Wicked Welcomes 11 Millionth Theatregoer, Olivia Gosling, As She Celebrates 15th Birthday



London production welcomes Olivia Gosling and her father,

Steve, as landmark guests who were celebrating Olivia’s 15th Birthday

WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, yesterday (31 August 2022) welcomed its 11 millionth theatregoer to London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. At the 2.30pm performance were Olivia Gosling and her father, Steve Gosling, who were seeing the show in celebration of Olivia’s 15th birthday and were invited on stage at the end of the performance.

One of the most successful musicals of all time” (BBC News), Wicked is the winner of more than 100 major awards, including three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards, a Grammy Award and ten theatregoer voted WhatsOnStage Awards (including three for ‘Best West End Show’).

Wicked currently stars: Lucie Jones (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Ryan Reid (Fiyero), Sophie-Louise Dann (Madame Morrible), Gary Wilmot*(The Wizard), Carina Gillespie (Nessarose), Nicholas McLean (Boq), Simeon Truby (Doctor Dillamond), Amy Webb (Standby for Elphaba), Lisa-Anne Wood (Standby for Glinda), Yuki Abe, Kofi Aidoo-AppiahMeg AstinAlishia-Marie Blake, Pàje CampbellMichael ColbourneFergus DaleNolan EdwardsNicola Espallardo, Danny Fogarty, Laura HarrisonAmie HibbertLucie HorsfallSamuel HowChristian Knight, Nick Len, Jasmine Leung, Maggie Lynne, Rhidian Marc, PaddyJoe Martin, Jessica-Alice McCluskey, Stacey McGuire, Harry MillsLewis Newton, Natalie SpriggsSamantha ThomasJoe Thompson-Oubari and James Titchener.

*Limited engagement.  Full cast subject to change from Tuesday 7 March 2023.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked imagines a beguiling backstory and future possibilities to the lives of L. Frank Baum’s beloved characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reveals the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely university friends on their journey to becoming Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wicked has music and lyrics by multi-Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (GodspellPippinThe Prince of Egypt, Disney’s PocahontasThe Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted and its forthcoming sequel Disenchanted)It is based on the bestselling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire and written by Emmy and Tony Award nominee Winnie Holzman, creator of the landmark American television series My So-Called Life. Musical staging is by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento with direction by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello.

Wicked is produced by Marc PlattUniversal Stage ProductionsThe Araca GroupJon B. Platt and David Stone. Executive Producer (UK) Michael McCabe.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire is published in the UK by Headline (the book is recommended for readers aged 16+). Wicked: The Grimmerie, a behind-the-scenes look at the musical by David Cote, is published in the UK by Hyperion.

The Apollo Victoria Theatre, Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1LG

Official UK website: www.WickedTheMusical.co.uk

Twitter: @WickedUK  |  Facebook: /WickedUK  |  Instagram: @WickedUK

The Grammy Award-winning, Platinum-certified Original Broadway Cast Recording on Decca Broadway

The Rubens at the Palace and The Clermont Victoria are the official hotel partners of Wicked London

  www.rubenshotel.com      www.theclermont.co.uk/victoria

Full casting for The Gretchen Question has been announced

Fuel in collaboration with Shipwright present

The World Premiere of

The Gretchen Question

Co-written by Melly Still and Max Barton

Directed by Melly Still

Designed by E.M. Parry

Lighting designed by Malcolm Rippeth

Music by Second Body

22 September – 2 October

Presented by Fuel in collaboration with Shipwright

Co-commissioned by Fuel, the Albany and We Are Lewisham

  • Full casting for The Gretchen Question has been announced.
  • Leading the company are Tamaira Hesson playing Lulit who joins the previously announced Yohanna Ephrem playing Maisie and Lauren Moakes playing Gretchen
  • They are joined by Ryan Gerald, Katherine Manners, Alex Mugnaioni, Al Nedjari and Christopher Saul
  • Running alongside the play will be a series of engagement workshops covering a range of subjects including self-sustainability, voice and space
  • Part of We Are Lewisham, the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture 2022
  • Tickets are on sale now


The full performing company for Melly Still and Max Barton’s new play The Gretchen Question has today been confirmed. 

