Friday, September 22

Patti Lupone and Rosalie Craig to lead Sondheim's Company at the Gielgud next September

Marianne Elliott is to direct COMPANY, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's musical comedy about life, love and marriage. Patti LuPone is to  star as Joanne'  when it hits the West End opening at the Gielgud Theatre on 26th September 2018 for a limited run as it is currently booking until 22nd December.
 

Elliott & Harper Productions present this iconic musical with the lead role of “Bobby” re-imagined for the first time as a woman.At Bobbi’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why isn’t she married? Why can’t she find the right man? Why doesn’t she settle down and have a family? One thing is for certain; you will fall in love with Company. Featuring Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs – The Ladies Who Lunch, Being Alive and Side by Side.

The 1970 musical has received some modern updates. Chris Harper, a business partner to the director says, "Bobbi is a sexually confident woman, looking for love. She's a woman of today, really 2018." LuPone said she is doing the show because of Marianne Elliot saying  "She's a visionary."

Tickets are on sale now from  at  elliottandharper.com, DelfontMackintosh.co.uk or  by calling 0844 482 5130.











Thursday, September 21

Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson new super group Leading Ladies

West End leading ladies Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson have created a vocal super group called the Leading Ladies.

The three stars – Amber Riley (best known for Glee and her current role as Effie White in Dreamgirls), Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard, Memphis, Cats, solo tour later this year) and Cassidy Janson (Beautiful, Wicked) – will be releasing their debut album Songs From the Stage on 17th  November (available for pre-order now). 

The performers all have  superb voices which  complement each other beautifully with  their harmonising on classic show tunes a real force to be reckoned with.

The album contains songs from shows including Dreamgirls, The Bodyguard and Beautiful as well as popular Broadway musicals like Hamilton plus a Christmas number.

Songs From the Stage is a perfect album for musical theatre fans, with  stripped-back arrangements also making  it appeal  a wider audience.

Sheridan Smith to star in ITV special about her life and career

Sheridan Smith is to star in her own special entitled Sheridan for ITV this autumn, featuring  the actress and singer performing music from her new album and speaking about her life and career.The one-off show will see the multi award-winning actress and singer headline her very own show for the first time.
The star of ITV and musical theatre shows including Funny Girl, Legally Blonde, Black Work, the C Word, the Moorside   Mrs Biggs and Cilla - for which she won a BAFTA TV Award - will showcase exclusive performances of songs from her new album which is due for release on 10th November,  as well as an array of musical numbers accompanied by a live orchestra.

In a statement a spokesperson for ITV described the special as as ‘wonderful celebration of Sheridan, one of Britain’s most recognisable stars of stage and screen, and her love of music and performing’.

Meanwhile the Cilla actress said  I am so excited to be performing my songs and sharing my journey with my fans, friends and family. It's a dream come true.
Lee Connolly ITV’s creative director of entertainment teased that the show would shine a spotlight on Smith’s ‘wonderful’ voice. With such a stellar career as an actor, it's easy to forget that Sheridan is also a wonderful singer. With brilliant performances in ITV's Cilla and as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl it reminded us why Sheridan is such a special and unique performer and we are delighted to be making this one off special with her

 Broadcast information for Sheridan to follow when announced.

Wednesday, September 20

Changes to Sunset Boulevard tour schedule announced

A revised tour schedule for Sunset Boulevard starring Ria Jones and Danny Mac has just been released. 

Danny was originally only scheduled to perform for  the 2017 dates, but is now doing some  performances in 2018.

Tuesday, September 19

Collabro to release charity Lighthouse single

The  musical theatre group Collabro are to release of their first ever single ‘Lighthouse’ and give all proceeds to Save the Children’s Emergency Fund in wake of Hurricane Irma.

Collabro singer Michael Auger was caught at the centre of the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, where winds of up to 185mph tore through the Caribbean and Florida – leaving dozens dead, thousands homeless and entire communities shattered. Michael, who is now back in the UK, said: The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Irma is truly heart-breaking for the people of the Caribbean and Florida.I know I was very lucky to escape unharmed but there are many thousands of people who have lost everything and will feel the effects of this disaster for years to come.

After witnessing the terrible destruction first hand as Irma hit the Caribbean island of Saint Martin where Michael was on holiday, he has joined bandmates Jamie Lambert, Matt Pagan and Thomas Redgrave in pledging to raise money for Save The Children’s Emergency Fund which helps bring aid to children affected by war and disasters around the world.Lighthouse – which was co-written by the band and Ben Adams of A1 – is a beautifully poignant message of being a shining beacon of hope and help.It is available to digitally download on FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22nd with 100% of all money raised from the release going to Save the Children’s Emergency Fund.This means every time the song is downloaded 99p will go to the fund which mobilises emergency teams in times of crisis, allowing them to assess situations and get life-saving food, shelter and medicines straight to where they are most urgently needed.


