Friday, January 19

Arlene Phillips to join Musical Theatre Cruise

It is today announced that internationally acclaimed choreographer and TV personality Arlene Phillips will be joining the UK’s first ever fully immersive musical theatre cruise with her show Glitz, Glamour and Gossip
She  will join  celebrated West End and Broadway stars on board the  Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas four-night Floating Festival Stages cruise in October 2018.
Arlene will be presenting her  successful stage show: Arlene – The Glitz, The Glamour, The Gossip, where she  will chat with host and friend Jacquie Storey about a lifetime in dance, and reveal the truth behind it all.Speaking about the show, Arlene said: “We’ve taken this show on the road around the UK and now it’s time to take it to the seas! I love an audience – everyone does – and I hope the passengers on Stages will get an insight into the different aspects of my life.It’s glitz, glamour and gossip, and above all else, it will be fun!

Arlene will regale tales from her career working with stars such as Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, and Elton John, shows including Starlight Express and We Will Rock You, Hollywood films such as Annie and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. The list goes on… and on…and on…

Motown The Musical to tour later this year

Motown The Musical is to go on a major UK and Ireland tour opening at the Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre on 11th October before visiting visit Leeds Grand Theatre (6-17 November); Edinburgh Playhouse (20 November-8 December); Bristol Hippodrome (10 January-2 February 2019); Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin (5-23 February 2019); Manchester Opera House (26 February-23 March 2019); and Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (26 March-6 April 2019). First tickets go on sale next week with more  dates and casting news  to follow.

Opening in London in February 2016  Motown The Musical continues to play to standing ovations at the Shaftesbury Theatre where it is currently booking until 5th January 2019.

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and with a book by Berry Gordy, based on his 1994 autobiography To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown, the show features music and lyrics from the extensive Motown catalogue as well as focusing on Gordy’s personal and professional relationships with Motown artists such as Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson, the Tony-nominated musical features a 16-piece orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks.

Commenting on the upcoming tour, Gordy said: “The UK has always been the gateway for Motown to the rest of the world. While the West End production still continues to perform to great audiences, I’m thrilled that we are taking a second production of Motown The Musical to the rest of the UK.”

Casting announced for Pippin transfer to Southwark Playhouse

Jonathan O'Boyle's acclaimed production of the multi-Tony Award-winning musical Pippin by Grammy and Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (composer of Wicked!) will transfer to Southwark Playhouse running from 23rd February-24th March 2018. It  will be the third production from Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre to transfer to London's Off-West End in under a year. Their production of Hair has just ended its run at The Vaults.

Casting includes  Jonathan Carlton reprising his role as Pippin and Genevieve Nicole returning as The Leading Player. The principal cast is completed with Mairi Barclay, Bradley Judge, Tessa Kadler and Rhidian Marc. Players include Michelle Andrews, Andrew Halliday, Scott Hayward and Ellie Seaton.

The Creative Team are Director: Jonathan O’Boyle, Choreographer: William Whelton, Designer: Maeve Black and Lighting DesignerAaron J Dootson

Stephen Schwartz said: "I am so pleased that such a successful and well-received production of Pippin has finally happened in the UK, and I'm incredibly excited to be sharing it with a London audience."

You can chck out the new trailer for Pippin London here 

Tickets for Pippin at Southwark

Ruthie Ann Miles joins cast of Rogers and Hammerstein's The King and I.

Tony Award winner, Ruthie Ann Miles is to  reprise her Tony winning role, Lady Thiang, alongside previously announced stars Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe in the West End transfer of The King and I which opens at the London Palladium in June and has just extended its booking period to 8th September.

Baz said that Kelli O'Hara told him she  had her ‘fingers crossed’ that Miles would be joining her in the West End. Adding that he was  pretty excited, too. I remember her playing Imelda Marcos — the shoe-loving widow of Filipino dictator Ferdinand — in the Public Theater production of David Byrne’s Here Lies Love (with disco beats by Fatboy Slim). She couldn’t make the National Theatre transfer, so I’m pleased that you’ll get to see her stage artistry in this production of the landmark Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
The multi Tony Award-winning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I will transfer from Broadway to London next summer following a critically acclaimed 16 month run at New York's Lincoln Center Theater and an unprecedented continuing record-breaking sold out USA tour.

Acclaimed Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher will once again direct the production, hot on the heels of his work on The Lincoln Center Theater's World Premiere of J.T. Rogers' smash hit play Oslo, which opened on Broadway and then transferred via the National Theatre to London's Harold Pinter Theatre in October this year to rave reviews. He, along with the celebrated creative team behind the award winning production of South Pacific, will reunite to bring this majestic production to life at the Palladium.

