street Theatre’s eagerly awaited UK premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s St John’s Night is to be headed by Olivier Award winning actress Sara Crowe and also includes Louise Calf, Isla Carter, Roddy Maude-Roxby, David Osmond, Danny Lee Wynter, Ed Birch, Harry Napier and Luke Bateman.

Paul Chequer and Mark Quartley will share the title role in Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful which will have a strictly limited run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 18 – 29 September 2012.  Directed and adapted for the stage by Simon Reade, award-winning children’s author Michael Morpurgo’s Private Peaceful has designs by Bill Talbot and sound by Jason Barnes.

Former Busted and Son Of Dork member James Bourne's new musical Loserville is set to open at the West Yorkshire Playhouse later this month with a view to a West End transfer.    The show stars ex Pop Idol runner-up heartthrob Gareth Gates as well as Rock School star Lil' Chris and Eastenders actor Aaron Sidwell.

Ken Stott, Anna Friel and Samuel West star in a new West End production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, adapted by Christopher Hampton and directed by Lindsay Posner at the Vaudeville Theatre from 24th October 2012. The production is booking through to February 16th 2013.  

 We Will Rock You is now in its 11th year in London having celebrated its 10th anniversary performance recently. It is no surprise that WWRY continues to thrill and fill The Dominion Theatre night after night!

According to the Daily Mail, Ghost The Musical is set to close later this year to make way for the eagerly awaited Spice Girls musical Viva Forever. The musical would open at the Piccadilly Theatre in December after November previews, just catching the tail end of 2012 - a year already choc full of 'proud to be British' events.  

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