MUSICAL THEATRE NEWS

Tuesday, November 29

School of Rock Announces Open Auditions

Andrew Lloyd Webber's new show School of Rock is searching for  children  for the West End run of the show with open auditions being held in Manchester on 4th December at the Salford Lowry, for children to join the cast of School of Rock in 2017.

The show is looking for boys aged 8 to 12 years old who can play either the guitar, piano, keyboard or drums and girls of the same age who can play bass guitar or who have exceptional vocals.

The auditions will be held at the Lowry Arts and Entertainment Centre and will begin at 10:00am and close at 6:00 pm on Sunday 4 December.

For further information and to register for a place:www.schoolofrockthemusical.co.uk/manchester

More casting announced for tour of The Wedding Singer

Further cast members for the forthcoming  tour of The Wedding Singer has just been announced. The show opens at Leicester Curve in February, before embarking on an extensive K tour.

Joining Jon Robyns as Robbie Hart, Ray Quinn as Glen, Cassie Compton as Julia, Roxanne Pallett as Holly, Ruth Madoc as Grandma Rosie and Samuel Holmes as George will be Nadia Forde (Linda in Dublin), Tara Verloop (Linda), Paris Green, Hannah Jay-Allen, Susie Fenwick, Helen Walsh, Eamonn Cox, Simon Anthony, Ainsley Hall-Ricketts, Andrew Carthy, Mark Pearce, Ryan-Lee Seager and Erin Bell. Barbara Rafferty will also play Grandma Rosie in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Friday, November 25

John McCrea to star in new musical by Dan Gillespie Sells Everybody's Talking About Jamie at Sheffield

John McCrea, is to play the title role in  the new musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie - by Dan Gillespie Sells (front man of The Feeling).  It runs at The Crucible in Sheffield from February 9 to 25.

With a book by Tom MacRae and directed by Jonathan Butterall it is a a coming-of-age story of a 16-year-old from Sheffild who has a secret. He is about to sit exams who makes a decision regarding how much he should reveal of his secret life.  His Dad’s left home and the future is terrifying. But with his brilliant mum behind him, will Jamie be brave enough to stand up for who he really wants to be?

McCrea was in The Buskers Opera at the Park Theatre earlier in the year and has a portrait of him by Phil Sharp hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. The cast also includes Daniel Anthony (Levi), Mina Anwar (Leigh), Luke Baker (Dean), Courtney Bowman (Fatimah), Tamsin Carroll (Miss Hedge) and Charles Dale (Hugo).
They are joined by Raj Ghatak (Sandra Bollock), Barney Hudson (Mickey), Gabrielle Brooks (Becca), James Gillan (Tray Sophisticay), Kush Khanna (Salah), Harriet Payne (Bex), Shiv Rabheru (Callum), Lucie Shorthouse (Pritti), Kirstie Skivington (Vicki and Dance Captain), Spencer Stafford (Laika Virgin / Jamie's Dad) and Josie Walker (Margaret).

Tickets for Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Half a Sixpence Extends booking period

With the rave reviews for both the show and leading man Charlie Stemp who plays Arthur Kipps, it comes as no surprise that Cameron Mackintosh has announced  that booking for the Cameron Mackintosh and Chichester Festival Theatre production of HALF A SIXPENCE at the Noël Coward Theatre has been extended by three months to 22nd April 2017.

Tickets are priced from £12.50 - £77.50. A limited number of £20 seats are released each day from 10.00am in person at the box office.

¨With Cameron Mackintosh likening Chrlie Stemp to a "young Michael Crawford", here are just come of the headline reviews

★★★★★
‘CHARLIE STEMP IS ONE OF THOSE FAIRY-TALE FINDS THAT’S THE STUFF OF LEGEND’ Daily Telegraph
★★★★★

‘THE MUSICAL OF THE YEAR’ Whatsonstage
★★★★★

‘YOU SIMPLY DON’T WANT IT TO END, TERRIFIC, SOME OF THE CATCHIEST NUMBERS AN AUDIENCE COULD WISH FOR’ Sunday Telegraph

 ★★★★

‘Charlie Stemp is the real deal - his performance is like one big, athletic, all-singing, all-dancing, all-banjo-playing tidal wave of cheer’ Time Out