Friday, September 15

West End and Broadway to dim their lights tonight as tribute Sir Peter Hall

Venues in the West End and on Broadway will dim their lights tonight (Friday 15th September) in memory of  the late Sir Peter Hall,  British director and theatre impresario.

Before the evening’s performances commence tonght , audience members and industry professionals will recognise one of the greatest names in British theatre while lights are dimmed for one minute as a mark of respect. The tradition, which is performed to honour theatre’s most prestigious and loved contributors, will take place across the West End at 19:00 (BST) and on Broadway at 19:45 (ET).

Peter Hall’s extraordinary career spanned more than half a century. In 1960, aged 29, he founded the Royal Shakespeare Company which he led until 1968. In 1973 he was appointed Director of the National Theatre and oversaw the move from the Old Vic to its current home on the South Bank.

After leaving the National Theatre in 1988, he formed the Peter Hall Company (1988 – 2011), and in 2003 became the founding director of the Rose Theatre Kingston. His productions were acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic and his work spanned theatre and opera. Peter Hall was Artistic Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera (1984 – 1990) and worked at many of the world’s leading houses including The Royal Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and Bayreuth.

Sir Peter Hall received the Society of London Theatre’s Special Award at the 1999 Olivier Awards. In 2011 he received the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2011 UK Theatre Awards.

Caissie Levy and Patti Murrin to star in Disney's Frozen the Musical

Michael Grandage is to direct Caissie Levy (Ghost) as Elsa  and Patti Murrin (Wicked) as Anna in Disney's Frozen the Musical which is playing a try out at the Buell Theatre in Denver until 1st  October before heading for the  St James Theatre, New York where it previews from  22nd February 2018.
The musical is based on the Oscar-winning Disney film, with  music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and a book by Jennifer Lee. It also has design by Christopher Oram whose previous work includes the Kenneth Branagh season at the Garrick Theatre and the RSC's Wolf Hall, for which he won the 2015 Olivier and Tony Awards.

Thursday, September 14

Clare Burt to join Kelsey Grammer in new Big Fish Musical

Clare Burt has just been announced to star as ‘Sandra Bloom’ alongside the previously announced Kelsey Grammer as ‘Edward Bloom’ in a new production of John August and Andrew Lippa’s BIG FISH THE MUSICAL which is directed by Nigel Harman, and will play at The Other Palace from Wednesday 1 November 2017 – Sunday 31 December 2017, with a Press Night on Tuesday 7 November and a Gala Night on Wednesday 8 November.
 
Clare Burt was the winner of the UK Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Musical for her portrayal of ‘Mrs Harris’ in “Flowers for Mrs Harris” at the Sheffield Crucible.  She created the role of ‘Jan’ in the original production of the award-winning musical “London Road” at the National Theatre. Her other National Theatre credits include “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Coram Boy”. Clare’s Donmar Warehouse credits include the musicals “Into the Woods”, “Company” and “Nine”. She also appeared as ‘Eunice’ in the Young Vic’s acclaimed production of “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

Wednesday, September 13

Principal Casting news for A Woman in White

Thom Southerland (Titanic, Grey Gardens, Grand Hotel) is to direct the first ever revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical The Woman in White at London's Charing Cross Theatre for  a strictly limited 12-week season from 20th November-10th February 2018

Principal casting news so far is that Chris Peluso (Showboat, Miss Saigon, Funny Girl) is to play sinister Sir Percival Glyde with Anna O'Byrne (The Phantom of the Opera) as Laura Fairlie with  Carolyn Maitland (Ghost) as Marian Halcombe, Ashley Stillburn (The Phantom of the Opera) as Walter Hartright, Greg Castiglioni (Titanic) as Count Fosco, and Sophie Reeves (Les Miserables) as Anne Catherick.

Australian musical theatre star, Anna O’Byrne/Laura Fairlie played  Christine in the hugely successful Australian premiere of Love Never Dies, which was later filmed for DVD release. Andrew Lloyd Webber then brought  Anna to London to make her West End debut in The Phantom of the Opera. She won the 2017 Helpmann Award for Best Actress - the Australian equivalent of the Olivier Awards – Anna received the award for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in the sold-out 60th anniversary production of My Fair Lady at Sydney Opera House. The show was cast and directed by Dame Julie Andrews.
 
Chris Peluso /Sir Percival Glyde. Chris starred as Death in the European premiere of Death Takes a Holiday and played Nicky Arnstein opposite Sheridan Smith in the UK tour of Funny Girl. He made his West End debut as Chris in Miss Saigon and was Missisippi gambler Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat at the New London Theatre.

