Sunday, May 24

Ria Jones, Michael Dore and Geronimo Rauch Magic of the Musicals

BBC Radio 2 brings the Magic of the Musicals to the King’s Lynn Festival as its weekly music show Friday Night is Music Night.  It will be at the King's Lynn Corn Exchange to record a special musical theatre edition of the programme on Monday 20th July at 7:30 pm.

Ria Jones, Michael Dore and  Geronimo Rauch  will perform numbers from musicals including hits Mack & Mabel; Carousel; Les Miserables; Guys & Dolls and The Phantom of the Opera, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, Conducted by Richard Balcombe with Presenter Ken Bruce.

Tickets for the Magic of the Musicals

Bertie Carvel, Cynthia Erivo, Matt Henry, Sean Palmer,Laura Pitt-Pulford, Caroline Sheen, Oliver Tompsett and Willemijn Verkaik performing in Jason Robert Brown Concert

Jason Robert Brown is performing Live in Concert at the Royal Festival Hall on Tuesday 26th May at 19:30 .
He is a triple Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, director and performer, best known for his scores to renowned musicals including The Bridges of Madison County, the recently revived The Last Five Years, his debut song cycle Songs for a New World, and  Parade, for which he won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Score.
He  has been hailed as 'one of Broadway’s smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim' (Philadelphia Inquirer) and his 'extraordinary, jubilant theater music' (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world. The New York Times refers to him as 'a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical.'

Special guests include Amy Booth Steel, Bertie Carvel, Cynthia Erivo, Matt HenryThe cast of the NYMT production of ‘13,  Sean PalmerLaura Pitt-Pulford, Caroline Sheen, Oliver Tompsett, Willemijn Verkaik and Eleanor Worthington-Cox accompanied by the Jason Robert Brown

Tickets for Jason Robert Brown Concert

Saturday, May 23

Simon Webbe, Gareth Gates and Leanne Jones to star in Stiles and Drewe's Three Little Pigs at Palace Theatre

Song-writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe ('Honk!', 'Betty Blue Eyes', 'Just So', 'Mary Poppins', 'Peter Pan' and 'Soho Cinders') will premiere their latest musical which an adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, at the Palace Theatre in London's West End for a limited summer season from 5th August to 6th September 2015, with a running time of  50 minutes and performances in the morning and early afternoon.

It will star the group Blue's singer Simon Webbe (Wolf), Gareth Gates (Q),  Leanne Jones (Bee), and Taofique Folarin (Bar).

It tells the story of how the three little porkers become world renowned celebrity superstars when forced to leave the warmth of their mother's overcrowded sty. Will the Three Little Pigs cope without their adoring mother's 'hogs and kisses'? Will their DIY building skills cut the mustard? And will they be able to stand on their own four trotters and outwit the Big Bad Wolf?"

The production will be directed by Anthony Drewe with set and costumes designed by Jason Denvir, choreography by Ewan Jones and lighting designed by Oliver Fenwick.

It will run alongside  Roddy Doyle's the Commitments which is due to end its run at the theatre on 1st November.

Book tickets for The Three Little Pigs 


Wednesday, May 20

Sir Tim Rice writing new songs for Beauty & Beast Movie

The Hit Broadway musical of Disney's   BEAUTY & THE BEAST will start shooting this month with new songs by Sir Tim Rice who said: At the moment, right now, I am working on some songs with Alan Menken for the new live action version of BEAUTY & THE BEAST - which is a return to working with my chums at Disney, which is fine. I am enjoying it very much.

In addition to Emma Watson, the movie is set to showcase Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as The Beast, along with  Luke Evans as Gaston.

The  cast also includes  Emma Thompson,  Kevin Kline,  Audra McDonald,r Timothy Spall and Sir Ian McKellen.


Tuesday, May 19

Results of Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year

Twelve finalists from top drama schools across the UK competed for the title of this year's Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year on Sunday 17th May at the Garrick Theatre, Each student sung a song by Stephen Sondheim and, a new musical theatre song at his personal request, written by members of Mercury Musical Developments and shortlisted for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize.

Erin Doherty was  this year's winner, performing "Broadway Baby" from Follies as her Stephen Sondheim Song and New Song "Angel at the Top of the Tree" written by Darren Clarke. The runner up of the 2015 competition was Leah West who sung "I Read" from Passion as her Sondheim Song and "Love Me" by Laura Kaye Thomson as her New Song.

The award for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize 2015 went to Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for "Don't Look Down from The Superhero", which was sung by finalist Grant McConvey. The runner up for The Best New Song Prize went to Darren Clark for "The Angel at the Top of the Tree", performed by 2015's winner Erin Doherty.

Patron of the Stephen Sondheim Society, Julia McKenzie presented the award at the afternoon which was T hosted by Michael Xavier, with a line up of judges including Elaine Paige, Laura Pitt-Pulford, director Jamie Lloyd, conductor and BBC Proms favourite John Wilson and writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson. Composers and lyricists George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and Pippa Cleary and Jake Brunger (writers of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole at Curve Leicester) judged the Best New Song Prize.

