Wednesday, May 4

Tom Chambers to star in Crazy for You at the Watermill

Tom Chambers is to  star as Bobby in a new production of Gershwins' Crazy for You at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury directed by Watermill artistic director Paul Hart and produced in association with Jamie Wilson. The show runs from July 28th-September 17th, with press night on August 1st.

The musical will be reimagined for the Watermill stage and for a company of actor-musicians. Crazy for You is the ultimate feel-good musical with a fabulous score from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook. The multi-award winning, romantic comedy, filled with great dance numbers, charts the troubled love story of Bobby, son of a wealthy New York banking family and frustrated Broadway hoofer, and Polly, daughter of the proprietor of a failing theatre in Deadrock, Nevada. Sent to close the theatre down, Bobby falls for Polly and, in the guise of a Hungarian impresario, decides to save the theatre by putting on a show.

Mistaken identities, plot twists, heartbreak, happiness and a wealth of memorable tunes, including I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Embraceable You, all feature in this exhilarating celebration of the great Broadway musicals.

Tom Chambers credits include Top Hat (West End and UK tour), White Christmas (West End) and winner of Strictly Come Dancing.

Priority booking opens to Friends of The Watermill on Monday 9th May at 10:00 am.Booking opens to all on Monday 16th May at 10:00 am


Tuesday, May 3

Secret Garden Musical to run for six weeks at Ambassadors Theatre

Around 300 children are to star in a new production of The Secret Garden at the Ambassadors Theatre for six weeks from July 27th to August 31st (press night August 3rd)

The musical which received its UK premiere in 2000, will run alongside Stomp. Directed by Rupert Hands, the new production has been cut to 75 minutes in lengt.

More than 2,000 children have auditioned for The Secret Garden and 300 youngsters will be cast in the show.Producer Matthew Chandler of P2P Productions said: “This is the European premiere of a new version of The Secret Garden, specially adapted to be performed with just 4 adult actors and 20 children. We have 21 teams child actors who will perform in rotation throughout the season. of It is a fantastic opportunity for all the youngsters involved.”

Orphaned while living in India, 10 year-old Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire, England to live with her embittered, reclusive uncle Archibald, whom she has never met. There, the ill-tempered and lonely Mary meets Martha, a chambermaid, who tells her of a secret garden which belonged to her aunt Lily before she died. Mary’s search for the garden introduces her to a slew of other characters including Dickon (Martha’s brother), Ben (the head gardener), Neville (her other uncle), and a spirited robin that seems to be trying to talk to her. This compelling tale of forgiveness and hope reveals that even the cruelest of environments can blossom with new life.

Hands said he was looking forward to working “with such an exciting company of young actors”, after more than 2,000 children auditioned for the production.Giving young people the opportunity to work on great shows in great spaces is vital for the future of theatre,”

Richard Baker will be musical director for the show, which has choreography by Jamie Neale and costumes by Lizzy Leech.

Tickets on sale shortly.


Saturday, April 30

Lucy Jane Adcock taking over as Miss Adelaide from Louise Dearman at some dates in Guys & Dolls UK tour

Lucy Jane Adcock has announced that she is temporarily taking over from Louise Dearman as Miss Adelaide in the UK touring production of Guys and Dolls.

She currently understudies Miss Adelaide in the West End production of the show and play her first performance on the tour on 3rd May at the Norwich Theatre Royal.

Louise Dearman is not able to do all the tour dates due to other commitments. She is scheduled to return as Miss Adelaide on 7th June when the show  opens in Glasgow and  will complete the rest of the tour which concludes in Woking on 30th July 2016 (she will not perform on 2nd, 15th or 16th July due to other commitments).

Lucy Jane Adcock's theatre credits include: understudy Mrs Wormwood in Matilda (Cambridge), understudy Pinky Tuscadero & Mrs Cunningham in Happy Days (UK tour), understudy Cassie in A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Top Hat (UK tour/Aldwych), Chicago (Cambridge), Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales), Starlight Express (UK & Scandinavian tours), Fame (Aldwych Theatre), Tonight’s the Night (Victoria Palace) and Beauty and the Beast (international tour).


