Tuesday, July 16

Austin Butler to Star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s Biopic

It has just been announced that Austin Butler is to Star as Elvis in Baz Luhrmann’s Biopic After numerous screen tests, has been cast as Elvis Presley in Luhrmann’s next feature film for Warner Bros. The studio tested with a handful of actors in full hair and make-up at the end of June to see who would join Tom Hanks, who is playing Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

I knew I couldn’t make this film if the casting wasn’t absolutely right, and we searched thoroughly for an actor with the ability to evoke the singular natural movement and vocal qualities of this peerless star, but also the inner vulnerability of the artist,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “Throughout the casting process, it was an honor for me to encounter such a vast array of talent. I had heard about Austin Butler from his stand-out role opposite Denzel Washington in ‘The Iceman Cometh’ on Broadway, and through a journey of extensive screen testing and music and performance workshops, I knew unequivocally that I had found someone who could embody the spirit of one of the world’s most iconic musical figures.”

More casting news for Back to the Future Musical

More casting has been announced for Back to the Future the Musical. Joining the previously announced Olly Dobson in the show will be Hugh Coles as George McFly, Rosanna Hyland  as Lorraine Baines and Cedric Neal as Goldie Wilson.

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.

Hugh Coles graduated from LAMDA in 2017 and landed one of the lead roles in last year's British summer movie The Festival. He most recently finished working on the BBC series Defending the Guilty, playing young barrister 'Liam' alongside Will Sharpe and Katherine Parkinson. Hugh's other screen credits include Urban Myths: The Mysterious Disappearance of Agatha Christie for Sky Arts and the final series of Doc Martin for ITV.

Rosanna Hyland's theatre credits include 'Rosalie Mullins' in School Of Rock The Musical (Gillian Lynne), 'Alice' in I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road (Jermyn Street), 'Betty Hapschatt' in Shock Treatment (King's Head), 'Hope Cladwell' in Urinetown (Apollo), Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Sister Act The Musical (London Palladium) and Carousel (The Savoy).

Cedric Neal most recently was a semi-finalist on The Voice UK 2019 Series. He made his West End debut as 'Berry Gordy' in the original London cast of Motown The Musical. Neal was featured as 'The Arbiter' in the first revival of Chess at London's Coliseum. He can currently be seen as 'Willie' in the Soho Theatre premiere of The View Upstairs. Other London theatre includes the critically acclaimed concert staging of Martin Smith's musical King, portraying Martin Luther King Jr., Cy Coleman's revue Rhythm Of Life (St. James's Theatre), and 'Sporting Life' in the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Olivier nominated production of Porgy And Bess. Broadway credits include the Tony nominated After Midnight and the 2012 Tony Award-winning revival of Porgy And Bess. Television credits include The Good Guys (Fox) and Seasons 4 & 5 of the Emmy Award-winning drama Friday Night Lights (NBC-Universal). Film credits include Lost In London, which was written and produced by and starred Woody Harrelson.

Thursday, July 11

Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker to star in Concert performance of Doctor Zhivago musical

Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker are to star as Dr Zhivago and Lara Guishar in  a concert performance of the musical of Doctor Zhivago which is due to take place at Cadogan Hall on 1st  September at 2.00pm and 6.30pm. 

The piece follows Zhivago, a political idealist, poet and doctor who is torn by living a life with his wife, and the mysterious Lara Guishar.

The musical is written by Michael Weller and has music by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers. It  originally opened on Broadway in 2015 starring Tam Mutu and makes its UK concert debut in September.

Ramin Karimloo's theatre credits include Chess (The Kennedy Centre), Anastasia (Broadhurst Theatre, Broadway), Murder Ballad (Arts Theatre), Les Miserables (Imperial Theatre, Broadway - for which he was nominated for the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical; Princess of Wales Theatre, Queens Theatre, Palace Theatre), Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary (Royal Albert Hall), Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre - for which he was nominated for the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical), Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert (O2 Arena), Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre), and Miss Saigon (UK tour).