 ‘HALF A SIXPENCE HAS THE KEY QUALITY ANY MUSICAL NEEDS: A MOMENT OF PURE ECSTASY’

The Guardian

Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins to star in ENO's Carousel next April

Baz Bamiboye has just announced that mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins is to  make her stage debut opposite opera singer Alfie Boe in the ENO's version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's  landmark musical Carousel which is romantic New England fantasy set both in heaven and on earth. Jenkins will play Julie Jordan, the naive mill-worker who falls in love with hell-raising fairground barker Billy Bigelow played by Boe. Carousel has one of the most melodic scores ever written for the stage, but it harbours a dark, underlying tale that deals with Billy’s domestic abuse.  Further casting is to be announced.

After premiering on Broadway in 1945, it was  made into a Hollywood film starring Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae. The score includes the classic "Mister Snow", "Soliloquy", "What's the Use of Wond'rin" and "You'll Never Walk Alone".

The show will have  a five-week run of  41 performances at the London Coliseum from 11th  April to 13 May, with previews from 7th  April 2017.

Rehearsals begin in February, but Jenkins  has already done some work with New York-based director Lonny Prince telling Baz ‘I want to be as prepared as possible, and I was working with Lonny on the script and character all last week, which has been exciting in itself,’ Boe is currently on a pretty much sold out  Together concert tour with Michael Ball. 

The production is being produced  by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade and will be semi-staged like Sweeney Todd which starred Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel and  last year’s Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, with a supporting cast, choir and 40 piece  orchestra

The last major production of Carousel in London was Nicholas Hytner’s fabulous multi-award-winning version at the National in 1992. It won phenomenal reviews and Cameron Mackintosh transferred it to the West End, and then Broadway.

Tickets go on general sale  from 9:00 am on 30th November 

Tuesday, November 22

Sheridan Smith starring in film of Jo Brand's novel The More You Ignore Me

Sheridan Smith has recently finished playing Fanny Brice to great critical acclaim in Funny Girl at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Savoy Theatre.  

She has just been photographed filming her first role since her stint in the show for a film adaptation of Jo Brand's novel The More You Ignore Me.  It is being filmed in Blackpool over five weeks  and is set in the 1980's following  Sheridan's character Gina -  a young mother with schizophrenia who is  trying to create a happy loving home for herself, her husband and daughter. She becomes fixated with the locate TV weatherman, before climbing onto the roof naked, and is then taken to the local psychiatric hospital, leaving at home her daughter Alice (played by Ella Hunt from LEsMis) and husband Keith (Mark Addy).

Pictured here she looks very retro in a long brown wig, crocheted cardigan, knitted halter-neck top and purple skirt, she looks brilliantly retro.
The Keith English directed film also stars Michelle Collins, Sheila Hancock, Tony Way, Clive Mantle, Tom Davis and the book's author Jo Brand with tunes by The Smiths.

If you missed her in London, Sheridan is due to reprise the role of Fanny on the tour of Funny Girl at certain venues opening in Manchester next February.

Friday, November 18

New tour of Flashdance next year

Selladoor  (producers of Footloose, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors) are mounting a tour of  FLASHDANCE-THE MUSICAL next year opening at Glasgow King's on 4th August and visiting venues across the UK until the summer of 2018.

Dance like you’ve never danced before! FLASHDANCE-THE MUSICAL tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18 year old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream. The musical features some amazing choreography to  iconic hits including Maniac, Manhunt, Gloria, I Love Rock & Roll and the title track Flashdance - What a Feeling.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all the odds.

Nativity the Musical to open next year

The world premiere of Nativity! The Musical will open at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 20th October 2017, prior to a short tour to  Southend Cliffs Pavilion, Sheffield Lyceum, Manchester Palace, Hammersmith Eventim Apollo and a Christmas season at Leeds Grand Theatre. Presented by Jamie Wilson, Entertainment One (eOne), Ramin Sabi, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Most school children one Christmas wish, to star in a Nativity, and at St Bernadette’s School they decide to mount a musical version. The show follows teacher Mr Maddens and his crazy assistant Mr Poppy as they struggle with hilarious children and unruly animals to make everyone’s Christmas wish come true. It features songs including "Sparkle and Shine", "Nazareth" and "One Night One Moment".

