Thursday, August 4

New cast members and more dates for Rock of Ages 2022/23 tour

The producers of the tour of ROCK OF AGES have announced full casting for 2022 and additional dates for the remainder of the UK tour starring Kevin Kennedy as ‘Dennis Dupree’ alongside Cameron Sharp as ‘Stacee Jaxx’ from Tuesday 23 August when the show opens in Inverness. The cast also includes Natalie Winsor as ‘Justice’, David Breeds asFranz Klinenmann’ and Tianna Sealy-Jewiss joins the ensemble. They join returning cast members Sam Turrell as ‘Drew’, Gabriella Williams as ‘Sherrie’, Vicki Manser as ‘Regina’, Joe Gash as ‘Lonny’, Vas Constanti as ‘Hertz Klinemann’, and Erin Bell as ‘Constance’ with Billy Roberts, Scott Hayward, Darius James, Reece Duncan, Hollie-Ann Lowe, Phoebe Samuel-Gray and Morgan Scott. The full cast is completed by Billy Roberts, Scott Hayward, Darius James, Siobhan James, Hollie-Ann Lowe, Phoebe Samuel-Gray and Morgan Scott. Full casting for the 2023 tour dates is still to be onfirmed.
 
Kevin Kennedy is probably best known for his portrayal of Curly Watts in Coronation Street. His West End theatre credits include Amos in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre and We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre. Kevin has played both Caractacus Potts and The Child Catcher in the hit musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, becoming the first actor to have played both roles. He appeared as Dennis Dupree in the 2018 UK Tour of Rock of Ages and has also appeared in the national tours of the musicals The Rocky Horror Show, The Commitments and Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends.

Cameron Sharp returns to Rock of Ages, having been part of the show in the West End and on tour. His other theatre credits include School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Sunset Boulevard at the Royal Albert Hall and the UK Tour of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.

Natalie Winsor’s theatre credits include Fame at the Shaftesbury Theatre, ABBA Voyage at the Abba Arena and the UK Tours of Jekyll and Hyde, Cinders and Dirty Dancing. Her other theatre credits include Lavelles – The Ladies of Motown, Rent, Peter Pan and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

David Breeds was most recently seen in the West End in Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward Theatre. His other theatre credits include the National Theatre’s tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime and Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s The Girls. 

Sam Turrell returns to Rock of Ages and the role of Drew having performed the show around the world on the NCL Breakaway cruise ship.

Gabriella Williams theatre credits include Sophie in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre, Eugenius! at the London Palladium, Carrie The Musical at the Southwark Playhouse and Miss Saigon and Grease, both on a UK tour.

Vicki Manser’s theatre credits include Katherine Howard in Six both at the Arts Theatre and on a UK tour, Beautiful - The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre and on a UK tour, Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre and Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

Joe Gash’s theatrical credits include entertainment for P&O Cruises Australia and Kenickie in Grease for Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas. Most recently Joe appeared as Freddie Mercury on ITV1’s new show Starstruck.

Wednesday, August 3

The Drifters Girl to close in October and then go out on tour

Hit musical The Drifters Girl which was previously booking at the Garrick Theatre in London to 2023 will now  end its run on 15th October and then head out on  a tour which will open at the Mayflower Theatre in September 2023.

Producers Michael Harrison and David Ian said: When Adam, Tarinn, Matt and Tosh agreed to be in The Drifters Girl, we were overjoyed because we knew they were special. As are our team of covers, who kept the show going through the immensely difficult periods that the entire theatre industry has faced with Covid. Now we are fortunate to have Felicia, who is giving a thrilling performance every night as Faye Treadwell. It is an extraordinary company. Replacing them all was always going to be difficult, so we have made the decision to close the show when everyone's contracts end on 15 October.

Tuesday, August 2

Musical movies on BBC2 this week

BBC2 TV is  presenting  a musical movie every afternoon this week.

