Monday, August 21

Barnum the Musical announced as Menier Christmas Show

Barnum is to play  at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 5th December to 3rd March, with previews from 25th November. 

Gordon Greenberg (Guys and Dolls) will direct the first major London revival  of Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble's Tony Award-winning musical with  choreography by Rebecca Howell, design by Paul Farnsworth and musical direction by Alex Parker

The musical tells the story of PT Barnum, also known as the Greatest Showman on Earth. The score includes classica   "Come Follow The Band", "The Colours Of My Life" and "There Is A Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute".
The Tony Award-winning musical opened on Broadway in 1980 starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close. It received its West End premiere the following year with Michael Crawford in the lead role. In 2013 it was revived at Chichester Festival Theatre starring Christopher Fitzgerald and Tamsin Carroll, and a UK touring production in 2014/15 starred Brian Conley and Linzi Hateley.

The production goes on sale to supporters of the Menier on 31st August, and to the general public on 11th September with casting news to follow.

Wednesday, August 16

Tour of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Bring it On Postponed

According to WhatsonStage the  producer has postponed the UK tour of Bring It On 

The musical, has music by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and was due to open in Manchester next month

A message posted by the Wales Millennium Centre  venue said that "due to scheduling issues with their creative team the tour has been postponed by the producer until 2019". All scheduled dates for the tour, which was due to start in Manchester next month, have now been removed from the ATG website.

Last month, the show's producer Neil Eckersley of Speckulation Entertainment also cancelled the final weeks  of the UK tour of Frank Wildhorn's Wonderland, following  a payment dispute with the sound company.

With music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green and a book by Jeff Whitty, Bring it On focuses on the competitive world of cheerleading and is loosely based on the 2000 film of the same name and

Ticket holders are advised to contact their point of sale for a refund.

Full casting announced for 50th Anniversary production of Hair

The full cast has been announced for the 50th anniversary production of rock musical Hair, which runs at the Vaults from from 4th October to 13th January, with an official opening on 11th October & 50th Anniversary Gala Tuesday 17th  October at 7.30pm It has also been announced that a ‘clothing optional’ performance will take place on 11th November, where the audience will be invited to watch the show naked, if they so wish.

The cast of the musical includes Daniel Bailey (Motown The Musical – Shaftesbury Theatre, The Lion King – Lyceum Theatre)  and Andy Coxon as his friend Berger (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Les Misérables – West End and currently starring as Mitch in the acclaimed London production of Yank! (Charing Cross Theatre). Returning to the production from the acclaimed Manchester run are: Cassie - NATALIE GREEN (Wicked – UK tour), Sheila -  LAURA JOHNSON (Rizzo in Grease – UK tour), Dionne - SHEKINA MCFARLANE (Parade – Hope Mill Theatre, The Lion King – UK & International tour), Claude - ROBERT METSON (Ryan in Bear - Southwark Playhouse), Woof - LIAM ROSS-MILLS (Les Misérables – West End, Ben in Ushers: The Front of House Musical - Charing Cross Theatre), Mary - KORYANN STEVENS (West Side Story – Live Nation) and Chrissy - KIRSTEN WRIGHT (Our Seasons End - The AC Group).

This production opened at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester last year, and will transform the London venue into an immersive, psychedelic Woodstock-esque experience with a special pop-up restaurant and themed drinks before the show starts.

It is directed by Jonathan O’Boyle who has acted as an assistant director on An American in Paris at the Dominion Theatre and directed The Scottsboro Boys at the Young Vic and in the West End.

Tickets for Hair

Tuesday, August 15

Tickets for Sondheim talking Follies at National later this month

Stephen Sondheim is to talk about Follies at a National Theatre platform in conversation with Jeremy Sams on 22nd  August at 6:00 pm in the Dorfman Theatre. To get tickets for the event, you have to enter the ballot, which  opened at noon today and closes on 12 noon Wednesday 16th  August. Winners will be notified by email

Follies runs at the National Theatre from 6 September until January 2018, with previews from 22 August and is directed by Dominic Cooke. The show stars Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Tracie Bennett, Alex Young and Zizi Strallen. Sondheim's other works include Sunday in the Park With George, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd and Company.

Other talks at the National Theatre about Follies include Janie Dee and Philip Quast on 14th September, Dominic Cooke on 18th  October and Josephine Barstow and Tracie Bennett on 18th  December.

