Tuesday, May 21

Lucie Jones and Ashley Roberts will take over roles of Jenna and Dawn in the Waitress Musical

Lucie Jones and Ashley Roberts are taking over the roles of Jenna and Dawn in the West End production  of Waitress the Musical from 17th June.

Jones will play the lead part of Jenna when Katharine McPhee leaves the show in June. She has already stood in for McPhee several times this month while she has been back in the States. Her credits include Legally Blonde, Rent, The Wedding Singer and We Will Rock You .

Roberts makes her West End debut for a strictly limited summer season..  She  reached the final of Strictly Coming Dancing in 2018 and is formerly a member of the Pussycat Dolls. She  takes over from Laura Baldwin who will return to the role at the end of the summer.

Waitress is currently booking at the Adelphi Theatre until 19 October. 

Monday, May 20

Casting for London workshop of Andrew Lloyd Webber's modern remake of Cinderella.

Casting has been revealed for the recent London workshop of Andrew Lloyd Webber's modern musical remake of Cinderella.

As previously reported, the musical had an industry preview at The Other Palace in London last week. The  cast for the preview has been revealed by theatre critic Mark Shenton.

The cast includes Carrie Hope Fletcher as Cinderella, Tyrone Huntley as Sebastian, Gary Wilmot as Jean, Ruthie Henshall as Queen, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as Stepmother, Sophie Isaacs as Adele, and Rebecca Trehearn as Marie.

The ensemble included Lucy Anderson, Dan Buckley, Charlie Burn, Ronan Burns (Duke), Darragh Cowley, Daniel Crowder, Jonny Fines (Prince Charming), Ahmed Hamad, Danny Michaels, Jo Napthine, Oliver Ormson (Dorian), Jemma Revell, and Gabriella Williams.

Children cast for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical

The producers of Sue Townsend's The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical, have  just announced the childrens cast taking on the lead roles of Adrian, Pandora, Barry and Nigel.The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ - The Musical will open at the Ambassadors Theatre for a limited season from 15 June until 12 October 2019, with a Gala Night on Tuesday 2 July.

All children in the cast are between the ages of 12 - 14 years old. Nicholas Antoniou-Tibbitts from Westminster, Aaron Gelkoff from Redbridge, Michael Hawkins from Haringey and Rufus Kampa from Buckinghamshire will alternate the role of Adrian. Molly May Gibson from Kent, Matilda Hopkins from Buckinghamshire, Rebecca Nardin from Surrey and Riya Vyas from Richmond will alternate the role of Pandora. Jack Gale from Hertfordshire, Aaron Shaw from Hertfordshire, Charlie Stripp from West Sussex and Kobi Watson from Croydon will alternate the role of Barry. Regan Garcia from Bexley, Albert Green from Buckinghamshire, Cuba Kamanu from Cambridge and Jeremiah Davan Waysome from Newham will alternate the role of Nigel.

Friday, May 17

Tootsie the musical heading for London in 2021

Producers Scott Sanders and Carol Fineman have announced that the  11-Time Tony Award-nominated musical, Tootsie, will launch a North American Tour in 2020.  Casting, exact dates and additional cities will be announced at a later date. The producers have also confirmed several international productions. partnering with Michael Harrison and David Ian to bring the  musical London's West End in 2021.

An Australian production of Tootsie, in partnership with Benjamin Lowy Productions, is confirmed. The production will also play in New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

A Japanese-language production of he comedy musical, produced by TOHO, will premiere in Tokyo and  subsequently tour to several other major cities across Japan. Exact timing will be announced in the coming months.

Andrew Lloyd Webber working on new contemporary musical version of Cinderella

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Andrew Lloyd Webber has been in Los Angeles  working  on his next major project, an all-new stage version of Cinderella with a contemporary twist.
He said ; "I'm working with young writers whose combined ages add up to less than mine,It's delightful to have such young collaborators and I'm completely captivated by what they've done with the story. Now that I've said I'm going to do it, I have to get to my piano" Those collaborators are LA based British writers Tom MacRae (screenwriter, author and playwright who wrote the book and lyrics for the hit musical Everybody's Talking About Jamie,)  David Zippel  and writer Emerald Fennel.

Lloyd Webber said of the creative team's non-traditional approach to the material."They have remade Cinderella into a completely modern, feisty girl," said  "Every piece of the story is followed, but it will be turned around so it's not at all what you expect it to be. It just turns the whole thing around on itself." The classic fairy tale gets a makeover that includes a feisty, fiery version of the titular princess who falls in love with an awkward oddball named Sebastian, and a gay love story involving Prince Charming and a duke. He explained"It takes it away from the world of magic and fairy godmothers, but it's not going to be anywhere nearly as modern as, say, Los Angeles in 2023,I can't really say more about it at this point."

