News for August 2012


Recent #TicketTuesday winner Alison Newnham went to see one of our favourites, the stage version of classic MGM movie Singin' In The Rain.  Re-interpreted for the stage it has been wowing crowds at the Palace Theatre since it transferred this February from a critically acclaimed spell at the Chichester Festival last year.  Check out Alison's exclusive review!

After a succesful run at the Royal Court, April de Angelis' Jumpy has notched up another West End transfer for the Royal Court's recent output, following on from Posh, Jerusalem and Enron.    The show sees Green Wing and Episodes star Greig portraying 50 year old Hilary whose life is slowly falling apart at the seems as she deals with worries about her age, a sagging marriage, problems at work and an increasingly surly and troublesome teenage daughter.    Also starring Smack The Pony's Doon Mackichan as her friend Frances, the comedy had its press night this Tuesday.

San Francisco Ballet are one of the oldest ballet companies in America. Nearly 80 years on from being founded in 1933, they kick off the Sadler's Wells autumn season in style with three stunning programmes featuring works by some of the world's top choreographers.

The musical lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail continues its West End run at The Playhouse Theatre following a triumphant season at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Daniel Rubio and his friends went to see the sequinalicious Drag Divas last night which is playing a limited run at the Arts Theatre every night at 10.15pm until this Saturday.   It features canny tributes to some of pop's finest - Shirley Bassey, Madonna, Lady Gaga and more.  Here are some of his thoughts on the show:

The new Beatles tribute show "Let It Be" was launched yesterday in the rooftop bar of a London hotel. Four of the 10 performers who will share the roles of the fab four were there to perform six of The Beatles greatest hits.

The new musical LOSERVILLE, written by Elliot Davis and James Bourne will open at The Garrick Theatre, London on Wednesday 17th October 2012.

Top Hat have released an exclusive stream of the new Cast Album on the official Top Hat Facebook page.

Sian Phillips, Matt Rawle and Harriet Thorpe are to join the previously announced stars Will Young and Michelle Ryan in the new production of Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre.

West End juggernaut Mamma Mia!'s ongoing success will enter a new phase in next month as it moves venue one again from the Prince Of Wales to the Novello Theatre.    The ABBA-inspired musical opened in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre in April  1999 and played there until June 2004 when it took up residence at the Prince Of Wales.   The show, which interweaves a Catherine Johnson-penned story of a daughter's quest to discover her father's identity so that he can walk her down the aisle at her wedding with a slew of ABBA hits, quickly became a surprise hit.   

Following a sold-out critically acclaimed tenure at the Chichester Festival Theatre last year, Singin' In The Rain's transfer to the Palace Theatre has been wowing audiences since February.  Taking on the roles immortalised in the 1952 film version by Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, we spoke to West End stalwarts Adam Cooper and Scarlett Strallen about this snappy re-imagining of the MGM classic.

Volcano is an intriguing long-lost play by Noel Coward, which he wrote in 1956 and then suppressed because he thought it would alienate the friends it was based upon. There are love triangles galore and a barrage of witty one-liners.

Tony and Olivier Award-winning actor Roger Rees brings his fascinating and hilarious one-man show What You Will to the West End this September.  In it he interlaces his favourite Shakespeare soliloquys with reminiscences and observations from his 22 years as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  We interviewed him about the upcoming show, an evolving labour of love that has wowed audiences across the pond.

Tuesday night’s performance of Rock of Ages featured a surprise appearance from 80’s rock-star Alice Cooper.


Our new London Theatre Direct official #TheatreReporters Sophie Skyring and Lorna Cracknell underwent their first mission last week to review hit show Rock Of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre.   The two twenty-year-olds are lifelong theatre lovers and  have stepped up to be the voice of the people, with their own unique take on what's hot and what's not in Theatreland.

Under the direction of celebrated Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet is the oldest professional ballet company in America and has a worldwide reputation for its vast and rich repertory, performed by a virtuoso company.

Smash hit musical Jersey Boys is in its fifth year at the Prince Edward Theatre and is still a huge audience and critical favourite.  It follows a group of working class boys from the wrong side of the tracks who go on to sell over 175 million records worldwide - the story of rock and pop band Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.   We spoke to Jon Boydon who currently plays Tommy DeVito in the show.

