Thursday, April 19

Ben Forster ,Caroline Sheen, Rachel Tucker and Linzi Hateley among performers at With A Little Bit of Lerner Concert

To celebrate  the 100th birthday of Alan Jay Lerner The BBC Concert Orchestra is presenting With a Little Bit of Lerner at the Southbank Centre - Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday 23 May 7.30pm
 
Conducted by Broadway maestro Larry Blank special guests from the world of musical theatre, including  Christine Andreas, Alexia Khadime,Samantha Bond, Liz Robertson, Ben Forster , Caroline Sheen, Alexander Hanson, Rachel Tucker and Linzi Hateley perform  some of the most popular and enduring works of stage and screen, including: ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ and ‘On the Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady; ‘I Remember it Well’ and ‘The Night They Invented Champagne’ from Gigi plus classics from Brigadoon; and many more.

Tickets for A Little Bit of Lerner


  

Killian Donnelly to lead new tour of Les Miserables

Breaking news: According to the Mail's Baz Bamigboye, Killian Donnelly is to play Jean Valjean in the new tour of Les Miserables which opens at the Leicester Curve in November.  He is currently playing the role  in the West End production at the Queen's Theatre but due to leave in June.

The tour is due to visit Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre in December, with Killian saying he is first Irish actor to play Valjean in Dublin since Colm Wilkinson  "so I’ve big shoes to fill."

Baz has already revealed that other dates to be added to the tour in 2019 include Birmingham Hippodrome, Milton Keynes and Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Sondheim's Follies to return to National next February

As promised, the National Theatre's revival  of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman's musical Follies is to return to the Olivier theatre in February 2019. The show which won the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival this year starts previews from 14th February, with tickets on sale until March 26th and further dates to be announced. 

Set in 1971 New York, during a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre which is due to be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical includes such classics including  Broadway Baby, I’m Still Here and Losing My Mind

The revival of the musical, directed by Dominic Cooke (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)) , opened in September 2017 with a stellar cast including Imelda Staunton, Janie Dee, Tracie Bennett, Peter Forbes and Philip Quast. It has been announced that Dee and Forbes will be returning with the show in 2019, but further casting is yet to be announced.

Public booking opens on Friday 18 May at  8.30am 


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Tommy Steele to star in The Glenn Miller show at London Coliseum

Britain’s first Rock and Roll Star and legendary entertainer Tommy Steele is due to perform at the London Coliseum with The Glenn Miller Show for a limited run from  6th July-18th August 2018

Tommy Steele's first UK number-one was Singing the Blues in January 1957, reaching the top spot before Elvis. The same year he filmed The Tommy Steele Story, one of Britain’s great rock ‘n’ roll movies.

His career has included over twenty hit singles, twelve hit musical movies – including Finian’s Rainbow, The Happiest Millionaire,  Half A Sixpence,  Hans Andersen and Singin’ in the Rain. Tommy starred in the musical Scrooge, which enjoyed two successful runs at the London Palladium and made him the theatre’s all-time record-breaking performer, having headlined more performances than any other star in its history.

He made his stage debut in 1958 starring in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, which enjoyed a sold-out run at the London Coliseum, but the inspiration for Tommy’s extraordinary career was an American band leader whose music Tommy had loved  from the moment he first heard it in his early teens…and now, 60 years on, TOMMY STEELE returns to THE LONDON COLISEUM to salute his idol GLENN MILLER in a new musical celebration. He has already headlined two very successful tours of this musical.

It’s been over seventy years since Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel on a flight to Paris to entertain the troops during the World War 2. Did he crash or was he shot down? The mystery remains unsolved.Glenn Miller was the best selling recording artist in the world from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known big bands. In those four years, he scored 23 number-one hits – more than Elvis Presley and The Beatles.The Glenn Miller Show features the journey the legendary big band leader took to find his unique sound, and his subsequent fame and untimely death. With the authentic sounds of In the Mood, Moonlight Serenade, Little Brown Jug, Pennsylvania 6-5000, Tuxedo Junction, Chattanooga Choo Choo . It is produced by Bill Kenwright with choreography by Olivier Award Winner Bill Deamer and direction by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright.


Tommy said:  I am and always will be one of Glenn Miller’s biggest fans. That sound, that wonderful sound, and his search for it, is one of the most inspiring stories I know. So, I’m returning to the Coliseum to say two thank yous!


