Monday, April 27

New West End Men Concerts featuring Glenn Carter, Alexis Gerred, Marcus Collins and James Bisp

Direct from a West End run and a sell-out tour of Asia, The West End Men return to the UK in May with a brand new show celebrating the leading Men of the West End.

Performing songs from the biggest shows in the World as well as a selection of some of the best rock and pop classics, The West End Men showcases the talent and prowess of some of the finest performers of this generation.

This new show, which features X-Factor finalist Marcus Collins, Glenn Carter, Alexis Gerred and James Bisp promises to take you on a journey to the very heart of the West End and its leading Men.

The dates are Milton Keynes Theatre/Sunday 24th May: Liverpool Empire/Friday 29th May: Manchester Palace/9th June: Glasgow King's Theatre/14th June.

Book tickets for West End Men

Friday, April 24

Cats to return to the Palladium over Christmas

Andrew Lloyd Webber has confirmed the rumours of his musical Cats returning  to the London Palladium from October 23rd- January 2nd  next year . It is due to end its current run there tomorrow  with Kerry Ellis starring at Grizabella.

No casting news yet for the London revival as  director Trevor Nunn, choreographer Gillian Lynne and designer John Napier just finished choosing actors for this summer's production, starring Jane McDonald as 'Grizabella' which will have a six-week summer run at the Blackpool Opera House, beginning July 9th

The musical is also due e to return to Broadway in 2016 -  hopefully starring Nicole Scherzinger.


Sharon D Clarke and Giles Terera to star in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

Powerhouse Sharon D Clarke and Giles Terera are to  star  August Wilson's MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM which is headed to the National Theatre in January, directed by Dominic Cooke.

It is set in Chicago in the 1920s and centres on Ma Rainey and her band, who while recording a new album, hit on issues of race, art, religion and exploitation in their community.

It  first opened at the National in 1989 and  is part of Wilson's ten-play cycle exploring the 20th century African American experience.

Clarke last appeared in the West End in GHOST THE MUSICAL and has also starred in WE WILL ROCK YOU, STEPPING OUT, GUYS AND DOLLS and ONCE ON THIS ISLAND. Among her other credits are THE LION KING at the Lyceum, THE AMEN CORNER at the Royal National Theatre, PORGY AND BESS at Regent's Park and more.

Terera, who currently stars in London's THE BOOK OF MORMON, also appeared in the West End's AVENUE Q. Among his other stage credits are DEATH AND THE KING'S HORSEMAN, THE TEMPEST, RENT, 125TH STREET and JAILHOUSE ROCK. He is also a filmmaker and musician behind the documentary MUSE OF FIRE.


New Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

A new tour of the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is due to launch at West Yorkshire Playhouse from December 2nd , followed by a run at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from  February 10th, 2016 followed by a UK tour with dates and booking link to follow.

It will be directed by James Brining with choreography by  Stephen Mear who is responsible for Imelda Staunton's Gypsy at the Savoy.


More casting news for Kinky Boots

West End leading man Killian  Donnelly is to star as Charlie Price in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots when it starts previews  at the Adelphi Theatre in August.   He will leave the musical Memphis which he is currently starring with Beverley Knight at the Shaftesbury in early  July to start rehearsals with director Jerry Mitchell, book writer Harvey Fierstein and composer Cyndi Lauper. Theatre credits include The Commitments (Palace Theatre), Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Les Misérables (Queens Theatre), Michael Collins – A Musical Drama (Cork Opera House), The Full Monty (Olympia Theatre) and West Side Story (Solstice Theatre). Killian’s film credits include Les Misérables (Working Title). He has also appeared on television in Showbands (RTÉ) and The Last Furlong (RTÉ).

The singer-actor Matt Henry is playing drag queen Lola. He memorably auditioned for The Voice in 2013 and has theatre  credits including Avenue Q (National Tour), The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Northampton), The Harder They Come (Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and National Tour), The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas, The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hair (English Theatre Frankfurt), Saturday Night Fever (National Tour) and Miss Saigon (Cameron Mackintosh). Feature film credits include Muppets Most Wanted and Gulliver’s Travels. He  bought a pair of women’s heels from eBay and wore them when he met the Kinky Boots casting director as there is one number where Lola has to dance in skinny six-inch stilettos.Henry said¨I pitched up in heels because I have worn them before, professionally adding that between jobs he has taught models to ‘catwalk’ in heels. As Lola, I have to wear a lot of heels, and practicing helps to build up the calf muscles,’

Other cast members include Amy Lennox (Lauren), Jamie Baughan (Don), Amy Ross (Nicola) and Michael Hobbs (George) with Gemma Atkins, Paul Ayers, Jeremy Batt, Arun Blair-Mangat, Marcus Collins, Emma Crossley, Jordan Fox, Callum Francis, Robert Grose, Gillian Hardie,Chloe Hart, Sophie Isaacs, Luke Jackson, Robert Jones, Adam Lake, Catherine Millsom, Sean Needham, Tim Prottey-Jones, Verity Quade, JavierSantos, Dominic Tribuzio, Alan Vicary, Michael Vinsen and Bleu Woodward.

