Friday, January 20

Tracie Bennett to star in new musical Concert The Sorcerer's Apprentice

The Sorcerer's Apprentice which is inspired by the poem by Goethe is now a  new musical by Ben Frost and Richard Hough. It will be performed in two concerts  directed by Ryan McBryde with musical direction by Seann Alderking. The cast includes Tracie Bennett, Blair Gibson, Neil McDermott, Naomi Petersen, Nigel Richards and Jos Slovick with narration by Jan Ravens.

The writers have put their own spin on the story for this new musical, which reimagines the apprentice as the rebellious daughter of a master magician. Their new version explores this relationship between a father and daughter, and whether magic can help them repair it.

The first concert is on Tuesday 7th  February at 7:00 pm  being the opening event for the newly renovated Broadway Theatre in Letchworth, and the second is  on Wednesday 8th  February at 7.30pm at  the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End.

Natalie Casey joins cast of Stepping Out at Vaudeville

Natalie Casey is to  join the cast of Stepping Out when it comes to the Vaudeville Theatre on 14th March. She is best known for her roles as Carol Groves in Hollyoaks and Donna in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Her stage credits include Fame, Legally Blonde and Abigail's Party.

Richard Harris' play is directed by Maria Friedman and designed by Robert Jones with choreography by Tim Jackson.The cast also includes Amanda Holden, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Tamzin Outhwaite and Nicola Stephenson.

Tickets for Stepping Out

Gary Barlow's The Girls offering free Dress Rehearsal tickets to NHS nurses.

NHS nurses can get two free tickets  to watch the dress rehearsal of new musical The Girls, by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, at 2:30 pm on Saturday, January 28th. Producer David Pugh said he wanted to do something for nurses, who he feels  are underappreciated

They have to show their NHS ID card to pick up tickets in person at the Phoenix Theatre box office when it opens at 10:00 am prior to the musical’s first preview that night.

Pinocchio to play National over Christmas

Baz has revealed in today's Mail that the National Theatre are producing  the world premiere of Pinocchio this Christmas in the Lyttelton. It will  feature songs from the classic Disney 1940's animated film including  I’ve Got No Strings, Give A Little Whistle, When You Wish Upon A Star and Hi Diddle Dee Dee; plus tunes from the Disney back catalogue (particularly the studio’s Italian Alpine repertoire). Pinocchio will be played by an actor with some parts performed by puppets.

It is  a huge coup for the NT to be directed by John Tiffany, whose stage hits include Harry Potter And The Cursed Child and although based partly on the 1940 Disney picture and  it will be adapted in a brand new way by writer Dennis Kelly, who wrote the book for Matilda the Musical. (Kelly has replaced Enda Walsh who withdrew because of his heavy workload.)

Rufus Norris, director of the National said  that the National was not receiving ‘one cent’ from Disney who have granted the rights to songs and story.

Tiffany is working with frequent collaborators Bob Crowley, who’s doing sets, costumes and co-designing puppets. Steven Hoggatt will do the choreography. Toby Olie, the other puppet co-designer, will direct the puppet sequences.It will be essentially set in a puppetry workshop staying true to the original  Collodi story. Martin Lowe is overseeing the music. He and Tiffany were allowed unfettered access to songs by Thomas Schumacher — president of Disney Theatricals.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in the summer. 

Wednesday, January 18

Jodie Prenger to star in tour of Fat Friends musical

Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel have just announced the premiere of the  British musical Fat Friends which is based on the TV drama and  has been adapted for the stage by writer Kay Mellor  with original music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber. Mellor will also direct the show and  said: The musical is funny and sad with a big story and some meaty and memorable songs. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work with Nick Lloyd Webber, who absolutely gets my characters and world.

It will open at Leeds Grand Theatre (tickets on general sale  from 25th January) from  7th  November to 2nd December 2017 followed by an extensive UK tour in 2018: full dates and venues to be announced shortly.

Designed by Bretta Gerecke with musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements from Simon Lee. Jodie Prenger will lead a star company in the role of Kelly Stevenson with further casting to be announced.