Monday, April 16

Rufus Hound joins Katherine Kingsley in Dusty the Musical as more cast announced

On Dusty Springfield's birthday (she was born on this day in 1939) more casting has been announced for the tour of the new musical Dusty, which will have its world premiere at Theatre Royal Bath in June before moving on to The Lyceum in Sheffield, Newcastle Theatre Royal, and The Lowry in Salford.

Joining the previously announced lead Katherine Kingsley (Singin' in the Rain) will be Rufus Hound (The Wind in the Willows) as Dusty's manager Billings and Roberta Taylor (EastEnders) as Dusty's mother Kay.
The full cast will include Ishmail Aaron, Jenny Bolt, Alex Bowen, Esther Coles, Joelle Dyson, Joanna Francis, Paul Grunert, Ella Kenion, Adam Lyons, Lisa Mathieson, Katharine Pearson, Micha Richardson, Sadie-Jean Shirley, Hampus Lee Strand and Chad Wilder, with further casting still to be announced.

Written by Olivier-nominated writer Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful Thing), the show has direction by Maria Friedman (Stepping Out) with design by Tom Pye and choreography by Tim Jackson.







Friday, April 13

Clare Burt to lead cast for RSC's new summer musical Miss Littlewood

Clare Burt will take on the role of Joan Littlewood in the new musical Miss Littlewood, which runs at the Swan Theatre,  Stratford-upon-Avon  from  22nd June- 4th August.  Tickets go on sale soon.

Burt, who most recently appeared in Big Fish and will star in the revival Flowers for Mrs Harris this autumn, will play Littlewood, will be joined by  Aretha Ayeh (Love Me Tender), Sandy Foster (The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich), Amanda Hadingue (A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer), Dawn Hope (Follies), Emily Johnstone (The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich) and Sophia Nomvete (The Wind in the Willows) also taking on the role of the director at various stages of her life.

Further casting includes Daisy Badger (The Archers, The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich) as Rosalie, Greg Barnett (The School for Scandal) as Jimmie Miller/Cedric Price, Laura Elsworthy (The Hypocrite) as Shelagh Delaney), Solomon Israel (The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich) as Gerry Raffles, Natasha Lewis (Priscilla Queen of the Desert ) and Tam Williams (Sunny Afternoon) as Murray Melvin.

The musical follows Littlewood's life, born into poverty before emerging as one of the greatest directors of the twentieth century, responsible for shows including Oh, What A Lovely War!, A Taste of Honey and The Hostage and revitalising Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Directed by the RSC's deputy artistic director Erica Whyman, the piece has book, music and lyrics by Sam Kenyon with design by Tom Piper, lighting by Charles Balfour, sound by Jonathan Ruddick, movement by Lucy Hind, and video by Nina Dunn.






Noel Sullivan starring in IT’S ONLY LIFE at Union Theatre

Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment has just  announced the UK Premiere of It’s Only Life, opening at the Union Theatre for 4 weeks from Wednesday 13th June -Saturday 7th July 2018.

The cast includes: Noel Sullivan (Rock of Ages, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Jennifer Harding (Funny Girl, Legally Blonde) and Jordan Shaw (Follies, tick, tick… BOOM!). They are joined by recent graduates Will Carey and Sammy Graham.

It’s Only Life is a musical revue featuring the songs of John Bucchino. His songs have been recorded and performed by Judy Collins, Patti LuPone, Yo-Yo Ma, Audra MacDonald, Liza Minnelli, Art Garfunkel and many others. Conceived by director Daisy Prince and the award-winning songwriter, It’s Only Life is about longing, fulfillment, loss, triumph and ultimately wisdom.According to the New York Times, Bucchino’s ‘flowing, finely made piano ballads describe an urban life in which relationships come and go in cycles of yearning, fulfillment, heartbreak and healing’ – where romantic love is anticipated with ‘high expectations, high anxiety and open hearts.’ The show won LA’s 2008 Ovation Award for Best Book/Lyrics/Music for an Original Musical.


Katy said “I have been in love with this beautiful piece for many years. There has never been a more appropriate time to now bring it to the UK. I am thrilled to bring together such a talented team of cast and creatives to the Union Theatre this summer”.

Creative team: Director: Tania Azevedo (The ToyBoy Diaries, Paper Hearts). Musical Director: Nick Barstow (Wonderland, The Burnt Part Boys). Choreographer: William Whelton (Pippin, Hair).Designers: Justin Williams and Jonny Rust.Lighting Designer: Clancy Flynn.  

First performance of Titanic the musical has to be stopped

The first performance of the tour of  Titanic the musical which opened at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre last night  had to be cancelled just minutes into act two when part of the ceiling above the stage appeared to fall in, narrowly missing cast members who were performing below.
 