Also available on BBC iPlayer, the series of shows include

- Sunday 30 July - 13.50 - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
- Monday 1 August - 14.45 - Kiss Me Kate
- Tuesday 2 August - 14.50 - Easter Parade
- Wednesday 3 August- 14.25 - Carousel
- Thursday 4 August - 14.20 - Newsies: The Broadway Musical
- Friday 5 August - 13.50 - The Band Wagon

Monday, August 1

Cast Announced for new musical Rehab to open this autumn

The new musical Rehab that follows a jaded pop star who finds himself facing the consequences of court action, is set to open in London later this year running at the Playground Theatre in West London from 1st to 17th  September. 

The cast includes  Keith Allen (The Homecoming), Jonny Labey (Strictly Ballroom), Gloria Onitiri (ALW's Cinderella) and John Barr (Les Misérables). Jodie Steele (Heathers), as well as TV presenter Annabel Giles (My Shirley Valentine Summer).

Andy Brady, Dawn Buckland, Marion Campbell, Andrew Patrick-Walker and Phil Sealey complete the cast.

It is directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd and is written  by Grant Black (the son of Oscar winner Don Black, who also co-produces) and Murray Lachlan Young with a book by Elliot Davis

The show is inspired by Black's  own experiences and his decision to enter into a rehabilitation clinic.

The production,  has musical supervision and arrangements by Simon Lee, with set and lighting design by Andrew Exeter, costume design by Rob Jones, sound by Chris Whybrow and casting by Debbie O'Brien. Jane Savidge is associate producer.

 Buy tickets for Rehab


 

Willy Wonka announced for new tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Casting for Willy Wonka has been revealed for the  new tour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which kicks off at at Leeds Playhouse in November

Gareth Snook who also starred in chocolate factory-set Romantics Anonymous, will play chocolate maker Willy Wonka in the production. His other credits include Wise Children and Bagdad Café, while he also played Monsieur André in The Phantom of the Opera at both Her Majesty's Theatre and in the 25th Anniversary production at the Royal Albert Hall and Les Misérables in the West End.

The full cast and creative team are still  to be revealed.


 

Monday, July 25

New production of 42nd Street just announced

David Ian for Crossroads Live UK and Jonathan Church Theatre Productions have just announced  the Curve and Sadler’s Wells production of the musical 42nd STREET, opening at Curve, Leicester on Wednesday 17 May 2023 until Saturday 3 June 2023, followed by a season at Sadler’s Wells from Wednesday 7 June  to Sunday 2 July 2023 ahead of a  UK tour with dates to be announced soon.

This new production will be directed by Jonathan Church (Singin’ in the Rain, The Drifters Girl) with choreography and design by Olivier Award winners Bill Deamer and Rob Jones. Casting and the full creative team will be announced in due course.

Fresh off the bus from small-town America, young and beautiful Peggy Sawyer arrives in New York City dreaming of her name in lights. She quickly catches the eye of a big-time director and lands a spot in the chorus line of Broadway’s newest show…and when the leading lady gets injured, Peggy gets her shot at stardom.This  song-and-dance spectacular features a hit parade of toe-tapping songs, including the title number, “We’re In The Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “I Only Have Eyes For You”. 42nd STREET is a timeless and inspiring showbiz fairy tale that combines breath-taking tap dance routines, backstage intrigue, classic romance and delightful comedy to dazzling effect.

42nd STREET has music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, based on the novel by Bradford Ropes. Original direction and dances were by Gower Champion. The show was originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick.


 

Matilda new cast members

The RSC has announced  new cast members for its West End production of Matilda the Musical from 13th September.

Lauren Byrne (Six) will play Miss Honey, while  Rakesh Boury (Man of La Mancha) and Amy Ellen Richardson (Everyone's Talking About Jamie) will join the company to play Mr and Mrs Wormwood. Remaining in the principal cast are Elliot Harper (as Miss Trunchbull) and Landi Oshinowo (as Mrs Phelps).Victoria Alsina, Laurel Sumberg and Heidi Williams will join Maisie Mardle to share the title role.

