Friday, May 27

New casting announced for Kinky Boots

Elena Skye and David Hunter are joining the West End production of Kinky Boots to star as Lauren and Charlie from 15th August 2016.
Matt Henry has extended his contract and will continue to strut his stuff as Lola into 2017 with Cordelia Farnworth and Alan Mehdizadeh also set to join the cast as Nicola and Don.

Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry portray the central characters Charlie and Lola are joined by Amy Lennox (Lauren), Jamie Baughan (Don), Amy Ross (Nicola) and Michael Hobbs (George).




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Aladdin extends booking period as previews start tonight

Disney's new musical Aladdin has just extended its West End booking period at the Prince Edward Theatre to 11th February 2017.
The show plays its first preview tonight (27th May ) ahead of press night on Wednesday 15th June 2016.

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Gary Barlow & Tim Firth's the Girls musical heading for West End in February

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's musical adaptation of Calendar Girls is transferring to the West End next year. The Girls will begin performances at the Phoenix Theatre in February 2017 with tickets on sale from 12 noon on 16th September.

The Girls premiered at the Leeds Grand Theatre in late 2015 with a  second out-of-town tryout at The Lowry in Salford in early 2016.

Since then Firth, Barlow and producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers have been on the look out for the right theatre. And now they’ve found it. They have been fine-tuning  the musical since it ran in Leeds and Salford Quays and will continue to work on it until rehearsals start in December.

Barlow and Firth said in a statement: It has been four years in the making. Then, just over a year ago, we premiered at the village hall in Yorkshire, where the Calendar Girls did their first ever photoshoot.It’s been a little like tending a sunflower: from seeding it in Yorkshire, to now seeing it bloom in London’s West End. 
The Girls  is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women's Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands. This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary.

 It is based on the 2003 film Calendar Girls which featured a screenplay by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institutes in April 1999.  It was a major success with  an ensemble cast headed by Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, with Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Geraldine James playing key supporting roles. 
Casting for the West End transfer is yet to be announced and currently under negotiation, but previously included Debbie Chazen as Ruth, Sara Kestelman as Jessie, Claire Machin as Cora, Claire Moore as Chris, Vivien Parry as Celia, Joanna Riding as Annie and Harriet Thorpe as Marie. Also in the cast were Stephen Boswell as Colin, Joe Caffrey as Rod, Jeremy Clyde as Denis, Susan Fay as Brenda, Steve Giles as Lawrence, Richard Huw as John, Shirley Jameson as Miss Wilson, Judith Street as Lady Cravenshire and Karen West as the other Miss Wilson.
 Gary Barlow and Tim Firth grew up in the same village in the north of England and have been friends for 25 years. With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner. Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.

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Thursday, May 26

Line Up Announced for 2016 West End Live

West End LIVE 2016  takes place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19thJune. Celebrating its 12th year, the free musical extravaganza showcases the best of the West End. Attracting crowds of more than 500,000 people over the course of the weekend, West End LIVE with MasterCard is the largest event of its type in the world with over 25 shows joining the main stage line-up to celebrate the best of the West End and stars including Beverley Knight, Michael Xavier, Kerry Ellis, Tom Chambers, Samantha Barks, Matt Cardle and Pixie Lott set to perform

Organised by Westminster City Council and Official London Theatre with support from the Mayor of London, this year’s celebration is set to deliver another star-studded, packed weekend of free entertainment from the West End’s biggest shows.

The line-up for the West End Live stage this year includes; American Idiot, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, The Bodyguard, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Disney’s The Lion King, In The Heights, Impossible, Jersey Boys, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, The Phantom Of The Opera, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Stomp, Sunny Afternoon, Thriller Live and Wicked.

New shows making their West End LIVE debuts over the weekend include Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Crazy For You, Guys And Dolls, Jesus Christ Superstar, Kinky Boots, Motown The Musical, Murder Ballad, The Secret Garden, Show Boat and The Wedding Singer.

Schedule of performances to follow

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Paul O'Grady, Lee Mead and Julian Clary cast in Cinderella at Palladium

First casting has been announced for the Cinderella pantomime at the London Palladium this Christmas.

The 32 strong cast will be led by Paul O’Grady as The Wicked Stepmother, Julian Clary as Dandini and Lee Mead as Prince Charming with  ventriloquist Paul Zerdin as Buttons, Nigel Havers as Lord Chamberlain and music hall performer Arthur Strong as Baron Hardup. The actors playing the roles of Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother and the Ugly Sisters will be announced soon.

Cinderella opens at the London Palladium on 14th December 2016 (previews from 9th December) and runs until 15th January 2017.

Directed by Michael Harrison and co-directed and choreographed by Andrew Wright, Cinderella is designed by Ian Westbrook with costume designs for O’Grady and Clary by Hugh Durrant.


