PANTO PIONEER MICHAEL HARRISON TO BE AWARDED FREEDOM OF NEWCASTLE

PANTO PIONEER MICHAEL HARRISON TO BE AWARDED FREEDOM OF NEWCASTLE

 

Leading West End producer Michael Harrison is to be awarded Honorary Freedom of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in recognition of his services to Newcastle Theatre Royal and its record-breaking pantomime.

 

Michael, a pre-eminent West End theatre producer behind several major global successes including The Bodyguard, travels back to his home town of Newcastle every year to produce the Theatre Royal’s legendary annual panto and has opened several major touring shows at the venue, including Chess and Annie.

 

The title of ‘Honorary Freeman’ is purely honorary (and does not confer the privileges of Hereditary Freemen) but still represents the highest honour the Council can bestow.  Following a formal installation ceremony on 3 May, Michael’s name will be engraved on the Banqueting Hall wall at the Civic Centre alongside the names of other esteemed recipients of the honour since 1886.

 

Michael said: “To be made a Freeman of my home city is a great honour to me – no matter where I travel Newcastle will always have a great place in my heart, and will always be ‘home’.  I have had a relationship with the Theatre Royal since being a boy and it is a very special Theatre and a particular highlight on the touring and producing calendar.”

 

Philip Bernays, chief executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, who nominated Michael for the honour with Theatre Royal Trust Chairman Bill Midgley (OBE), said: “We are very proud of Michael in so many ways.  He’s a leading light in his field and an inspiration to so many.  His pantomimes are frankly the best in the world, and it is a great honour to have him at the helm of ours.  This new accolade is well deserved.”

 

Four Honorary Freedom awards will be conferred in total this year, the other recipients being The Little Sisters of the Poor, Freddy Shepherd and Bruce Shepherd OBE.  The ceremony will be held in the Council Chambers at the Civic Centre and recipients will be invited to process with the Lord Mayor’s party before signing the Register of Honorary Freemen.

 

In his role as Managing Director of Qdos Pantomimes Michael has produced over 100 pantomimes for the company and will oversee a staggering 35 pantos this Christmas, three of which he will personally direct (including Newcastle Theatre Royal’s record breaking Peter Pan). But before then he will be bringing massive West End hits Funny Girl (starring Sheridan Smith, 16-20 May), Sunset Boulevard (9-14 October) and Beautiful (The Carol King musical, 14-18 Nov) to the Theatre Royal.  In August he will also be premiering his latest show here, a comedy musical collaboration with Mel Brooks – Young Frankenstein (26 Aug – 9 Sep) immediately prior to a West End run.

 

This year’s high-flying Theatre Royal panto Peter Pan (28 Nov ‘17 – 21 Jan ‘18) will be the thirteenth consecutive pantomime Michael has created for Newcastle Theatre Royal, and has already sold a record 60,000 tickets.  Of the twelve pantos he has created for the Theatre starring now local legends Danny Adams and Clive Webb, last year’s Cinderella hit the millionth ticket mark.
Peter Pan – The High Flying Pantomime Adventure appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 28 November 2017 – Sunday 21 January 2018 (Evenings: 7pm and 5pm, Matinees: 2pm and 1pm). Tickets are from £13.00 and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk For information on the other shows Michael is bringing to the Theatre Royal please also visit the Theatre’s website.

A Judgement in Stone Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until 29 April 2017.

After 10 years of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, Bill Kenwright presents The Classic Theatre Company – A Judgement in Stone, an adaptation of a Ruth Rendell thriller story from 1977.  

The curtain rises on Act 1 and Eunice (Sophie Ward) is perched upon the sofa in a grand country house reception room, emanating a mixture of humility, constrained confusion and duty. The doorbell rings and after an initial hesitation, she permits two police detectives entry (Andrew Lancel and Ben Nealon) Determined to solve the murder of the Cloverdale’s and their children, (Mark Wynter, Rosie Thomson, Joshua Price and Jennifer Sims) the pair re-examine the evidence, hunt for further clues and attempt to clarify the timeline of events with a reticent Eunice, Roger Meadows (Antony Costa) the ex con gardener who’s charmed the family and usurped cleaning lady Eva Baalham (Shirley Anne Field).

The ensemble cast are all excellent. Sophie Ward is exceptional as Eunice Parchman, capturing her reserved nature and quiet stillness beautifully. When she says she was sacked for insolence you really find this hard to believe, and so you are drawn into her story.

