Thursday, February 26

Casting and more dates for new tour of Avenue Q

Casting and more dates for the new UK Tour of Avenue Q which opens  in Colchester on 22nd April has just been announced.

New cast members include Sarah Harlington as Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut, Richard Lowe/Princeton/Rod and Arina II/Christmas Eve. Returning cast members include: Stephen Arden/Nicky/Trekkie Monster, Richard Morse/Brian, Etisyai Philip/Gary Coleman and Jessica Parker as Mrs T/ Bad Idea Bear. Michael Woolston-Thomas, Douglas Walker and Cleopatra Joseph complete the company.

Damsel in Distress before Mack and Mabel at Chichester

Chichester have just announced their summer season today. The musicals featured include the previously announced, Mack and Mabel starring Michael Ball which will run in the refurbished Festival Theatre from 13 July to 5 September beofre going on a short tour.

It's preceded by another major musical; a new stage version of A Damsel in Distress (30th  May-27th  June), with a book by Jeremy Sams and Robert Hudson which will be directed and choreographed  by Rob Ashford and  based on a novel by PG Wodehouse and Ian Hay  with songs including A Foggy Day in London town and Nice Work If You Can Get George and Ira Gershwin

A Damsel in Distress  musical comedy is a tribute to English love with all its eccentricities, George is an American composer working at the Savoy Theatre in London wo meets Maud - the  thoroughly English Lady Marshmoreton, a beautiful socialite who lives in a castle with a drawbridge.She  must marry soon, and her  staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." 

But  George needs to complete his musical and Maud needs to marry most urgently, with someone totally unsuitable in mind.  Maud’s fierce aunt, Lady Caroline, has a solution – to lock her   in the tower - hence the damsel in distress.

Tickets for Chichester


Wednesday, February 25

Tour of Mary Poppins Musical

The musical Mary Poppins is being revived for a UK tour due to open at  the Leicester Curve on 13th October and run until the 24th with tickets going on sale on 6th March

It will then tour to venues including Bristol Hippodrome (29th October-28th November), the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin (3rd December-9th January 2016), the Palace Theatre Manchester (20th January-5th March), Birmingham Hippodrome (9th March-23rd April), Edinburgh Festival Theatre (27th April-21st May)  and the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton (25th May-19th June) with more venues  to be announced.

Mary Poppins originally ran in the West End from 2004- 2008, directed by Richard Eyre with co-direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne. Cameron Mackintosh said: “It’s hard to believe that it is already 11 years since Mary Poppins landed on the London stage. I’m delighted to be bringing her back to the UK and for the first time to Dublin, after spreading her magic around the world. Since we originally staged the production we have found even more magical ways to stage this timeless tale and I’m sure you will find our new Mary practically perfect in every way."

The stage production of MARY POPPINS is co-created by Cameron Mackintosh and has a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes.  It has a score  by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The tour will be directed by Anthony Lyn, with choreography by Geoffrey Garratt and musical supervision by Stephen Brooker.


Tuesday, February 17

Mrs Henderson Presents New Musical to premiere in Bath

Mrs Henderson Presents is a new musical based on the film starring Judi Dench, Will Young and Bob Hoskins. It will  have its world premiere as part of Theatre Royal Bath’s Summer Season from 15th August-5th September.  

The strong creative team is led by Terry Johnson who has written the book and will direct , with lyrics by Don Black and music by Simon Chambelain and George Fenton who also wrote the music for the film with choreography by Andrew Wright and design by Tim Shortall

It's 1937 London  and the story focuses on how the Windmill Theatre was turned into a money-making venue in the Thirties with a spot of nudity and  provides a refuge for all, boasting the spirit-raising slogan "We Never Close".

No casting news yet, but a  workshop of the musical has been  held , with a cast including Wes End leading lady Emma Williams.

Tickets for Mrs Henderson presents


Friday, February 13

Carrie the Musical at Southwark Playhouse in May

Gary Lloyd (director and choreographer of hit show Thriller Live! He  is renowned for his crossover from music to theatre, working as Creative Director on shows including American Idol and The X Factor. Other theatre credits include 20th Century Boy at Coventry Belgrade Theatre and the UK Tour of Aspects Of Love ) is to  direct a revised version of the musical Carrie which is  based on the Stephen King horror novel about  17-year-old American schoolgirl Carrie White who is bullied by her peers  at school and by her frighteningly religious mother at home. She  discovers she has telekenetic powers and when a prank at her high school prom goes horribly wrong, she wields her power to punish everyone who wronged her.  (Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie famously played the leads in the original 1976 film version ).

The original musical  version  had  a pre-Broadway try-out with the RSC in England, followed by a 1988 opening on Broadway (which closed after just 16 previews and 5 performances) starring Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley as Carrie and her mother.   It was subsequently  re-vamped  by&nbsp original composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and librettist Lawrence D Cohen for a slightly more successful off-Broadway revival in 2012 with Molly Ranson in the title role..

This is the first time this version wil run on the London stage and it  will be presented  at the Southwark Playhouse from May 1st -30th  for four weeks.

It marks the  the return Producer Paul Taylor-Mills whose recent successes there  include the sell-out season of In The Heights and the critically acclaimed Bat Boy: The Musical earlier this year. The team is holding open auditions  for the part of Carrie.

Tickets for Carrie the Musical


Casting for Elf the Musical

Girls Aloud Kimberley Walsh (who made her West End debut as 'Princess Fiona' in Shrek the Musical in 2012) will join the cast of the Elf  the Musical at the Dominion Theatre later this year with  Ben Forster, Joe McGann and Jessica Martin reprising the roles of  Buddy the Elf, Walter Hobbs and Emily Hobbs which they played in a short tour to Dublin and Plymouth last year  

Wednesday, February 11

Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd heading to West End

Cameron Mackintosh is to bringing the Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd to new 'pop-up pie shop' on Shaftesbury Avenue from March 19th.

The production originated at Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop in Tooting, which is currently undergoing refurbishment and Tooting Arts are creating a replica of the  interior of Harrington's building on Shaftesbury Avenue for the show - the first pop-up musical to come to the West End.

Tickets go on sale today for the production, which runs from 12th March to 16th  May at 39-45 Shaftesbury Avenue.

The original cast  members Siobhan McCarthy, Jeremy Secomb; Ian Mowat; Nadim Naaman; Duncan Smith; Joseph Taylor; and Kiara Jay will be joined by  Zoe Doano.





Friday, February 6

Hugh Jackman new one man show

Hugh Jackman has been appearing   in Jez Butterworth’s mysterious play “The River” at Circle-in-the-Square on Broadway which ends on Sunday.

And he’s already planning his next stage venture which is a new one-man show.  He smashed box offices records in 2011 at the Broadhurst Theatre in “Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway”  which was a tour de force  of song, dance and jokes.  (There were rumours that Robert Fox was transferring the show into the West End for a few performanes but Jackman's Les Miserables heavy filming commitments meant that unfortunately it did  not happen).

The new show is going to emphasize dance. He said “I want to do something that’s going to challenge me in a different way,” he tells me. “And, as a 46-year-old guy, I realize there are limited years left for the kind of dancing I want to do, to push myself as far as I can go.

Jackman is a real showman and is working on the new project with Warren Carlyle (who once assisted choreographer Susan Stroman and staged “Back on Broadway)who he met on a revival of “Oklahoma!” when he played  played Curly at the National in London.