This brand new stage show reunites dieting  friends in an original musical full of hopes, humour and heart. Watch the  group of loveable characters  put through their Zumba paces at their local branch of Super Slimmer's by the lovelorn Lauren whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams.

The TV drama was nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA for Best Drama Series and followed the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Running from 2000 for five years on ITV, the show starred Alison Steadman, Sheridan Smith and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones.

Tuesday, January 17

Tour of Sunset Boulevard

With Glenn Close and  some of her London co-stars (Michael Xavier, Siobhan Dillon and Fred Johanson) currently rehearsing the ENO production of Sunset Boulevard on Broadway  to  open at the Palace Theatre on February 9, 2017 playing a limited run for 16 weeks 

It has now been announced that Ria Jones will star in a new production of Sunset Boulevard as part of Leicester Curve's new season followed by a UK tour. Ria Jones understudied and stepped in for Glenn Close to great critical acclaim when she was taken ill during the show's run at the London Coliseum.

Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster will direct the show which runs September 16-30, 2017 at the Curve (where booking opens shortly)
Foster told the the Leicester Mercury: "Sunset Boulevard is an astonishingly intelligent, complex score, probably Lloyd Webber's most sophisticated piece, but he's always wanted a Hollywood legend to play the role. Ria is a phenomenal leading lady in her own right, but when she took over from Glenn Close at the Coliseum he realised we had the right ingredients to make something really special. Norma is a monstrous, vulnerable, tragic character and the show is truly theatrical - big, ballsy, epic and a visceral experience. I can't wait."

Further casting news and tour dates to follow.

Friday, January 13

Cast for next tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

As previously announced  X Factor favourite JOE McELDERRY will once again wear the world’s most famous coat in the UK’s longest running musical, as the 2017 national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat kicks off at GLive, Guildford on 24th January.

Britain's Got Talent  Lucy Kay will return as the Narrator with  Benjamin James-Ellis who was a semi-finalist on the hit TV show Any Dream Will Do as Pharoah. Since then Ben has starred in a European tour of Dirty Dancing, and as Link Larkin in the West End run of Hairspray for two years. The cast is completed by Henry Metcalfe/Jacob/Potiphar, Sallie-Beth Lawless/Mrs Potiphar/Handmaiden, Matt Jolly/Brother (Frenchman), Darren Charles/Brother (Calypso) , Lloyd Green/Brother (u/s Pharaoh), Matthew McCabe/Brother (One More Angel) , George Knapper/Brother (Benjamin), Michael Lapham/Brother (u/s Benjamin), Michael Colbourne/Brother (u/s Joseph) , Lewis Asquith/Brother (Butler) , Richard J Hunt/Brother (Baker) and Amana Jones/Handmaiden (u/s Narrator) with Will Breckin, Kevin Grogan and Gemma Pipe.

Thursday, January 12

Sheridan Smith to star in Clean Break ITV Drama Series

Sheridan Smith who is shortly reprising her role as Fanny Brice for a National UK tour of the hit musical FUNNY GIRL, is to star as a strong and complicated female lead character in CLEAN BREAK new six-part ITV drama series titled  which will follow "an ordinary working class woman who is caught between two worlds - the everyday life of a devoted and loving mother and the darker, dangerous world of insider trading."

Smith will portray office cleaner Sam, described as one of an invisible army of CLEANERS on a zero-hours contract who clean in the early hours.   With her husband threatening to take custody of their two daughters, 14-years-old Alice and 8-years-old Lily, Sam is being backed into a corner and needs to come out fighting. Set in the contrasting worlds of shiny Canary Wharf and the realities of modern suburbia, Clean Break, explores how far Sam will go to survive, claw back some self-respect and get her life back on track.

Getting back to black is going to be tough and Sam is about to stake everything on the unpredictable world of the Stock Market.  With her trusted band of cleaners gleaning information while the rest of the world sleeps, and in the knowledge insider trading is against the law will Sam tread this dangerous line? Smart, and witty, can Sam overcome her addictive personality?

