Tuesday, April 25

Kerry Ellis, Russell Watson and Hugh Maynard to star in new Heaven on Earth musical arena tour

Kerry Ellis, Russell Watson and Hugh Maynard are to star in new musical arena tour Heaven on Earth

The musical has a book, music and lyrics by Sara Jeffs, and is a classic re-telling of the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Kerry Ellis (Wicked) will play Eve, Hugh Maynard (Miss Saigon) will play Adam and Russell Watson will feature as the voice of God but will not appear on stage.

The production will be directed and choreographed by Racky Plews (American Idiot), with set design by Jacqueline Pyle (Olympic opening ceremony), and arrangements by Geoff Alexander (the Harry Potter films).

The creative team will recreate the Garden of Eden in arenas around the UK, with special effects including fire, water and animatronics.

Tickets for Heaven on Earth which will open at Birmingham iBarclaycar Arena on 4th December 2017 before embarking on a UK tour to Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Portsmouth, Newcastle, Glasgow, Exeter and Wembley.


Monday, April 24

Full cast for Annie the Musical starring Miranda Hart

Full casting has been announced for Annie the Musical which will starts rehearsals today and opens at the Piccadilly Theatre on 5th June (previews from 23rd May).

Joining the previously announced Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan will be Alex Bourne (Mamma Mia!) as Daddy Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer (Sweet Charity) as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines (Grease) as Rooster and Djalenga Scott (Grease) as Lily.

The title role will be shared by three actors, 13 year-old Madeleine Haynes, and 12 year-old Lola Moxom and Ruby Stokes.

Annie's dog Sandy will be played by a 4 year-old Labradoodle called Amber.

They will be joined by  ensemble members  Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Bobby Delaney, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold, George Ioannides, Megan Louch, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How, Katie Warsop and Russell Wilcox.

Friday, April 21

Latest News on Sondheim's Company starring Rosalie Craig

Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's  musical Company is part of the opening  season being assembled by director Marianne Elliott and producer Chris Harper for their new company, Elliott Harper Productions. The season starts in October with Simon Stephens’s play Heisenberg, directed by Elliott. Oedipus To Antigone, directed by Yael Farber, will follow in January; while Company, directed by Elliott with musical staging by Drew McOnie, is set to run in April for 12 weeks with negotiations currently under way for Elliott Harper to open all three productions at the Gielgud Theatre.

The production Company has already announced  a gender change, with award-winning Rosalie Craig playing the central role of Bobby as a woman. Top choreographer Drew McOnie who is currently directing and choreographing On The Town for the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park has now joined the creative team.

Company is about a group of couples who want to marry off their single friend, Bobby, Sondheim has enthusiastically agreed to re-work part of  it  with  Elliott.

Main casting news when Elliott has completed her work on the two-part drama Angels In America, which is currently previewing at the National.

Thursday, April 20

Casting news for Dick Whittington at the Palladium this Christmas

Initial casting news has just been released for the pantomime Dick Whittington which will run at the Palladium this Christmas.

Julian Clary will return to the Palladium after last year's production of Cinderella, playing Spirit of the Bells alongside Paul Zerdin as Idle Jack and Nigel Havers as Captain Nigel. Ventriloquist Zerdin appeared as Buttons in Cinderella, and Havers played Lord Chamberlain

Sunday, April 16

Jessica Martin to star in Ballroom Musical at Waterloo East

The European Premiere of the Broadway musical Ballroom will run  at Waterloo East Theatre from 12th May to 4th June 2017 (press night 15 May). The show has not been produced since it closed on Broadway in March 1979 where its  was developed by Tony Award-winning director Michael Bennett co-creator of A Chorus Line. Based on the CBS television movie The Queen of the Stardust Ballroom, with book by Jerome Kass, music by Billy Goldberg, lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman, and features the classic Broadway song Fifty Percent. The Broadway production was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and 7 Drama Desk Awards.

