Thursday, March 23

Asmeret Ghebremichael takes over role of Lorrell in Dreamgirls


Broadway's Asmeret Ghebremichael has joined the  cast of Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre playing Lorrell Robinson. She is  taking over the role from  Ibinabo Jack who  has withdrawn from the production due to health reasons

Her Broadway credits include Legally Blonde, Elf The Musical, Spamalot and Wicked. She also starred in The Book of Mormon in the West End and on Broadway, and appeared in the US television production The Wiz Live!

Casting for new musical After You

Liam Doyle and Laura Tebbutt are to star in a new musical After You, which premieres at Live at Zedel from 13th  to 22nd  April.
With music by Alex Parker and a book and lyrics by Katie Lam, the musical will be directed by Alastair Knights

Doyle's credits include UK tours of Ghost, Legally Blonde and Wicked. Tebbutt was most recently seen in Into the Woods at the Menier Chocolate Factory and has also starred in Les Miserables, Love Me Tender and Andrew Lloyd Webber's How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Tickets for After You

Joseph to return to London this Christmas?

According to several red top newspapers this morning,  Andrew Lloyd Webber is trying  to woo One Direction's Liam Payne to star in a new  production  of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which is set to return to London around Christmas this year, marking it the first time the show has played the West End since 2009. It is currently on tour until the end of October starring Factor winner Joe McElderry in the title role.

A source told The Sun, "Andrew has told those involved that his dream signing is Liam. He thinks he can bring so much to the role of Joseph, he's a natural performer." adding "there was talk of other pop stars being approached but he wants to keep the bar high and they don't come much bigger than One Direction." One Direction have been on hiatus since last year to focus on their own work, and Liam has since been working on his debut solo album. A source close to the singer said, "Liam won't do this, he is focusing on his debut solo album and this is the opposite of something he would do."

Friday, March 17

Oliver Tompsett, Preeya Kalidas, George Maguire and Sabrina Aloueche among performers at West End Big Busk Gala

West End Big Busk (in association with Joel Marvin) is to  present a charity gala evening at The Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End ay 8:00 pm on Tuesday April 11th  in aid of the Passage Charity who support London's homeless .

The show will be hosted TV's Dr Ranj Singh (ITV's This Morning, CBeebies' Get Well Soon) and will feature performances from Olivier Award Winner George Maguire (The Busker's Opera, Sunny Afternoon, Lift) and a stellar cast of vocalists, including Sabrina Aloueche (The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Les Miserables, We Will Rock You), Bronte Barbe (The Wild Party, Shrek, BBC's Over The Rainbow), Richard Hadfeld (Britain's Got Talent Winner with Collabro), Preeya Kalidas (Eastenders, School Of Rock, Bend It Like Beckham, Bombay Dreams), Joel Montague (School Of Rock, Funny Girl, Urinetown), Cameron Sharp (School Of Rock, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rock Of Ages, Avenue Q), Oliver Tompsett (Guys And Dolls, Wicked, Rock Of Ages, We Will Rock You) .

The Adam Street Singers will perform material from their recent sold out concert at the Lost Theatre, Found At The Lost, as well as backing some of the solo performers. Additional performers will be announced at a later date.

West End Big Busk was founded in 2015 by actor/singer/songwriter Alex James Ellison as a project aiming to bring West End performers onto the streets to busk and raise money for The Passage. At two busking events in March and June 2015 in Cardinal Place, Victoria, they raised over £1000 for the homeless charity. Performers at these events included Luke Baker , Danny Colligan, Jordan Lee Davies, Brian Gilligan, Jodie Jacobs, Jamie Muscato, Luke Newton, Katie Payne, Cameron Sharp, Jordan Shaw and Jodie Steele. 