The competition is now in its ninth year with a top prize of £1,000 for both the Student Performer and the writer of the Best New Song. The student runner-up will also receive a prize of £500. The event is produced by Martin Jackson and Victoria Saxton for Mercury Musical Developments and Craig Glenday for The Stephen Sondheim Society.


Monday, May 18

Billy Elliott new cast and tour news

Ruthie Henshall and Deka Walmsley are to stay on in the lead  roles  as Mrs Wilkinson and Dad in the West End cast for Billy Elliot - The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Also continuing in their roles are Chris Grahamson as Tony, Gillian Elisa as Grandma, Howard Crossley as George and Claudia Bradley as Dead Mum.

Phil Snowden will play Mr Braithwaite and James Butcher has joined the cast as Older Billy.

Ensemble members are Craig Armstrong, Richard Ashton, James Ballanger, David Bardsley, Paul Basleigh, Rachel Bingham, Lucinda Collins, Peter Cork, Scott Cripps, Robbie Durham, Ross Finnie, Lee Hoy, Ruri James, Ben Redfern, Charlotte Riby, Mike Scott, Sharon Sexton, Wendy Somerville, Spencer Stafford, David Stoller and Kerry Washington.

Last week Billy Elliot celebrated ten years in the West End releasing over 600,000 tickets and extending booking through to 17th December 2016.

The first UK and Ireland tour has also been announced, opening at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in February 2016 - more details to follow


Cynthia Erivo, Jenna Russell, Damian Humbley & Dean-John Wilson to star in Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown

Casting has been announced for the London revival of Songs for a New World by Triple Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown: Cynthia Erivo, Jenna Russell, Damian Humbley & Dean-John Wilson will be  accompanied by a five piece band.

The musical is directed by Adam Lenson and runs at the St. James Theatre from 22nd July to 8th August 2015.  It is celebrating 20 years since its first performance Off-Broadway with an all-new London production

Written when Jason Robert Brown was only 25, Songs for a New World broke the mould of the ‘showstopper’ Broadway musical. The show debuted Off-Broadway in 1995 and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world, including the UK Premiere at the Bridewell Theatre in 2001. It weaves characters, locations and time periods together in one extraordinary evening - from the deck of a Spanish sailing ship to the window-ledge of a New York penthouse.

Cynthia Erivo is set to reprise her performance in The Colour Purple on Broadway this autumn, starring alongside Jennifer Hudson. Her other theatre credits include Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse); Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios); Sister Act: The Musical (UK Tour); The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Gielgud Theatre). Her television credits include The Tunnel (Kudos) and Mr Selfridge (ITV).

Jenna Russell's
theatre credits include Di and Viv and Rose(Vaudeville Theatre); Urinetown (St. James Theatre / West End); Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory / West End); Sunday in the Park with George (Wyndham’s Theatre / Roundabout Theatre Company, New York). Her film credits include Mortdecai (Lionsgate), whilst her television credits include Call the Midwife (Neal Street/ BBC) and The Ladies Paradise (BBC1).

Damian Humbley’
s theatre credits include Forbidden Broadway and Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory / West End); The Last Five Years (Menier Chocolate Factory); Lend Me a Tenor (Theatre Royal Plymouth / West End); Shoes (Peacock Theatre/ Sadler’s Wells) and Fiddler on the Roof (Sheffield Theatre / West End).

Dean-John Wilson was most recently seen in the Oliver nominated production of Here Lies Love at the National Theatre. His other theatre credits include From Here to Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre); Super Ordinary (Soho Theatre); Bare (Union Theatre) and Sister Act: The Musical (UK Tour).

Tickets for Songs for a New World 


Point & Shoot Musical at Brighton Festival and King's Head

Point & Shoot is a new musical which was performed at the Brighton Fringe earlier this month and has its final performance in Brighton  at The Warren , Main House on 31st May 4:00 pm.  You can also see it for one night only at the The King's Head Theatre in London on Monday 25th May at  7.30pm

It  is an extremely faced paced (75 minute) and  funny musical satire with  four accomplished actors  covering a number of  roles, while  singing, dancing and accompanying themselves on a variety of musical instruments. (two  play the saxophone, two play the piano and three  play the flute).

There are very quick  costume changes,  numerous plot twists in the cleverly written script , showstopping musical numbers and the occasional explosion!
The plot  is set  in the year 2042 and revolves around  the  film industry which as we know it is dead:  out of money and out of ideas. A has-been producer and an ambitious young screenwriter believe they have hit the jackpot when a mysterious femme fatale offers them the rights to a little-known 60s television show...a property they can use to revive mega-budget movie franchises.

But turning the adventures of Selma the dutiful housewife into an action-packed blockbuster turns out to be an exercise fraught with danger, intrigue and various perils, with potentially apocalyptic consequences.
Point & Shoot  premiered in February 2014 at Perth's Fringe World Festival. The production, directed by Tyler Jones and Gemma Hall, and starring Jones, Robert Woods, Erin Hutchinson and Tamara Woolrych, enjoyed a successful season that was extended due to popular demand. At the Fringe World Awards, it  won the Artrage Theatre Award for Best Theatre Production and the coveted Martin Sims Award for Best New Western Australian Work.

A very slick, frenetic and entertaining evening which is certainly worth going to see.