The craziness of the Olympics is now over and, although Team GB didn’t manage to overtake China or the US, we did incredibly well and surpassed all expectations. But with the world’s eyes intensely focused on Stratford and the London Olympics, what has been happening in Theatreland? Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;}

If you are looking for a different kind of gift idea to get that special person then look no further, London Theatre gift vouchers - The perfect gift!  London Theatre gift vouchers are an excellent gift idea as you are giving them more than just a material gift but an experience they will remember forever. Better yet, there are well over 60 plays and musicals currently showing in London, so there is surely something to please everyone.

Simon Callow will bring another one of his popular one-man shows, The Mystery of Charles Dickens, back to the West End next month, to run for a limited season at the Playhouse Theatre from 13 September to 3 November 2012

Peter Rose recently won our #TicketTuesday competition and headed to London's West end to see Ghost - The Musical before its close in October.  

 Major cast changes will take place in the smash hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” from Monday 3 September. Joining the company will be Marcus Lovett as ‘The Phantom’, Simon Thomas as ‘Raoul’, Lara Martins as ‘Carlotta’ and Anna O’Byrne as ‘Christine’ at certain performances at Her Majesty's Theatre.

Gerard McCarthy (Bruce) and Oliver Wilson (Christopher) join the previously announced, Robert Bathurst (Robert), to complete the cast of Blue/Orange.  The second show in Theatre Royal Brighton Productions inaugural season, directed by Christopher Luscombe, Joe Penhall’s Blue/Orange will tour nationally from 13 September 2012, before transferring to the West End.

  Charlie De’ath (James), Richard Mylan (Adam), Suzanne Shaw (Geraldine), Nicola Stapleton (Sandy) and Dan Wilder (parts as cast) are announced as the cast in the world premiere of Baggage, written by John Muirhead and Mike Charlesworth. Directed by Audrey Cooke, Baggage will run at the Arts Theatre from 6 September to 6 October, with three press performances on 10, 11 and 12 September.  Baggage set design by Adam Wiltshire and lighting by Matthew Newbury.   

Ben Freeman, Louise Plowright, Sam Lupton, Hayley Gallivan and Lucy Van Gasse will join the West End production of Wicked on 29 October 2012.   Original cast member Katie Rowley Jones will also return to play Nessarose.  

Ex-Busted star and Son Of Dork frontman James Bourne's original musical Loserville may well be heading to the West End if rumours are to be believed.  Co-created with Elliot Davis the show is based around Bourne's group Son Of Dork's 2005 album Welcome To Loserville which spawned two UK top 10 hits.  Set in 1971 it tells the tale of computer geek Michael Dork who comes up with an invention that might just save the world...if he has time to put it together at the same time as crushing on girls and dealing with a self-important bully.

Anger reported in Downing Street as rival political comedy moves into nearby theatre. Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey are back in the West End – the other coalition comedy! ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ brings politics back to Whitehall at the Trafalgar Studios theatre.

The rumours are true - one of the West End’s best loved and longest running musicals, Blood Brothers, is scheduled to end its current London run at the Phoenix theatre on Saturday 27 October 2012.     Recently rumours had been circling that the show was to move on from the Phoenix Theatre to a lower capacity West End venue, but this would now appear not to be the case.     Although a UK tour is still ongoing, this means the end for the beloved show in London for the time being.

Wicked, the smash hit West End musical, has announced that Louise Dearman, who played ‘Glinda’ to huge acclaim from March 2010 to December 2011, will return to star as ‘Elphaba’ from Monday 29 October 2012.  It is the first time that a leading lady will have starred in both roles in the nearly decade-long history of the global musical phenomenon.

Joining the previously announced Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen in the new musical The Bodyguard, to be directed by Thea Sharrock, will be Debbie Kurup, Mark Letheren, Ray Shell, Nicolas Colicos, Mark McKerracher, Sean Chapman, David Page and Oliver Le Sueur. 

How much do you know about theatre ownership in the West End?  You may not know, but most of London’s major theatres are not family run and operated.  In fact, the most prominent and famous of those in the West End are a part of one group or another.  In London, there are four big players for theatre ownership – Delfont Mackintosh Ltd, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Really Useful Group, The Ambassador Theatre Group, and finally a group co-founded by Max Weitzenhoffer and Nica Burns called Nimax Theatres – but, just who is Nica Burns?

The iconic theatre store situated on Monmouth Street in Covent Garden opened its doors in 1977 and has billed itself as 'the longest-running showbusiness and musical theatre shop in the world'.   The unique store holds a fond place in many a theatrelover's heart with its extensive range of musical soundtracks and other theatre and cabaret parapernalia such as Libretti sheet music, DVDs and official show merchandise.

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