But the stand out performance is from Deborah Grant, as the local postmistress and religious zealot Joan Smith. Her performance, as she quotes fire and brimstone and promises eternal damnation for the Coverdale family, is extraordinary. At times horrifying and violent, she is also at the heart of one of the funniest scenes in the whole play, as Eunice and Joan turn happy clappy singing their religious songs as the bang on a sweet tin. The joy on Eunice’s face is wonderful and this is really beautiful scene of a shy, simple woman and her one friend.

Red herrings abound, everyone has a possible motive it seems. Secrets and blackmail, unrequited love and worrying hearsay keep the everyone guessing this was a very interesting way to set up the events of both the past and present, causing the detectives to relate facts through their dialogue rather than showing this information to the audience.

The focus of the story being the psychological reasons for the crime, rather than simply who committed it.  This did allow the production to contain the story within one set, which did not change throughout the production. I must say that this set was gorgeous as it depicted the lovely home of the Coverdale family. The different exits and entrances allowed for smooth transitions between the past and present as characters could come and go in a way which did not impact on the delivery of the story

However, as beautiful as this set is, I feel that it is really brought to life through the lighting. Malcolm Rippeth truly worked some magic into this production as the lighting changed not only to depict day and night within the past, but also to depict the house in the past as warm and lively to contrast with the gray lighting depicting the present house as cold after the murder of the Coverdale family. There was also a fantastic use of lighting as Eunice Parchman remained in a spotlight as the entire set went black around her which revealed her secret to the audience. This was also echoed in the final scene of the play which I feel truly set this secret in stone.  

As a study in how the smallest of things can lead to the most horrific of consequences, A Judgement in Stone is a thought provoking piece with excellent performances.

Dreamboats and Petticoats to rock ‘n’ roll into the Edinburgh Playhouse this May

FULL CAST ANNOUNCED

FOR 10TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR OF DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS

 

Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical returns to celebrate 10 years of the multi-million selling albums that inspired the Olivier Award nominated musical. The show opens at Theatre Royal Windsor on 25thJanuary before embarking on a nationwide tour.

Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the writers behind TV classics ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, ‘Birds of a Feather’, ‘The New Statesmen’ and ‘Shine On Harvey Moon’, the show features classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and many more. Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield in association with Universal Music. Tickets are now on sale.

Set in 1961, emotions are running high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national song writing competition – and, more importantly, the attention of the gorgeous Sue! But when Bobby discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano, love and rock‘n’roll fame beckons.

The dazzling success of the first five albums in the Dreamboats and Petticoats series sent the message loud and clear. With over 4 million copies sold and several weeks at the Number One spot in the compilation charts, the Great British public were saying that they didn’t just want to listen to pure nostalgia: they’d love to see it as well.

Inspired by the smash hit multi-million selling CD albums Dreamboats and Petticoats One, Two, Three, Four and Five, the West End sell-out sensation Dreamboats and Petticoats The Musical features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era. These include Let’s Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let It Be Me, Great Pretender, C’mon Everybody, Let’s Twist Again and many more hits from music’s golden era!

The full cast includes: Jimmy Johnston as Phil/Older Bobby Alistair Higgins as Bobby Alistair Hill as Norman Elizabeth Carter as Laura Laura Darton as Sue Gracie Johnson as Donna David Luke as Ray Henry Alexander as Colin Jay Osborne as Richard Rob Gathercole as Jeremy Lauren Chinery as Babs Josh Tye as Derek Sheridan Lloyd as Andy Billy Stookes as Barry Mike Lloyd as Frank/Slugger Chloe Edwards-Woods as Daisy/Brenda Alan Howell as Eric Stephanie Hackett as ASM/Swing

For more information please visit Kenwright.com

8 – 13 May                                                                          Box Office: 0844 871 3014
Edinburgh Playhouse                                                     Website: atgtickets.com

Joe McElderry Comes Home For Christmas

JOE McELDERRY COMES HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

IN A STRICTLY LIMITED RUN OF THE MUSICAL PHENOMENON

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR® DREAMCOAT

AT NEWCASTLE’S METRO RADIO ARENA

FROM 19 th – 31 st DECEMBER 2017

Joe McElderry will return home this Christmas in his celebrated and critically acclaimed role in the sparkling family musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat. The musical will run at Newcastle’s prestigious Metro Radio Arena for a strictly limited Christmas season from 19th– 31st December 2017.