All Blacks rugby star Nicholas Afoa to star in The Lion King

Disney Theatrical Productions have just announced new cast members will join the London production of THE LION KING  at the West End’s Lyceum Theatre from 10th May 2016. With  changes in the ensemble, former All Blacks rugby star Nicholas Afoa is to take on the role of Simba.

Afoa made his stage debut as Simba in the Australian production of the musical  in 2013 and played the tole between 2013 and 2016 performing more than 860 times over that period. The opportunity to play the role in the West End production will bring Afoa to London for the first time.

The 30 yar old New Zealand-born performer had a promising rugby career with the All Blacks until he was injured andsubsequently trained for a theatre career, when nearly 20 years later he beat 400 other hopefuls to the role of Simba in the Australian production.

Other new cast members include: Etian Almeida, Jonathan Andre, Janique Charles, Zinhle Dube, Sandile Gontsana, Kwesi Jeffers, Stephanie Lo, Sadia McEwen, Khaya Maseko, Daniel Monteiro, Nosipho Nkonqa, Dominique Planter, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Kayode Salina and Ricardo Walker.


Wednesday, April 27

JayMcGuinness to star in Big The Musical

Th Wanted singer and Strictly Come Winner  Jay McGuiness is to lead an all star cast in the the European premiere of Big The Musical  at the Plymouth Theatre Royal from November 5th-12th November  before transferring to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin for a Christmas run ahead of a planned West End opening next year.

Big is the  hilarious Broadway musical based on the classic movie which starred Tom Hanks. Josh Baskin is twelve-years-old and hates being little, until one night at the carnival the mysterious Zoltar machine grants his wish to be big. Now trapped in an adult’s body and alone in New York, he innocently tries to find his way around a grown-up world where it’s all work and no play. But whilst everyone around him tries to act their age, Josh just can’t help being himself. Maybe he’s going to end up teaching the real adults a thing or two…

Tickets on sale shortly.


Sunday, April 24

Sheridan Smith announces Funny Girl Cast Recording

Sheridan Smith has confirmed that an original cast recording of Funny Girl will be released imminently.At the triumphant opening night of the West End transfer, of show  the Olivier-Award winning actress  confirmed that an original cast recording will be released in the not too distant future with the cast gong into the studio in the 'next couple of weeks'.

"We're going to be doing a cast recording so we'll be doing that in the next couple of weeks or so which is exciting, it's going to be fun. The cast are brilliant in this, I have to say, they're so talented and lovely."


Jason Donovan and John Wilson on Michael Ball Radio show this morning

Michael Ball is  joined by Jason Donovan on his BBC Radio 2 Show from 11:00 am today. This year Jason toured the UK for his Ten Good Reasons and Greatest Hits tour.  On the Michael Ball show he will perform two of his old favorites live in the studio and look back on his career, from Neighbours to the West End. He is about to return to the  tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

John Wilson (acclaimed arranger of iconic film scores and a main staple of the BBC Proms) also joins Michael in conversation. Together with his John Wilson Orchestra, he is famous for performing classic arrangements of MGM favourites including High Society, Singin' in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz. He looks ahead to this year's Proms and chats to Michael about his new live album, Gershwin in Hollywood.


Friday, April 22

Claire Sweeney to join Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Tour

Claire Sweeney is to  play the role of Baroness Bomburst in the tour of  CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG from 3rd August taking  over from Michelle Collins who leaves the production on 30th July.

Sweeney joins Lee Mead (Casualty, Legally Blonde, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) as Caractacus Potts, Carrie Hope Fletcher (LES MISERABLES, War of the Worlds) as Truly Scrumptious, Shaun Williamson (The Railway Children, EastEnders) as Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst, Matt Gillett (Jersey Boys, Top Hat) as the Childcatcher and Andy Hockley (The Phantom Of The Opera) as Grandpa Potts.

Michelle Collins said: "I will be really sorry to leave the fantastic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tour after my dates at the New Wimbledon Theatre and six months on the road. I love playing the all-singing and dancing Baroness Bomburst, but have been advised that the knee problem I have been managing along the way will not fully recover if I carry on for the rest of the 12-month tour. I wish Claire Sweeney every success when she takes over the role this summer."