New additions to the adult ensemble include Felipe Bejarano, Angeline Bell, Oliver Bingham, Thea Bunting, Michael Gardiner, Aaron Jenkins, Sam Lathwood, Dianté Lodge, Kira McPherson, Alistair So and James Wolstenholme, who join Liberty Buckland, Kate Kenrick, Connor Lewis and Gemma Scholes.

Newly announced child performers include Mia Atkinson, Leo Babet, Florence Burt, Poppy Caton, Zuri-Michel Charalambou, Brodie Edwards, Jude Farrant, Riotafari Gardner, Finley Hartlett, Lily Hanna, Tia Isaac, Miley Kayongo, Shayla McCormack, Isabelle Mullallay, Jasmine Nyenya, Raphaella Philbert, Jack Philpott, Riley Plummer, Jasmine Pottinger-Scott, Ashton Robertson, Leon Saunders, Andrei Shen-U Shen, Noah Swer-Fox and Lucia Wratten. Kylan Denis will remain with the cast and continue to alternate as Bruce.

 

Friday, July 22

Ore Oduba and Carrie Hope Fletcher to star in the Sleeping Beauty panto at Canterbury

Carrie Hope Fletcher will be starring as the villainous Carabosse in the Sleeping Beauty pantomime this year alongside Ore Oduba (Rocky Horror Show) as Prince Orlando at The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury from 25 November 2022 to 8 January 2023. It is written and directed by Paul Hendy and co-produced by The Marlowe and Evolution Productions,

The cast also includes  Jennie Dale (CBeebies' Swashbuckle) as Fairy Moonbeam, Ben Roddy (Doctor Faustus) as The Dame, Max Fulham (CBBC's Crackerjack) as Jangles and Ellie Kingdon (Grease) as Aurora.

Fletcher said: "I'm so excited. I didn't see a panto until I was 19, that was my first experience of panto. I love it so much. I love how out there they are, I love that they use songs that everyone knows, I love all of the outlandish characters and I love the audience participation.The fact that I was asked to play the villain was a very, very big draw for me. Wednesday Addams was probably the closest I ever got to playing a villain and I really enjoyed playing a slightly darker character and so just playing an outright villain is going to be so much fun. I don't think I've ever looked forward to being booed before!"

Oduba added: "In many ways I feel like I was made for panto because I love having that rapport with the audience, I'm a family guy myself and I love the idea of families coming to see the show. I know that everybody loves The Marlowe panto. It's such a popular experience for everybody around Christmas so I feel really privileged and lucky to be part of this amazing group and part of the show. We're going to have fun."


Thursday, July 21

Cast announced for Mrs Doubtfire Musical

The musical version of the hit film Mrs Doubtfire is due to open at Manchester Opera House on Friday 2 September 2022, with a strictly limited season  until Saturday 1 October. It was first seen in 2019 in Seattle, where it ended up breaking the record for bestselling new musical in the history of The 5th Avenue Theatre.
 
Mrs. Doubtfire the musical will introduce comic actor Gabriel Vick (Avenue Q) as Daniel Hillard, with Laura Tebbutt (School of Rock) as Miranda Hillard, Carla Dixon Hernandez (Matilda the Musical) as Lydia Hillard, Cameron Blakely (The Addams Family) as Frank Hillard, Marcus Collins (The X Factor) as Andre, Dominic Andersen (Heathers) as Stuart, Vanessa Fisher (Legally Blonde) as Wanda Sellner, Ian Talbot OBE (Hairspray, and Director of The Mousetrap) as Mr. Jolly and Aiesha Naomi Pease (Sister Act) as Janet Lundy.

The role of Christopher Hillard will alternate between young performers George Nearn Stuart, Charlie Tumbridge and Fred Wilcox, and the role of Natalie Hillard will alternate between Jessica Bowerman, Darcey Dean and Angelica Pearl Scott.