★★★★★

‘JOE McELDERRY MAY JUST BE THE BEST SUNG JOSEPH THERE’S EVER BEEN’

THE STAGE

This special Christmas homecoming will complete Joe’s hugely successful year touring the UK playing the title-role – his first major theatrical appearance which has been met with Five Star reviews and standing ovations up and down the country. It also follows the release of his new recording of the ‘Joseph’ soundtrack which reached the top of the Amazon Musical Soundtrack Charts; his top 5 entry in the official charts with his new hit single Gloria, released last month; as well as the announcement of his highly anticipated fifth album Saturday Night at the Movies and supporting concert The Gloria Tour this summer.

Joe said: “I am so excited to be bringing this wonderful show back home for Christmas! I have had an amazing year touring with Joseph so far and we have had fantastic audiences, so to bring it back to the north east in Newcastle over Christmas is very special and is really the icing on the cake to an already fantastic year! I cannot wait to see everyone at the shows over the festive period.”

Having garnered sensational reviews and standing ovations at every performance since its inception over 36 years ago, Bill Kenwright’s ‘amazing’, ‘superb’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘brilliant’ production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s family musical has now sold an estimated 20million tickets.

This vibrant and exciting retelling of the biblical story about Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours sings out to young and old alike with a score which is crammed wall to wall with hits, including Jacob and Sons, Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do.

The UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor® Dreamcoat has also just extended intothe Autumn and will open at the Southend Cliffs Pavilion on Tuesday 5th September before visiting Woking, Dunfermline, Lowestoft, Liverpool, Richmond, Manchester, Stoke, Hull and Swansea.

Earlier this year the Number 1 and Platinum selling artist delighted fans by confirming that he had been back in the studio recording his eagerly anticipated fifth studio album Saturday Night at the Movies. The album includes iconic hits from film and theatre such as I’m into Something Good, Love is All Around, Daydream Believer as well as the hit single Gloria and will be released later this year. To celebrate the release of his album Joe will embark on a nationwide live tour from 14th July, named THE GLORIA TOUR.

Joe, who hails from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, was just 18 when he won the sixth series of ‘The X Factor’, having been mentored by Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole. He soared to number one on the UK Singles Charts with his rendition of Miley Cyrus’s The Climb and his debut album Wide Awake went straight in at number 3 on the UK Albums Chart. He has since gone on to have two more Top 10 albums.

Bill Kenwright by special arrangement with the Really Useful Group presents

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR® DREAMCOAT

Lyrics by TIM RICE Music by ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER

www.kenwright.com

Tickets costing from £15.00 are on sale now available online, from the booking hotline number 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office. Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply.

Tickets are available from:-

 Credit Card Booking and Information Line 0844 493 6666

 The Metro Radio Arena Newcastle Box Office (Mon – Fri: 10.00am – 4.00pm, Sat: 11.00am – 2.30pm)

 Internet Site:- www.metroradioarena.co.uk

 Group Bookers should call (0191) 260 6006

 Accessible Bookings should call 0844 493 6666 and select option 3 for further details

Ghost the Musical Review

Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester – 24th April 2017.  Reviewed by Julie Noller

I’m a 90’s girl, I remember being a teen and watching Ghost… even sobbing to ‘that scene’ with ‘that song’ so I expected a theatre full of middle aged women reliving their Patrick Swayze crushes. You know they say never assume? Well the theatre was packed but with old and young; male and female, so it goes to show that Ghost The Musical appeals to all. I wasn’t alone in my preparation of a supply of tissues, should my eyes decide to leak. There was plenty of chat before the performance started, excitement and anticipation was high.

I was dissapointed that contary to my previous visits to The Lowry, the stage wasn’t open for all to see the set, I have become accustomed to feasting my eyes in preparation. However upon a closer inspection (adjusting my glasses) I saw a hint of how ‘that’ song was to play an important role in the nights performance. Upon pointing out the words ‘oh my darling’ and ‘I’ve hungered for your touch’ to my sister, I found her reaching for the tissues already.

