Saturday, October 13

Musical Theatre News provides the latest information and all you need to know about musicals which are playing or about to open in London's West End as well as full details of touring musicals and concerts in the UK. We provide all the booking details and information you need to help you decide on the right show for you. We also have a Facebook Page where you can post your comments or you can follow TheatreSpy on Twitter to get the latest news and gossip.
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Monday, October 23

New School of Rock Cast Announced

A new London  cast for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical School of Rock  started rehearsals today. It includes alternate Stephen Leask (pictured) who will now lead the cast in the the role of Dewey Finn from 15th November.

Alan Pearson will play Ned Schneebly, with current ensemble member Michelle Francis playing Patty Di Marco, Craig Gallivan will play the alternate Dewey Finn and Florence Andrews will continue as the school’s principal Rosalie Mullins.

Stephen Leask’s previous theatre credits include One Man, Two Guvnors at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Troilus and Cressida for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Potted Panto at the Vaudeville Theatre.

The cast also features ensemble members Nick Butcher, Cassandra McCowan, Jessica Louise Parkinson, Andy Rees, Cameron Sharp, Jake Sharp, James Smoker, Wendy Somerville, Andrew Spillett, Hannah Stratton and Alex Tomkins with swings, Paul Kemble, Laura Medforth, Billy Mitchell, Tasha Sheridan and Joshua St. Clair.

Friday, October 20

New Dusty musical tour dates announced

The first dates and venues have been announced for the upcoming tour of Dusty, new musical about Dusty Springfield, starring Katherine Kingsley

Directed by Maria Friedman, the show is based on the authorised biography of the singer. Dusty  will open at the Theatre Royal Bath next June  before touring the UK.

Londoner Springfield began her career in the 1950s and became one of the world's most loved singers.The script has been written by Jonathan Harvey, and will feature classic songs including "I Only Want to Be With You", "Son of a Preacher Man" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me".

The original book about Dusty Springfield originates from notes and memoirs of the late singer's close friend and manager Vicki Wickham as well as conversations with her lifelong personal assistant Pat Rhodes and her record company executive Tris Penna.

Katherine Kingsley's previous theatre credits include Marlene Dietrich in Piaf (Donmar), Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre London, Manchester Opera House and Aylesbury Waterside Theatre), Helena in Michael Grandage Company's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Noël Coward Theatre), Lina Lamont in Singin' In The Rain (Palace Theatre London and Chichester Festival Theatre) and The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre). On screen credits include the film Genius as well as appearances on The Bill, Casualty and Bad Education.

 More tour dates and casting news to follow.

Meera Syal is new Miss Hannigan in Annie at Piccadilly Theatre

British comedian, writer, playwright, singer, journalist, producer and actress  Meera Syal will be taking over the role of Miss Hannigan from Craig Revel Horwood in the West End production of Annie the Musical  

She rose to prominence as one of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me and became one of the UK's best-known Indian personalities portraying Sanjeev's grandmother, Ummi, in The Kumars at No. 42. 

She is also well known for her roles in Doctor Strange and Doctor Who and was last seen in the West End in Romeo and Juliet (2016). Syal joins the cast from November 27th  to February 18th when the production is due to end its run .

Thursday, October 19

Sheridan Smith to star in David Walliams' Ratburger on Sky One This Christmas

Sheridan Smith is to star alongside David Walliams on Sky One over the Christmas season  in an adaptation of Ratburger which is one of his stories.

The  Little Britain comedian will star as Burt - a burger van owner who covets  Zoe's new friend - a dancing rat. Sheridan Smith plays Zoe's stepmother, who hates her. 

Here Sheridan is pictured wearing  a fat suit with Walliams. As you can eee from the image, the  pair resemble Roald Dahl's The Twits or Harry Enfield characters Wayne and Waynetta Slob . 

Directed by  Mark Lipsey, Ratbuger also stars Talia Barnett as Zoe, Mark Benton, Nigel Planer and Charlotte Marsh. It is a comedy drama about  a young  girl who makes friend with a rat. She has a stepmother that despises her, a dad who's never around and who suffers at the hands of Tina Trotts, the school bully. Her only chum is Harry, until she discovers a baby rat in her bedroom. She calls him Armitage and they quickly become firm friends.
She soon discovers he's no ordinary rat - he  can dance - and sets out to show off her rodent pal's skill at the school talent show but her stepmother and shifty burger man Burt have other ideas, which include throwing Armitage into the mincer and putting rat burgers on the menu.

Details of the time and date it will air on Sky One to follow.

Wednesday, October 18

Dreamgirls cast changes just announced

Amber Riley will make her last performance as Effie  in Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre on 18th November, with new Effies Marisha Wallace, Moya Angela, and Karen Mav alternating the role from 20th November. Angela played the role during its North American revival tour. Wallace joined the show earlier this year, while Mav made her professional debut as the character in London last year.