In the 18th century, Gretchen, played by Lauren Moakes, witnesses the Royal Society return from a polar expedition with a mysterious oyster, promising unlimited wealth on the eve of industrial revolution. Present day, Maisie, played by Yohanna Ephrem, sets out to livestream from the Arctic as part of a questionable brand partnership. Lulit, played by Tamaira Hesson, wakes on an ice rink, struggling to remember what happened to her last night.

They are joined by Ryan Gerald, Katherine Manners, Alex Mugnaioni, Al Nedjari and Christopher Saul.

The play will be performed in the grounds of the remarkable hidden architectural gem the Master Shipwrights House in Deptford in South East London and forms part of London Borough of Culture. It plays from 22 September – 2 October with a press night on 23 September. It features live music by Second Body and design by E. M. Parry. Drawing from the history of climate change, it invites us to inquire what the future holds for us.

“We launch another voyage as soon as possible. Dig deeper.”

The Master Shipwright’s House and Office is one of the few remaining parts of Deptford’s former royal dockyard. Founded by Henry VIII in 1513 the King’s Yard became one of the most important shipbuilding yards in the world before finally closing in 1869. It was bought and restored by its current owners in 1998. Since then it has been a home and creative space for artists, performers and audiences from around the world. 

Fuel will host threeevents alongside The Gretchen Question, between 22nd Sept – 2nd Oct 22, at The Shipwright theatre in Deptford. Two of these sessions are being commissioned by Sounds Like Chaos who will devise the sessions and deliver them with Fuel’s producing support. The third session is being commissioned and delivered (in-kind) by Young Wilders with the Shipwright producing support.

The sessions are an extension of the play and will be an opportunity for audiences to reflect more widely on its topics whilst developing their creativity and learning new skills. 

The sessions are divided into three areas (language for internal comms):

·      Voice (commissioned to SLC)

·      Space (commissioned to SLC)

·      Self-Sustainability (produced in kind at The Shipwright)

Birmingham Rep on the search for tail-wagging talent!



Cracker the dog in the original cast of Nativity! The Musical

Birmingham Rep are on the search for tail-wagging talent to star in the theatre’s festive production of the hit stage production, Nativity! The Musical.

Only the most obedient, easy-going and, most importantly, cute and cuddly of dogs may apply – and a love of working with children is essential.

Star dogs must be within easy commuting distance of the city-centre based theatre and not be afraid of stepping into the spotlight, on-stage ‘accidents’ are preferably avoidable.

The paw-fect pup will be required to take to the stage for 2-3 performances per week and paid £30 per show plus travel expenses. Plenty of pre-show fuss is guaranteed with inevitable treats thrown in.

The role of Cracker the dog in Nativity! The Musical requires a small-medium sized dog who can easily be handled and picked up by children.

Creator of the much-loved Nativity! films and the stage adaptation, Debbie Isitt said “We are on the search for Birmingham’s next four-legged stage star! They must have the discipline, patience and sense of fun to sparkle and shine in front of thousands of people this festive season as Nativity! The Musical returns home to The Rep.”

The first stage of application is to send a short video with you holding your pup, lasting around 60 second seconds, explaining why The Rep would be barking not to cast your dog as Cracker. Send your entries to [email protected] by Mon 12 Sep and finalists will be invited for a final audition on Mon 26 Sep.

Applicants must be available for a selection of dates during Rehearsals from 10Oct, Technical Rehearsals from 7Nov and for performances – 19 Nov 22 – 7 Jan 23.