Carolyn Maitland/Marian Halcombe starred as Molly Jensen in Ghost, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and Ellen in Miss Saigon.

Ashley Stillburn/Walter Hartright was previously in Death Takes a Holiday at Charing Cross Theatre and has previously played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera.

Greg Castiglioni/Count Fosco credits include the European premiere of Titanic, Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester, Evita (Magaldi), The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Lend Me a Tenor.

Sophie Reeves/ Anne Catherick is a recent graduate of Guildford School of Acting, and has appeared in the West End company of Les Misérables.

Tuesday, September 12

Bananaman the Musical world premiere announced

Based on the '80s cartoon, Bananaman the Musical will have its world premiere at Southwark Playhouse from 4th to 20th January 2018, with previews from 15th December 2017.

Written and composed by Leon Parris (Wolfboy, Monte Cristo), the musical will be directed by Mark Perry (A Comedy of Arias, Little Shop of Horrors) wih musical supervision by Alan Berry, design by Mike Leopold, and choreography by Grant Murphy. Casting still  to be announced.

Bananaman started fighting crime in 1980 trying to halt the evil plans of supervillains Doctor Gloom and General Blight when he appeared in  The Dandy and then The Beano in 2012. The popular TV cartoon ran between 1983 and 1986 for 40 episodes and featured the voices of Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie.

Tickets for Bananaman<

Wind in the Willows to be shown in cinemas on TV and online streaming.

The Wind in the Willows by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes and Olivier Award-winning composer and lyricist duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe,  recently completed its limited West End run at the Palladium where it was filmed for release in cinemas, on television and online streaming.

Producer Jamie Hendry said: "I am delighted that our magnificent production has been captured in all its glory at the London Palladium. The Wind in the Willows has been a joy to produce and I'm so pleased that audiences around the world will be able to experience the adventure."

Based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame, the  filmed version stars Rufus Hound as Mr Toad, Simon Lipkin as Ratty, Craig Mather as Mole, Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel, Denise Welch as Mrs Otter, Gary Wilmot as Badger and the entire West End company. The stage adaptation is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with choreography by Aletta Collins, set and costume design by Peter McKintosh, lighting design by Howard Harrison and sound design by Gareth Owen.

The Wind in the Willows was filmed by BroadwayHD, who will release the film on their online platform. The recording is directed by Tim van Someren. Dates for show's online release are to still be announced.

Monday, September 11

New tour of the Jungle Book just announced

The Children’s Touring Partnership and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton have just announced a new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s  classic, “THE JUNGLE BOOK”. The Jungle Book runs at Royal & Derngate from 28 November to 31 December. The UK tour begins at Chichester Festival Theatre on 25 January and continues to Richmond, Liverpool, Wycombe, Bromley, Malvern, Cambridge, Newcastle, Plymouth, Norwich, Nottingham, Canterbury, Salford and Blackpool.

Originally written in 1894, Kipling’s tale will be reworked  with a brand new score and script, exploring  themes of family, belonging and identity. “THE JUNGLE BOOK” tells of Mowgli the man cub who battles for survival in this heart-warming coming-of-age story about a boy raised by wolves in the jungle. With the help of his animal friends, including Bagheera the panther, Balloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the cruel and powerful tiger, Shere Khan, and learns the law of the jungle.

Cast includes Rachel Dawson as ‘Kaa Grey’, Lloyd Gorman as ‘Shere Khan’, TJ Holmes as ‘Hiran’, Avita Jay as ‘Raksha’, Keziah Joseph as ‘Mowgli’, Dyfrig Morris as ‘Balloo’, Deborah Oyelade as ‘Bagheera’ and Tripti Tripuraneni as ‘Akala’. They are joined by ensemble  members  Ruri James and Chipo Kureya.

The award winning creative team bringing Kipling’s timeless story to the stage includes playwright Jessica Swale, director Max Webster and internationally renowned songwriter Joe Stilgoe.Playwright Jessica Swale will be adapting the story for the stage. Her previous acclaimed play “Nell Gwynn” won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2016.Max Webster directed Dr Seuss’ “The Lorax” at the Old Vic, which was nominated for Best Entertainment and Family Show at the 2016 Olivier Awards.
Completing the creative team is set and costume designer Peter McKintosh, musical supervision from Paul Herbert, movement direction by Lizzi Gee, lighting design by Charles Balfour, puppetry design and direction by Nick Barnes and fight direction by Kate Waters.

Children’s Touring Partnership is led by Fiery Angel and Chichester Festival Theatre. Previous productions include the award winning West End and UK tour production of “Goodnight Mister Tom” and most recently the UK touring production of Michael Morpurgo’s “Running Wild”.