Katie Brayben Impresses In Beautiful, Jonathan Slinger Cast As Willy Wonka + More #WestEndUpdate
| By Andrew Tomlins
Following its triumphant opening earlier this week, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre has become the hottest musical theatre ticket in town. Due to public demand, the musical has already extended its booking period at the Aldwych Theatre to 13th February 2016; over 350,000 new tickets have been released for sale!
Katie Brayben’s performance as Carole King is nothing short of stunning. Her vocals are refreshingly raw, whilst she acts the part beautifully. The highlights of the show include Brayben’s masterful renditions of the title number and '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman'. The entire cast are sensational!
It has been revealed that Jonathan Slinger is set to star as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The actor, who recently starred in Urinetown (St James/Apollo), will play his first performance on 4th May, taking over from Alex Jennings.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has broken multiple records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where it has been seen by over 1.25 million people since opening in June 2013. Directed by Sam Mendes, the show is currently booking to 4th June 2016.
Writer, comedian and actor Stephen Merchant is making his West End debut in a new production of Richard Bean’s comic two hander The Mentalists. Steffan Rhodri will also star in the production which is directed by Abbey Wright.
The show begins performances at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 3rd July 2015 for a limited season until 26th September 2015. Merchant has won four BAFTA awards, four British Comedy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his television work. Bean’s most recent West End hits include One Man, Two Guvnors and Great Britain.
As if the English National Opera’s production of Sweeney Todd couldn’t be any more exciting, even more of theatre’s biggest stars have joined the stellar cast. Joining Bryn Terfel, Emma Thompson, John Owen-Jones, Philip Quast and Alex Gaumond are Matthew Seadon-Young (Urinetown) as Anthony Hope, Katie Hall (The Phantom of the Opera) as Johanna Barker, Jack North (Barnum) as Tobias Ragg and Rosalie Craig (The Light Princess) as Beggar Woman.
This production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s musical thriller marks the first production in a major new long term partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company. Lonny Price's production runs for just 13 performances between 30th March and 12th April.
Ahead of its thirteenth birthday, celebrations have begun early for the West End production of Stomp. The show enjoyed two record-breaking performances at the Ambassadors Theatre on Saturday 14th February. The evening show was the highest grossing performance of any production in the 102-year history of the theatre. It was also the highest grossing Saturday matinee in the theatre's history.
Sadly Di And Viv And Rose is cutting its West End run short at the Vaudeville Theatre. The production will now close on 14th March 2015. Amelia Bullmore’s comedy stars Tamzin Outhwaite, Samantha Spiro and Jenna Russell. It transferred to the West End following two runs at the Hampstead Theatre in 2011 and 2013.
In other news, The Nether at the Duke of York’s Theatre has opened to strong reviews, Let It Be returns to the West End at the Garrick Theatre this weekend and Bad Jews is transferring to the Arts Theatre in March. Finally, Gary Barlow has revealed that he wants his new Broadway musical Finding Neverland to transfer to the West End next year! Stay tuned for updates.