After around a 40 minute  stop, the audience were told  that the show would not continue due to safety reasons but the show is expected to go ahead as usual from tomorrow.Audience members cheered as it was announced their tickets would be refunded or exchanged for another performance.

An official statement from the Mayflower Theatre said:At last night’s performance of Titanic the Musical, a small piece of plaster from the wall backstage fell onto the stage. With the safety of the cast in mind we made the decision to cancel the second act of the show. We are in the process of contacting all ticket holders to offer them seats to another performance.We want to clarify the fact that this is not a structural issue, but there are some remedial works that are taking place this morning and we fully expect this evening’s performance to go ahead as planned. We would like to thank all of the customers last night who showed great understanding and support for the cast and crew of Titanic the Musical.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie will be broadcast live in cinemas this summer.

The West End production of Everybody's Talking About Jamie will be broadcast live in UK cinemas this summer with Nimax Theatres and More2Screen collaborating to screen the show  in venues across the  on 5th July, with a worldwide roll-out of the recorded show to be distributed in autumn. 

The hit musical originally opened at Sheffield Crucible before transferring into the West End last autumn.

Written by Tom MacRae with music by Dan Gillespie Sells and direction by Jonathan Butterell, the musical is based on the real-life documentary entitled Jamie: Drag Queen at 16.
Buy tickets for screening of Everybody's Talking About Jamie

Impressive cast announced for workshop of new musical Emma

Full casting has been  announced today for the London workshop of EMMA, A New Musical.

The cast will be headed by Carly Bawden (Romantics Anonymous), Rupert Young (Merlin), and Ashleigh Gray (Wicked).

They will be joined by Alex Young (Follies), Jack North (Harry Potter And The Cursed Child), Norman Bowman (42nd Street), Tiffany Graves (Kiss Me, Kate), Rob Houchen (Les Miserables), Laura Pitt-Pulford (Barnum) and Samuel Thomas (The Comedy About A Bank Robbery).

Based on the novel by Jane Austen and  directed by award winning Thom Southerland, the new musical tells the story of clever and rich Emma Woodhouse who  amuses herself by matchmaking for her friends - until she meets her own match. With a new book and  score, this modern adaptation of Jane Austen's novel explores the necessary risk of feeling your feelings.


Carrie Hope Fletcher to star in Heathers the Musical

News has broken his morning Carrie Hope Fletcher will star as Veronica in the homicidal high school musical, Heathers, which is set to  run at The Other Palace from 9th June-4th August. Fletcher has appeared on the West End in Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and the UK tours of Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang and The Addams Family.

The Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy musical adaptation Heathers received five workshop performances in London at The Other Palace in summer 2017.

The 1989 cult feature film Heathers helped launch the careers of actors Winona Ryder (Veronica), Christian Slater (JD) and Shannen Doherty (Heather Duke). It  became a cult favourite with pop culture phrases including  "What's your damage?", "It'll be very," and "Greetings and Salutations" . In 2006, Heathers was included in the top five of Entertainment Weekly's list of the "Greatest High School Movies of All Time".

Set in September, 1989 Westerberg High is terrorized by Veronica, and her three friends each named Heather., the hottest and cruellest girls in all of Ohio.  They’re the most popular girls in school, but Veronica decides she’s had enough of the Heathers and wants to return to her old, geeky friends.But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark sexy stranger JD, who plans to put the Heathers in their place - six feet under.

Heathers the musical has book, music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, is produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills, (the team behind the acclaimed stage adaptation of Carrie). With direction from Andy Fickman and choreography by Gary Lloyd.
 

Buy tickets for Heather the Musical




Wednesday, April 11

Sharon D Clarke & Clive Rowe to star in Blues in the Night revival

The Tricycle Theatre has been renamed as the Kiln Theatre, with the refurbished venue to feature Sharon D Clarke and Clive Rowe in a revival of Blues in the Night 

The Kilburn venue will reopen in September and next year Sharon D Clarke (Caroline, Or Change) and Clive Rowe (Guys and Dolls) will star in a new revival of Sheldon Epps' Blues in the Night, directed by Susie McKenna which runs from 22nd July to 7th September 2019.  Tickets go on sale in September of this year.

Set in 1939, the musical follows a man and three women who have a love of music and features songs from the likes of Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and more. The musical was nominated for both Tony and Olivier Awards when it first opened in 1980, and will be revived for the first time in 30 years.