Celinde Schoenmaker's  theatre credits include The Light in the Piazza (Royal Festival Hall, and forthcoming LA Opera), Barnum (Menier Chocolate Factory), Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty's Theatre), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre). For film, her credits include Rocketman.

Moew casting news to follow.

Buy tickets for Dr Zhivago

Casting announced for UK premiere of Angela's Ashes musical.

Casting has been announced for the UK premiere of the Angela's Ashes musical which is based on Frank McCourt's 1996 memoir of growing up in Limerick, Ireland and escaping poverty for a new life in America. The book was made into a film in 1999 by Alan Parker.

Irish musical theatre star Jacinta Whyte stars as Angela, alongside Eoin Cannon as Frank and Marty Maguire as Malachy. The full cast includes Norma Sheahan as Mrs Finucane, Amanda Minihan as Grandma, Bryan Burroughs as Quasimodo, Connor Gormley as Malachy Jnr, Fiona Browne as Nora, Michael Joseph as Billy Heffernan, David O'Meara as Uncle Pat, Mark O'Regan as Mr Griffin, Brigid Shine as Theresa Carmody and Cáit Moloney as ensemble.

The production originally opened in Belfast in 2017 and will run at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon between 24th September and 5th October. Ahead of its Croydon run the piece plays at the   Grand Opera House – Belfast September 3 - September 7 , Dublin Bord Gáis Energy Theatre September 9 - September 14  and at Cork Opera House from September 16 - September 21   

Adam Howell and Paul Hurt's musical was originally developed by Theatre Words and Uncontained Arts at the University of Derby and will be directed  by Thom Southerland with Francis O'Connor designing set and costume, lighting design by Sinead McKenna, movement direction by Ste Clough, and sound design by Jason Fallon. David Hayes is musical director and Mike Dixon is musical supervisor, with original arrangements and orchestrations by Colm Ó Foghlú and arrangements and orchestrations by Joe Csibi.

More Sunday Favourites concerts now on sale

Following the huge success of the first season of Sunday Favourites at The Other Palace,  a new series of intimate concerts have just been announced and are now on sale featuring  West End stars Aimie Atkinson (Six) - 15th September, Alice Fearn (Wicked) - 29th September , Joe McElderry (Joseph, Club Tropicana, The X Factor) - 6th October , David Hunter (Once, Waitress) - 27th October , Jason Pennycooke (Hamilton) - 3rd November & Jodie Steele (Heathers) - 17th November .

Wednesday, July 10

New tour of Sister Act Musical starring Brenda Edwards

Producers Jamie Wilson and Whoopi Goldberg are delighted to announce a brand new production of the smash hit musical SISTER ACT opening at Curve, Leicester on 21st April 2020, where it will play until 2 May 2020, ahead of further UK venues and a London season.

A hit musical on both sides of the Atlantic, this brand new production of SISTER ACT will star Brenda Edwards in the specially rewritten role of Deloris Van Cartier.

Brenda Edwards first came to the public’s attention when she became a semi-finalist in the 2005 series of ITV1’s The X Factor. Since then, she has become one of the most sought-after leading ladies in musical theatre. Her many West End and touring credits include Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre and original UK Tour), Mama Morton in Chicago (West End and 10th Anniversary Gala), Nettie Fowler in Carousel (London Coliseum), Pearl Pastor in Carmen Jones (Royal Festival Hall), Esta in Moby Dick (Union Theatre) and most recently Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspary (UK Tour). Brenda is also a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.

Jamie Wilson said today “I am thrilled to be collaborating again with Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Douglas Carter Beane and Whoopi Goldberg to create a new version of Sister Act, in particular reworking the part of Deloris for an older actor and I’m so pleased that the hugely talented Brenda Edwards will launch this production for us. I’m also delighted to be continuing our relationship with Curve in Leicester by developing this new production with them, and I’m equally pleased that this production will be visiting other regional theatres ahead of a London run next Summer. We will be announcing our full creative team, further casting and some more surprises this autumn!”