I don’t want to write a review retelling you a story you will undoubtedly already know. Instead I want to urge you to go and see it and ask if I can come too? For I don’t have enough words to express how much I loved it. From the musical numbers (credit to Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard for music and lyrics) with great choreography (credit to Alistair David) How could you see 2 characters moving aound the stage as if unaware of each other. My eyes and indeed ears were delighted with the scenes/songs where 3 characters could sing different songs with words that managed blend harmoniously together. I almost didn’t know where to look – The stage set up was impressive, how the scenery changed with great ease and speed, how props and furniture items were added or taken away in the flow of moving characters and it didn’t look odd or out of place but rather fitted. My dissapointment vanished obviously on reading those words and with the lifting of the curtain to see the characters of Sam (Andy Moss) Molly (Carolyn Maitland) and Carl (Sam Ferriday) introducing us to their new apartment and straight into the first musical number, this was going to be my kind of musical. Not altogether serious the audience giggled when Carl wiped off his shirt and someone loudly wolf whistled their approval.

I did find myself seeing Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze (especially in that red shirt) throughout. It was an amazingly good performance by all and so true to the film and Bruce Joel Rubins Original Screenplay. I heard a very definite audible intake of breath when Molly wheeled out her potters wheel. However after the interval Act Two began with a bang, a clash of thunder to be exact which perfectly awoke my senses and I found I was watching through fresh eyes, realising this is Ghost the Musical and not the film, it deserves its own pedestal. Ghost the Musical gelled together rather cleverly, you have romance with a little touch of raciness, as fits a young couple in love there is no pretence – doesn’t every girl want to be kissed and hear the magic word ‘ditto’ ? There’s fast paced songs and dance routines to counter any chance you may find it slow or too romantic. And for those seeking humour, well there’s plenty of that in the form of Oda Mae (the superb Jacqui Dubois ) Whoopi Goldberg would be delighted with the character she won her best supporting actress Oscar for. I have to say my favourite ghost was subway ghost played by Garry Lee Nettle, his booming voice was a tad reminiscent of Samuel L. Jackson.

After hints of that song including Molly turning on the radio with The Righteous Brothers playing, it was time to play homage be warned hankys may well be needed. Ok so there were moments where I thought those high notes were a struggle but being totally fair not many of us have the talent of Andy Moss to get up on stage and sing our hearts out for others enjoyment. I have to say the inhale of breath and emotion all around me filling the theatre was electric and I found myself looking around in wonder. Of course we all knew what would happen but that did not take anything away from this scene on the contary it may well have made it all the more special. There were more snuffles around me as the dry ice started to fill the theatre and a spot light lit us the audience for Sams departure. Incredibly moving and this years tear jerker to date.

Ghost is a timless story for us all, honestly I would and could rewatch this musical again and again. Watch it for many reasons; for love of a musical, romance, suspense, humour. It covers so many genres. I left happy to be surrounded by like minded people. Lot’s of eye drying appeared to be happening and those people not just smiling were quietly saying how brilliant it had been.

One last thing – Ghost the Musical, my tip – take along a hanky if attending with your wife/husband/partner it may just be the most chivalrous act you make all year.

*’That’ song – Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.

Abigail’s Party Review

Richmond Theatre Mon 24th – Sat 29th.  Reviewed By Jessica Brady

It’s been 40 years since the Original production of ‘Abigail’s Party’ at the Hampstead Theatre and what better way to mark the occasion than with a revival of a situation comedy classic.

Walking into the Richmond Theatre auditorium we are immediately greeted with a brick wall and window looking into a 70s middle class home. As the show begins the full scale of the wooden panelled walls, gaudy curtains and outrageously patterned everything is exposed as the brick wall lifts up revealing our setting for this awkward night about to ensue.

Beverly (Amanda Abbington) casually saunters through from the kitchen placing the familiar foil covered ball of pineapple and cheese on sticks and makes her way over to the stereo, pulling out the LP and placing the pin down onto it. ‘Love to Love you Baby’ filters in and we soon get the measure of Beverly as she sways around her living room in her flowing Bardot shouldered long white dress and perfectly quaffed blond hair.

The gin and tonics begin to flow and Laurence (Ben Caplan) enters. The tone of their troubled relationship can be sensed from the first interaction of the characters as Laurence continually ignores the clearly irritable Beverly. As the new neighbours Angela (Charlotte Mills) and Tony (Ciarán Owens) arrive for the casual ‘Welcome to the neighbourhood’ drinks, Beverly is quick to make her status known to the pair essentially flaunting her flashy Essex home to a less affluent pair in her own special way. The recently divorced and nervous Susan (Rose Keegan) joins the couples after she is shooed off from the escalating party being held by her daughter Abigail, at her house.