JESSICA MARTIN is playing the lead role Bea Asher who, having lost her beloved husband Morrie, opens a thrift shop that amounts to an ongoing garage sale of her own belongings. When her friend Angie urges her to get out of the shop and start living again by suggesting that she visit the local Brooklyn dance hall, Bea agrees and begins life anew at the Stardust Ballroom. There she meets middle-aged mailman Alfred Rossi and falls in love again. Her dream of a happily-ever-after relationship is shattered when she discovers Alfred hasn't been as honest about his personal life as she thought, but having found a new life and love decides that "50%" of someone you love is better than "all of anybody else".

Jessica's impressive list of musical theatre credits include leading roles in shows such as ME ANDMY GIRL (Adelphi Theatre & National Tour), MACK AND MABEL (Piccadilly Theatre), SOUTHPACIFIC (National Tour), the Olivier award nominated productions of BABES IN ARMS and THECARD (both at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park), MARGUERITE (Theatre Royal Haymarket) andSUNSET BOULEVARD (Comedy Theatre), to name a few. Most recent credits BIG The Musical (UKPremier Plymouth & Dublin), Bumblescratch (Adelphi), Elf: The Musical (Dominion).

More casting news to follow 

Wednesday, April 12

Matthew McKenna and Caroline Sheen to lead cast in Kiss Me Kate at Kilworth House

Matthew McKenna and Caroline Sheen are playing the leading roles of Fred Graham and Lillie Vanessi at Kilworth House Theatre’s production of Cole Porter and Bella Spewack's  Kiss Me, Kate in the grounds from 31st  May-16th  July.

Joining them are Justin Thomas (Bill Calhoun); Monique Young (Lois Lane); Cory English (Gangster 1); Carl Sanderson (Gangster 2); Gary Davis (General Harrison Howell) with  Andrew Gordon-Watkins; Piers Bate; Davide Fienauri; Tarinn Callender; Craig Turner; Adam Philpott; Paul Hutton; Thomas Audibert; Emily Squibb; Holly Willock; Katia Sartini; Helen Turner; Molly May Gardiner; Tash Holway; Jessica Pardoe; and Laura Ellis.
The production will be produced by Celia Mackay with  director Matthew White and choreographer Sam Spencer-Lane heading the creative team.

First staged on Broadway in 1948, Cole Porter’s  musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew contains a numbers including ‘Too Darn Hot’, ‘Another Op’nin’ Another Show’, ‘Always True To You in My Fashion’ and ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’.

RAMIN KARIMLOO Back From Broadway! Concert

Broadway and West End star Ramin Karimloo returns to the London stage at the Royal Festival Hall, on 13th January at 7:30 pm with his new solo show  Ramin Karimloo Back From Broadway

An Olivier and Tony award nominee, Ramin is best known for playing leading roles in The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables in the West End. He also originated the role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies and made his Broadway debut as Valjean in the 2014 revival production of Les Misérables. He is currently back on Broadway starring in the new musical Anastasia, which opened in March 2017.

The Royal Festival Hall concert sees Ramin return with his band complete with a string quartet and brass section.  The evening is packed full of musical theatre hits and standards including Bring Him Home, Music of the Night, Empty Chairs and Empty Tables, Old Man River and many more.  The evening will also include original material penned by Ramin himself. Buy your tickets now for a lively and magical evening in the generous company of Ramin Karimloo...unmissable!

For pre-sale tickets use this link using the special code: RAMIN

Tuesday, April 11

Casting and more dates for Miss Saigon UK Tour

The initial casting and more dates for the UK tour of Miss Saigon which opens at the Leicester Curve in July has just been announced. 

Red Concepcion will play ‘The Engineer’, Sooha Kim is  ‘Kim’, Ashley Gilmour ‘Chris’, Zoë Doano ‘Ellen’ and Gerald Santos ‘Thuy’. At certain performances ‘Kim’ will be played by Joreen Bautista.