Casting announced for new tour of Footloose The Musical starring Gareth Gates and Maureen Nolan

Footloose: The Musical is due to go on the road again  in the Spring. It will again star  Gareth Gates as Willard and Maureen Nolan as Vi Moore,who will be joined by Joshua Dowen as Ren McCormack, the role immortalised on screen by Kevin Bacon. Joshua’s stage credits include Dogfight at Southwark Playhouse, Cool Rider at the Duchess Theatre and All or Nothing at the Vaults Festival.

The cast also features Hannah Price (reprising her performance from the 2016 tour) as Ariel Moore, Reuven Gershon (Let It Be, West End and Broadway) as Reverend Shaw, Lindsay Goodhand (Crazy For You, Watermill Theatre) as Ethel McCormack, Laura Sillett (Grease, International Tour) as Rusty, Connor Going (The Pirates of Penzance, Sh*tfaced Shakesepare) as Chuck, Emma Fraser (The Vaudevillians, Les Enfants Terribles) as Wendy Jo, Gracie Lai (Avenue Q, UK Tour) as Urleen, Tomas Wolstenhome (Once, West End) as Bickle, Dominic Gee Burch as Jeter and Alex Marshall (Buddy, UK Tour) as Wes. The cast also includes Luke Dowling, Grace Lancaster, Laurence Libor, Jamie Ross and Lauren Storer.

West End all star cast perform The Color Purple Concert

It has just been announced that An all-star West End will perform a  concert version of The Color Purple at London’s Cadogan Hall for one night only on Sunday 21st May at 6.00pm.
The Color Purple is being staged to raised funds for The British Theatre Academy, a performing arts programme that has inspired and nurtured the talent of thousands of young performers over the past 30 years. The concert will feature a chorus of over 40 current BTA participants.

The cast features:

Wendy Mae Brown (as Sofia) West End roles include Oda Mae Brown in the original cast of Ghost the Musical; Hattie in Kiss Me Kate; Serena in Porgy and Bess; Joanne in Rent.

Cavin Cornwall (Mister) Currently appearing in Disney’s Aladdin at the Prince Edward. He was Caiaphas in the recent Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Other West End roles include Curtis Shanks in Sister Act; Crown in Porgy & Bess; Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Tyrone Huntley (Harpo) Currently appearing as C.C. White in Dreamgirls at the Savoy. He won the Emerging Talent Award at the Evening Standard Awards and has been nominated Best Actor in a Musical at this year’s Olivier Award for his Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. He also appeared in the original London casts of Memphis and The Book of Mormon.

Rachel John (Shug)  Recently returned from Toronto where she played the role of Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard, also in the West End. Other West End roles include Felicia in Memphis; The Lion King; Sister Act; three years as Meat in We Will Rock You. It has recently been announced that Rachel will play Angelica in the UK première of Hamilton.

Hugh Maynard (Pa) West End roles include John in the most recent revival of Miss Saigon (nominated Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Musical in Broadway World Awards and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical in the WhatsOnStage Awards); Simba in The Lion King; Clopin in Notre Dame de Paris; Marvin Gaye in Dancing in the Streets; Sister Act. He recently became the first black performer in the UK to play the iconic role of Sweeney Todd.

Seyi Omooba (Nettie)  Currently appearing in Headlong’s Junkyard at Bristol Old Vic. She received rave reviews as Sarah’s Friend in Ragtime at Charing Cross Theatre.

Marisha Wallace (Celie) The American star of Dreamgirls, she is currently the alternate Effie at the Savoy. Her Broadway shows include the original casts of Something Rotten! and Disney’s Aladdin.

Creative team:
Musical Director James Taylor
Choreographer Mykal Rand
Producer Matthew Chandler
Producer and Casting Director Danielle Tarento.

Last Summer the BTA presented The Secret Garden at the Ambassadors Theatre for a month-long West End season and Godspell (featuring West End and Broadway stars Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo and George Maguire) together with pupils from the Academy. Altogether, over 500 outstanding cast members wowed the audiences all summer long!

