Saturday, May 27

Full list of performers at West End Live

The full list of performers has been confirmed for this year's West End Live which will return to Trafalgar Square on 24th-25th June.

Shows and performers from  the West End will perform at the free concerts on 24 and 25 June including returning long-running shows  including Mamma Mia!, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Matilda, Wedding Singer and Thriller Live.They will be joined by newcomers including Dreamgirls, School of Rock, Half A Sixpence, The Girls, The Wind in the Willows and Five Guys Named Moe.

Solo performers announced include Matt Cardle, Charlie Fink, Rachel Tucker and Willemijn Verkaik.
The performances are listed below in alphabetical order with the running order to follow shortly.

42nd Street
An American In Paris
Bat Out Of Hell
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
The Blues Brothers
Catch Me
Disney's Aladdin
Disney's The Lion King
English National Opera
Five Guys Named Moe
Flip Fabrique
The Girls
Half A Sixpence
Kinky Boots
Les Misérables
Liza's Back Is Broken
Matilda The Musical
Motown the Musical
Jesus Christ Superstar
On The Town
Our House
The Phantom Of The Opera
School Of Rock
Thriller Live!
Toxic Avenger
Wedding Singer
The Wind In The Willows
Matt Cardle
Charlie Fink
Rachel Tucker
Willemijn Verkaik
The West End Gospel Choir
Musical Theatre Masterclass
Sylvia Young Theatre School
West End Kids

Cast change for On The Town

Fred Haig who was due to play Chip in On the Town at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre  has been forced to withdraw from the production after fracturing his foot during a  preview performance.

He will be replaced by his understudy Jacob Maynard, who comes out of the ensemble  to play the sailor  for the rest of the show's run. 

Maynard has previously appeared in Guys and Dolls, Love Me Tender and Five Guys Named Moe

The opening night has been  postponed from 25th May to 31st May as a result of the re-casting and bad weather. 

On The Town stars Danny Mac as Gabey, Samuel Edwards as Ozzie and Lizzy Connolly as Hildy and is the first show in the Open Air Theatre's 2017 summer season.

The Girls to close in July and then tour in 2018

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's musical comedy, The Girls, will complete its six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 15 July before returning home to Yorkshire to open at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 15 August 2018 before visiting 42 theatres across the United Kingdom - details to follow.

The producers David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers said, "We are so proud and thrilled with this production, and we want to take it to everyone who wants to see it in the country, and at prices they can afford." Gary Barlow and Tim Firth added, "We are delighted with the reception our musical has received in Leeds, Manchester and now London, and are thrilled that the show will be visiting towns and cities up and down the country, so that more people can get a chance to see it and, we hope, will also fall in love with The Girls."

Friday, May 26

Cast for Our House Musical Tour

Immersion Theatre Company's new tour of The Madness musical Our House starts this August. With music by Madness, Our House the Musical is written by Tim Firth (The Girls, Kinky Boots, Preston Front and Neville's Island) with James Tobias directing, Fabian Aloise doing the choreography and Musical Supervision by Mark Crossland.

Casting news for the tour  is that following the unfortunate withdrawal of Linda Nolan. Deena Payne, best known for her role as Viv Hope in ITV's Emmerdale, will take up the role of Kath Casey along with Jason Kadji (Joe Casey) and Sophie Matthew (Sarah). They will be joined by Britain's Got Talent Winner George Sampson (Reecey), Callum McArdle (Dad), Jessica Niles (Angie), Billy Roberts (Emmo), Bobby WIndebank (Mr Pressman), Will Haswell (Lewis), Matthew McDonald (Calum) and Etisyai Philip (Billie) with ensemble members/swings Lottie Henshall, Frances Dee, Michael Nelson and Alex Tranter.

Thursday, May 25

Open auditions announced for West End production of Hamilton

The producers of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton have invited actors to submit video auditions for stand-by roles in  Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical which opens in London this winter

Producers are seeking male actors in their 20s and 30s of all ethnic backgrounds who are able to sing, rap and act. Actors can send brief videos of themselves performing one pop/rock song and one rap song via YouTube or Vimeo.