They are joined by David Allwood, Randy Chien, Vinny Coyle,  Kristine Mae Diaz, Michael James Eborall,  Aynrand Ferrer, Seng Henk Goh, Emily Beth Harrington, Jack Heasman, Tom Hier, Barnaby Hughes, Kamm Kunaree, David Kar-Hing Lee, Amanda Lingdren, Ela Lisondra, Winchester Lopez,  Christian Rey Marbella, Jay Marsh, Tom Mussell,  Thao Nguyen, Saori Oda, YoungJoo Park,  Kiel Payton, Katherine Picar, Alistair So, Carl Jae-Suk Sohlberg, Eloisa Amalia Tan, Gavin Tsang, Amadeus Williams, and Gerald Zarcilla. Further casting to be announced soon.

 In addition to  venues already announced, MISS SAIGON is now also confirmed to play the Manchester Palace Theatre (21 March – 12 May 2018), The Bristol Hippodrome (16 May – 23 June), Theatre Royal Plymouth (4 July – 4 August) and Norwich Theatre Royal (15 August – 15 September). Tickets go on sale in May with with more venues to be announced soon.

 Red Concepcion’s many theatre credits in his native Philippines include Adam/Felicia in Priscilla Queen of the Desert for which he won the ALIW Award and Gawah Buhay Award, Tommy in The Normal Heart and Alan Strang in Equus as well as the musicals West Side Story and Hairspray.

Sooha Kim made her professional debut in this recent production of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre where she covered the role of Kim before going on to play the role in the Japanese production. Her credits whilst training in Korea include Maureen in Rent and Carmen in Fame.
Ashley Gilmour also appeared in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. His most recent credits include playing Link Larkin in the national tour of Hairspray.

Zoë Doano’s many West End theatre credits include Cosette in Les Misérables, Johanna in Sweeney Todd and most recently Grazia in Death Takes A Holiday. She has also appeared in the national tours of The Sound of Music and High Society.

Gerald Santos was the youngest ever winner of the biggest singing contest in the Philippines, Pinoy Pop Superstar. He has released five studio albums and has won numerous awards including winning twice Best Male Concert performer at the prestigious ALIW Awards.

Monday, April 10

2017 Olivier Awards - Musical Theatre winners

The winners of the Olivier Awards 2017 with Mastercard were announced last night  (Sunday 9 April 2017) at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The  ceremony was hosted by Jason Manford and will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 11 April at 8:00pm.

Predictably Harry Potter And The Cursed Child collected a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards, overtaking Matilda and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  as the most decorated production in the ceremony’s history.

In the musical categories, Groundhog Day, written by Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin, was named Mastercard Best New Musical. The production, which is currently in previews on Broadway, also received the award for Best Actor in a Musical for Andy Karl’s portrayal of Phil Connors.

Amber Riley, who performed a show-stopping rendition of And I Am Telling You, was named Best Actress in a Musical, while her co-star Adam J Bernard won Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Rebecca Trehearn won Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Show Boat, which transferred to the West End from Sheffield Theatres.

Two shows composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber also received awards, with School Of Rock The Musical winning Outstanding Achievement in Music for the three children’s bands who play instruments live every night at New London Theatre and Jesus Christ Superstar winning Magic Radio Best Musical Revival.

Disappointingly the highly popular and critically acclaimed productions of The Girls and Half a Sixpence did not win anything despite several nominations..

The list of winners in the various musical theatre categories is  as follows:

Best Theatre Choreographer:  Matthew Bourne for The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells

Outstanding Achievement in Music: School Of Rock The Musical

Best Entertainment and Family: Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical: Adam J Bernard for Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical: Rebecca Trehearn for Show Boat at New London Theatre

Magic Radio Best Musical Revival: Jesus Christ Superstar

Best Actor in a Musical: Andy Karl for Groundhog Day at The Old Vic

Best Actress in a Musical: Amber Riley for Dreamgirls at Savoy Theatre

Mastercard Best New Musical: Groundhog Day at The Old Vic

Friday, April 7

Louise Dearman, Tyrone Huntley, Zizi Strallen, Oliver Saville among West End Stars in Musical Marathon

The Other Palace is hosting The Musical Marathon on Sunday 16th April 2017. It is a one-off charity concert bringing together a variety of West End stars in aid of male cancer charity Orchid. Buy Tickets for  £26; £26 for 26 miles, 26 songs and an unmissable night of musical talent.