Other cast changes from 20th November  include  Tosh Wanogho-Maud (currently first cover Jimmy) playing James Thunder Early and Brennyn Lark as Deena Jones. Asmeret Ghebremichael will continue to play Lorrell Robinson, with Joe Aaron Reid continuing in the role of Curtis Taylor Jr. Joining them will be Durone Stokes as C.C. White, Delroy Brown as Marty and Kimmy Edwards as Michelle Morris.

The new cast of Dreamgirls will also include Michael Afemaré, Callum Aylott, Georgia Bradshaw, Jabari Braham, Ashford Campbell, Sanchia Amber Clarke, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Nicole Deon, Rhiane Drummond, Ashlee Irish, Emma Louise Jones, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Samira Mighty, Jayde Nelson, Aston New, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards and Joshua Robinson.

The show has also extended its booking period  to June 2nd 2018.

Tuesday, October 17

Lead announced for Tina Turner musical

At a press conference pop legend Tina Turner has just announced that Adrienne Warren will be portraying her in Tina the Musical which starts  previews at the Aldwych Theatre next March.  

Warren's previous credits include Shuffle Along at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, for which she received a Tony nomination. Her other US theatre credits include Bring it On the Musical at St James Theatre, Dreamgirls at the Apollo Theatre, which was followed by a National Tour, and The Wiz at Encores City Centre.

Warren said “Growing up watching Tina, I knew how to shake my hips before I could tie my shoes! I am so grateful to our creative team and producers for entrusting me with this responsibility. I say responsibility, because I am a Tina Turner fan first. I am elated, honoured and humbled. Meeting and working with Tina is and will always be one of the great moments of my life. Can’t wait to see you in London!”

Tina Turner, speaking at the show's launch event, said “It has been my joy to introduce Adrienne today. From the moment I met her at our last workshop I saw her exceptional talent. Playing this role will require immense physical and emotional commitment, and bravery too. We are thrilled to have found Adrienne, and I very much look forward to spending more time together and developing a special friendship I know will grow even stronger as we prepare the production for the Aldwych Theatre. We can’t wait to welcome her to the show.”

Matilda tour cast announced

The adult cast for the UK and Ireland tour of Matilda has just been announced. 

Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly's award-winning show will begin at Leicester Curve on 5th  March 2018 with  Craige Els in the role of Miss Trunchbull (a part he played in the West End for three years) Carly Thoms as Miss Honey, Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood and Rebecca Thornhill as Mrs Wormwood.
The rest of the adult cast are Joe Atkinson, Peter Bindloss, Oliver Bingham, Emily Bull, Matthew Caputo, Samara Casteallo, Matt Gillett, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell, Sam Lathwood, Steffan Lloyd-Evans, Charlie Martin, Anu Ogunmefun, Taylor Walker, Adam Vaughan and Dawn Williams.

Craige Els (Miss Trunchbull) has previously appeared on stage in Timon of Athens, Antigone and The Cherry Orchard(National Theatre) and on screen in Ripper Street, The Bletchley Circle and Call The Midwife. Further theatre credits include Victoria Wood's That Day We Sang (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Mamma Mia! (Novello), Oklahoma!(Chichester Festival Theatre), The New Yorkers (Sadler's Wells), Never Forget (West End and tour) and Spamalot (West End). Craige has also appeared on the big screen in films such as The Imitation Game, Joe Wright's Anna Karenina and Simon Connelly's Hamlet.

Carly Thoms (Miss Honey) most recently starred as Natella/Ludvica in The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Greenwich Theatre). Other stage roles include LV in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (The Union Theatre), Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Millie (Adelphi), the title role in Cinderella (Hackney Empire and De Montfort Hall), Lucy in Ushers (The Charing Cross Theatre) and Liesl in The Sound of Music UK Tour.

Rebecca Thornhill (Mrs Wormwood) is an Olivier Award-nominated actress with an illustrious musical theatre background. Rebecca's previous stage credits include lead roles in From Here To Eternity (Shaftesbury), Mary Poppins(Prince Edward and USA tour), Chicago (Adelphi), Ragtime (Piccadilly), Witches of Eastwick (Prince of Wales and UK tour), South Pacific (UK tour), Beauty and the Beast (Dominion) and Les Misérables (Palace and Denmark). In addition to her credits in the West End, Rebecca has appeared at the National Theatre in Singin' in the Rain (for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award) and played Gertie in Trevor Nunn's production of Oklahoma! opposite Hugh Jackman and Maureen Lipman.

