The Buzz from the Bardette: Beautiful, Chichester Festival, And Awards This Week!
| By Rebecca Usher
Well what an exciting week it has been in theatre land! We’ve had new openings, exciting seasons have been released and some great casting announcements, also a special award for a theatrical Hollywood A-Lister.
Let’s start with Beautiful – The Carole King Musical that opened in the heart of the West End on Tuesday, currently a hit on Broadway, the musical has made the Aldwych Theatre its London home. It tells the story of Carole King’s rise to stardom with the sensational Katie Brayben playing King. She begins as young school girl from Brooklyn who fights her way into the industry, and was just seventeen when 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' became a hit. We see her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gary Goffin (Alan Morrissey) which breaks down and King has to make it on her own. I am already reading some fantastic reviews so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a huge hit! Watch out for the reviews from the London Theatre Direct team.
On Thursday the Chichester Festival released their 2015 season and I must say, it looks pretty exciting. Chichester seems to showcase performances before the West End, with many of the productions transferring- including the highly anticipated Gypsy that opens at the Savoy next month. There’s two musicals, Gershwin’s A Damsel in Distress and the brilliant Michael Ball is to star in Mack and Mabel. There’s also the Young Chekhov season with new versions by David Hare (Skylight and South Downs) which will feature Anna Chancellor, Samuel West and James McArdle in Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull. Lenny Henry is also set to make transition from comedian to stage actor in his Chichester debut in Educating Rita directed by Michael Buffong. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on their upcoming season, I can already see some West End gems getting ready..
Urinetown’s Jonathan Slinger is set to take over the infamous role of Willy Wonka in Drury Lane’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory this May. Sam Mendes’ family favourite show is still wow-ing audiences in the West End with infectious songs and fantasy sets that capture the imagination of both children and adults alike who visit this Roald Dahl classic. We wish Slinger all the best in this iconic role. I’m sure if his performance in Urinetown is anything to go by you’ll be transported into a world of pure imagination.
Finally a big congratulations to Old Vic Artistic Director Kevin Spacey who is set to receive a special recognition award at this year’s Olivier’s for his outstanding contribution to theatre. He is stepping down later this year after taking over the role in 2004. In his final performance Spacey will reprise his role as pioneering lawyer Clarence Darrow at the Old Vic from May. The Olivier’s will celebrate all things theatre at the Royal Opera House on 12th April.
Have a theatre filled week!