Friday, March 16

Shoshana Bean London Concert announced

Wicked! star Shoshana Bean has announced a concert in London for one night only on Sunday 9th September at 6:30 pm at Cadogan Hall.
She  will perform with her 18-piece big band to mark the release of her fourth studio album Spectrum which  combines big band, jazz and soul and has arrangements from Grammy nominee Alan Ferber. The album is inspired by Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand and is a mix of contemporary songs, classics and new works. The concert will include special guests.

Bean's musical theatre credits includes being first cover for Elphaba in Wicked and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl on Broadway.

Her previous albums include "Shadows to Light" which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Blues charts.

Buy tickets for Shoshana Bean

Rocky Horror Show to kick off tour UK again at end of 2018

Hot from a sell out worldwide tour and now having been seen by over 30 million theatregoers across the globe, Richard O’Brien’s timeless musical masterpiece The Rocky Horror Show is to go on tour again returning to its spiritual home in Brighton this December before embarking on a 2019 UK tour.

Take That's The Band Musical tour heading for London over Christmas

Take That have just told the Mail's Baz Bamigboye that their musical tour of The Band is  heading into the London Haymarket Theatre for just 50 performances over the Christmas season  from December 1st to  January 12, 2019. This is when there was a break in the schedule with the  tour so far selling £20 million worth of tickets. The Take That lads said Barlow, Donald and Owen had visited the Haymarket, which they called ‘one of the most beautiful, historic theatres in London’.

On Monday, the cast will be in London for a Q & A, with Barlow, Donald and Owen; writer Tim Firth; and producers David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers which you can follow on The Band’s Twitter page

The Haymarket will host a charity gala performance of The Band on December 5th, with news of  ticket on sale date to follow. Priority tickets for London go on sale this morning and general tickets from 9:00 am on Monday..

Dean John-Wilson to join cast of The King and I as it extends for three weeks

Dean John-Wilson, is to play Lun Tha, the young envoy in love with the King’s slave Tuptim (to be played by Na-Young Jeon) in The King And I.
As previously reported, Kelli O’Hara is to stars as governess Anna Leonowens, with  Ken Watanabe.

The show previews at the London Palladium from June 21st 2018 (press night 3rd July) and due to high demand has just had a final  extension of  a further three weeks plus  five additional midweek matinees on Thursdays 30 August, 6, 13, 20 and 27 September , now running until 29th September.

Dean John-Wilson played the title role in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre and was a semi-finalist on Britain’s Got Talent in 2008.  His other theatre credits include:  Miss Atomic Bomb and Songs For a New World at The St James’ Theatre, Aquino in Here Lies Love at the National Theatre, Tim Rice’s From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Sister Act: The Musical UK Tour.

Netherlands born Na-Young Jeon played Gigi in the international tour of Miss Saigon and Fantine in Les Misérables in South Korea and in the West End.  Other theatre work includes Esmerelda in Notre Dame de Paris in South Korea and Bianca in Kiss Me Kate in Amsterdam.  On TV she played the lead in Conny and Clyde and Bo in Van Hier Tot Tokio and her films include The Calling and Hitomi

Thursday, March 15

Burt Bacharach announces two July Concerts

The legendary songwriter and composer Burt Bacharach has announced two  shows at the London Festival Hall when he will  performing live with a full symphony orchestra on July 6th and 7th.

Earning the nickname ‘The Hitmaker’ over his six decade-spanning career, Bacharach wrote classic song includng  The Look of Love, I Say a Little Prayer, What the World Needs Now, Anyone Who Had a Heart and Alfie. He has won three Oscars for his soundtrack work, as well as winning eight Grammy awards writing hits for artists including of Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin.

Bacharach last performed at the Royal Festival Hall in 2013 and earned rave reviews and  last performed in London with Joss Stone back in 2016 when his  sold-out performance received 5 stars from the London Evening Standard, who reported ‘fans were standing and cheering’.

Buy tickets for Burt Bacharach Concerts 

Wednesday, March 14

Andrew Lloyd Webber renames New London Theatre to Gillian Lynne Theatre

At an event in London last night promoting the launch of his  memoir, Unmasked, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber made the  announcement  that the New London Theatre is to become the first West End theatre to be named after a woman when it becomes the Gillian Lynne Theatre later this year.