Paul Taylor-Mills, Artistic Director of The Other Palace and producer of shows including In The Heights and The Wild Party, is running the London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April, and will bring together a host of his theatrical friends to raise vital funds for Orchid, and their fight against male cancer.
The evening will be hosted by Caroline Flack and will feature performances from Louise Dearman, Tyrone Huntley, Zizi Strallen, Olivier Saville, Liam Doyle, Nathan Amzi, Kim Criswell, Liam Tamne, Christina Modesto, Emma Kingston, Lockie Chapman, Shaun McCourt and Idriss Kargbo.

 Orchid is the UK’s leading charity working on behalf of anyone affected by male cancer. Established in 1996 by testicular cancer patient, Colin Osborne MBE and the oncologist who saved his life, Professor Tim Oliver, Orchid exists to save men’s lives from male cancer through a range of support services, education and awareness campaigns and a pioneering research programme.

Latest News on Presenters and Performers at Sunday's Olivier Awards

The Olivier Awards 2017 with Mastercard has revealed further details of the ceremony, hosted by Jason Manford on Sunday 9th  April at the Royal Albert Hall which  will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday 11th April from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. It will broadcast worldwide at the same time, outside the UK, on Facebook. The awards ceremony will also stream to China for the first time ever via YouKu.

Presenters this year include David Baddiel, Alfie Boe, John Boyega, Michaela Coel, Leanne Cope, Julian Clary, Robert Fairchild, Ben Forster, Phoebe Fox, Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Matt Henry, Ruthie Henshall, Amanda Holden, Rufus Hound, Cush Jumbo, Nathan Lane, Rose Leslie, Maureen Lipman, Danny Mac, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laura Mvula, Paul O'Grady, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Sophie Okonedo, Charlotte Ritchie, Mark Rylance and Russell Tovey.

The presenters join the previously announced line-up of i performers which will include Gary Barlow & Tim Firth with the company of The Girls, Amber Riley from Dreamgirls, Tim Minchin from his musical Groundhog Day and the companies of School Of Rock The Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar and Matthew Bourne’s touring production of The Red Shoes. Six-time Tony Award-winner, Audra McDonald (shortly to open in London in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill) performs exclusively as part of the In Memoriam section.

As previously announced, a new Red Carpet Live show debuts this year from 4:30pm to 6:00pm, hosted by Anita Rani, Jamie Lambert and Frank DiLella, exclusively onfacebook.com/OlivierAwards
Magic Radio will be broadcasting the entire show live on Sunday 9th April, hosted by Alice Arnold and Olivier Award-winner Ruthie Henshall, with build-up on air from 5:30pm. Sirius XM will broadcast the show via radio in the US

Kiss Me Kate heading for London Coliseum

Opera North's production of Kiss Me, Kate is to transfer to London for a run at the Coliseum from June 20th-30th, 2018. It is the first time Opera North's production has been staged in the capital.

The show will open  Leeds Grand Theatre  from  May 23rd-26th, 2018,  before transferring to the Coliseum which is the  home of English National Opera, .

Kiss Me, Kate has music and lyrics by Cole Porter and is about the production of musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict between show runner Fred Graham, and his ex-wife and leading lady Lilli Vanessi.It features classic numbers including  Another Op'nin' Another Show, Brush Up Your Shakespeare, Always True to You in My Fashion and Too Darn Hot.

With a  cast to be announced the production will be directed by Jo Davies, and feature the the full-scale orchestra and chorus of Opera North conducted by James Holmes, with choreography by Will Tuckett. It has set and costume design by Colin Richmond and lighting by Ben Cracknell.