Nativity! The Musical will be written and directed by Debbie Isitt -  creator and director of the films, with music and lyrics by Nicky Ager and Isitt, Nativity! It will be choreographed by Andrew Wright, designed by David Woodhead, with lighting design by Tim Mitchell, sound design by Tom Marshall and musical supervision and orchestrations by George Dyer.

The Nativity! film series began in 2009 featuring acors including Martin Freeman, David Tennant and Catherine Tate. It is one of the most popular UK Christmas recent film franchises:  Nativity! Nativity 2 Danger in the Manger! and Nativity 3 Dude Where’s My Donkey? have all gone on to reach top box office positions on theatrical release and sold nearly 2 million DVDs.
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Drew McOnie to choreograph On the Town Musical at Regent's Park next May

Baz in today's Mail has just announced that Drew McOnie who choreographed the sell out  Jesus Christ Superstar, will direct and choreograph a revival of the musical On The Town which will open  the new season  at Regent 's Park Open Air Theatre  on  May 19th and run until 1st July (Press Night: 25th  May)

The show opened on Broadway in 1944 with music by Leonard Bernstein, book  and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green based on Jerome Robbins' idea for his 1944 ballet Fancy Free, which he had set to Bernstein's music. Classic songs include  New York, New York; Come Up To My Place and Some Other Time. The musical integrates dance into its storytelling: Robbins made a number of ballets and extended dance sequences for the show, including the "Imaginary Coney Island" ballet.

A 1949 film version starred Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin telling the story of three  American  sailors who hit New York on 24-hour shore leave determined to see the sights, and meet three women. The musical will remain set in 1944 with casting not yet begun.

Priority Booking for the 2017 season opens at 11:00 am on  22 November; Public Booking opens at 11:00 am on 15 December.

Samantha Womack, Les Dennis and Carrie Hope Fletcher cast in The Addams Family Tour

Some inspired casting has just been announced for the Addams Family: After 10 years in  EastEnders playing Ronnie Mitchell Samantha Womack (Guys & Dolls, South Pacific) has been cast as slinky Morticia Addams for the UK tour of The Addams Family musical which opens in Edinburgh next April before embarking on a six month tour.

Les Dennis, (Hairspray) who is soon leaving Coronation Street to appear in She Loves Me at the Menier over Christmas is to play Uncle Fester and Carrie Hope Fletcher (Eponine in Les Mis London and Dubai, Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is playing Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 16

Casting announced for new rock musical Lizzie.

Casting has just been  announced for new rock musical Lizzie which will premiere  at the Fredericia Theater in Denmark in January before receiving its UK debut at Greenwich Theatre from 24th February to 12th March 2017, with previews from 22nd February.

Broadway's Ciara Renée (Pippin, Big Fish) will be joined by Jodie Jacobs (Carrie, 27), Bleu Woodward (Kinky Boots) and Bjørg Gamst (The Little Mermaid).

Lizzie is set in New England in 1892, and focuses on the trial of Lizzie Borden, who was put on trial for murder after her parents were axed to death in their own home. "Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her mother forty whacks,When she saw what she had done,Gave her father forty-one"

It has music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Cheslik-DeMeyer and Tim Maner and a book by Maner. It will be directed by Victoria Bussert, and is produced by Aria Entertainment.

Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment said: "Lizzie is one of those contemporary, chamber and also commercial new musicals which instantly grabbed my attention due to its vibrant rock score and dark subject matter.We are excited to be working with an incredible international cast and can't wait to help introduce this phenomenal piece to the UK."

 Tickets for Lizzie

New Hadley Fraser Musical to open at Donmar

It has just been announced that Adam Penford is to direct a new musical (The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Takes Oral Evidence on Whitehall's Relationship with Kids Company) which runs at the Donmar  from 24th June to 12th August. 

The new musical is inspired by the commons evidence about the high profile charity Kids Company. It will be written with lyrics from edited from the transcript of the evidence session by Hadley Fraser and Josie Rourke with music from Tom Deering 

Tickets for Committee