To be considered, actors must send their video along with a current photo and CV to deadline to submit auditions is 7 June, with recalls taking place in London the following week. Successful applicants must be available to start auditions in September, and for a one-year contract until November 2018.

Initial casting for the musical has been announced and includes Giles Terera, Rachelle Ann Go, Rachel John and Obioma Ugoala.

New Joe McElderry Album due out in July

Following his performance on last night's Tonight At The Palladium, X Factor winner Joe McElderry revealed that he will be releasing his first album in five years on 14th July on Bill Kenwright’s record label, BK Records.

 Saturday Night At The Movies is inspired by Joe’s love for film and theatre, and will feature newly orchestrated recordings of iconic hits such as ‘Can't Help Falling in Love’ from Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii, Dirty Dancing’s ‘The Time Of My Life’ and the inevitable ‘Any Dream Will Do’ from Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The album will also include a bonus track of the hit single ‘Gloria’, written by acclaimed songwriter and 10CC frontman, Graham Goudman.
Joe is currently playing he lead role in the tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and duringa summer break in the tour and to celebrate the release of his fifth studio album, Joe will embark on a nationwide live tour this summer featuring songs from the new album, from 14th July 2017. Joe will be joined on stage by 3 special guests who have all starred as Joseph in Bill Kenwright’s production: X Factor’s Lloyd Daniels and ‘Any Dream Will Do’ runners up Keith Jack and Ben James Ellis.

Wicked! July cast changes just announced

Cast changes have just been announced for the West End production of Wicked, which is now in its 11th year at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre. From Monday 24 July 2017 Alice Fearn will be  Elphaba and Sophie Evans is Glinda.

Willemijn Verkaik, Suzie Mathers, Oliver Savile, Sue Kelvin, Mark Curry and Idriss Kargbo will all play their final performances on Saturday 22 July 2017.
Fearn joined the production as standby Elphaba last year and now takes on the role full time. Her other credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Les Miserables. 

Evans shot to fame on the BBC talent show Over the Rainbow and went on to star in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium.
Other new additions to the cast include Bradley Jaden (Les Miserables, Wicked UK tour) as Fiyero, Melanie La Barrie (Matilda, Les Miserables) as Madame Morrible, Andy Hockley (The Phantom of the Opera) as The Wizard, Jack Lansbury (West End debut) as Boq and Laura Pick (The Sound of Music) as standby Elphaba.
They join current cast members Martin Ball (Doctor Dillamond), Sarah McNicholas (Nessarose) and Carina Gillespie (standby Glinda).
The company also includes: Jennie Abbotts, Ashley Birchall, Nicole Carlisle, Nicholas Corre, Conor Crown, Kerry Enright, Aimée Fisher, Joseph Fletcher, Alexandra Grierson, Katy Hanna, Tom Andrew Hargreaves, Olivia Kate Holding, Claudia Kariuki, Will Lucas, James McHugh, Danny Michaels, Ellie Mitchell, Rosa O'Reilly, Matt Parsons, Alex Pinder, Sam Robinson, Paulo Teixeira, Samantha Thomas, Hannah Toy, Russell Walker, Sasha Wareham and Libby Watts.

Wednesday, May 24

On the Town opening night postponed

Drew McOnie's production of On the Town at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has postponed its press night by one week due to the incapacity of one of of actor Fred Haig (playing Chip) who has broken his foot. The cast includes Danny Mac (Hollyoaks, Wicked), Lizzy Connolly (The Wild Party) and Maggie Steed.

A statement released by the show said: "Whilst there is an understudy for the role, this combined with poor weather conditions during technical rehearsals, means that the production has had to make the difficult decision to delay the press performances."

The show was due to officially open on Thursday 25 May, will now hold press performances on 30th and 31st May with reviews embargoed until 11pm on 31st  May 2017.

Monday, May 22

Casting for The Other Palace production of Heathers the Musical

Casting has been announced for the work-in-progress production of Heathers the Musical which runs at The Other Palace Studio from 30 May to 3 June.

Heathers The Musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers.

Book, Music & Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde & Bat Boy) & Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness & Desperate Housewives). Original production directed by Andy Fickman.