The drinks are continuously poured and topped up after almost every sip for the guests and the evening becomes gradually more bizarre,drunk and uncomfortable. Beverly’s outrageous flirtation with Tony, Susan’s distain for the company she is with, Laurence’s continuous disregard for Beverly and lame attempts at revenge flirting with Susan and Angela’s mindless chatter results in some very funny moments to watch.

Abbington does a fantastic portrayal of a woman in a clearly loveless marriage and really revels in the gloriously hideous characteristics that Beverly possesses. I found her mesmerising to watch as she flaunted her sexual and dominating presence amongst the guests and she really nails the comedic style this play has.

Caplan is laugh out loud funny as Laurence and his characterisation of a bumbling bitter husband is something that drives the play forward for me as well as his dark turns which are executed with real force and gravitas making you take a breath wondering what he will do next.

I found Keegan’s portrayal of Susan a little off as I felt she didn’t show diverse ways of her characters uncomfortable attitude to the many questions directed to her and her lines were often delivered in the exact same way which didn’t really take me on the journey with her. This had me distracted as to why Susan was taken in this direction and feeling underwhelmed with a character which is very complex and consequently Susan’s outburst at the end was also lacklustre leaving me disappointed.

That being said, the set was spot on with every detail covered and making you really feel like you were part of this 70’s throw back, from the cushions to the soda jet and the jazzy fibre optic space lamp on display. The music and costumes were on point and transported you back to a time when patterns and an extensive liquor cabinet were the height of sophistication.

Although this play isn’t one of my favourite plays, there were lots of parts that I enjoyed and appreciated and is a great way to celebrate a 40 year anniversary of a clearly loved classic. If you want a bit of 70’s nostalgia and giggle then Abigail’s Party is the play for you.

Punts by Sarah Page | Theatre503 | 31 May – 24 June 2017

Theatre503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BW Wednesday 31st May – Saturday 24th June 2017

You want me to have full penetrative sex with your son, right? I just wanted to, you know, check.

Punts is a hilarious and moving new play by Sarah Page about a young man’s sexual awakening and its effect on those who orchestrated it. Drawn from the playwright’s interviews with sex workers, Punts – produced by Kuleshov Theatre (BU21, Cans) – explores love in all its complex and contradictory forms.

Jack, a young man with a learning disability, lives at home, cared for by his devoted parents. Like most men in their twenties, he has needs – his mates at the rugby club talk about nothing but getting laid, whilst Jack’s most erotic experience to date is the time he was winked at by the pretty cashier in Lloyds. Desperate for their son to not feel left out, his parents Alastair and Antonia decide that they should to bring in a professional. But Julia, the prostitute they hire, has a far more profound impact on the whole family than they could ever have imagined.

Writer Sarah Page comments, In researching Punts I interviewed a number of prostitutes, ranging from women on the streets, those employed in Soho walk-ups, to a retired dominatrix who used to earn an annual income higher than our Prime Minister. All of the women had, at some point in their career, worked with clients with disabilities. This production explores the question of whether sex is a human right – which should be accessible to all, whether disabled or able bodied

Punts investigates the tensions of familial love, the excitement generated by erotic attachment, the jealousy of finding yourself loved less than another and the paradox of wanting to look after those you love while also wanting them to be free.

Punts was selected from over 1,200 entries as a finalist for the international Nick Darke Writers’ Award 2016.

Trainspotting on stage. A no-holds barred immersive show comes to The Lowry.

Trainspotting on stage.

A no-holds barred immersive show
where the audience are literally
a part of the action.

Tue 6 – Sat 10 June 2017

James Seabright presents the King’s Head Theatre and In Your Face production of Trainspotting. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, adapted by Harry Gibson. Directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Greg Esplin.

Fresh from its phenomenal success on a world tour, the smash hit immersive theatre production of Irvine Welsh and Danny Boyle’s iconic, generation defining Trainspotting comes to The Lowry Tue 6 – Sat 10 June.

Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting on a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pushing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye’ve produced.
Choose life.

The production captures the passion and the controversy of the famous novel, then globally successful film, and repackages it into a no-holds barred immersive show – the audience are literally part of the action, including the notorious “Worst Toilet in Scotland” scene.

In Your Face Theatre’s Scottish cast have created a snappy and vibrant affirmation of the power and humour of the piece. Against a dynamic soundscape of 80s dance music, the stories of a group of friends living through the Edinburgh heroin scene – Renton, Tommy, Sick Boy, Begbie and Alison – are brought to life with humour, poetry and provocatively graphic scenes.