Friday, August 11

Starlight Express concert style workshops in London next month

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express is to make a return to London  in  three concert-style workshop performances at The Other Palace from 14th-16th September. Tickets go on sale at 12 noon today.
With music by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Richard Stilgoe the the aim of the workshop concerts is to focus on the score and lyrics, working for a week before the public showings, Andrew and the team will continue to work on the show in the daytime before evening performances, responding to audience reaction and feedback as they revisit this classic work. The actors perform on rollerskates, with  original choreography by Arlene Phillips.The production will reunite the original creative team along with a carefully chosen group of actors and musicians who are yet to be announced.
Starlight Express originally opened in the West End in 1984 where it ran for over 7000 performances, and continues to run in a purpose built venue in Bochum, Germany where more than 15 million people have seen it. The Bochum production celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

An Evening of Music from Spring Awakening Creators Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater

An Evening of Music from  Spring Awakening Creators Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater at the Other Palace on Sunday 3rd September at 8:00 pm is part of Aria Entertainment's FROM PAGE TO STAGE festival of new musicals which includes staged readings, showcases of new musicals, concerts and one fully produced musical.

An evening with Steven Sater on stage with his musicals including his many collaborations with Duncan Sheik including: Spring Awakening, Phantom Moon, Nero, Alice By Heart, Umbrage, The Nightingale and A Home At The End Of The World.

Tickets for An Evening of Music

Thursday, August 10

Aaron Sidwell to play Fiyero on Wicked Tour

Aaron Sidwell will play Fiyero on the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of Wicked across all 2018 dates.

Sidwell, who is currently playing Steven Beale in the BBC's EastEnders, has previously appeared in Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), was  the first person to play Johnny in the British version of Green Day's American Idiot musical  (Arts Theatre, London) and in  the leading role of ‘Michael Dork' in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the West End). In  Carnaby Street: The Musical, he played Jack, a young band manager who narrates the piece followed by Michael Carrington in a West End Concert version of the cult hit movie Grease 2, called Cool Rider: Live. He also appears on the Original Studio Cast recording of the show. He .

Further casting for the tour which opens next February at the Bristol Hippodrome is due to be announced in September.

Monday, August 7

New adult cast for Matilda in London

A new adult cast has just been announced for Matilda the Musical  with effect from 12th September.  The show enters its sixth year in the West End and is currently booking until 27th  May 2018 at the Cambridge Theatre.

The new cast includes David Shannon (Miss Trunchbull), Gina Beck (Miss Honey), Tom Edden (Mr Wormwood) and Marianne Benedict (Mrs Wormwood)
Gina Beck  Beck's previous roles include Glinda in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre, US Tour), Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre), Magnolia Hawks in Daniel Evan's production of Show Boat (New London Theatre) and Cosette in Les Misérables (Queen's Theatre).

David Shannon will play Miss Trunchbull, with previous credits including The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre), Chris in Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane & UK Tour) and Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (Queen's Theatre).

Tony and Critic's Circle nominee Tom Edden, known for roles in One Man, Two Guvnors and Amadeus will play Mr Wormwood.

Marianne Benedict joins the production as Mrs Wormwood. She  most recently appeared as Grizabella in the UK tour of Cats.

The full adult cast includes Keisha Amponsa Banson, Richard Astbury, David Birch, Maria Graciano, Karina Hind, Peter Houston, Katie Lee, Vicki Lee Taylor, Kris Manuel, Bryan Mottram, Tom Muggeridge, Emma Robotham-Hunt, Simon Shorten, Biancha Szynal, Callum Train/Rudolpho and Robert Tregoning. The new children's cast will be announced in due course.

Matilda is currently booking until 27 May 2018 at the Cambridge Theatre. The UK tour starts on 5th  March 2018 into 2019.

Friday, August 4

Craig Revel Horwood to take over from Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan in Annie

Strictly Come Dancing's  Craig Revel Horwood is taking over from Miranda Hart as  Miss Hannigan in Annie the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre.

Horwood has already played  the black-hearted Miss Hannigan (pictured here) for six months when the show was on a nationwide tour directed by Nikolai Foster .

He told Baz in the Mail: She’s such a wonderful character!l . She’s drunk, and hungover. She’s nasty, self-centred and egotistical as well...which I sort of love. I play her for real. You can’t make up lines like you can in panto. And you can’t go adding any Horwoodisms. No Fab-u-LOUS from Strictly, dah-ling,

Miranda’s limited appearance ends on 17th September, and  Horwood will take over the role  from September 18th until November 20th  on Sunday through to Friday, as Saturdays will be taken up with the next series of Strictly. He then goes on to play  the wicked Queen in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from December 15th. 

Annie the  musical is currently booking to February 18th.

Thursday, August 3

The Other Palace announces two new 'Work in Progress' musical productions

The Other Palace has just announced two 'Work in Progress' productions, first discovered during Pitch Days held on 24 May 2017. SPILT MILK and EVER ONWARD will have public sharings on Friday 11th  August at 10.30am and Friday 24th  November at 2:00 pm respectively.

Pitch Days at The Other Palace offer artists and creative teams the chance to show 20 minutes of their work to Artistic Director Paul Taylor Mills and The Other Palace programming team. These days are aimed at people who prefer to share their work 'live'. The panel then make recommendations about how best to move the project forward, and are delighted to be bringing SPILT MILK and EVER ONWARD to The Other Palace for 'Work in Progress' performances to further their development.