The BTA is auditioning for young people to take part in The Color Purple. You can register at www.thecolorpurple.co.uk

Tickets for The Color Purple Concert

Thursday, March 16

Details of this year's West End Bake Off

Acting For Others theatrical charity has announced details  for London’s third annual West End Bake Off which will be held will be held on Saturday 20th  May at St. Paul’s Church Actors' Church , Bedford Street, London. The event is free to members of the public to attend with judging beginning at 10.30am and the winners announced at 11:00 am when it opens for the public to buy cakes and signed posters while mingling with casts and crews from participating shows.

The cast and crew of The Secret Garden won last year’s successful fundraiser  raised over £6,000 offering  freshly baked cakes and sweets with West End theatre stars to raise money for Acting For Others which  offers emotional and financial support to members of the entertainment industry who have fallen on hard times representing 15 UK theatrical charities.

In 2016 teams from 20 top West End shows competed to impress judges Michael Ball, Christopher Biggins and Barbara Windsor with their baking skills.
 
Acting For Others can be supported by donating at Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/ctafo

Wednesday, March 15

Danny Mac joining cast of Drew McOnie's On the Town at Regent's Park

Casting has just been announced for On The Town which Drfew McOnie will direct at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre this summer.

A 1949 film version starred Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin telling the story of three American sailors who hit New York on 24-hour shore leave determined to see the sights, and meet three women. The musical will remain set in 1944 with the roles of the three sailors Gabey, Chip and Ozzie will be played by Danny Mac, Fred Haig and Jeremy Taylor. Siena Kelly, Lizzy Conolly and Miriam Teak-Lee will pày Ivy, Hildy and Claire. They will be joined by Maggie Steed as Madame Dilly, Naoko Mori as Lucy Schmeeler, Rodney Earl Clarke as the Workman and Mark Heenehan as Judge Pitkin.

Danny Mac (Gabey) was a finalist in Strictly Come Dancing 2016 and, with dancing partner Oti Mabuse, has recently completed the Strictly Come Dancing Live arena tour. Following his training at Arts Educational Schools he played Mark 'Dodger' Savage in Hollyoaks, and went on to join the cast of Wicked (Victoria Apollo).

Fred Haig (Chip) is a recent graduate of LAMDA. Jeremy Taylor (Ozzie) recently played Fiyero in Wicked (Victoria Apollo), and has previously appeared in We Will Rock You (Dominion), The Sound of Music (Palladium and UK tour) and Evita (UK tour).

Siena Kelly (Ivy) and Miriam-Teak Lee (Claire) are both recent graduates of Arts Educational Schools and make their professional West End debuts. Lizzy Connolly (Hildy) is currently appearing in The Wild Party (The Other Palace) having previously appeared in Once In A Lifetime (Young Vic) and as Ellie Goulding in the TV series The Windsors.

Maggie Steed (Madame Dilly) has enjoyed an extensive career on film, television and stage. Film and television highlights include Florence Foster Jenkins, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassis, The Painted Veil, Larkrise to Candleford, Jam and Jerusalem, Pie in the Sky, Victoria Wood's As Seen On TV and the E4 series, Chewing Gum. Her stage career includes roles at the National Theatre, RSC and Royal Court, and recent credits include Richard II (Trafalgar Transformed), The Birthday Party (Manchester Royal Exchange), The School for Scandal (Bath Theatre Royal) and Trelawney of the Wells (Donmar Warehouse).

Naoko Mori (Lucy Schmeeler) played the role of Kim in Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (Noel Coward). Her extensive TV credits include Toshiko Sato in Torchwood, Sarah (aka Titikaka) in Absolutely Fabulous, Doctor Who, Humans, Vexed, and Yoko Ono in Lennon Naked. Her film credits include Everest, Topsy Turvy, Spiceworld, and the upcoming film Life.

Rodney Earl Clarke (The Workman) has appeared in productions of The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte and in the title role of Don Giovanni. He has appeared as Jake in Porgy and Bess for the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, debuted the role of Crown with The Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen, and took the title role with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Sante Cecilia, Rome. In the UK he has performed the Bernstein Mass with the London Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop and Carmen Jones at the Royal Festival Hall.