Since its world premiere at The Rep in 2017, Nativity! The Musical has been seen by over one million people during an acclaimed UK tour and three successful London runs. To book tickets visit Birmingham-rep.co.uk, call 0121 236 4455 or visit the box office during opening hours.*




Birmingham Hippodrome today announced an exciting all-star cast line-up for the ultimate pantomime adventure, Dick Whittington. The show will see the return of one of Britain’s most celebrated stars Marti Pellow as The Ratman, Birmingham Panto favourite Matt Slack as Dick Whittington, TV Doctor and presenter Dr Ranj as Spirit of the Bells and musical sensation Suzanne Shaw as Alice.

The UK’s biggest regional panto, which will feature sets and costumes from The London Palladium, will also see the return of Birmingham favourites Doreen Tipton as The Cat and Andrew Ryan as The Dame.

Marti Pellow makes a return to panto in Birmingham after a much-celebrated season at the theatre in 2015 as Abanazar in Aladdin. Marti is one of Britain’s best-loved stars, and together with his songwriting partner and musical director, Grant Mitchell, Marti will write several of the songs for this year’s pantomime where he will star as the evil Ratman. The pantomime comes after a busy couple of years for Marti. Even while fans were forced to stay home, Marti performed his enormously popular online Lockdown Sessions, which became a real source of solace, enjoyed by over 12 million people. In March of 2021, Marti released Stargazer, his latest major label studio album. In 2022, Marti undertook the second leg of that Greatest Hits tour, visiting another fourteen prestigious venues across the country. He has also announced the 40-date Pellow Talk tour for late 2022.

Marti joins Matt Slack, who has established himself as one of the country’s leading pantomime comics. Matt returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for a record-breaking ninth consecutive year, with Dick Whittington marking his 20th pantomime.

Dr Ranj is known to a generation of children for his CBeebies’ series Get Well Soon and Get Well Soon Hospital and to young and old alike for his fancy footwork in the ballroom in the 2018 series of Strictly Come Dancing, where he made it through to the seventh week. Alongside his work as a practicing doctor working in the NHS, Dr Ranj appears on ITV’s This Morning, is a columnist and writer, and proved his needle skills in the 2020 Christmas Special of The Great British Sewing Bee. He has fronted ITV1’s Dr Ranj: On CallSave Money: Good HealthSave Money: Lose Weight and his new series, Extreme Food Phobics for W Channel.

Suzanne Shaw rose to fame in 2001 after she auditioned for ITV’s Popstars and won a place in the band Hear’say. The group’s debut single was the fastest selling non-charitable record in UK chart history, selling over 1.3 million copies. When the band split in 2003, Suzanne returned to her roots and has gone on to carve out a successful career in musical theatre, plays and television, where highlights include Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago and Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Suzanne returns to Birmingham Hippodrome panto after playing the title role in Cinderella back in 2017.

Marti, Matt, Ranj and Suzanne will be joined by regional treasure Doreen Tipton, who over the past few years has morphed effortlessly from YouTube sensation to Queen of the Black Country. This year she will grace the stage as Dick Whittington’s trusty sidekick, Doreen the Cat. Completing the line up as The Dame is Andrew Ryan, who’s return will mark his 36th pantomime and 32nd year as Dame.

Chief Executive of Crossroads Pantomimes, Michael Harrison, who will produce and direct Dick Whittington said: “The Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime is a real jewel in the crown of pantomimes in the UK. It’s fitting to be announcing such a stellar and talented cast today to bring to life our epic production of Dick Whittington. With the combined talents of Marti, Matt, Ranj, Suzanne, Doreen and Andrew, together with the magnificent sets built for The London Palladium, this will be a very special trip to the theatre for all the family”.

On the casting, Birmingham Hippodrome Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer Jon Gilchrist, said: “We’re delighted to have such an amazing cast on board for Dick Whittington, including the return of Hippodrome favourites Marti, Matt, Suzanne, Doreen and Andrew along with Dr Ranj who will make his Birmingham panto debut. Birmingham Hippodrome’s pantomime is a highlight of the festive season for so many. After seeing last year’s show as a visitor, I cannot wait to experience my first panto since joining the team earlier this year.”