Casting Announced for Barlow & Firth's CALENDAR GIRLS MUSICAL 2018 UK National Tour

The Mail's Baz Bamigboye has just announced the girls cast for the tour of Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's Calendar Girls Musical which will include actors Denise Welch (Celia), Sara Crowe (Ruth), Lorraine Bruce (Cora), Fern Britton (Marie), Anna Jane Casey (Annie), Rebecca Storm (Chris), and Ruth Madoc (Jessie).

Previously named The Girls,  Calendar Girls the Musical will return home to Yorkshire and open at the Leeds Grand Theatre on 15th  August 2018 before going on an extensive tour of the United Kingdom.The critically acclaimed and award-winning production ended  its six-month London season at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 15th July 2017, following  sold-out seasons in Leeds and Manchester.

On the announcement, Firth said: "Gary and I have been working away and, as the great Stephen Sondheim said: 'musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten." Barlow added: "What a phenomenal new cast we have. Tim and I sat in - and indeed played - on the auditions and have been so lucky to have put together such talented ladies."
Producers David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers said, "We are so proud and thrilled with this production, and we want to take it to everyone who wants to see it in the country, and at prices they can afford." Gary Barlow and Tim Firth added, "We are delighted with the reception our musical has received in Leeds, Manchester and now London, and are thrilled that the show will be visiting towns and cities up and down the country, so that more people can get a chance to see it and, we hope, will also fall in love with The Girls."

Thursday, January 18

Cast announced for All Or Nothing Small Faces Musical at the Arts

Full casting has just been announced for the West End season of the critically acclaimed ALL OR NOTHING – THE MOD MUSICAL, based on the story of the Small Faces which runs for a limited season at the Arts Theatre, London from 6th February to 11th March, with a press night on Thursday 8th February. 

Joining Carol Harrison as Kay Marriott and Chris Simmons as Steve Marriott, will be Samuel Pope as Young Steve Marriott, Stefan Edwards as Kenney Jones, Stanton Wright as Ronnie Lane, Alexander Gold as Ian McLagan, Edward Elgood as Jimmy Winston, Karis Anderson as P.P. Arnold and Russell Floyd as Don Arden. Also in the cast are Daniel Beales, Alfie Harrison-Foreman, Dani Acors and Emily Daniels. David Shute and Danielle Johnson will play Steve Marriott and Kay Marriott at certain performances. ALL OR NOTHING’s limited season

Carol Harrison is probably best known for her role as Louise Raymond in EastEnders. Other television roles include seven years as Gloria in Brushstrokes, Loretta opposite Ray Winstone in Get Back, and Dorothy in two series of London's Burning. Carol’s theatre work includes Michael Rudman’s production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman at the National, Ripen Our Darkness at the Royal Court, Alan Parker’s production of Alfie at the Liverpool Playhouse and Lee Hall’s Cooking with Elvis at the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe. She was also a founder member of Half Moon Theatre in London’s East End. Her film credits include The Elephant Man, Quadrophenia and Human Traffic.

Chris Simmons is probably best known for playing the role of DC Mickey Webb for over twelve years in the long running ITV series The Bill. He has also appeared in EastEnders as Mark Garland and in the Tracy Beaker spin-off CBBC show, The Dumping Ground. Chris’s theatre credits include Alan Ayckbourn’s Absent Friends (Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage), Entertaining Strangers (Lyric Hammersmith), Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (tour), Iago in Othello (tour) and Epicoene (Tristan Bates Theatre).

Samuel Pope is making his West End debut. He trained at the University of Manchester and the Royal Academy of Music and has since played Bob Cratchit in the UK tour of A Christmas Carol and Lon Smith in Meet Me in St Louis at the Landor Theatre.

Stefan Edwards previously appeared in the Arts Theatre in American Justice and was in The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre in London’s West End. He was part of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies directed by Danny Boyle and Kim Gavin.

Stanton Wright’s theatre credits include Take Me Here by the Dishwasher at the Barbican, actor/puppeteer in This Moose Belongs to Me and Jackie and the Baboon (Unicorn and Orange Tree Theatres), Florence in Florence Loves You for Theatre503, Devil in The Glorious Damnation of Eddie Small (Union Theatre/Bedlam Theatre) and Renaissance Body (RSC/British Museum).

Alexander Gold began his career marketing for former Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies and then joined the publishers of The Word and Mixmag. At the same time, he performed all over the world with acts as diverse as 1977 punk legends the Boys (Joey Ramone’s favourite band) to the United Kingdom Ukulele Orchestra, with whom he spent a month at Dollywood, as a guest of Dolly Parton. He played Clash drummer Topper Headon opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s Joe Strummer in the film London Town.

Edward Elgood last appeared at the Arts Theatre in Richard III. His other theatre credits include King Charles III (Wyndham’s), the UK tour of The Mousetrap (No.1 Tour); Mucedorus (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), The Maids (The Cockpit) and The Lady of Pleasure (Shakespeare’s Globe – Sam Wanamaker Festival).