The musical had an industry preview at The Other Palace in London this week with some of Broadway's most notable producers and theatre attending the presentation.

Lloyd Webber says the writing process is moving swiftly as the three collaborators work together to storyboard the musical and figure out where songs will go. The composer will be fitting in work on the project around the start of shooting on the film version of his blockbuster musical Cats in November, and  expects to have a Cinderella score completed by the end of the year.

While no timeline has yet been set, he expects the show, which will be produced by his Really Useful Group, to follow the usual development period for a musical of 18 months-two years minimum. He added that while it's at too early a stage to go into greater detail, the setting will be neither a traditional fairy tale kingdom nor a recognizable contemporary location.

First News of Shows Performing at West End Live

The initial line-up for 2019 West End Live has been announced.

The two-day free celebration of West End musicals will return for its 15th year on June 22nd and 23rd June, with shows performing live in Trafalgar Square in front of thousands of people.

Shows featured including the Olivier Award-winning Come From Away and & Juliet, which will run in the West End at the end of the year.

The event offers leading West End productions perform classic numbers live in front of audiences, all for free with audiences  actively encouraged to sing along. Further acts, presenters and performance schedules will be announced soon. Shows participating in the weekend are:

Disney's Aladdin
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ - The Musical
Avenue Q
BalletBoyz Brainiac Live
Come From Away
Everybody's Talking About Jamie
Fiddler On The Roof
Heartbeat Of Home
Jesus Christ Superstar
& Juliet
Disney's The Lion King
Magic Mike Live
Mamma Mia!
Matilda The Musical
Les Misérables
On Your Feet!
Only Fools And Horses The Musical
The Phantom Of The Opera
Thriller Live
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
The View UpStairs
The Worst Witch
9 To 5 The Musical

Back to the Future - The Musical opening in Manchester February 2020

Back to The Future - The Musical will open at the Manchester Opera House on 20th February  running until 17th May  2020 for a strictly limited 12-week season, ahead of a planned transfer to the West End.

The 1985 movie and pop culture phenomenon is transported to the stage by creators of the original film:  Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis.
The combined eight-time Grammy Award-winning pairing of Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard have written a  new score alongside the movie’s iconic hits, including The Power of Love, Johnny B Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time

Directed by Tony Award-winning John Rando (Uinetown) alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning team of Tim Hatley (design), Hugh Vanstone (lighting) and Finn Ross (video) with choreography by Chris Bailey and illusions by Paul Kieve (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Producer Colin Ingram (Ghost – The Musical) said: "This show has been six years in the making and we are delighted to be showing it to the people of Manchester first before the rest of the world gets to see it. As I did with Ghost, Manchester gets it first."

The role of Marty will be played by Olly Dobson (Bat Out of Hell), with further casting to be announced . Tickets on sale to Theatre Card holders – Wednesday 22nd May at 10:00am 
General sale – Friday 24th May at 10:00am

Tuesday, May 14

First dates for tour of Six the Musical later this year

Initial venues and dates have been announced for a nine month UK tour of Six, the hit musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, which is currently running at the Arts Theatre in London's West End.

Opening at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford on 24th October, Six will visit  over 33 venues nationwide, including a Christmas season at The Lowry Quays with more  dates for 2020 to be announced.

Tickets for the tour venues without a booking link will go on sale shortly. The cast, yet to be announced, are backed by the show's all-female band, The Ladies in Waiting.

Monday, May 13

Jenna Russell to lead cast in The Bridges of Madison County at the Menier

Jenna Russell is to star in Trevor Nunn's upcoming production of The Bridges of Madison County at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Russell will play Francesca, an Italian immigrant housewife living a happy existence on a farm in the American Midwest who meets Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer on assignment filming bridges in the area.   Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep starred in the 1995 film which was also directed by Eastwood.

Jenna Russell’s extensive theatre credits includes: Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory & Harold Pinter Theatre; Olivier nomination), Sunday in the Park with George (Wyndham’s and Broadway; Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical & Tony nomination), Fun Home (Young Vic); Di and Viv and Rose (Vaudeville), Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), That Day We Sang (Manchester International Festival), Season’s Greetings (National), Into the Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Amy’s View (Garrick), Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly; Olivier nomination), As You Like It, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, Misha’s Party, The Beggars Opera and Wildest Dreams (all RSC), Follies (Shaftesbury), Just So (Tricycle) and Girlfriends (Playhouse).  TV includes: EastEnders, Minder, Born and Bred, Men Only, Peak Practice, Picking Up the Pieces and The Bill.
Russell said: "David Babani [the Menier's artistic director] mentioned the musical to me a couple of years ago, and when we met up in New York last year I told him I couldn't stop thinking about it. So he said 'okay, let's do it. I'm really excited, I love Jason Robert Brown's music and have loved singing it for many years. It's a different kind of singing to what I'm used to but I'm really looking forward to it. This is my third time back at the Menier too – the place is like a home from home. The beauty of the space is the intimacy and with a story like this it puts the spotlight on something really delicate."

