Friday, February 23

Lulu to join 42nd Street cast next month

Pop singer  Lulu, will be taking over the role of Dorothy Brock from Sheena Easton for sixteen weeks beginning March 19th in the West End production of 42nd Street currently playing at Theatre Royal Drury Lane,

She last appeared in the West End  31 years ago in the short-lived The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Savoy Theatre and prior to that took over in Andrew Lloyd Webber's solo show Song and Dance at the Palace Theatre. She played Adelaide in the tour of the National Theatre's production of Guys and Dolls which moved into the Prince of Wales.

Other news of cast changes on the 19th Ashley Day (Evita, Mary PoppinsThe Book of Mormon , American in Paris) is joining as Billy Lawlor taking over from Stuart Neal and Matthew Goodgame joins as Pat Denning taking over from Norman Bowman.  Tom Lister is staying as Julian Marsh and  Clare Halse carries on playing Peggy Sawyer.

Other cast members staying with the show include Jasna Ivir as 'Maggie Jones', Graeme Henderson as 'Andy Lee', Christopher Howell as Bert Barry' , Bruce Montague as 'Abner Dillon', Mark McKerracher as 'Mac/Doc/Thug' and Emma Caffrey is 'Anytime Annie'.









Thursday, February 22

Full cast announced for tour of An Officer And A Gentleman

The full cast for the World Premiere of AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN - THE MUSICAL is officially announced with  leads Emma Williams/Paula Pokrifiki, Jonny Fines/Zack Mayo, Ray Shell /Foley, Ian Macintosh/Sid Worley and Jessica Daley as Lynette Pomeroy. The production will open at Curve on Friday 6 April 2018 with a national press night on Thursday 19 April before playing at theatres across the UK and Ireland until 15 September 2018. 

The cast also includes Keisha Atwell (“Legally Blonde” and “Grease” at Curve, “Annie”) who will play ‘Casey Seegar’, Andy Barke (“Nativity! The Musical” and “Legally Blonde” at Curve) in the role of ‘Louis Perryman’, Darren Bennett (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Grease” and the title role in “Scrooge the Musical” at Curve) in the role of ‘Bryon Mayo’, James Darch in the role of ‘Troy’, Nathaniel Landskroner (“Grease”, “Legally Blonde” and “Scrooge the Musical” at Curve) in the role of ‘Craig’, George Loannides (“Grease” at Curve and “Annie” and “Mamma Mia!”) in the role of  ‘Eduardo Cortez’, Joe Maxwell (“Jersey Boys” and “Scrooge the Musical” at Curve) in the role of ‘Fin Hooper’, Corinna Powlesland in the role of ‘Aunt Bunny’ and  Rachel Stanley  (“Legally Blonde” and “Scrooge the Musical” at Curve, White Christmas”) will play ‘Esther Pokrifki’.Joining them will be David Burrows, Vanessa Fisher, Aimee Hodnett, Keiran McGinn and Rhys Whitfield.

Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director of Curve and Director of ‘An Officer and Gentleman – The Musical’ said today “Douglas Day Stewart wrote An Officer and a Gentleman in response to his time serving in the American Air Force and the challenges he faced during training. It is a visceral, uncompromising and ultimately tender portrait of the these personal experiences and the lives of folk living near the training facility in the early 1980s.We are proud to have assembled such an accomplished company of actors, led by Emma, Ray, Jonny, Ian and Jess to create our production and realise this beautiful portrait of working class lives. All of us at Curve are excited to tell this story - set to a fantastic 80s playlist - and to be working with the talented team at Jamie Wilson Productions. Productions like this couldn’t be made without the support of our collaborators and we are thrilled to be working with Jamie and his team. Officer will certainly be a memorable moment in our theatre's 10th birthday year."

Four-time Laurence Olivier Award nominated actress Emma Williams will play ‘Paula Pokrifki’. Emma’s previous credits include ‘Truly Scrumptious’ in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “Mrs Henderson Presents” and “Love Story”, all in the West End. This year Emma won the What's On Stage Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for playing ‘Helen’ in Cameron Mackintosh's revival of “Half A Sixpence” at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Jonny Fines will play the iconic role of ‘Zack Mayo’ – the role made famous by Richard Gere in the beloved 80s film. Jonny most recently played the role of ‘Rooster’ in the West End production of “Annie” at The Piccadilly Theatre.  Other theatre credits include the UK Tours of “The Sound of Music” and “Avenue Q”.