Charlotte Wakefield (Sound of Music) will lead the cast as Veronica Sawyer alongside Jamie Muscato (Bend it Like Beckham) as JD and Liam Doyle (Wicked) as Kurt.

The titular roles will be played by Amy Ross (Kinky Boots) as Heather Chandler, Sophie Isaacs (Kinky Boots) as Heather McNamara and Gabrielle Dodson (42nd Street) as Heather Duke.

They will be joined by Simon Bailey, Lizzie Bea, Dominic Andersen, Rebecca Lock, Andy Brady, Jack North, Lauren Rae and Maimuna Memon.

Tickets for Heathers the Musical

Cast announced for Crazy For You Tour starring Tom Chambers and Caroline Flack

Jamie Wilson and Gavin Kalin have just announced that Charlotte Wakefield will play ‘Polly’ in the national tour  of “CRAZY FOR YOU” joining the previously announced Tom Chambers as ‘Bobby’ and Caroline Flack as ‘Irene’.

Charlotte Wakefield made her West End debut as Wendla in “Spring Awakening”, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award. She played ‘Maria’ in the critically acclaimed production of “The Sound of Music” at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre receiving nominations for Best Actress in a Musical at both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards. Her other theatre credits include Sophie in “Mamma Mia!” in the West End, Truly Scrumptious in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and Laurey in “Oklahoma!”, both on national tour.

Tom Chambers created the role of Jerry Travers in the West End musical “Top Hat”, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 2008 he won the 6th season of “Strictly Come Dancing”. He can currently be seen in the hit BBC drama “Casualty” and his other TV credits include “Holby City” and “Waterloo Road”. His recent stage credits include “Private Lives” and “White Christmas” in the West End.

Caroline Flack won the 12th season of “Strictly Come Dancing” in 2014. She currently presents ITV’s “Love Island” and her previous presenting credits include “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here NOW!” and “The Xtra Factor”. She has also presented “The X Factor”. Prior to presenting, Caroline trained in musical theatre.

The cast is completed by Arthur Boan, Daniel Bolton, Holly Cassar, Neil Ditt, Kate-Anne Fenton, Cristopher Fry, Stacey Ghent, Matthew James Hinchcliffe, Kieran Kuypers, Kate Milner-Evans, Emma Jane Morton, Kate Robson-Stuart, Ned Rudkins-Stow, Seren Sandham-Davies and Mark Sangster.

Latest news on Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again movie

Mamma Mia! remains one of the biggest box office hits, ever - pulling in £550 million worldwide so it comes as no surprise that Executives at Universal Pictures  have confirmed a sequel to 2008's Mamma Mia! - nearly ten years after its release.

The eagerly-anticipated follow-up,  has the sub-title: Mamma Mia; Here We Go Again and has been given a theatrical release of July 20, 2018, although it could be slightly delayed if post-production exceeds provisional deadlines

Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried are all due to reprise their roles, with casting agents are also approaching actors including Christine Baranski.The soundtrack will feature  ABBA tracks that weren't included in the original movie.

The script will be written London-born writer Ol Parker, who created The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Mamma Mia! the musical is currently running at the Novello Theatre in London's West End and is also on tour until March 2018. Last year the show became the eighth longest-running show in London theatre history, as well as various international productions.

Sunday, May 21

Niamh Perry and Brian Gilligan to star in Once musical this summer

Niamh Perry is starring  in the the multi award-winning musical Once which returns to the Olympia Theatre in Dublin from June 30th and runs to August 26th.

The West End star came to prominence in the BBC1 talent show I'd Do Anything and starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies after he created a role especially for her,  will play the lead role of 'Girl'  opposite opposite Brian Gilligan, who starred in The Commitments musical for over a year-  She  is just ending  a run in the musical Whisper House in London, and will be part of an all Irish cast of 12, who play 30 instruments between them in the show that has been described as a 'love song to Dublin'.

Based on the movie sensation of the same name, filmed and set in Dublin, Once features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and has won eight Tony awards including Best Musical and a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. The movie version also picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song for Falling Slowly.

Buy tickets for Once