Friday, June 24

Broadway's The Waitress to open in London next Spring?

The hit Broadway musical The Waitress  (where Jessie Mueller, who won a Tony for her portrait of Carole King in Beautiful, plays the title character)
is aiming to open in the West End in Spring 2017 subject to a suitable theatre being found.

The musical  opened in New York in April and has a score by Sara Bareilles with book by Jessie Nelson and is based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly.  It tells the story of Jenna who  works in a diner in a small Southern town and is a genius at creating luscious desserts, but her marriage to  overbearing lout Earl makes happiness impossible. She finds some escape through camaraderie with her colleagues at the diner and  by baking fantastic pies.

When she discovers she is pregnant, she makes plans to skip town before her condition is obvious. However, she begins an affair with the new town doctor , who is the only one who knows her secret.


Louise Dearman joins Ramin Karimloo at Palladium Concert next month

Ramin Karimloo is performing for one night only at the London Palladium with his band on Saturday 16th July following two sold out concerts at Islington’s Union Chapel and the Assembly Hall earlier this year. The West End and Broadway star  will perform his Broadgrass material including songs from Broadway, Bluegrass and beyond.

The show will be directed by Peter Taylor with  Louise Dearman will join Ramin for a  duet. The band includes Sergio Ortega, Hadley Fraser and Alan Markley with backing vocals from Katie Birtill.

Tickets for Ramin Karimloo at the Palladium


Jonathan Bailey & Samantha Barks to star in The Last Five Years

Jason Robert Brown is  to direct Jonathan Bailey and Samantha Barks in a  revival of his musical The Last Five Years in London at the St James Theatre  from Friday 27 October to 26th November, with a press night on Wednesday 2 November at 7.00pm.

Tickets are on sale to St. James Friends at 10.00am on Friday 24 June, and on general sale at 10.00am on Saturday 25 June.

The musical  premiered at Chicago's Northlight Theatre in 2001 and was then produced Off-Broadway in March 2002. Since then it has had numerous productions both in the United States and internationally. The 2014 American musical comedy-drama film starred Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.

The musical chronicles the five year romance between Jamie Wellerstein and Cathy Hiatt . However, it does not take place in chronological order: all of Cathy's songs begin after they have separated and move backwards in time to the beginning of their courtship, while Jamie's songs start when they have first met and proceeds through their crumbling marriage. Cathy's first song, (Still Hurting), begins at the point of break-up and runs backwards; while Jamie's tale starts at the beginning of the relationship, with an almost salsa number (Shiksa Goddess), and hurtles forward with his testimony. The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle as their timelines cross. They both have to sing  six or seven difficult songs, standing alone on stage, testing their endurance and level of technique.

Samantha Barks will play Cathy. She is best known for playing Eponine in Les Miserables, a role she played in the West End, the 25th Anniversary Concerts at the O2, and in the 2012 film adaptation alongside Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Eddie Redmayne. Samantha came to prominence as a finalist on BBC’s I’d Do Anything, and later played Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s touring production of Oliver!. Recent theatre credits include the title role in the world premiere of Amelie – A New Musical (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Mallory/Avril in City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) and Sally Bowles in Cabaret (UK Tour). Recent film credits include Interlude in Prague (Stillking Films), Bitter Harvest (Devil’s Harvest Productions), The Canary (Pioneer Pictures), the voice of Miss Acacia in Jack & The Cuckoo-Clock Heart (EuropaCorp) and The Christmas Candle (Pinewood Studios). Samantha also recently released her debut eponymous album “Samantha Barks” and is currently on a nationwide tour.

 Jonathan Bailey will play Jamie. He is best known for television roles including reporter Olly Stevens in ITV’s Broadchurch and Leonardo Da Vinci in BBC’s Leonardo, with other recent credits including W1A (BBC), Doctor Who (BBC), Crashing (Channel 4), Campus (Channel 4) and the upcoming Hooten and the Lady (Sky). Jonathan is also currently shooting the next series of Michaela Cole's Chewing Gum (E4). Theatre credits include American Psycho (Almeida Theatre), Othello (National Theatre) and South Downs (Harold Pinter Theatre), with film credits including 5 Children and It, Testament of Youth and the upcoming Crowhurst biopic The Mercy with Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, which is to be released next year. 

The Last Five Years was inspired by Brown's failed marriage to Theresa O'Neill. O'Neill threatened legal action on the grounds the story of the musical represented her relationship with Brown too closely, and Brown changed the song "I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You" to "Shiksa Goddess" in order to reduce the similarity between the character Cathy and O'Neill.

The Last Five Years is written and directed by Jason Robert Brown, with musical direction by Torquil Munro. Casting is by Pippa Ailion. It is produced by Hilary and Stuart Williams in association with Paul Taylor-Mills

Burt Bacharach's Promises, Promises to be revived at the Southwark Playhouse in January

Burt Bacharach's Promises, Promises to be revived at the Southwark Playhouse in January 2017 which is the first time it  has been staged in London since the original West End production in 1969. The show premiered on Broadway in 1968 starring Jerry Orbach (who won a Tony for his role) and Jill O'Hara.

The first London production opened the following year with Tony Roberts and Betty Buckley. The show was last revived in New York in 2010, featuring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth when director Rob Ashford added two standard classics - I Say A Little Prayer and A House Is Not A Home - which will be included in the Southwark production.

This is the show for which Bacharach wrote the songs with Hal David, using a book by Neil Simon, based on Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning movie The Apartment. The film was a satire on the American way of doing business with Jack Lemmon playing a sap who gives male executives the key to his flat so they can  "party". Lemmon's character ends up falling for one of the young women enticed into the pad (Shirley MacLaine). Songs include I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Whoever You Are and Turkey Lurkey Time.