Full cast announced for Joseph starring Sheridan Smith at the Palladium

Michael Harrison and the Really Useful Group have just  confirmed full casting for the 50th Anniversary production of  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, following the previous announcements that Sheridan Smith will star as The Narrator, Jason Donovan will return to the show as Pharaoh, and Jac Yarrow will mark his professional debut as Joseph.

Michael Pickering will play Simeon and Richard Carson will be Reuben. Joining them will be Femi Akinfolarin/brother, Casey Al-Shaqsy/wife, JR Ballantyne/brother, Lydia Bannister/Swing & Dance Captain, Thalia Burt/wife, Michael Cortez/guard, Vanessa Fisher/wife, Ahmed Hamad/swing, Blythe Jandoo/swing, Matt Krzan/guard, Kelsie-Rae Marshall/wife, Billy Mitchell, Georgina Parkinson/wife, Emily Ann Potter/wife, Matthew Rowland/swing, Harriet Samuel-Grey/wife, Carl Spencer/brother, Joshua Steel/brother, Hannah Taylor/swing and Jack Wilcox/brother.

The cast will also include a rotating children’s ensemble, featuring Rihana Akhtar, Mia Byers, Angel Clark, Aoife Connelly, Oliver Crouch, Jacob Dennison, Anna De Oliviera, Tilly Doherty, Nessa Eriksson, Dara Gleeson, Sean Gordon, Maci Hughes, Isabelle Jones, Dino Karakostas, Jamie Kenly, Jaxon Knopf, Olivia Leask, Olivia McNulty, Indiphile Mbonzongwana, Jack Meredith, Chloe Muldowny, Keanna-Skye O’Quinn, Regan Parker, Devon Pomeroy, Etienne Ragoo, Olivia Seagrove, Tom Skoines, Nina Stevenson, Jandice Stewart, Mia Walsh, Luca Willemburg and Sacha Yarwood.

Friday, May 10

Frozen West End announces open casting call

The West End production of Frozen has announced an open casting call for  UK and Ireland.

The show, based on the hit Disney film , is due to open at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in autumn 2020 and will be holding auditions this summer at six different locations in .

The production is looking for performers to take on six lead roles – Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff, Hans and Weselton as well as covers for each part. Performers of all cultural backgrounds are sought for the  roles.
Auditionees should bring 16 bars of sheet music from a contemporary musical theatre song as well as a CV including photo.

The first round of auditions will be in Glasgow on 24th May, with further rounds in Manchester on 3rd June, London on 6th and 7th June at the Old Diorama Arts Centre near Warren Street station, Birmingham on 10th June, Cardiff on 13th June and Dublin on 14 June.

More information at https://www.frozenthemusical.co.uk/auditions/

The new production is directed by Michael Grandage with set and costume designs by Christopher Oram, lighting design by Natasha Katz, and choreography by Rob Ashford. Sound design is by Peter Hylenski, video design by Finn Ross, puppet design by Michael Curry, and musical supervision and arrangements by Stephen Oremus.

Riverdance Heartbeat of Home heading to London this September

Riverdream Productions, the producers of Riverdance, have  announce that Heartbeat of Home, their new  dance and music extravaganza, will open in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre  on 4th September with opening night on 11th September and running until 13th October.

Following sold out performances at the London Palladium earlier this year and having thrilled audiences in Dublin, North America, China and Germany, the show is heading to the Piccadilly Theatre for an extended West End run due to popular demand. 
 Tickets go on general sale today a 09:00

 Heartbeat of Home is a spine-tingling, high octane, sexy, dance and music extravaganza. It is a  tour de force that features the dynamic, vibrant components of traditional Irish, Latin, Hip-Hop, Afro-Cuban and Contemporary music and dance, uniting performers and audiences on journeys to find a home, wherever that may be.Heartbeat of Home showcases 33 world-class dancers and live musicians from Ireland, U.S.A, Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, Argentina and Spain. Produced by Moya Doherty, conceived and directed by John McColgan with award-winning Irish composer, Brian Byrne (who has worked with Katy Perry and Barbara Streisand), concept development and lyrics by award-winning Irish writer Joseph O’Connor and choreography by David Bolger.

 The Heartbeat of Home creative team also includes John Carey (Irish Dance Choreography), Alan Farquharson (Set Design), David Torpey/Image Now and David Mattias/COSMO (Set Projection Design), Peter Canning (Lighting Design), Ciarán Byrne (Sound Design), Monica Ennis and Niamh O’Connor (Costumes Styling) and Padraic Moyles (Associate Director).