Friday, July 31

More casting news for Wicked!

Wicked! London  is delighted to welcome the American stage, television and film actor Tom McGowan making his West End debut in  the role of The Wizard from Monday 21 September for a limited season until Saturday 12 March 2016.

Tom McGowan has been playing The Wizard in various North American productions  since 2009, including three separate engagements at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. His other Broadway credits include ‘Bessie’ in Harvey Fierstein’s Casa Valentina, directed by Joe Mantello; ‘Amos Hart’ in Chicago; Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, adapted by David Hare and the original production of David Hirson’s La Bête (Tony® and Drama Desk Award nominations, Best Actor in a Play). Off-Broadway, he won an OBIE Award for his performance as ‘Otto’ in Nicky Silver’s The Food Chain. His many television appearances include recurring roles as KACL Station Manager ‘Kenny Daly’ in Frasier; ‘Bernie’ in Everybody Loves Raymond and ‘Joe’ in The War at Home; and guest starring roles in Veep; Modern Family; Desperate Housewives; Brothers & Sisters; CSI; Hot in Cleveland; ER and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Films include The Birdcage; Heavyweights; Ghost World; Bad Santa; As Good As It Gets; Bean; The Family Man; Twelve and Holding and Sleepless in Seattle.

Tom McGowan said: “I am thrilled to be invited to make my West End stage debut in Wicked playing the role that has been such a huge and fulfilling part of my career on Broadway and across North America at various times since 2009. I look forward to meeting and working with the amazing London cast.”


Richard O'Brien to play Narrator in Rocky Horror Show in London

Producers of the new tour of The Rocky Horror  Show have just announced that creator Richard O'Brien, will return to the role of Narrator  for the first time in the UK for more than 20 years in 11 special performances (including a star-studded gala performance ) at the Playhouse Theatre in  London from 11th – 19th September 2015. This will be prior to  the new UK tour which opens in  Brighton on 18th  December. Casting for the tour so far includes Kristian Lavercombe as Riff Raff, Ben Freeman/Brad Majors, Diana Vickers/Janet Weiss and Paul Cattermole as Eddie/Dr Scott. The show last toured the UK in 2013, with a cast including Ben Forster and Oliver Thornton.

O'Brien said: "I love playing the Narrator, I don't have to do any work, everyone else does it."On the worldwide cult success of the show he added: "None of us expected it. One of the great things is that it's a work of juvenilia, isn't it. It really is a childish piece of work but it brings great joy to people."

The show will be directed by Christopher Luscombe and produced by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group.

On 17th  September the Rocky Horror Show Company will  broadcast a gala charity performance In aid of Amnesty International,  live from the Playhouse Theatre to cinemas across the UK and Europe featuring a number of special celebrity guest stars.

Tickets for The Rocky Horror Show in London  go on general sale on Saturday 1 August with fan pre-sale from 10:00 am today.


Thursday, July 30

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man on Sky Arts next week

A new HD film of  Matthew Bourne's  multi-award winning dance thriller “THE CAR MAN will be screened on Sky Arts on MONDAY 3 AUGUST at 8.00PM.

The show is currently t the end of its tour in London  and was filmed at Sadler’s Wells earlier this month. It will also be screened in cinemas later this year with dates to be announced shortly.


Willemijn Verkaik solo concert

Musical theatre star Willemijn Verkaik is performing one-off solo concert at the Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday 25th August 2 at 8:00 pm followed by two performances only at 54 Below in New York  on  27th  and  28th  August .

She will be accompanied by a live band and joined by some  special guests to be announced.  She will be performing numbers from some of the greatest classic and contemporary musicals plus some of the iconic songs that have defined her career so far.

Willemijn Verkaik is best known for playing the role of Elphaba in Wicked, having performed the role in London's West End, on Broadway, in Germany and the Netherlands. She is also the only actress to have performed the role in multiple languages. Most recent stage credits include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse, and Mamma Mia!, Aida and We Will Rock You in Germany. Willemijn also voiced Elsa in the Dutch and German versions of Disney's smash hit animated film Frozen. Recordings include the German cast recording of Wicked, and appearances on Scott Alan's albums What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up and Live.

 Tickets for Willemijn Verkaik


Friday, July 24

Phantom cast Changes with John Owen-Jones and Ben Forster joining the show

From Monday 7 September 2015, there will be major cast changes in the smash hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London's  West End.

 John Owen-Jones returns as The Phantom from Monday 7 September 2015 (having most recently played the part in the  new production of the show on the UK). He has played the role more times than any other actor in the West End production’s history and has also played the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in “Les Misérables” in the West End, on the 25th anniversary tour and on Broadway.  He was the first British actor to play the role in the West End and on Broadway. He most recently appeared as ‘Pirelli’ in the English National Opera production of “Sweeney Todd”. He will play the role of ‘The Phantom’ until Saturday 30 January 2016.

Ben Forster will play the role of ‘The Phantom’ from Monday 1 February 2016. He  is probably best known for winning the ITV1 show, ‘Superstar’ - Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV talent search for ‘Jesus’ in “Jesus Christ Superstar”. His other theatre credits include ‘Magaldi’ in “Evita” at the Dominion Theatre. Ben will join “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” following his appearance later this year as ‘Buddy’ in “Elf The Musical”  at the Dominion Theatre over Christmas.

 They are joined by Celinde Schoenmaker as ‘Christine Daaé’; Nadim Naaman as ‘Raoul’, Michael Matus as ‘Monsieur Firmin’ and Christopher Dickens as ‘Monsieur André’.