Mark Heenehan (Judge Pitkin) most recently played Gyp in Jersey Boys (Piccadilly), with previous credits including Fiddler on the Roof (Grange Park Opera), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Kiss Me Kate (Chichester Festival Theatre/Old Vic).

The cast is completed by Michelle Andrews, Myles Brown, Matthew Caputo, Edward Chitticks, Lavinia Fitzpatrick, Cristina Hoey, James Leece, Jacob Maynard, Rachel Muldoon, Melissa Nettleford, Emily Ann Potter, Mollie Melia Redgrave, Lisa Ritchie, Barnaby Thompson, Sam Salter and Brandon Lee Sears.

Friday, March 10

Craig Revel Horwood to direct new musical Son of a Preacher Man featuring hits of Dusty Springfield

Craig Revel Horwood is to  direct a tour of Warner Brown's new musical Son Of A Preacher Man:
Louise Redknapp (who is keen to do something in musical theatre and who reached the final of the last series of Strictly Come Dancing on which Revel Horwood was a judge) is being considered for a lead role in a funny and sweetly touching new musical featuring the greatest hits of Dusty Springfield.  

It  looks  at the lives of three broken hearted strangers who are seeking the man who can heal them. The Preacher Man, is a swinging 1960s Soho joint where the kids danced the night away to the latest crazes and dared to dream of love, while the legendary owner, The Preacher Man himself, dispensed advice to cure the loneliest of hearts. Producer John Sachs said the show will use a lot of songs associated with Dusty Springfield, including the title track, which was featured on the classic 1968 Dusty In Memphis album, though it's not about her at all.

Son Of A Preacher Man  will embark on an autumn tour starting at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley from September 4 and is currently due to visit  venues including Manchester, York, Stoke, Oxford and WImbledon.








 

Thursday, March 9

First news and dates for new Jersey Boys UK Tour

Jersey Boys closes at the Piccadilly Theatre  in London's  West End later this month after a run of nine years.  It has just announced that it will set out on a second tour at the end of 2017 (the show previously toured the UK in 2014-15),  opening at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on December 16th running there until 6th January 2018, before visiting venues  including Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Stoke-on-Trent, Hull, Sunderland and Glasgow. It is currently running until April 14, 2018, with  further dates to  be announced. Booking links to follow shortly.

The tour is directed by Des McAnuff, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Jersey Boys is based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. It is produced by Dodger Theatricals and Ambassador Theatre Group, with Joseph J Grano, Pelican Group, Latitude Link and Rick Steiner.

Wednesday, March 8

Details of open auditions for School of Rock Kids

Open auditions are to  be held to find children for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical School of Rock throughout the year. They  will be held in Cardiff (25th  March), London (23rd and 25th May, and 20th and 22nd November), Sheffield (10th June), Birmingham (15th July) and Liverpool (23rd September).

To be considered, children must be under five feet tall and aged between 8 and 12 years old. Click here for more information and to register.

Jersey Boys International Tour Announced

The Jersey Boys ends its run at the Piccadilly Theatre on 26th March, and it has just been announced that it is to go on a an international  tour starting  in October of this year.  Selladoor, who have previously toured productions of Avenue Q, James and The Giant Peach and Seussical around the world, will take the production to Dubai and China opening  at the Dubai Opera on 11th October before heading off to Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Beijing, with further dates to be announced.

Selladoor have also announced a deal to tour a new production of The Producers worldwide later this year. Further details are yet to be announced.

David Hutchinson, executive creative producer of Selladoor said: 'With the tour of Jersey Boys announced today and at least one other large scale production in the pipeline to tour internationally in the autumn, we are making huge steps towards achieving our goal to present work to the widest possible audience.We are committed to expanding our connections and goals internationally and in the wake of turbulent political horizons are driven to continue to break down cultural borders and build solid worldwide partnerships.'