 Whoopi Goldberg said today “Deloris is a big fun character with lots of personality! Brenda auditioned for this show when it first happened in the UK and didn’t get the part because she was too old, so we’ve rectified that! Previous versions have had Deloris as a 23-year-old – but there are different stakes when you’re older. You can be much more irreverent when you’re older than you can be when you’re in your twenties and thirties. Time makes you funnier! I really am so thrilled Sister Act is coming back to the UK in 2020 with this new version”.

Brenda Edwards first came to the public’s attention when she became a semi-finalist in the 2005 series of ITV1’s The X Factor. Since then, she has become one of the most sought-after leading ladies in musical theatre. Her many West End and touring credits include Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre and original UK Tour), Mama Morton in Chicago (West End and 10th Anniversary Gala), Nettie Fowler in Carousel (London Coliseum), Pearl Pastor in Carmen Jones (Royal Festival Hall), Esta in Moby Dick (Union Theatre) and most recently Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspary (UK Tour). Brenda is also a regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women.

La Clique Live in Leicester Square this Christmas

Award-winning cabaret  La Clique is to  return to the West End tis Christmas for a new run at the Leicester Square Spiegeltent. The show  ran at the London Hippodrome a decade ago, and will now perform from 8th November to 4th January as part of Underbelly's season of shows within the central London square.  La Clique Palace Orkestra,  s live house band,will accompany the performances.

Acts confirmed to perform at the event include Bernie Dieter (Little Death Club) as MC, gentleman juggler Florian Brooks, the fire-breathing, sword-swallowing Heather Holliday and aerialist Stephen Williams performing his Bath Boy act. Further acts will be announced over the coming months.

Midlife Cowboy new British musical by Tony Hawks opens in London on 13th September

Midlife Cowboy, a new British musical by comedian and best-selling author Tony Hawks, will get its world premiere  at the Pleasance Theatre, London from Friday 13th September - Sunday 6 October, 2019. It will star Debra Stephenson,Tony Hawks Duncan Wisbey, Georgina Field and James Thackeray.

With a cast of talented actor/musicians, 'Midlife Cowboy' is tale of heartache, love, and friendship, laced with new country, blues, romantic and comedy songs. It  follows the fortunes of the members of the Swindon Country and Western Club as they bid to end many years of hurt by finally winning first prize at the prestigious Railway Museum Gala Evening - and along the way discover the true nature of heroism. But this is not just about country music. A marriage is in crisis, friendships are at risk, there is more than a sniff of infidelity in the air, and lives are changed when two new members to the club arrive and turn everything upside down.

Debra Stephenson stars as Jane, a country music-loving puppet-maker who is trying to save her failing marriage and revive their home-based Cowboy Club. Debra is one of Britain’s most talented actors and impressionists and her credits include Coronation Street, Bad Girls, Dead Ringers, The Impressions Show and most recently The Imitation Game.

Tony Hawks plays her midlife crisis suffering husband Stuart. A regular on many of BBC Radio 4’s best loved comedy programmes including Just a Minute, I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue and The Unbelievable Truth, Tony is also one of the UK’s most successful authors having written many best-selling books including Round Ireland with a Fridge.

Duncan Wisbey (Graham) is an actor, musician and impressionist best known for Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, Dead Ringers, Four in a Bed, The Hive and Ultimate Brain. Georgina Field’s (Penny) multiple skills have led her to perform in numerous musicals around the UK including Godspell, Salad Days, The Phantom of the Opera and Guys & Dolls.

James Thackeray (Dan) has been seen in Doctor Who and Trainspotting: Live at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe.

Buy tickets for Midlife Cowboy

Amelie The Musical to run at The Other Palace over Christmas

Amélie the Musical is to run at The Other Palace in London over Christmas 2019 from 29th November to 1st  February

Amélie will arrive in London following its UK tour, which continues until October. It runs at The Other Palace from .