Sebastien Torkia (Mr Wormwood) has a wide range of theatre credits which include the original West End casts of La Cage Aux Folles, Guys and Dolls, Saturday Night Fever, Martin Guerre and Grease. Other roles include Sweeney Todd(West Yorkshire Playhouse and Royal Exchange, Manchester), Ed in The Lion King (Lyceum), A Streetcar Named Desire(Bolton Octogan),
Women Beware Women (National Theatre), Eddie Ryan in Funny Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre), Greg Gardner in A Chorus Line (Sheffield Crucible), Maugrim/Giant Rumblebuffin in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Steve in Singin' in the Rain (national tour), and Rodgers and Hammerstein'sCinderella in Japan.

The child cast is still to be announced

Cast announced for The Wizard of Oz at Sheffield Theatres

Sheffield  Crucible Theatre has just announced full casting details for their  Christmas production of The Wizard Of Oz which starts previews on 7th  December ahead of an opening night on 13th  December running until the  already extended  20th  January 2018 in response to popular demand.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie star Gabrielle Brooks will return to Sheffield  to take on the central role of Dorothy. She will be joined by: Catrin Aaron (Little Voice, Cat On a Hot Tin Roof at Theatr Clywd) as Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch; Jonathan Broadbent (The Tempest, RSC; Hamlet, Rose Theatre) as Zeke/Lion; Ryan Ellsworth (Henry V, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; Antigone, The Old Vic) as Professor Marvel/The Wizard Of Oz; Andrew Langtree ( Groundhog Day, The Old Vic; Treasure Island, Birmingham Rep) as Hunk/Scarecrow; Michael Matus (The Phantom of the Opera, Her Majesty’s Theatre; King Lear, Chichester Festival Theatre) as Uncle Henry/Oz Doorkeeper; Sophia Nomvete (Wind in The Willows, Noises Off  UK tours) as Aunt Em/Glinda; and Max Parker (Matilda, Cambridge Theatre; Guys and Dolls, Savoy Theatre and Phoenix Theatre) as Hickory/Tin Man.

Completing the ensemble will be Simon Anthony, Piers Bates, Myles Brown, Collette Coleman, Claire Doyle, Glen Facey, Samantha Hull, Blythe Jandoo, Fergal Mcgoff, Jo Lucy Rackham, Michael James Stewart, Charley Vincent, Rhiannon Wallace and Charlotte-Kate Warren.

Stomp to close in January

Stomp has been in the West End since 2002, and was booking until April of next year, but it has just been announced that  the production will now close at the Ambassadors Theatre on 7th January 2018 ending its 15 year run.

The show opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2002 and went on to transfer to the Ambassadors in 2007.  Stomp celebrated its 15th birthday last month.

Creators of Stomp Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas say this is not the end of Stomp in London: "We want to emphasise that we don't consider this the end of Stomp here; we actually feel it's going to be good for the show to take a break, reconfigure, reinvent and return at some point in the future in a different London venue, where we can present the show in a way that is more in keeping with its original ethos."

In 2018, the show will continue to tour throughout the globe, with dates already confirmed for Paris, Beirut, Prague, Lisbon and Milan, as well as a Dutch tour, a German tour, an Indian tour, an Italian tour, an Australian and New Zealand tour and a French tour. 

You can currently save up to £26 on ticket prices on this multi-award winning show where rhythm, theatre, comedy and dance come together with  eight performers using everything from plastic bags,  dustbin lids and even the kithen sink to hammer out an incredible beat.

Monday, October 16

Madagascar Musical to tour the UK next year

Madagascar the Musical (based on the animated Dreamworks classic) is to tour the UK from next July starting at Wimbledon Theatre.

The new  show will add new musical numbers to the existing story.With a book by Kevin Del Aguila and original music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joe Someillan, the show is directed by Kirk Jameson. It  revolves around a group of animals, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo at a central New York zoo. Dissatisfied with their lives in the city, they are then shipped unexpectedly to Madagascar.

The current list of tour dates with booking links can be found here

More dates for the tour and casting will be announced in due course.

Barricade Boys Christmas Cabaret announced

Stars of Les Misérables, THE BARRICADE BOYS - Scott Garnham, Simon Schofield, Kieran Brown & Craig Mather - are holding Christmas party featuring classics such as ‘White Christmas’, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Rockin Around The Christmas Tree’ and many more... with a three-week season, THE BARRICADE BOYS CHRISTMAS CABARET at The Other Palace from Tuesday 5th - Saturday 23rd December. Press night is Thursday 7 December at 8.00pm.
THE BARRICADE BOYS have played nearly every major role in musical theatre from ‘The Phantom of The Opera’, ’Wicked’ and ‘Billy Elliot’ to ‘Jersey Boys’, ‘The Sound Of Music’ and  ‘Les Misérables’. Produced by Sisco Entertainment Ltd with Musical Supervisor James Doughty. Musical Director Noam Galperin.