The series will be directed by Lewis Arnold from a script by Mark Marlow.Commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Polly Hill, Clean Break will be filmed in the London area during the autumn of 2017.

The Barricade Boys London concert with guests Hadley Fraser, Louise Dearman & Rob Houchen

The Barricade Boys have just announced a London concert at the Charing Cross Theatre at 7:00 pm on Sunday 5th February where they made their debut in 2015.

Featuring Scott Garnham, Simon Schofield, Andy Coxon and Kieran Brown with special guests Louise Dearman, Rob Houchen and  Hadley Fraser the Barricade Boys showcase some of the world’s finest male voices from the West End, Broadway, International Tour and Hollywood movie of the world’s longest running musical - Les Misèrables.

They perform some of the world’s greatest show tunes and  also celebrate music from some of the most iconic names in the music industry, from powerful ballads and beautiful operatic arias to some of the best pop, rock and swing numbers of all time. 

The Barricade Boys have played major leading roles in musical theatre and have being guests on many primetime TV shows including, The Paul O’Grady Show,  the Palladium Show, Children In Need, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and most recently Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.

Tickets for The Barricade Boys

Wednesday, January 11

Cast for the new 10th Anniversary Tour of Dreamboats & Petticoats

The the new 10th Anniversary tour of Dreamboats & Petticoats starts at Windsor Theatre Royal on 25th January.

The cast has just been announced with Jimmy Johnston as Phil/Older Bobby: Alistair Higgins as Bobby: Alistair Hill as Norman: Elizabeth Carter as Laura: Laura Darton as Sue: Gracie Johnson as Donna;:David Luke as Ray: Henry Alexander as Colin: Jay Osborne as Richard: Rob Gathercole as Jeremy: Lauren Chinery as Babs: Josh Tye as Derek: Sheridan Lloyd as Andy: Billy Stookes as Barry: Mike Lloyd as Frank/Slugger: Chloe Edwards-Woods as Daisy/Brenda: Alan Howell as Eric and Stephanie Hackett as ASM/Swing

Open auditions for Aladdin

The West End production of Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre  has just announced open auditions for both ensemble and featured roles to be held at Pineapple Studios in London on Monday 16 January 2017
Registrations from 09:15 (last registration at 14:00)

Applicants must be 18 years old or above and eligible to work in the UK.Contract type is one year fixed term from 5th June 2017, plus 6 weeks rehearsal time prior to this date (with a possible option to extend); SOLT/Equity rates apply to salary. Location of Aladdin.

Further information can be found here.

Cast announced for tour of Funny Girl

The cast has just been announced for the tour of Funny Girl which kicks off at in Manchester on 20th February.

Playing opposite Sheridan Smith on her dates is Chris Peluso (Miss Saigon, Showboat) as Nick Arnstein (in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle, Southampton, Bradford, Southend, Cardiff and Dublin.) The show will extend for a further two weeks, returning to Manchester from 7th-19th August to complete its run with Smith and Peluso playing the final dates.

Natasha J Barnes and Darius Campbell will play Fanny Brice and Nick Arnstein in Stoke, Aberdeen, Woking, Canterbury, Glasgow, Nottingham, Norwich, Llandudno, Wolverhampton and Plymouth. They played these roles in the West End with Barnes covering for Smith when she was indisposed. She is currently playing  the title role in Cinderella at the Palladium.

They are joined by Nigel Barber (Florenz Ziegfeld), Zoë Ann Bown (Mrs. Meeker), Martin Callaghan (Mr. Keeney), Jennifer Harding (Emma), Rachel Izen (Mrs Brice), Joshua Lay (Eddie) and Myra Sands (Mrs. Strakosh); with Rhianne Alleyne, Kit Benjamin, Lloyd Davies, Flora Dawson, Joseph Dockree, Abigayle Honeywill, Brontë Lavine, David Mcintosh, Peter Nash, Gillian Parkhouse, Tom Partridge, Nova Skipp, Alexandra Waite-Roberts, Sam Wingfield and Alexandra Wright.