Karis Anderson is a member of girl band, Stooshe. They broke on to the UK music scene in 2012 with the release of their single Love Me, featuring American rapper Travie McCoy. They have gone on to have four Top 20 hits, were nominated for the BBC Sound Poll, and toured with J-Lo and Nicki Minaj. Their single Black Heart spent over 16 weeks in the UK charts and was nominated for Best British Single at the 2013 Brit Awards. All or Nothing marks Karis’s West End stage debut.

Russell Floyd will be known to many for his regular roles as Michael Rose in EastEnders and DC Ken Drummond in The Bill. His theatre credits include Sir Courtly Nice (RSC), Going to a Party (National Theatre), Fit and Proper People (Soho Theatre) and Forget Me Not (Bush Theatre).

Friday, January 12

30th Anniversary UK tour of Fame the Musical Announced

Selladoor Worldwide with Adam Paulden and  Dan Looney have just  announced their new 30th Anniversary UK tour of Fame - The Musical openING  at Manchester Palace on 20 July 2018 before touring to Glasgow, Llandudno, Blackpool, Tunbridge Wells, Bradford, Aberdeen, Woking, Sheffield, Bridlington, Edinburgh, Ipswich, Brighton, Birmingham, Aylesbury and Shrewsbury.

The production will be directed and choreographed by Nick Winston with design by Morgan Large. Casting is yet to be announced.

David Hutchinson Executive Creative Director of Selladoor said: This new tour for 2018 celebrates the 30 years since the premiere of the Broadway production and will very much have its roots in the style and nostalgia of the original musical. Selladoor are dedicated to bringing large scale theatre to as broad an audience as possible across the UK and internationally, and we’re delighted to add another classic musical to our ever-growing portfolio

Cuba Gooding Jr to star in Chicago at the Phoenix

Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail has just revealed that Academy Award winner, Cuba Gooding Jr, is to play  fast-talking defence lawyer Billy Flynn in the new production of Chicago the musical which opens at the Phoenix Theatre from 26th March.

The show will mark Gooding's UK stage debut and   he is currently working formally with a vocal coach. His breakthrough role was as Tre Styles in Boyz n the Hood (1991), followed by A Few Good Men (1992), before winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Jerry Maguire (1996). Later films included As Good as It Gets (1997), Men of Honor (2000) as Carl Brashear, Pearl Harbor (2001) as Doris Miller, American Gangster (2007), The Butler (2013), and Selma (2014), playing civil rights attorney Fred Gray. In 2016, he portrayed O.J. Simpson in the FX drama series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Mini-series or a Movie. In 2013, he made his Broadway theatre debut alongside Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams in the Tony Award-nominated production of The Trip to Bountiful.
No other casting for the production has yet been announced.

Thursday, January 11

Details of open casting call for new UK tour of Dusty

The new UK tour of DUSTY is to hold an open casting call for male and female dance ensemble members. Dusty the Musical is written by Jonathan Harvey, directed by Maria Friedman, designed by Tom Pye, and choreographed by Tim Jackson.

The call will be on  Friday 19th January at Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, E1 6AB. Registration: 1:00am - 1:00pm (STRICT) Auditions: 10.30am - 6:00 pm.

You should be  prepared to hang around, perhaps until 6:00 pm. Recalls will be during week commencing 22nd January so please ensure your availability.

You must be available from 21st May until 28th July 2018 and  be eligible to work in the UK. The show will rehearse in London, open in Bath and tour to Sheffield, Newcastle and Manchester. Commercial UK Theatre/Equity contract.

The creative team is specifically looking for outstanding dancer-singers who excel in commercial dance. Boys must be 5'10" or taller, and girls must be 5'8" or taller.

Please bring:
1) A current CV and headshot
2) Suitable dance clothing - avoid disguising body shape.
3) Women please bring heels
4) A pop song to show off your voice (does not need to be 60/70s) *not all auditionees will get to sing.
5) Water

Wednesday, January 10

Joe McGann to replace Jimmy Nail in principal casting announced for Sting's The Last Ship Musical

Principal casting has been announced for the UK premiere of The Last Ship  musical by  Sting – which is to premiere in the UK  at Northern Stage in Newcastle on 12th  March 2018, before embarking on a major UK and Ireland tour. The casting of Joe McGann (Jackie White), Charlie Hardwick (Peggy White), Richard Fleeshman (Gideon Fletcher) and Frances McNamee (Meg Dawson) has today been announced.