Amy Lennox  has numerous theatre credits including Tracks, The Miniaturists (Arcola Theatre), The Pink Bedroom (Defibrillator), 9 to 5 (UK Tour), Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre and UK Tour), Decade (Headlong Theatre), The Secret Garden (Birmingham Rep), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Royal & Derngate/Assembly Rooms), Peter Pan (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Sound of Music (The London Palladium). Amy has appeared on screen in Wrong Turn 5 (20th Century Fox), The Cab Ride (Abelle Films) and Never Let Me Go (DNA Films).

Jamie Baughan  has appeared on stage in Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf (Southwark Playhouse), Robin Hood (Bolton Octagon), Chicago (UK and European Tour), Mirror Teeth (Finborough Theatre), Dreams of Violence (Out of Joint, Max Stafford-Clark) and Joe Orton (Phoenix Theatre). Film credits include Alice in Wonderland – Through the Looking Glass (Disney), Legend (Working Title), The Comedian (The Bureau) and Inkheart (Newline Cinema). Jamie has also appeared on television in Hollyoaks, The C Word, Casualty, The Song of Lunch, Eastenders and The Roman Mysteries.

Amy Ross  is currently playing Joyce in Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre after transferring from The Hampstead Theatre. Other theatre credits include Jesus Chris Superstar (AEG Live Tour), Legally Blonde (UK Tour), Mamma Mia! (West End), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre), High School Musical (UK Tour).

Michael Hobbs  has appeared on stage in Darling of the Day (Union Theatre), Radio Times (Watermill Theatre), Aladdin (Salisbury Playhouse), Who Ate All The Pies (Ladida Productions) and Johnny Johnson (Lost Musicals). Michael has also appeared on screen in A Fairytale of London Town (Mutt & Jeff Pictures) and My Week With Marilyn (Trademark Films).


Thursday, April 23

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown now closing end of May

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown which stars Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne  will now close at the Playhouse Theatre on 23rd May  instead of shuttering on the previously announced extension  to 22nd August 2015.

The producers said: "We're very proud of this production, our superb cast and creative team, and the wonderful critical and audience response during the season."


Monday, April 20

Dirty Dancing Tour Cast Changes

On 30th April  Jessie Hart  will join the tour of Dirty Dancing as Baby Houseman. She  recently graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and has played Agnes'in the ITV drama Arthur and George and  Gerda in The Snow Queen at the Nuffield Theatre.

Lewis Kirk will be starring as Johnny Castle. He was a member of the 2014/15 touring company and previously toured the UK  in Hairspray. He  has also appeared in Our House 10th Anniversary Concert at the Savoy and in the world premiere of Soho Cinders.

Also joining the cast are Lori Haley Fox as Marjorie Houseman, Georgina Castle as Lisa Houseman, Kane Verrall as Neil Kellerman and Matthew Colthart as Billy Kostecki. Albey Brookes will also be joining the ensemble.

Friday, April 17

Miss Saigon cast Changes

Just announced: New cast members joining  Miss Saigon from 11th  May 2015.

Chris Peluso is making his West End debut as Chris having most recently appeared in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” on Broadway.  His other theatre credits on Broadway and on tour in the US include: “Assassins”,” Lestat”, “Mamma Mia!” and “Wicked”.

Siobhan Dillon (Ellen) rose to fame in the BBC series “How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?” in 2006.  Most recently she appeared as ‘Sally Bowles’ in Rufus Norris’s production of “Cabaret”. Her other theatre credits include: ‘Molly’ in “Ghost The Musical”; ‘Vivienne Kensington’ in “Legally Blonde The Musical” and ‘Sandy’ in “Grease”.

Natalie Mendoza (Gigi) has most recently appeared as ‘Imelda Marcos’ in the critically acclaimed “Here Lies Love” at the National Theatre. She also appeared as ‘Arachne’ in “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” on Broadway. Her other theatre credits in her native Australia include “Les Misérables” and “Sweet Charity”. She is well known for her roles as ‘Jackie Clunes’ in BBC One’s “Hotel Babylon” and ‘Juno’ in the films “The Descent” and “The Descent 2”.

Sangwoong Jo, whose credits in his native Korea include Love Letter and Wicked, will play Thuy.

Award-winning Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada will continue in their roles of The Engineer and Kim respectively, with Hugh Maynard also continuing as John. At certain performances, Tanya Manalang will play Kim and Christian Rey Marbella will play The Engineer.

The rest of the cast from 11th May will be: Michael Carolan; Richard Carson; Natalie Chua; Callum Evans; Maria Graciano; Nathan Graham; Simon Hardwick; Kurt Kansley; Sooha Kim; Kittiphun Kittipakapom; Aaron Lee Lambert; David Kar-Hing Lee; Mitch Leow; Ela Lisondra; Michael Macalintal; Liam Marcellino; Kanako Nakano; Thao Therese Nguyen; Saori Oda; Claire Parrish; Kiel Payton; Ethan Le Phong; Katherine Picar; Romeo Salazar; Ariel Reonal; Jon Reynolds; Marsha Songcome; Eloisa Amalia Tan; Gavin Tsang; Thao Vilayvong; Amadeus Williams; Gerald Zarcilla and Yuval Zoref.