 Continuing their roles are: Lara Martins as ‘Carlotta’; Jacinta Mulcahy as ‘Madame Giry’; John Ellis as ‘Piangi’ and Alicia Beck as ‘Meg’. Emmi Christensson will continue as the alternate ‘Christine Daaé’ until June 2016 when Lisa-Anne Wood takes over the role.

 Celinde Schoenmaker has just finished playing the role of ‘Fantine’ in “Les Misérables” at The Queen’s Theatre, having made her West End debut in 2013. Previously she played ‘Jenny’ in a production of “Love Story” which toured Holland.

Nadim Naaman returns to “The Phantom of the Opera” having appeared in the production from 2010 to 2012.  He most recently appeared as ‘Charles Clarke’ in “Titanic” at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. His London theatre credits include ‘Anthony Hope’ in “Sweeney Todd” at Harrington’s Pie & Mash Shop, “One Man, Two Guvnors” at The National Theatre and Theatre Royal Haymarket and “The Sound of Music” at the London Palladium.

Michael Matus recently played ‘Fernando’ in “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” at the Playhouse Theatre. Other theatre credits include “The Sound of Music” at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre; “Yes Prime Minister” on UK Tour; “Lend Me A Tenor” at the Gielgud Theatre and Theatre Royal Plymouth; “Oklahoma” at The Chichester Festival Theatre and “Imagine This” at the New London Theatre.

Christopher Dickens’ West End credits include “War Horse”; “Blood Brothers”; “The Sound of Music”; “The Far Pavilions” and “Salad Days”. Other theatre credits include “The Threepenny Opera” (National Theatre), “The Secret Garden” (Birmingham Rep) and “Mary Poppins” on tour.

From 7 September 2015 the full cast will be: Zoe Arshamian; Charlotte Baptie; Alicia Beck; Kieran Brown; Emmi Christensson; Scott Davies; Hadrian Delacey; Christopher Dickins; Meshell Dillon; John Ellis; Lyndsey Gardiner; Ryan Goscinski; Philip Griffiths; Keith Higham; Lizzie Holmes; Lily Howes; Daisy Hulbert; Ellen Jackson; Tim Laurenti; Rhidian Marc; Lara Martins; Michael Matus; Leo Miles; Tim Morgan; Fiona Morley; Paul Morrissey; Jacinta Mulcahy; Richard Munday; Nadim Naaman; Joanna O’Hare; John Owen Jones; Simon Rackley; Celinde Schoenmaker; Danielle Stephens; Ashley Stillburn; Claire Tilling: Charlotte Vaughan; Georgia Ware and Lisa-Anne Wood.


Tuesday, July 21

Life's a Stage new TV reality show about West End performers

A new reality TV show about West End performers - working title Life’s A Stage -  is in the process of being developed.

The show has been commissioned for a 30-minute pilot (which will be filmed over the course of a week in August)by a major broadcaster (believed to be Channel 4). If the pilot works , it is expected to be commissioned for a full series.

The show  will centre around a cast of West End performers living together in one house, documenting both the work and social lives of actors, musicians and dancers. Life's a Stage  twill also include  performances of songs from West End shows.

Executive producer Glenn Coomber, (producer of  the Royal Variety Performance for the past two years) said his inspiration was frm  watching West End casts perform at the annual fundraising gala saying “What began to fascinate me is how the casts change … shows that you thought would run for ages ran for much shorter than perhaps they were envisioned to. People assume TV is always very glamorous, and 99% of the time it’s not – and that’s even more true in the theatre world. I’ve been fascinated by the idea of people on stage in front of thousands, taking their curtain calls, and then having to run for the night-bus home. I just like that juxtaposition: you’re wearing incredible, expensive outfits and feel like a star – and are a star – but actually there’s a real world of people existing and getting by.

Coombe said  the show would not be a straight documentary about actors, but would not be as scripted as shows such as Made In Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex.

Production company Znak and Jones is now casting for the pilot, seeking  performers of any experience, aged 18 - 35. Znak and Jones was set up by former ITV head of factual Natalka Znak and Simon Jones, former chief operating officer of Syco Television USA.



Friday, July 17

New cast announced for Wicked! London

New casting has been announced for Wicked at the Apollo Victoria, with Emma Hatton (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson (Glinda) both extending their contracts into 2016. Also continuing with the show are current cast members Liza Sadovy (Madame Morrible), Katie Rowley Jones (Nessarose) and Natalie Andreou (Standby  Elphaba) with further casting to be announced.

Joining them from Monday 21st September  will be Oliver Savile (Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Cats) as Fiyero: Sean Kearns (The Commitments, The 39 Steps, Billy Elliot The Musical) as Doctor Dillamond with current West End ensemble cast member Daniel Hope as Boq and Carina Gillespie (Nessarose on Wicked's UK & Ireland Tour) as Standby for Glinda.

Jeremy Taylor (Fiyero), Martyn Ellis (The Wizard), Steven Pinder (Doctor Dillamond), Sam Lupton (Boq) and Sophie Linder-Lee (Standby for Glinda) will all play their final performances on Saturday 19 September 2015.

With music and lyrics by Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman, Wicked is based on the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.


Tuesday, July 14

Cameron Mackintosh announces final extension to Miss Saigon in London

Cameron Mackintosh has just announced that “MISS SAIGONwill make its final London flight at the Prince Edward Theatre on Saturday 27 February 2016.

He   I'm delighted to announce a final extension of my hugely successful new production of Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre. This record-breaking and award-winning production is already repeating its success in Japan and Korea and is planned to open in Germany, Australia and Broadway in the next two years. Our original stars Eva Noblezada and Jon Jon Briones continue to lead our wonderful international cast that has made this epic love story one of the greatest contemporary musicals of all time