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Wednesday, May 25

Warwick Davis, David Bedella, Amy Lennox & Summer Strallen starring in new musical Eugenius

A new musical Eugenius! will receive a concert staging at the London Palladium on 29th June starring Warwick Davis (who is also producing) , David Bedella (In The Heights/Jerry Springer The Opera), Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots/Legally Blonde), Samuel Holmes (Mrs Henderson Presents/Spamalot) and Summer Strallen (Sound of Music/Love Never Dies).

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke will be the Narrator and Brian Blessed provides a guest voiceover.

Eugenius! has book, music and lyrics by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins. The concert performance will be directed by Ian Talbot and Michael Jibson. Choreography will be by Aaron Renfree and Nick Winston. Sound is by Gareth Owen with lighting by Andrew Ellis, musical supervision by Steve Power and musical direction by Nathan Jarvis.

Warwick Davis said: “We are really excited to be bringing a brand new, original production to the London stage. The performance on 29 June will give the audience a chance to experience this new ‘80s-inspired musical before it is staged in the West End as a full production next year. We have a hugely talented cast and production team, and the music is just phenomenal. We look forward to sharing our work with the first, lucky audience at the London Palladium this June.”

Described as an "exciting and innovative musical",  Eugenius! is a classic 1980's love story between two teenagers, Eugene and Janey. She is in love with him, but he always has his head inside a comic book – so much so that he actually writes his own comic about a superhero. Against the odds, Eugene’s creations take him to Hollywood and he becomes the unlikely hero of his own intergalactic battle! The musical has an original score based on the sounds of the 1980s, with a story which hilariously merges real life and the intergalactic world of the comic book.


Buy tickets for Eugenius

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Tuesday, May 24

Rebel Wilson joining Guys & Dolls Cast in London

Rebel Wilson has just announced that she is joining the West End cast of GUYS & DOLLS for 8 weeks only at the Phoenix Theatre, playing Miss Adelaide taking over from Samantha Spiro from Tuesday 28 June until Sunday 21 August 2016.

Wilson says: Wilson says: A lot of people who know me from my more recent film work have no idea how much theatre has influenced my life. I saw my first musical at age 14, a show called 42nd Street, after one of my family's dogs had unsuccessfully auditioned to be in it.It blew me away and I've loved musical theatre ever since. Training at the Australian Theatre for Young People gave me the opportunity to perform onstage in 8 productions ranging from new Australian musicals to classic plays. I then went on to write and perform in my own productions before being snapped up to do screen work.I am delighted to be making my West End debut in Guys & Dolls and to be playing such an iconic role as 'Miss Adelaide' is truly an honor. Hopefully I crush it....but you'll have to come and see me to find out!

She is an Australian stand-up comedian, actress, and writer who first  appeared as Toula on the SBS comedy series Pizza and the sketch comedy series The Wedge. In 2008 she wrote, produced and starred in the musical comedy series Bogan Pride and the  following year won the Tropfest best actress award for her role in Bargain and made a guest appearance in City Homicide. Shortly after moving to the United States, Wilson was cast as Brynn in the feature film Bridesmaids.

Wilson has also appeared in A Few Best Men, What to Expect When You're Expecting and Struck by Lightning, leading Variety to name her one of their "Top Ten Comics to Watch for 2011". She also appeared as Becky in Bachelorette and starred in the musical films Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 as Fat Amy, a role that earned her several award nominations and wins including the MTV Best Breakthrough Performance Award and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress. 


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Friday, May 20

Rachel Tucker and rest of Wicked 10th Anniversary Cast Announced

Wicked! has just announced  the new cast for their 10th birthday celebrations from Monday 5th  September. It will include: Rachel Tucker, returning to London's West End direct from her triumphant run on Broadway, to play 'Elphaba'; Suzie Mathers, who joins from the Australian production to star as 'Glinda'; Oliver Savile continuing as 'Fiyero'; Anita Dobson joins to play 'Madame Morrible'; Mark Curry who continues as 'The Wizard'; original cast member Martin Ball returns to play 'Doctor Dillamond'; original cast member Katie Rowley Jones continues as 'Nessarose', and Idriss Kargbo joins to play 'Boq'. Alice Fearns will be Standby for 'Elphaba' and Carina Gillespie continues as Standby for 'Glinda'. (Rachel Tucker, Anita Dobson and Katie Rowley Jones appear until Saturday 28 January 2017 only).

They will be joined by James Darch, Kerry Enright, Freya Field, Joseph Fletcher, Fraser Fraser, David Gale, Sergio Giacomelli, Alexandra Grierson, Olivia Kate Holding, Aaron Jenkins, Claudia Kariuki, Will Lucas, Chanel Mian, Billy Mitchell, Scott Monello, Ella Nonini, Rosa O’Reilly, Julienne Schembri, Joe Sleight, Jessamy Stoddart, Paulo Teixeira, Joe Toland, Hannah Toy, Russell Walker, Sasha Wareham and Helen Woolf. 

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