Ray Shell will play ‘Foley’. Ray is probably most famous for creating the roles of ‘Rusty’ in “Starlight Express” and ‘Nomax’ in “Five Guys Named Moe”, both in the West End.  His other theatre credits include the iconic productions of “Miss Saigon” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.


Ian Macintosh will play ‘Sid Worley’. Ian is an Olivier nominated actor for his role in the West End production of “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical”, his other credits include “The Commitments” and “Rock of Ages”.


Jessica Daley will play ‘Lynette Pomeroy’. Jessica was a finalist on the BBC 1’s “Over The Rainbow” and previous theatre credits include “Mamma Mia!” In the West End and the UK Tour of “The Sound of Music”.











 

Wednesday, February 21

Magic at the Musicals with Louise Dearman and John Owen-Jones hosted by Ruthie Henshall

Magic Radio have announced  the return for the third year  of ‘Magic at the Musicals’ at the Royal Albert Hall on 21st May 2018.

This brand new show, complete with 60 piece orchestra, hosted Olivier Award-winning Ruthie Henshall brings together performers from  hit musicals including  Dreamgirls, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, MAMMA MIA!, Disney’s The Lion King and Disney’s Aladdin, with  cast members from the new  production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company – which sees the lead male role of Bobby re-imagined as woman named Bobbi, played by Rosalie Craig – and stars of the new production of Chicago which returns to the West End this year  as well as performances from West End favourites Louise Dearman & John Owen-Jones.

Tickets go on sale on Friday 23rd February at 09:00










Tuesday, February 20

Tyrone Huntley Ben Forster, Joe McElderry and West End casts announced for Andrew Lloyd Webber – A Musical Celebration

Tyrone Huntley (Deamgirls and Jesus Christ Superstar) and  Ben Forster (Elf, Phantom of the Opera) are to perform in a  concert  in  celebration of  the composer's 70th birthday,:  Andrew Lloyd Webber – A Musical Celebration  at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on Sunday 17 June 2018
The line-up also includes  Joe McElderry (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Imelda May and Mica Paris will feature alongside the West End casts of School of Rock and The Phantom of the Opera accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
 and  will feature songs from Lloyd Webber's repertoire including Cats, Aspects of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Starlight Express and Love Never Dies, culminating in a firework display.

Tickets for the concert go on presale at 10:00 am on Thursday 22nd February and general sale at 10am on Friday 23rd February. (A portion of the ticket sale proceeds will go towards funding the care of Chelsea Pensioners, as well as the ongoing maintenance of the Grade I listed site.)



Friday, February 16

Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser in one off concert performance of The Light Princess

Rosalie Craig is to reprise her role of Althea in a one off concert performance of The Light Princess with her husband Hadley Fraser playing  Digby  at the Cadogan Hall on 1st July at 6:30 pm.

Directed by Paul Foster (A Little Night Music, Annie Get Your Gun), the musical is created by Tori Amos and Sam Adamson, based on George MacDonald's 1864 fairytale about a princess and a prince who had both lost their mothers and lived in opposing kingdoms. Althea was unable to cry and became light with grief and floated, and so was locked away. Digby became so heavy-hearted that he could never smile and so was trained as a warrior. One day he declares war. Althea is forced out of hiding and down to ground but, in defiance of her father, she escapes, only to encounter the solemn prince on contested land. Beside a lake the warring heirs begin a passionate and illicit affair. But for Althea to find real love, she must first confront the world’s darkness and face her own deepest fears. The show premiered at the National in October 2013.

Craig is currently appearing as in the West End production of The Ferryman and in September will star in the West End revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company, playing the lead role of Bobbi, alongside Patti LuPone and Mel Giedroyc. Her other credits include The Threepenny Opera and As You Like It at the National Theatre, .

Fraser  is currently playing the doctor  in the  revival of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein comedy musical at the Garrick Theatre. His previous credits include Saint Joan, The Winter's Tale, Les Misérables and Coriolanus.

Craig said: "It's so wonderful to have the opportunity to revisit this incredible piece five years on. It is hugely special to me and it will be a joy to hear it and sing it again after all this time."


BREAKING NEWS: Ruthie Henshall returning to Chicago the Musical

Baz in the Mail has just announced that West End and Broadway star RUTHIE HENSHALL is to return to Chicago the Musical at London's Phoenix Theatre  to play the role of Matron Mama Morton who performs  the show-stopping Act I number  When You're Good to Mama.  Joining her and the previously announced Cuba Gooding Jr as  lawyer  Billy Flynn will be Sarah Soetaert as Roxie Hart  and Josefina Gabrielle as Velma Kelly.