Join Dick Whittington and his trusty cat as he seeks fame, fortune, and happiness journeying to become the Lord Mayor. Dick Whittington will run at Birmingham Hippodrome from Saturday 17 December 2022 and will play until Sunday 29 January 2023.

Tickets for Dick Whittington can be booked at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or by calling 0844 338 5000*

 *0844 calls will cost you 4.5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.









Robert Wilfort (Gavin and StaceyBridgerton) will take over the role of ‘Spike Milligan’, Patrick Warner (‘Peter Cook’ in The Crown, One Man, Two Guvnors and Play that Goes Wrong) will also join the production to play ‘Peter Sellers’, and Jeremy Lloyd (The Comedy About a Bank RobberyTrial by Laughter) will return to his critically acclaimed role as ‘Harry Secombe’

TV comedienne and podcaster Margaret Cabourn-Smith (MotherlandMiranda, Buffering) will reprise her role as ‘Janet’, as will James Mack (The Watermill’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Rivals, Macbeth and Journey’s End) as ‘Denis Main-Wilson / Peter Eton’,  Ellie Morris (The Play That Goes WrongMischief Movie NightThe Comedy About A Bank Robbery for Mischief Theatre company) as ‘June’, and Robert Mountford (The Habit of Art, The Haunting of Alice Bowles for Original Theatre Company, House and Garden for The Watermill) as ‘BBC Executive’.  Peter Dukes will join the company as ‘BBC Announcer’, as will Tesni Kujore as ‘Myra’, and Sam Ducane as ‘Doctor’.

Susan Wokoma announced as host of The Stage Debut Awards 2022 alongside presenters and performers | Sunday 18th September 2022

Susan Wokoma announced as host of
The Stage Debut Awards 2022 alongside
a roster of performers and presenters
8 Northumberland Avenue, London WC2N 5BY
Sunday 18th September 2022, 6pm

BAFTA Award-winning actor Susan Wokoma has been announced as the host of The Stage Debut Awards 2022, in association with Ambassador Theatre Group. The Stage Debut Awards celebrate the very best breakthrough talent in theatre, from actors and directors to designers, writers, composers and lyricists, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past two years.

Wokoma won BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2017, the same year she made her West End theatre debut in the Olivier Award-winning comedy Labour of Love. She was a member of The National Youth Theatre, making her professional acting debut in the BAFTA-winning That Summer Day before going on to train at RADA aged 19. On stage, her work includes productions at the Royal Court, Bush Theatre, Almeida Theatre, National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. In 2019, she played the role of Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, with The Daily Telegraph calling her performance sheer bliss and praising it as one of the most endearing and effortlessly funny Bottoms I’ve ever seen. Her film and TV credits include E4’s Chewing Gum, Netflix’s Enola Holmes and E4/Netflix’s Crazyhead. Most recently she led the cast of BBC One’s Cheaters.

Wokoma comments, I am absolutely THRILLED to host The Stage Debut Awards and welcome all the fresh faced theatre huns into our magical world. It’s so important to lift up young talent as well as people of any age conquering theatre for the first time. YOU ARE ALL WELCOME! See you on 18th September!

Those presenting awards on Sunday 18th September include Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, BBC; The Son, Almeida/Duke Of York) whose sparkling career spans beloved TV, film and theatre appearances. She will present Best Performer in a Play. Olivier and Tony Award-nominated director Jamie Lloyd will present Best Director. Lloyd is known for the work of his eponymous company including Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre and The Seagull and A Doll’s House both at the Playhouse Theatre. Best Creative West End Debut will be presented by singer, songwriter and performer Louise Redknapp (Fatal Attraction, UK Tour; 9 to 5, Savoy Theatre; Cabaret, UK Tour).