On the renaming of the theatre, he said: "Gillian has been a pioneer of British musical theatre and dance. Gillie's groundbreaking work on Cats inspired and launched countless careers in dance. It is only fitting that the theatre in which she created Cats is named in her honour."

As a choreographer, Lynne – who is a two-time Olivier Award-winner and was made a Dame in 2014 for services to dance and musical theatre – has credits including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, War Horse and School of Rock – which is currently playing at the theatre. She is probably best known for her work on Cats, Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot, which opened at the New London Theatre in 1981 and ran for 21 years.

On working with Lloyd Webber, Lynne said: "The minute I heard Andrew's music I fell in love with his ability to channel deep emotion into a single musical note. He continues to inspire generation after generation with his passion for musical theatre and Great Britain has benefitted enormously from his brilliance and his generosity."

Saturday, March 10

Producers of Dear Evan Hansen want British actor to play lead for West End production

According to the Daily Mail, the producers of the Broadway hit musical Dear Evan Hansen plan to  cast a British actor as part of plans to transfer the show to the West End, with producer Stacey Mindich saying  that the lead of a UK production of Dear Evan Hansen "has to be played by a British actor", and that they would also use colour-blind casting. Adding: We’re at an exploratory phase for London. I want audiences to feel as close to Evan as possible.”

Dear Evan Hansen has taken Broadway by storm since opening at the Music Box Theatre in 2016,  picking up six Tony Awards including Best Original Score for song-writing duo Pasek and Paul, Best Book of a Musical for Steven Levenson, and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt.
The musical is about a teenage boy who suffers from social anxiety disorder, making it difficult for him to talk to and connect with other people. When one of his classmates dies, he develops a story that brings him closer to the grieving family, but also helps him to develop.
It has a score by Pasek and Paul, the award-winning song-writing team behind blockbuster film La La Land and The Greatest Showman, and a musical adaptation of James and the Giant Peach and the Tony-nominated A Christmas Story: The Musical.

Details of the planned West End transfer are still to be announced.

Friday, March 9

Saturday Night Fever to tour the UK from August

Bill Kenwright, by special arrangement with the Robert Stigwood organisation is presenting a new production of the hit musical SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Based on the Paramount/RSO Film and the story by Nick Cohn. Adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood in collaboration with Bill Oakes. It is over 40 years since the classic 1977 film starring John Travolta was released in cinemas, and 20 years since the show's original London production.

The UK tour kicks off this summer opening at the Wimbledon Theatre from  30 August-8 September before visiting  Liverpool Empire (11-15 September), Birmingham Alexandra (25-29 September), Bristol Hippodrome (2-6 October), Aylesbury Waterside (9-13 October), Glasgow King's (16-20 October), Edinburgh Playhouse (23-27 October), Venue Cymru Llandudno ( 13-17 November) and Wales Millennium Centre (27 November-1 December), with more dates to be announced.  Click here for booking links

The date is 1976 in New York and Tony Manero (a young man from a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood with a dead-end job and an extraordinary ability to dance) has only one ambition in life - to become the disco king. Every Saturday night he puts on his flares and hits the dance floor, wowing everyone with his phenomenal moves and routines. When he meets Stephanie, who also dreams of a world beyond Brooklyn, they decide to train together for a dance competition and their lives begin to change forever as Tony Manero as  recklessly dances his way to success and features classic Bee Gees numbers  including Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever, Tragedy and More Than a Woman as well as 70’s favorites Boogie Shoes, Disco Inferno and many more.

This new production will have new choreography and more music, with casting for the piece to be announced.
The musical originally opened in the UK at the London Palladium in 1998 with Adam Garcia in the lead where it was nominated for three Tony Awards, before running on Broadway in 2000. Most recently the show toured in 2014.


Thursday, March 8

42nd Street, Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera and Young Frankenstein at this year's West End Eurovision

West End Eurovision will return to  London’s West End  for the first time in four years at  the  Shaftesbury Theatre on Sunday 22nd April. With a special guest performance from a previous Eurovision entrant, West End Eurovision 2018 will feature competing teams from 42nd Street, Aladdin, Dreamgirls, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera and Young Frankenstein

Produced by TheatreMAD, the event offers a taste of Eurovision entertainment ahead of the 63rd  annual song contest which will be held this year in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday 12th May.