The full cast will include Aidan O'Neill, Joshua Dever, Samuel Wilson Freeman, Maria Garrett, Kiera Haynes, AJ Lewis, Adam Lyons, Lisa Mathieson, Ellie Mitchell, Matt Overfield, Tom Scanlon, Vicki Lee Taylor and Rebecca Donnelly, Effie Rae Dyson, Amy Everett, Travis Ross and Paulo Teixeira.

Mrs Doubtfire is is currently playing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway, directed by Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks . The musical is based on the Twentieth Century Studios comedy movie starring Robin Williams following out-of-work actor Daniel will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he creates the alter ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. As his new character takes on a life of its own, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained for about how to be a father.

The show has been written by Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell with a creative team including scenic designer David Korins (Hamilton), choreographer Lorin Latarro (Waitress), and music supervisor Ethan Popp (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical). Casting is still to be announced

Producers Kevin McCollum and Jamie Wilson said: "We are thrilled to announce that Mrs Doubtfire will make its UK premiere next year. Manchester is one of the great cities of theatre, and we can't wait to bring Mrs Doubtfire to the Opera House. We hope audiences will take this hilarious and touching show to their hearts, and promise a great evening for everyone!

Tickets now on sale for Mrs Doubtfire

SIMON LIPKIN & GEORGINA CASTLE LEADING CAST IN ELF - THE MUSICAL

Simon Lipkin and Georgina Castle will lead the revival of Elf - The Musical playing the much loved characters Buddy and Jovie. 

The musical returns to London in a new production at the Dominion Theatre for a strictly limited 8-week season running from 14th November 2022 - 7th January 2023.

Simon Lipkin´s numerous musical theatre credits include  Brian in Brian & Roger (Menier Chocolate Factory), Mr Poppy in Nativity! (Eventim Apollo), Ratty in The Wind In The Willows (West End), Whisper House (Other Palace), Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon In Las Vegas (West End), Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls (West End), Bill Sykes in Oliver! (Grange Park Opera), Lou Lubowitz in Miss Atomic Bomb (St James Theatre), The Lorax in The Lorax (Old Vic Theatre), The Proprietor in Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory), Martin in All In A Row (Southwark Playhouse) Touchstone in As You Like It (Southwark Playhouse), Barlow in I Can’t Sing (West End), Lonny in Rock Of Ages (West End), Galahad in Spamalot (Original UK Tour), Nicky and Trekkie Monster in Avenue Q (West End), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (West End), The Wedding Singer (Original UK Cast), Willard in Footloose (UK Tour), A Christmas Carol (West End), Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (West End), Alice In Wonderland (Nuffield Theatre), Austentatious (The Landor), News Revue (Canal Café) and Leopold in Never The Sinner at the Kenneth Moore Theatre.

Georgina Castle played  Marie in ALW’s Cinderella (Gillian Lynne Theatre), Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical (Savoy Theatre), Charlotte Skelton in Twist and Turn (The Other Palace), Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Lisa Houseman in Dirty Dancing (UK Tour), Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5: The Musical (UK & Ireland Tour), Euydice in Antigone (Belsize Arts Festival)

Based on the iconic 2003 feature film starring Will Ferrell, the piece  is the funny and charming tale of Buddy, who mistakenly crawled into Santa’s bag as a baby and was raised as an elf! Way too tall and not so great at his job, Buddy is the North Pole’s biggest misfit… and knows he’ll never belong. When Santa tells him the truth, Buddy heads to New York to find his birth father (who turns out to be quite high on the Naughty List). After causing some merry mayhem in Manhattan, Buddy finally discovers the gift of family and falls in love. And when Santa’s sleigh crashes in Central Park, it’s Buddy who finds a way to save Christmas forever!


 

Tuesday, July 19

Melody Thornton to play Rachel Marron in new UK and Ireland tour of The Bodyguard

Producers Michael Harrison and David Ian have just announced that the new award-winning international smash hit tour of  the musical THE BODYGUARD will star former Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton touring  the UK and Ireland opening at Glasgow King’s Theatre on Saturday 28 January 2023 with further casting news to follow.