Casting news  to followBooking opens on July 13th.


Thursday, June 23

Arlene Phillips to direct 27 new British Rock Musical

Arlene Phillips is to direct the world premiere of 27  new British rock musical which  will run at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone for  6 weeks from Thursday 8th September to Saturday 22nd October

27 is a dark interpretation of one of humanity’s oldest stories, written and co-directed by Sam Cassidy about Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Curt Cobain, Jm Morrison and Amy Winehouse: all music legends whose lives were tragically cut short at 27. Orpheus is a would-be rock star turned icon whose experiences of fame and notoriety lead him on a journey of unstoppable self-destruction. Another name for the list. At the tender age of 27. Another star, extinguished…featuring 13 musical numbers and a cast of 15, it is a shattering exploration of the fragility of life and the unwitting connections that bind us together. This rock musical with original lyrics and score serves up songs to die for and killer guitar riffs and will take you somewhere you probably didn’t think existed anymore.

Arlene Phillips said ‘I love working on projects that shout out “we are different”. Working on the fringe of the arts, which I have been doing more of in these last couple of years, I find really exciting. 27 has a powerful and emotional message that evokes so many memories of not just Amy Winehouse but so many others who began with a prodigious talent that eventually destroys them. It is a musical that could connect to so many people of different ages. The musical appeals to me because it was written by a young writer, Sam Cassidy, who has the power in his music to take the audience from one moment of joy to instant tears of sorrow. Casting this show won’t be easy because we need true actors who are able to get into the depth of the roles, and like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sam writes music that is only possible for a few to sing, and of course, I want them to dance!

Casting is to be announced.

Tickets for 27


Cast for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro

Full casting has been  announced today for the  professional European première of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Allegro was their third collaboration for the stage following Oklahoma! and Carousel,  and which opened on Broadway in 1947. The show  will open for a six-week run in The Large at Southwark Playhouse from Friday 5th August until Saturday 10th September.

It is produced by Danielle Tarento and directed by Thom Southerland, the award-winning team behind Grey Gardens, Grand Hotel, Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel. Southerland is working on a new adaptation of the book and the production will have brand new orchestrations.

Allegro new final posterPlot: In 1905 in a small Midwestern town, the wife of a local doctor gives birth to a baby boy, Joseph Taylor Jr. Allegro chronicles nearly four decades in the life of this average Joe – through his childhood, from college dorm to marriage altar, and on to his own medical career; from the tranquility of his hometown to the hectic din of big city life and a mid-life discovery of who he is and what his life is truly about, ultimately learning the most important lessons of all – the value of family, that money isn’t everything and that home really is where the heart is.

The cast includes Katie Bernstein (Emily West)/Peggy in Mrs Henderson Presents, Emily Bull (Jennie Brinker)/Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd at the ENO and Cosette in Les Misérables, David Delve (Ned Brinker)/ Colonel-Doctor Otternschlag in Grand Hotel at Southwark Playhouse, Julia J Nagle (Marjorie Taylor)/West End and tour in Dirty Dancing, Dylan Turner (Charlie Townsend)/ Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Chariots of Fire and Rock Of Ages, Susan Travers (Grandma Taylor)/ Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s State Fair at Trafalgar Studios, Gary Tushaw (Joseph Taylor Jr)/ Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd at the ENO and Steve Watts (Dr Taylor)/ Chariots Of Fire. They are joined by Cassandra McCowan, Matthew McDonald, Louise Olley, Benjamin Purkiss, Jacqueline Tate, Samuel Thomas, Leah West and Matthew Woodyatt.

The full creative team are: Director Thom Southerland, Orchestrator Mark Cumberland, Musical Director Dean Austin, Choreographer Lee Proud, Set Designer Anthony Lamble, Costume Designer Jonathan Lipman, Lighting Designer Derek Anderson, Sound Designer Andrew Johnson, and Producer and Casting Director Danielle Tarento.

Tickets for Allegro


Kristin Chenoweth joins Harvey Fierstein and Jennifer Hudson in Hairspray LIVE

Kristin Chenoweth has joined the cast of NBC’s Hairspray LIVE which will be broadcast on 7th December 2016.

She will be playing  Velma Von Tussle, joining  Harvey Fierstein who, as well as writing the screenplay for the live broadcast, will reprise the role of Edna Turnblad which he originated on Broadway.

The cast also includes Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad and Derek Hough as Corny Collins, Kenny Leon (director of "The Wiz Live!") and Hairspray's original Broadway choreographer Jerry Mitchell with Maddie Baillio making her professional debut as Tracy.


Casting for premiere of Burnt Part Boys Musical

The European premiere of the chamber musical The Burnt Part Boys will be staged at the Park Theatre opening on 11th August (previews from 10th August) for a limited run to 3rd September. This is  the first musical to be staged in Park90.

The Burnt Part Boys ran off-Broadway in 2010. It has music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen, who co-wrote Tuck Everlasting which recently closed on Broadway.  Book is by Mariana Elder.

The Burnt Part Boys is a coming of age story, following a group of teenagers living under the shadow of tragic mining accident, which claimed the lives of their fathers ten years prior.  With a masterfully orchestrated and arranged score that will engross and mesmerize. It is being erformed by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York.

The cast includes David Haydn (Americana) as Dad, Ryan Heenan (The Sound of Music) as Dusty, Chris Jenkins (Billy Elliot) as Jake, David Leopold (Uncle Vanya) as Chet, Grace Osborn (Love Story) as Frances and Joseph Peacock (West Side Story) as Pete. They are joined by Danny Black-George, Tomas Wolstenholme, Jonathan Bourne and Jamie Fillery.

Tickets for Burnt Part Boys