Scottish actress Sharon Small (The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, BBC; Law & Order: UK, ITV) known for her work in film, radio, theatre, and television will present Best West End Debut Performer. Olivier Award-winning singer and actor, Matt Henry, who co-created and started in The Drifters Girl will also present, alongside multi-award-nominated theatre designer Anna Fleischle. They will present Best Performer in a Musical and Best Designer respectively. Best Writer will be presented by critically acclaimed playwright Roy Williams OBE. Singer, performer and Strictly Come Dancing winner, Jay McGuiness, will present Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer

There will be a performance from Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen) and Shan Ako (Hamilton), who will sing an original song by Jim Barnes and Kit Buchan, who won The Stage Debut Awards’ Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer prize in 2020. Performances will also include Natalie Paris, an original cast member and previous queen of Six the Musical.

The Stage Debut Awards highlight breakthrough actors, writers, directors, designers, composers and lyricists, helping cement their position in the industry. This year’s awards, in association with Ambassador Theatre Group, will take place on Sunday 18th September 2022, 6pm. The ceremony will also be available to watch live on The Stage’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thestage/

The inaugural The Stage Debut Awards took place in 2017. Previous winners include Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Miriam-Teak Lee (& Juliet), Jac Yarrow (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Bush Theatre artistic director Lynette Linton, and composers Femi Temowo (Death of a Salesman) and Dan Gillespie Sells (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie). For full details on eligibility and the judging process see The Stage Debut Awards website: https://bit.ly/3mb94RZ

The full shortlist of Stage Debut Award 2022 nominees is available here: https://bit.ly/3dEpG4S



   Following a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, QUEENZ – The Show With BALLS! will feature Union J and X-Factor superstar Jaymi Hensley.

Producer, David Griego, is thrilled to announce Queenz – The Show with Balls will be strutting in to London this September.

Queenz – The Show with Balls will open at London Clapham Grand on Friday 16th September 2022 before heading out on a UK Tour.

Queenz – The Show with Balls is the trailblazing, life affirming drag extravaganza that has taken the UK by storm, fresh from their phenomenal debut on ITV’s Walk The Line and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This iconic new show features mind-blowing LIVE vocals and not a lip-sync in sight!

On their massive UK tour this autumn, join these death-dropping divas for a sequin-clad pop party featuring classics from The Spice Girls, Lady Gaga, Little Mix, Beyonce, Shakira, and everything in between.

Show creator and producer, David Griego, said: “Alongside the most talented live singing Queens you’ll ever hear this show is all about fun… giving people across the country a chance to live for the moment, celebrate life and party with our incredible drag divas for a night like no other!”

Union J pop star Jaymi Hensley aka Dior Monte, said: “Myself and my gorgeous Queenz are living our best lives, becoming the fierce girl group us little ‘boys’ always wanted to be. Queenz may be the ultimate feel-good night out, but it’s also a show with a message; life is for living, love is for giving and most importantly, always let you true colours shine”

From backstreet bars to West End stars, the Queenz cast are a mix of phenomenal singers and dancers who have joined forces to create the world’s number one Drag Vocal Supergroup. They have gained superstar followers, sold out at the Edinburgh Fringe and played to thousands in central London this year and now they’re on a mission for world domination.

Josh aka Candy Caned explained: “I still have to pinch myself for this beautiful opportunity, working with West End choreographers and performing in front of TV royalty is a dream come true. Us Queenz can’t wait to share our singing, sassiness and party with you all”

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical Review

Birmingham Hippodrome – until 3rd September 2022

Reviewed by Emma Millward 


Beautiful charts the early years of Carole King from a 16 year old girl writing her first hit single, to her first solo concert in front of an audience at Carnegie Hall in June 1971. Carole King would go on to become the most successful female American songwriter of the latter half of the 20th Century, writing or co-writing 118 hit songs, 61 of which charted in the UK.