Selling over 70 million albums as a member of one of the most celebrated girl groups of all time, The Pussycat Dolls, Melody Thornton is a multi-platinum Grammy-nominated artist. In 2020 she released her much-lauded debut solo EP, Lioness Eyes. Melody received rave reviews and audience acclaim for her performance as Rachel Marron when The Bodyguard toured China for six months. In 2018 she reached the final five in ITV’s Dancing On Ice.

Monday, July 18

Principal casting including Jay McGuinness and Lorna Luft announced for new tour of White Christmas

Jamie Wilson, Mark Goucher, Gavin Kalin and Kevin McCollum have announced the principal casting for the Curve’s production of Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS touring the UK this winter. The production will star Jay McGuiness as Bob Wallace, Lorna Luft as Martha Watson, Michael Starke as General Waverly and Dan Burton, Jessica Daley and Monique Young returning in their roles as Phil Davis, Betty Haynes and Judy Haynes respectively.

WHITE CHRISTMAS opens at the Truro Hall for Cornwall in November before visiting Nottingham Theatre Royal , Sunderland Empire, and Liverpool Empire with tickets now on sale. More dates and full casting for the tour to e announced in due course.

Jay McGuiness’ theatre credits include Josh Baskin in Big The Musical at the Dominion Theatre and Rip It Up at the Garrick Theatre, both in London’s West End. He also starred as Sam in new musical Sleepless – A Musical Romance at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Jay is best known as a member of boyband The Wanted, as well as winning BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2015.

 Lorna Luft is an iconic star of stage and screen. Her credits include the role of Fran Kubelik in the original Broadway production of Promises, Promises, and the original Off-Broadway production of Snoopy! as Peppermint Patty. Lorna previously played the role of Martha Watson in the 2016 US tour of White Christmas. Her film credits include Grease 2, Where The Boys Are, 54 and My Giant.

Michael Starke most recently appeared in the UK and Ireland tour of Waitress as Old Joe. Further theatre credits include the role of Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, Monsignor Howard in Sister Act, and the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show, all part of national tours. Michael is best known for his role as Thomas 'Sinbad' Sweeney in Channel 4’s Brookside, which he played for 16 years.

Dan Burton reprises his role as Phil Davis, a part he played in this production of White Christmas on tour, at the Dominion Theatre in London’s West End and at Curve, Leicester. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance as Tulsa in Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre and his other West End credits include Jersey Boys, The Pajama Game, Chicago, Legally Blonde, Betty Blue Eyes and Guys and Dolls at the Royal Albert Hall.

Jessica Daley returns to the role of Betty Haynes, having previously toured with this production of White Christmas. Her additional theatre credits include the UK and Ireland tours of An Officer and a Gentleman and The Sound of Music, the international tours of Evita, Les Misérables and Grease The Musical and Mamma Mia! in the West End.

 Monique Young reprises her role as Judy Haynes, a part she initially played in this production of White Christmas at Curve, Leicester. Most recently Monique appeared as Louise in the Buxton Opera House revival of Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Her further theatre credits include cover Winifred Banks and the title role in Mary Poppins in the West End, Penny Pingleton in the UK tour of Hairspray, alternate Dale in the UK tour of Top Hat, and Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street and Kathy Seldon in Singin’ In The Rain both at the Theatre Du Chatelet.


WHITE CHRISTMAS features the beloved songs “Blue Skies”, “Sisters”, “I Love A Piano”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” and the most famous festive song of all… “White Christmas”.


It  has Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin and a Book by David Ives and Paul Blake. It is based on the original production by Curve Artistic Director Nikolai Foster (Annie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s). It is directed by Ian Talbot OBE (High Society, Anything Goes) and choreographed by two-time Olivier Award-winning choreographer Stephen Mear CBE (Mary Poppins, Gypsy). Set Design is by Michael Taylor and Costume Design is by Diego Pitarch. Musical Supervision is by Stephen Brooker, Lighting Design by Mark Henderson and Sound Design by Tom Marshall. Orchestrations are by Larry Blank with New Musical arrangements by Jason Carr.