Summer Season at a Glance
Following a momentous 2014 which brought North East premieres of War Horse, The Lion King and Jersey Boys to the region, the 2015 summer season at Sunderland Empire continues to deliver the West End to the North East with an array of dazzling and mesmerising productions.
Audiences will be transported to the French Riviera and its decadent underworld this Summer, when Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (9-20 June) hits the stage, direct from the West End. Based on the classic comedy film starring Sir Michael Caine and Steve Martin,sophisticated and suave with a good dash of mischief Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows two seasoned swindlers as they attempt to hoodwink a millionaire heiress, as the pair compete in the true art of the con. Soon realising the town ain’t big enough for the both of them, the two find themselves going head to head in the con of their lives!
The glamour of Hollywood’s golden age is then set to dazzle as Top Hat (24 June – 4 July) brings the glorious, tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the stage. Packed with Irving Berlin’s greatest hits including, Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz, this uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy dazzles with over 200 beautiful costumes, breathtaking dance and a love story that will set the pulse racing!
From the producers of Hairspray, Midnight Tango, West Side Story and The Rocky Horror Show comes Love Me Tender (13-18 July)is a hilarious, feel-good musical featuring Elvis Presley’s greatest hits. In a small town in 1950’s America, a guitar-playing, hip-swivelling stranger rides his motorbike into town. Is he The Devil In Disguise or a Hound Dog in his Blue Suede Shoes? The townsfolk are about to be All Shook Up and could be headed for Heartbreak Hotel, but for Natalie, the love-struck, tomboy mechanic, it really is Now or Never. Packed with 25 of the best loved songs by The King himself, Love Me Tender, by the writer of the award-winning West End and Broadway smash hit Memphis, is a funny and moving tale of hope, second chances and the healing qualities of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Winner of seven 2013 Olivier Awards, the highly-acclaimed National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (11-15 August) returns to the North East as part its nationwide tour. Christopher, fifteen years old, has an extraordinary brain – exceptional at maths while ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under suspicion of killing Mrs Shears’ dog, it takes him on a journey that upturns his world. This thrilling new stage play based on the award-winning novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott.
End the summer with the ultimate party as Priscilla Queen of the Desert (31 August – 5 September) is back by overwhelming popular demand. Based on the smash-hit movie, the feel-good international hit sensation Priscilla is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dance floor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, Hot Stuff, Finally, Boogie Wonderland, Go West, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I Love The Nightlife, this wildly fresh and funny hit musical will take you on a journey to the heart of fabulous!
All topped off by the return the hugely popular Broadway and West End phenomenon Jersey Boys (8-19 September). This smash hit musical has won 55 major awards worldwide, including the Olivier Award for Best New Musical and continues to play at the Piccadilly Theatre, London. Jersey Boys tells the true life story of four boys from the wrong side of the tracks who wrote their own songs, invented their own unique sound, and sold 175 million records worldwide. Featuring hit after legendary hit including Beggin’, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Oh What A Night, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Bye Bye Baby, Big Girls Don’t Cry and many more.
Ahead of the summer season, Wicked flies into Sunderland (31 March – 25 April 2015) to make it’s North East debut for a limited 4 week engagement, with thrilling technical wizardry, stunning costumes and show-stopping songs, the global phenomenon is set to leave audiences spellbound. Agatha Christies’ The Mousetrap (5-9 May) is back by popular demand laced with intrigue and mystery. Famous around the world as being the longest running show of any kind in the history of British theatre – with over 25,000 performances it’s a play to be proud of.
Smash hit Broadway musical, The Producers (11-16 May) is a hilarious musical comedy featuring a riotous mix of eccentric characters including award-winning comedian Jason Manford and legendary funny man Phill Jupitus. Based on Mel Brooks’ much loved Academy Award winning movie, The Producers has taken Broadway and the West End by storm, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and 3 Olivier Awards. Impoverished by a string of flops, New York producer Max Bialystock recruits timid accountant Leo Bloom to help him pull off Broadway’s greatest scam. Together they aim to produce the worst show ever and run away to Rio with millions. Filled with fabulous costumes, glamorous dancing girls, hysterical show tunes – including the all-time classicSpringtime For Hitler – and an incredible live band.
Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot (18-23 May) gallops back direct from three years in the West End to theatres across the land (to the sound of banging coconut shells). Spamalot is a kind-of-new musical with a book by Eric Idle and an entirely new score for the new production (well, almost), created by Eric Idle and John du Prez.
Having confessed that performing live on stage gives him the greatest pleasure, the multi-award winning acknowledged master of psychological illusion Derren Brown: Miracle (25-30 May) is, once again, looking forward to the challenge that comes with being acknowledged as one of the world’s most renowned live performers; a dark manipulator of magic and mind control. This will be Derren’s seventh show since 2003. Since then he has toured every year and been watched by an estimated audience of over one and a half million people. He has won two prestigious Olivier Awards, for Something Wicked This Way Comes (2006) and Svengali(2012). His last show, Infamous, was universally acclaimed by critics and audience alike.
Looking further ahead Cole Porter’s classic, multi-award winning musical-comedy Anything Goes (29 September – 3 October) sails into town, followed by the hit West End and Broadway production of Shrek the Musical (11-22 November) stomping by. Ballet’s greatest love story returns in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s lavish production of the timeless classic Swan Lake (22-24 October) and a gem of a pantomime returns with Aladdin (11 December – 3 January).
Following a record-breaking worldwide tour Richard O’Brien’s classic the Rocky Horror Show (15-20 February 2015) is ready to thrill you once again with its frothy fun and naughty moments! Bursting at the seams with timeless classics, including Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet, and of course, the pelvic-thrusting Time Warp, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror show is a non-stop party!
Complemented by a host of one night spectaculars from comedy greats including with Jimmy Carr (11 July) and Paddy McGuiness(31 January 2016) stunning vocals from The Carpenters Story (10 July), The Drifters (23 July) and The Rat Pack (3 June) to name a few this season is brimming with a variety of phenomenal showstoppers to thrill and entertain the region!
For more information call the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022*, visit www.atgtickets.com/sunderland* or call into our Box Office on High Street West.
All tickets can be purchased in person from the Box Office on High Street West, Sunderland, the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* and online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland*
*A transaction fee applies to telephone and online sales.
Sunderland Empire Information:
Sunderland Empire is managed by Ambassador Theatre Group on behalf of the Sunderland Empire Trust and is supported by Sunderland City Council.