The piece will star French-Canadian performer Audrey Brisson as Amélie Poulain alongside Sophie Crawford as 'Gina' (War Horse - NT, Twelfth Night - Orange Tree), Faoileann Cunningham as 'Georgette' / 'Sylvie' (Mary Stuart - Almeida, Ulysses - Abbey Theatre), Rachel Dawson as 'Andamine' / 'Philomene' (The Jungle Book - UK Tour, A Little Night Music - The Watermill), .Oliver Grant as 'Lucien' / 'Mysterious Man' (War Horse - UK Tour, Twelfth Night - Chichester Festival Theatre), Chris Jared as 'Nino Quincampoix' (946: the Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips - Shakespeare's Globe, The Duchess of Malfi - Nottingham Playhouse), , Caolan McCarthy as 'Hippolito' / 'Elton John' (The Plough and the Stars - NT, The Beggar's Opera/Alice in Wonderland - Storyhouse), Samuel Morgan-Grahame as 'Joseph' / 'Fluffy' (Sister Act - UK Tour, All My Sons - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Emma Jane Morgan as 'Delphine' (Sweet Charity - The Watermill, Crazy for You - UK Tour), Kate Robson-Stuart as 'Suzanne' (Crazy For You - UK Tour, Untold Stories - Watermill Theatre), Josh Sneesby as 'Blind Beggar' (The Hypocrite & Birthday Bash - RSC, One Man, Two Guvnors - Adelphi Theatre/Theatre Royal Haymarket), Jez Unwin as Raphael / Bretodeau (Oliver - Leicester Curve, Once - Phoenix Theatre) and Johnson Willis as Collignon / Dufayel (Harold and Maude - Charing Cross Theatre, Dido Queen of Carthage & Salome - RSC Swan)

Buy pre-sale tickets for Amélie the Musical at The Other Palace

New tour of The Phantom of the Opera to hold open auditions

Open auditions to  be held in August have been announced for the upcoming UK and Ireland tour of The Phantom of the Opera, which starts in February 2020.
Auditionees should go and register at 9:00 am at the  Mountview Academy in Peckham, London on Monday 5 August 2019. Auditionees should bring a CV, a photo and sheet music.

The touring production is looking for performers of all ethnicities to play both lead and ensemble roles in the piece, with the call-out stating that BAME artists are particularly encouraged to attend. Recalls will then take place through August.

The tour opens on 24 February 2020, with any auditionees expected to be available for 18 months from 6 January 2020.

Friday, July 5

Sierra Boggess announces London Concert

West End and Broadway star Sierra Boggess has confirmed her return to London to star in a concert at Cadogan Hall on Sunday 2nd  February 2020.

Boggess originated the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway and has appeared as Christine Daaé in productions of both The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies
Other credits include Les Misérables, which she performed for a limited season in the West End, and the original Broadway cast of School of Rock, where she played Rosalie Mullins opposite Alex Brightman.

Thursday, July 4

QUEEN SYMPHONIC UK concert dates announced

The international concert sensation QUEEN SYMPHONIC is coming to the UK next February for nine shows of Queen’s greatest hits on an epic scale!

Queen Symphonic: A Rock Orchestra Experience pays tribute to one of the UK’s greatest ever rock bands. It has been performed to sell out audiences in the UK and globally with leading orchestras including Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Tokyo Philharmonic; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Colorado Symphony Orchestra; The Halle; and many more.The concert was also recorded for a BBC Radio 2 ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’ special, live from the London Coliseum.

Experience the unforgettable magic of Queen, in a rock and symphonic spectacular celebrating the greatest hits of Queen and featuring four rock vocalists who starred in‘We Will Rock You’ accompaned  a five piece rock band and symphony orchestra!

 The Queen Symphony spectacular takes in the London Palladium on February 24th. The show includes full symphonic arrangements blended with a great rock band and performers honouring the greatest hits of Queen including : Bohemian Rhapsody; We Are the Champions; Crazy Little Thing Called Love and  We Will Rock You 

Below are the dates for the February 2020 Shows

15th – Birmingham Symphony Hall - with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

16th – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

18th – Sheffield City Hall – with the Hallam Sinfonia Orchestra

19th – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall – with the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra

21st – Harrogate Convention Centre Auditorium - with the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra

22nd – Cardiff St David’s Hall - with the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra

24th – London Palladium – with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra

25th – Bournemouth Pavilion – with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

26th – Eastbourne Congress Theatre - with the Heart of England Philharmonic Orchestra

Book tickets for QUEEN SYMPHONIC