The show is currently scheduled for a one year run beginning on March 26th.

Four time Olivier-nominated Ruthie Henshall has played the lead role in many of the most  successful award-winning musicals in the West End and on Broadway over the last 30 years, including Chicago, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Cats and Crazy For You and Billy Elliott. She was the original London Roxie in the  revival  at the Adelphi in 1997 and has also played Velma.  Henshall said that she will be only the second actor to perform the three main female roles: Roxie, Velma and Mama with Bebe Neuwirth perfroming all three on Broadway.

Josefina Gabrielle starred as Gussie Carnegie in  Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at The Menier Chocolate Factory and Harold Pinter Theatre. She received an Oliver Award for her duel performance as  Nickie and Ursula in Sweet Charity.  Her other musical theatre credits include Dot/Maria in Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, Roxie Hart in Chicago, Alexandra Spofford in The Witches of Eastwick and her c Olivier nominated role of Laurey Wlliams in the Trevor Nunn production of Oklahoma! West End and Broadway.

Sarah Soetaert has been in the West End  in Cats, Fame, and Kiss Me Kate. She made her debut as Roxie Hart in the first West End production in 2007 and  went on to become the longest running Roxie Hart in the West End returning to the role numerous times over the course of six years.

Thursday, February 15

Flowers for Mrs Harris and Me and My Girl musicals announced as part of Chichester Festival Theatre's 2018 Season

Chichester Festival Theatre has just unveiled its 2018 season.  Musical theatre offerings feature a revival of Flowers For Mrs Harris: an uplifting musical which celebrates the extraordinary power of friendship,  starring Clare Burt (Big Fish, London Road), who reprises her role as Mrs Ada Harris with Joanna Riding (The Girls, Romantics Anonymous) as Lady Dant / Madame Colbert and Gary Wilmot as Major / Monsieur Armand

Directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans, it will run at the Festival Theatre from September 8th-29th with press night on September 14th and  is based on the novel of the same name by Paul Gallico. The show has a book by Rachel Wagstaff (Birdsong) and music and lyrics by Richard Taylor (The Go-Between). It premiered in Sheffield Crucible (directed by Evans) in 2016 winning three UK Theatre Awards including Best Musical. Following  the story of Ada Harris whose  day-to-day life is spent cleaning houses. But fixated on a Christian Dior dress she sets off on a journey that will change her life... from the cobbled streets of post-war London to the avenues of Paris and beyond, Ada transforms the lives of everyone she meets along the way, but can she let go of her past and finally let her own life blossom?

Daniel Evans will also direct a new revival of L Arthur Rose, Douglas Furber and Noel Gay's Me and My Girl starring  Caroline Quentin as the Duchess of Dene at  the Festival Theatre from from July 2nd-August 25th, with press night on 9th July.  Reworked in 1985 by Stephen Fry and Michael Ockrent. 

The musical is set in Hampshire, Mayfair, and Lambeth in the late 1930s and tells the story of an unrefined cockney gentleman named Bill Snibson, who inherits a fortune when he learns that he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford. It won an Olivier Award and features numbers including "Leaning on a Lamppost", "The Sun Has Got His Hat On", "The Lambeth Walk" and "Me and My Girl".
 
  •  Friends priority booking opens Saturday 24th February at 9am (online) and Wednesday 28TH February at 10:00am (by phone and in person)
  •  Groups and Schools booking opens Thursday 1st  March
  •  General booking opens Saturday 3rd March (online only) and Tuesday 6th March (by phone and in person)










Wednesday, February 14

CONFIRMED: Alexandra Burke, Michael Ball, Tim Howar and Cassidy Janson to star in ENO's Chess at the Coliseum

Initial casting has now  been confirmed for  ENO's production of Chess which is due to run in London for the first time in 30 years for five weeks only at the Coliseum from 1st May until 2nd June 2018, with previews scheduled to begin on April 26th. 

Michael Ball is to star as the Russian  Anatoly Sergievsky with X Factor winner Alexandra Burke as Svetlana Sergievsky. Joining them is Tim Howar (Rock of Ages, co lead singer of Mike and the Mechanics) as Frederick Trumper, Cassidy Janson (Beautiful & Leading Ladies) as Florence Vassy and Murray Head as the Arbiter (having originated the role of Frederick in the show's 1986 West End premiere).