Inspired by the annual song contest, the show which raises funds for Make A Difference Trust, the UK-based charity involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS both at home and overseas, will feature the casts of some of the West End’s biggest shows battling it out to be crowned West End Eurovision’s winning entries.The event  will feature eight shows competing for three trophies – The Champions, The Best Ident Movie and The Best Creative.

Casting for Guy Chambers' The Selfish Giant

Casting has been announced for the upcoming production of The Selfosh Giant,   a new folk opera from Three-time BRIT and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Guy Chambers, who has written No 1 songs for Robbie Williams including Angels, Feel and Let Me Entertain You.  Chambers  has adapted and composed the piece, from Oscar Wilde's parable iabout a giant has a beautiful garden, but won’t let any of the children play in it. Winter comes and never leaves. The Giant looks over his garden from his tall window. What will he do? 

It  will be directed by Bill Buckhurst recently directed the smash hit Sweeney Todd, which transferred from Harrington’s Pie & Mash Shop in Tooting to the West End and then to New York. It will be designed by Simon Kenny (Sweeney Todd) and choreographed by Imogen Knight (Amadeus).

Jeff Nicholson is to play the Giant with Scott Sutcliffe, Jacob Fisher, Olly Dobson, Laila Zaidi, Rose Shalloo and Izuka Hoyle. Natasha Cottriall and Laura Sillett.

Jeff Nicholson’s recent stage credits include Sweeney Todd (ENO) and Urinetown (Apollo Theatre). He also sang at the 2013 Academy Awards and at the 25th anniversary gala of Les Miserables at the O2. His other credits as a vocalist include the feature films Pirates of the Caribbean, Angels & Demons and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Scott Sutcliffe (The Book of Mormon, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Jacob Fisher (Eugenius!, The Addams Family) and Olly Dobson (Bat Out of Hell, Matilda) all play Boy.

Laila Zaidi (Starlight Express, West Side Story) plays Hail. Rose Shalloo (Fiddler on the Roof, A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer) plays Charlie.

Izuka Hoyle, winner of the Stephen Sondheim Society ‘Student Performer of the Year’ Award last year, plays Little Boy.

Natasha Cottriall and Laura Sillett narrate. Natasha’s recent musical credits include Beautiful (Aldwych Theatre) and Into The Woods (Royal Exchange, Manchester). Laura is currently appearing in A Night at the Oscars (Upstairs at the Gatehouse).
The piece will run as part of the Classic Spring season at the Vaudeville Theatre from 10th-13th April, after running at Royal & Derngate in Northampton 4th-7th April.

This year's West End Bake Off announced for 19th May

This year’s West End Bake Off is scheduled for Saturday 19th May at The Actors’ Church, St Pauls, Covent Garden  - the day of Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle.

This is the  fourth  fundraiser which offers  freshly baked cakes and sweet treats made by  competing West End theatre stars. The  judges for last year, Arlene Phillips and Janie Dee,  chose the team from 42nd Street as the winners.  Last year’s West End Bake Off raised more than £6,000 for the charitable group Acting For Others which offers emotional and financial support to members of the entertainment industry who have fallen on hard times. This year’s fundraiser will once again raise money for the charity.

The event is free to members of the public to attend with a suggested donation of £1. Judging begins at 10.30am with the winners announced at 11:00 am. After announcing the winners, the Bake Off will be declared open for the public to buy cakes and signed posters and mingle with cast and crew from the participating shows.

For those unable to attend on the day, Acting For Others can be supported by donating at its Just Giving page

Monday, March 5

Stiles & Drewe Wind in the Willows Musical to be screened over Easter Holiday

The stage production of The Wind in the Willows with music and lyrics  by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe which ran at the London Palladium last year, will be screened in cinemas over half term this Easter.

The new  musical is based on the classic children's story by Kenneth Grahame, with a book by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and follows the various characters of the book including Mr Toad, Ratty and Mole. The musical starred Rufus Hound as Toad, Simon Lipkin as Ratty, Craig Mather as Mole, Neil McDermott as Chief Weisel, Denise Welch as Mrs Otter and Gary Wilmot as Badger.

The show will play at a number of cinema locations across the UK and Ireland throughout the Easter holiday week, with both daytime and evening listings. Click here for  full details of venues and times.