We are introduced to a young Carole (Molly-Grace Cutler) who loves to play piano and write her own songs. Although her Mother Genie Klein (Claire Greenaway) wants her to become a music teacher, (“Girls don’t write music, they teach it!”). She heads off to 1650 Broadway to meet Donnie Kirshner (Garry Robson), a record producer, to play him her song ‘It Might as Well Rain Until September’. Donnie likes her despite her shy demeanour and asks her to write more songs. Later at College Carole meets and falls in love with Gerry Goffin (Tom Milner) and they start to write songs together and ultimately fall in love and quickly marry after Carole falls pregnant. The show depicts the ups and downs of their marriage and Gerry’s many infidelities.

Working alongside Goffin and King are Cynthia Weil (Seren Sandham-Davies) and Barry Mann (Jos Slovick) as rival songwriters. They wrote such hits as ‘We Gotta Get out of This Place’ and ‘On Broadway’, made famous by the Drifters and performed perfectly in the show,.The foursome became great friends and the chemistry between them is obvious onstage. 

The stand out feature of the show for me was the fact that all the actors sing and play the music live on the stage. Various instruments are hung up on walls for the characters to pick up and play. Most of the show takes place on a recording studio set that added to the atmosphere of the music as the characters were seen recording their various demos of songs. The wings of the stage were quite open and the backstage crew moving about could potentially be distracting to the audience, but I am always fascinated by what happens backstage, so I enjoyed this aspect of the set design. 

The cast work really well together and are all talented musicians as well as actors. Molly-Grace Cutler especially stood out as Carole. Her vocals were perfect, especially during songs like ‘One Fine Day’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’, both were big songs that wowed the audience. Dan-De-Cruz also caught the eye as onstage Musical Director as well as playing an extra cheeky version of Bobby Hatfield from the Righteous Brothers. 

Whether you are a massive Carole King fan or not, there is something for everyone in this show, and you may actually find yourself surprised by just how many songs Carole King was responsible for writing. It’s definitely not ‘Too Late’ to book your tickets for an absolutely ‘Beautiful’ night out. 

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Review

Bristol Hippodrome – until 10 September 2022

Reviewed by Lucy Hitchcock


Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s creation of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat has hit Bristol Hippodrome for a 10 day run.

Widely anticipated with a large following and promise of glitz and glamour, this show has been heavily publicised, but this led to a disappointing end. The show is overhyped and left me dissatisfied and disappointed – not to detract from the performers. Linzi Hately as the narrator has a difficult job with hardly any breaks but I found her performance to be a little too cheesy towards the end, turning the show into a slight pantomime feel. Jac Yarrow is the eponymous Joseph, with a decent performance and vocals, he adds to the piece. However, with all of the soloists, it was hard to understand and hear their lyrics over the ensemble and band. If you don’t know the show beforehand, there’s a large chance you will leave in the same boat. Unfortunately, all the cast have a difficult job of creating a perfect performance with this show due to the confusing and ‘cabaret’ like story line.

Jason Donovan is on stage for a 10 minute fleeting visit, where he does what I can only describe as an Elvis tribute act. His song was overdone, with 3 pauses for applause before continuing with the next verse, giving me the impression that the show was focused around this one song.

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, ‘Joseph’ has no dialogue breaks and during the first act I was wishing for some dialogue to bring the piece to reality. A simple story line – Joseph is disliked by his brothers and is cast aside, becomes a slave and manages to become the Pharaohs aide, before being welcomed back into his family. Unfortunately, there was no bite or grit with this and the performance was on the same level throughout, there were no peaks and troughs for an opportunity for the audience to process what they had seen. Both the first and second act were continuous songs, interspersed with cancan, tap, jazz, ballet and many other varieties dance, leaving me confused and frustrated that the story wasn’t progressing.

The cast did a good job working with the script, it was just a shame that they were unable to showcase their talents. The children in this show were the driving force, with some comedic elements in songs that were a breath of fresh air. I can’t wait to see where these children will end up!