The production will feature a 48 piece orchestra and  tells the story of a romantic triangle between two players in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the characters personalities are loosely based on those of Victor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer and the oddity of the Merano championship in the musical is based on the similar oddities which occurred during the 1978 World Championship between Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov. The musical contains some powerful classic numbers including I Know Him So Well, One Night In Bangkok, Anthem and Heaven Help My Heart.




Tuesday, February 13

Sam Bailey to join the cast of Vampires Rock

X Factor winner Sam Bailey is touring in the hugely successful Fat Friends Musical until June , but next year  is due to take the role of the vampire queen in the touring musical extravaganza Vampires Rock Ghost Train.

She  will be stepping into the shoes of  singer and actress Toyah Willcox who played the part for two years performing over 200 shows.

Sam will be joined on stage by creator and star of Vampires Rock Steve Steinman, plus a full cast of dancers, singers and musicians. For the past fifteen years Vampires Rock has played to more than a million people and has a growing army of fans who follow the show year after year as it tours in all the major theatres and concert halls country wide.

Sam explains “When I was approached to play in Vampires Rock I jumped at the chance, I am a fan of the show and to get to cover some of the greatest Classic rock songs that are featured in the show, a chance I couldn’t miss Steve Steinman has created something very special and unique and to share the stage with Steve will be fantastic”.

Monday, February 12

Cory English to play Igor in Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein in London

CORY ENGLISH  will join the cast of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein at the Garrick Theatre on 12th February as Igor, trusted assistant to Dr. Frederick Frankenstein. He will replace Ross Noble , who is set to complete his run on 10th February to go on his El Hablador stand up comedy tour.

English  has played the part before replacing Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald at Broadway's Hilton Theatre and also on the US tour.  

Based on the Oscar-nominated 1974 film, Young Frankenstein is Brooks’ comic re-imagining of the Mary Shelley classic. English will join current cast members HADLEY FRASER/Dr Frederick Frankenstein, LESLEY JOSEPH /Frau Blucher, DIANNE PILKINGTON /Elizabeth, SUMMER STRALLEN /Inga with PATRICK CLANCY as Inspector Kemp and NIC GREENSHIELDS as the Monster.

English began his career in New York, where his Broadway credits include Barnaby in Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing, Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Gypsy with Tyne Daly. He moved to London to study acting at the Drama Studio London. While in the UK, he performed in plays Corpus Christi at the Edinburgh Festival, Our Father and Comedy of Errors as both Dromios. In the West End, he played Mary Sunshine in Chicago, Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls with Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski, and was in The Producers in London and on tour.



Friday, February 9

Cast change at Motown the Musical

New casting has been announced for the West End production of Berry Gordy's Motown The Musical, which celebrates its second birthday at the Shaftesbury Theatreis where it is currently booking until 5th January 2019.
 
Jay Perry will join the cast as Berry Gordy. He is joined by Natalie Kassanga as Diana Ross and Carl Spencer as Marvin Gaye. 11 year-old Cruz Lee-Ojo also joins the company to share the role of Young Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder with 12 year-old Tumo Reetsang. David Albury continues in the role of Smokey Robinson.

They are joined by ensemble members  Chanice Alexandra-Burnett, KM Drew Boateng, Timothy Benjamin, Ryan Carter, Ricardo Castro, Amandla Elynah, Livvy Evans, Segun Fawole, Angela Marie Hurst, Cameron Bernard Jones, Cleopatra Joseph, Duane Lamonte, Nathan Lorainey-Dineen, Mireia Mambo, Matt Overfield, Adam Philpott, Ainsley Hall Ricketts, Lawrence Rowe, Nate Simpson, Jaime Tait, Kyle Turner, Anna Van Ruiten, Cherelle Williams, Lashane Williams, Michael Woolston-Thomas, Jayme-Lee Zanoncelli and Mitchell Zhangazha.
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The production also recently announced a UK tour beginning in Birmingham in October.
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CARLOS ACOSTA - A CELEBRATION at Royal Albert Hall

Internationally acclaimed dancer Carlos Acosta returns to the Royal Albert Hall for four performances only from 2nd - 5th October

Acclaimed as one of the most extraordinary dancers of his generation, following his retirement from classical ballet Carlos Acosta will perform a selection of other favourite and specially commissioned pieces in a wonderful programme marking his thirty years as a dancer. During a remarkable career, Carlos has been hailed by the critics, won countless awards and thrilled audiences the world over.

The programme will feature a full company of dancers and is accompanied by a live orchestra.