Joe McGann will now take on the role of Jackie White, despite the previous announcement that Jimmy Nail would be playing the role he originated on Broadway.Nail said: “I was very much looking forward to appearing in Sting’s The Last Ship, particularly here in my home city. Sadly that’s not to be. I would like to thank the production in allowing FACT, the charity of which I’m a patron, to benefit from the planned gala charity event. To anyone who has purchased a ticket, please, go see the show and give this vessel the launch it so deserves. You’ll hear some of the finest musical works ever composed for the stage.”

Karl Sydow, producer of The Last Ship, said: “After protracted negotiations carried out in good faith we regret to announce the production’s offer of employment to Jimmy Nail has been withdrawn. All at The Last Ship thank him for his generosity and enormous contribution during what has been an eight year journey.

Joe McGann is perhaps best known for his lead role as Charlie Burrows in the comedy series The Upper Hand. Theatre credits include Elf (Plymouth Theatre Royal/Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin, Dominion Theatre, West End and Lowry, Salford); The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (UK tour); Calendar Girls (three UK tours), Oliver! (London Palladium), Fiddler On the Roof (UK tour, 2008), Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (UK tour, 2006).

Charlie Hardwick played Val Pollard from 2004 to 2015 and again in 2017 in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Stage credits include Hyem (Theatre 503/Northern Stage) and Double Lives (Live Theatre). 

Richard Fleeshman has been acting since the age of 12 when he played the role of Craig Harris in Coronation Street for four years.A talented singer-songwriter, his stage roles include Sam Wheat in Ghost the Musical, a part he originated and played in the West End and on Broadway, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (UK tour) and Bobby Strong in Urinetown (original West End production).


Frances McNamee recently appeared alongside Kelsey Grammer in Big Fish (The Other Palace). Other stage credits include The Mother (Tricycle), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won (RSC), Punishment Without Revenge (Arcola/Theatre Royal Bath/Belgrade Coventry), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal and Derngate), The Borrowers (Northern Stage), Epsom Downs (Salisbury Playhouse), The Phoenix of Madrid, The Surprise of Love (Theatre Royal Bath) and Les Misérables 20th anniversary gala performance (West End).

Lorne Campbell, Northern Stage’s artistic director, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Joe McGann, Charlie Hardwick, Richard Fleeshman, Frances McNamee and the rest of the company to Northern Stage for The Last Ship.Alongside some wonderful old friends of the company, we welcome some remarkable new performers from across the UK. We are all hugely excited to move into rehearsal and to bring this incredible score and epic story to audiences across the UK and Ireland.”

Monday, January 8

An American In Paris cinema screening cast and date announced

Trafalgar Releasing have  just announced that the worldwide theatrical release of the highly acclaimed musical, An American in Paris, is being screened in cinemas on 16th May 2018 (excluding North America and Japan).

The film stars Tony Award nominees, New York City Ballet principle dancer Robert Fairchild as Jerry Mulligan and British Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope as Lise Dassin, reprising their roles from the original Broadway production and a company of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians including Haydn Oakley as Henri Baurel, Zoë Rainey as Milo Davenport, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Jane Asher as Madame Baurel.

 The company also features Julian Forsyth and Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, Zoe Arshamian, Sarah Bakker, James Barton, Alicia Beck, Chrissy Brooke, James Butcher, Jonathan Caguioa, Jennifer Davison, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Sebastian Goffin, Alyn Hawke, Nicky Henshall, Genevieve Heron, Amy Hollins, Frankie Jenna, Justin-Lee Jones, Robin Kent, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J. Nagle, Daniela Norman, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Max Westwell, Jack Wilcox, Carrie Willis, Stuart Winter and Liam Wrate.

 An American in Paris  has just ended its run in London's West end. It premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it became the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. A major North American tour continues now and a new production will open in Tokyo in January 2019.

Marc Allenby of Trafalgar Releasing has said on the acquisition, “An American in Paris is one of the biggest productions to hit the West End this decade with outstanding performances, memorable tunes, beautiful costumes and exceptional sets. We can’t wait to share this production with audiences in cinemas around the world throughout 2018.”

Friday, January 5

Liam Steel joins creative team for Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's musical Company.

Baz Bamigboye has reported that Liam Steel has joined the creative team and taken over choreography and movement direction for the new production of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Tony award-winning musical, Company which Marianne Elliott is directing.

Steel said: "It's one big dream world - not quite real - which gives us room to make it as real, or surreal, as we want to. It means we're looking at it with fresh eyes. No looking back!"  He boasts an impressive list of credits with his most recent West End work being Big Fish starring Kelsey Grammer and he is currently working on the  return of  Peter Pan which he is co-directing with Timothy Sheader at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park in May.

As already announced, for the first time ever, the lead role of Bobby will be re-imagined as a woman with  Rosalie Craig playing the role  and Tony and Olivier award-winning Patti LuPone  playing Joanne.Company will run at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue from 26 September 2018 for a strictly limited season, with public booking opening today.