Thursday, April 24

Helen Hobson & Jerome Pradon in Picture Perfect: A New Musical

Picture Perfect: A New Musical explores love and relationships using the songs of award-winning American composer Scott Evan Davis. Conceived and directed by Simon Greiff it will  premiere at the St James Studio with four performances on Saturday 31st May and Sunday 1st June.

Josh is graduating college and preparing to face the future - whatever that may bring! Unlucky in love, he wonders whether the right person is out there for him. Ellie, on her gap year from her law degree, wonders whether she’s making the right decisions in life - both professional and personal! Harry and Elizabeth, Josh’s parents, are also at a turning point in their lives - with Harry inadvertently starting an affair with a younger woman, and Elizabeth believing now is the time to finally leave her husband. Is anything ‘Picture Perfect’?

The cast features  West End stars. Helen Hobson -  starring roles include Donna in Mamma Mia! and Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers as well as playing the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music in Regent’s Park. Jerome Pradon - roles include Javert in Les Miserables, Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings and The Man in Whistle Down the Wind. Lucie Jones was recently in American Psycho at the Almeida and played Meatloaf in the international tour of We Will Rock You. She also played Cosette in Les Miserables in the West End. Joel Harper-Jackson has just appeared in the Rent 20th Anniversary tour. 

 Tickets for Picture Perfect 


Jonathan Wilkes and Jason Donovan as Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun

Jonathan Wilkes and Jason Donovan at Annie Get Your Gun photo shoot. 

The show also stars Emma Williams (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Annie Oakley and Norman Pace (Chicago) as Buffalo Bill (until September).

They are sharing the role of Frank Butler in the tour which starts at Manchester Opera House 12th May.


London Revival of How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

All Star Productions is presenting  The Pulitzer Prize-winning Frank Loesser Musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre in Walthamstow, East London, from 6th-24th May.

This musical was last seen in the West End in the 1960s and revived in Chichester in 2005. It tells the story of young, ambitious J Pierrepont Finch, who, with the help of the book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, rises from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company.

Cast includes Adam Pettigrew, Alyssa Nicol, Mark Turnbull, Amy Burke, Adam Mitchell, Charlotte Tooth, Tony Rosenberg, Annie Wensak, Harry Stone, Geraldine Allen, Josh Wilmott, Lizzie McConachie, Haley- Jo Whitney, Nicholas Devlin and Benjamin Newhouse-Smith.

Tickets for  How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying


Forbidden Broadway at the Menier in June

An updated version of New York's longest running comedy revue Forbidden Broadway is being presented at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 19th June - 16th August 2014.

Forbidden Broadway sends up shows and their stars winning numerous awards including the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue, the Special Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, six additional Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards.

This updated version of the show, from Broadway's director Phillip George, showcases productions from both Broadway and the West End including The Book of Mormon, Once, Matilda, Wicked and Miss Saigon!

Tickets for Forbidden Broadway


Mamma Mia! Cast Changes

From Monday 9th June Mamma Mia! will welcome new cast members to the show at the Novello Theatre.

Rebecca Lock ( The Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q and Mary Poppins) will be joining the cast as Rosie, Alasdair Harvey (We Will Rock You, Forbidden Broadway and Sunday in the Park with George) as Harry, Charles Daish (Race, A Streetcar Named Desire)as Bill, Alice Stokoe as Sophie Sheridan and Lloyd Green as Sky (both making their professional stage debuts).

Also joining the cast will be Rosanna Bates (Ali), Brodie McBride (Lisa), James Alexander Gibbs (Pepper) and James Alan-Evans (Eddie).

Dianne Pilkington will continue to star as Donna Sheridan, with Kim Ismay as Tanya and Richard Trinder as Sam. At certain performances the role of Donna Sheridan will be played by Shona White.


Wednesday, April 23

Douglas Hodge Musical Meantime

Douglas Hodge has just been talking to Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 and mentioned working on his musical Meantime when he stops playing Willy Wonka and leaves Charlie & the Chocolate Factory on 17th May.

Hodge has He has released two albums of his own compositions: Cowley Road Songs and Nightbus which won the Stiles and Drewe 2012 Best New Song Award for Powercut from his musical Meantime which is a love story set across 50 years. He co-wrote it with Aschlin Ditta in November 2008. Ditta is an old friend of his from the National Youth Theatre who wrote a film he did called Scenes of a Sexual Nature.

Meantime was taken up a few years ago by producer Matthew Byam Shaw and workshopped with Sheila Hancock, Catherine Tate, Lara Pulver, David Haig and Jason Pennycooke (who was in La Cage aux Folles with him at the time).

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Friday, April 18

New Movie Biopic of Lionel Bart starring Geoffrey Rush

According to Baz in today's Mail,  Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush is committed to portraying the older Lionel Bart in a new movie musical which uses the composer's songs to tell his rags to riches and then broke again story.

Director Vadim Jean is working on the biopic with writer and composer Elliot Davis who was one of several music students Bart hired to help him transcribe his scores. Peter Darling (Billy Elliot, Matilda and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory) is the choreographer  for the movie which Jean hopes to start filming this autumn.

Jean, BBC Films executives and a casting director are currently searching for an actor to portray the composer between the ages of 28 and 35.  He will then look for actors to portray Barbara Windsor, George Sewell, Miriam Karlin and others in the East End troupe assembled by Joan Littlewood at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East for Bart’s Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be. (Which is about to be revived at Stratford East from 8th May with Jessie Wallace, Gary Kemp. Ryan Molloy and Stefan Booth).


Here Lies Love David Byrne and Fatboy Slim rock musical to open at the National in October

The National Theatre will open its renamed and reformed Cottesloe as the Dorfman Theatre)  in October with Here Lies Love which is a new rock musical about Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines along with the woman who raised her (Estrella Cumpas)  until she and her family were forced to leave the Philippines

The show charts the rise of Ferdinand Marcos and his wife to the tune of a disco beat.  It has been created by former Talking Heads front man David Byrne and  DJ Fatboy Slim. The acclaimed New York production ( it has just returned to the Public Theatre for a second run) will again be directed by Alex Timbers.

The title of the concept album and musical is taken from a comment made by Imelda Marcos during a visit to her husband Ferdinand Marcos's embalmed body when she said that  she would like the phrase "Here Lies Love" to be inscribed on her tombstone.

Byrne has incorporated speeches made by Marcos and his wife into the lyrics of his songs with the action set in a disco that constantly changes shape, dancers moving around raised adjustable platforms with the audience standing and moved around as the set is transformed.  The set is surrounded by two dozen TV screens filled with footage and facts on politics in the Philippines.