Paul Taylor Mills, Artistic Director said, "I am thrilled that we have been able to, within the first 6 months of operating, find two brilliant new musicals to support and develop. This is at the heart of what we want to achieve at The Other Palace and I'm looking forward to working with the teams behind these two new projects."

SPILT MILK is a new musical featuring an original indie-pop-rock score, inspired by the Cereal Killer Café and the 2015 Shoreditch riots, featuring book and lyrics by Jacob Dorrell and Tom Ling, music by Adam Dickinson and Jennifer Hague. SPILT MILK explores the themes of community, acceptance and belonging in an ever-gentrified East London.

EVER ONWARD is inspired by Sutton Vane's play "Outward Bound" with a book by Susannah Pearse and music and lyrics from Tim Connor. Set in the Autumn of 1925 as Britain mourns loved ones lost in the First World War, a luxury cruise ship sets sail. But why are there only five passengers on board? And where are they heading?

The Other Palace's Development Programme continues with further dates for autumn/winter:

Creatives Connect on Wednesday 13 September, 8.30pm - 10.30pm; Pitch Days on Wednesday 11 October, 10.00am - 4.00pm; Open Mic Nights (in association with The BRIT School) on Monday 25 September, 9.00pm - 10.30pm and Musical Bites (in association with Mercury Musical Development) on Thursday 5 October, 8.00pm.

Submissions for the next Pitch Days  link

Phantom of the Opera Cast Changes

As the musical heads into its 32nd year, the producers are delighted to announce key cast changes for “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” from 4th  September. Ben Lewis will play the title role of ‘The Phantom’, Kelly Mathieson is ‘Christine Daaé’ with  Jeremy Taylor as ‘Raoul’. Joining them is Amy Manford as the alternate ‘Christine Daaé’ with Lara Martins as ‘Carlotta Giudicelli’, Siôn Lloyd as ‘Monsieur Firmin’, Mark Oxtoby as ‘Monsieur Andre’, Jacinta Mulcahy as ‘Madame Giry’, Paul Ettore Tabone as ‘Ubaldo Piangi’, Georgia Ware as ‘Meg Giry’ and Scott Davies as the standby ‘Phantom’.

New to the cast this September is Matt Bateman, Jade Davies, Hannah Grace, Andrei Teodor Iliescu, Jordan Simon Pollard, Una Reynolds, Emily Smith, Rachel Spurrell and John Stacey.

Ben Lewis played ‘The Phantom’ in the original Australian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “Love Never Dies”. Ben’s most recent theatre credits include the role of Frank Butler in the Crucible’s production of “Annie Get Your Gun”. He was also in the original UK cast of “Love Me Tender” and starred in “Forbidden Broadway” and “Candide” at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Kelly Mathieson will be making her West End debut in the production. Previously Kelly trained at the Scottish Ballet Company and the Royal College of Music. Previous Opera credits include “Le Nozze de Figaro”, “Agrippina”, “Orpheus and the Underworld”, “Die Zauberflöte” and “Carmen”.

Jeremy Taylor’s previous theatre credits include, ‘Fiyero’ in “Wicked” and ‘Galileo’ in  “We Will Rock You”, both in the West End. He also starred in the UK tours of “Evita” and “The Sound of Music”, as well as appearing in the Palladium production.

Amy Manford has sung internationally as a soloist with the London Handel, London Cello and the Perth Symphony Orchestra’s. Amy recently graduated with a Masters of Performance in Vocal Performance from The Royal College of Music and she will be making her West End debut.

 From 4th  September the full cast will be Matt Bateman, James Roxby Brown, Bridget Costello, Scott Davies, Jade Davies, Hadrian Delacey, Morven Douglas, Hannah Grace, Lori Gilchrist, Philip Griffiths, Hettie Hobbs, Grace Horne, Lily Howes, Andrei Teodor Iliescu, Ellen Jackson, Richard Kent, Adam Robert Lewis, Ben Lewis, Siôn Lloyd, Amy Manford, Kelly Mathieson, Lara Martins, Luke McCall , Leo Miles, Tim Morgan, Fiona Morley, Jacinta Mulcahy, Mark Oxtoby, Danielle Pullum,  Jordan Simon Pollard, Una Reynolds, Emily Smith, Rachel Spurrell, John Stacey, Tom Sterling, Paul Ettore Tabone, Jeremy Taylor, Claire Tilling, Victoria Ward and Georgia Ware.

Monday, July 31

Casting announced for tour of Son of a Preacher Man

Casting has been announced for the UK tour of new musical Son of a Preacher Man, which opens in Bromley in September.

Joining the previously announced Diana Vickers, Debra Stephenson and Ian Reddington will be Michael Howe, Michelle Long, Kate Hardisty, Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Lewis Kidd, Liam Vincent-Kilbride, Jon Bonner, Rachel McAllister, Ellie-Jane Goddard, Gary Mitchinson and Jess Barker.