Directed by Kings Head Theatre artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher in collaboration with Greg Esplin – the tour follows an eleven-week run at the Vaults and two sold-out seasons at the King’s Head Theatre.

The cast are Rachael Anderson (June), Chris Dennis (Begbie), Calum Barbour (Mother Superior), Greg Esplin(Tommy),Michael Lockerbie (Sickboy), Erin Marshall (Alison) and Gavin Ross (Renton)

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR WEST END PRODUCTION OF ANNIE

AS REHEARSALS BEGIN FOR THE WEST END PRODUCTION OF

A N N I E

OPENING AT THE PICCADILLY THEATRE MAY 2017

FULL CASTING IS ANNOUNCED INCLUDING THE THREE YOUNG ACTORS

WHO WILL PLAY THE TITLE ROLE

Rehearsals began today (24 April 2017) for the West End production of Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre. Joining the previously announced Miranda Hart who will play Miss Hannigan are Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily.

 

The title role of Annie will be shared by Madeleine Haynes, 13-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old fromHampshire. They will be joined by three teams of young performers who will play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage (see below).  Amber, a 4 year-old Labradoodle, will play Annie’s dog Sandy.

Completing the company will be ensemble members Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Bobby Delaney, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold, George Ioannides, Megan Louch,Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How,Katie Warsop and Russell Wilcox.

 

Annie begins previews at the Piccadilly Theatre on 23 May 2017 with opening night on 5 June 2017.  The production is initially booking to 6 January 2018.  Children’s tickets will be half price for Monday to Thursday performances (see listings information below).  The production, directed by Nikolai Foster, is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian. 

 

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family…

 

Annie has book by Thomas Meehan adapted from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, music byCharles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin.  The West End production will have sets and costumes designed by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Richard Brooker and orchestration and musical direction byGeorge Dyer. 

 

Miranda Hart is best known on television for her hugely successful, semi-auto-biographical and multi award-wining BBC sitcom Miranda which ran from 2009 for 3 series and 2 specials.  She was the recipient of a BAFTA nomination, an NTA Award and two TV Choice Awards for her performance as Chummy in the BBC television drama Call the Midwife.  In 2014 she completed her first sell out stand-up arena tour My, What I Call, Live Show culminating in five shows at London’s 02 Arena.  As a best-selling author her first book Is It Just Me? was the biggest selling non-fiction hardback of 2013 winning Non-Fiction Book of the Year at The National Book Awards. She followed this in 2014 with The Best of Miranda and last year released her third book Peggy and Me.  Her theatre credits include Cruising for The Bush Theatre,Come Out Eli for Battersea Arts Centre, All About Me for Soho Theatre as well as multiple appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her film credits include Spy, The Infidel, Magiciansas well as upcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018).   

 

Alex Bourne’s (Daddy Warbucks) theatre credits include Mama Mia! and Rocky Horror Show on tour in the UK, Midsummer Songs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Kiss Me Kate for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, The Witches of Eastwick at the Watermill Theatre, We Will Rock You and Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion, Chicago at the Adelphi, Grease at the Cambridge Theatre,Showboat for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North and Annie on tour in the UK.

Holly Dale Spencer’s (Grace Farrell) theatre credits include Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange Theatre, White Christmas for West Yorkshire Playhouse, American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre, the title role in Holly Golightly for Sadler’s Wells, Kiss Me Kate for Chichester Festival Theatre and the Old Vic and Annie on tour.

Since graduating from the Guildford School of Acting in 2010, Jonny Fines’ (Rooster) theatre credits include roles in Nikolai Foster’s production of Grease at the Curve, The Sound of Music on UK tour, I Love You, You’re Perfect…Now Change!  at The Union Theatre, Avenue Q and Annie on tour.

Djalenga Scott’s theatre credits include Grease and An Officer and a Gentleman both directed by Nikolai Foster at the Curve, West Side Story and Annie on UK tour, Batman Live on tour in the US,Chicago at the Garrick Theatre.

The role of Molly will be alternated by Aurelia Borrelli, eight years old from Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, Ellicia Simondswood, eight years old from Lower Morden, Surrey and Nicole Subebe, seven years old from Romford, Essex.  The role of Tessie will be alternated by Jessica Cartledge, ten years old from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Scarlet Grace, fourteen years old from Northaw, Hertfordshire and Dora Yolland, ten years old from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Kate will be alternated by Shani Roberts, nine years old from Braintree, Essex, Emily-May Stephenson, ten years old from Swadlincote, Derbyshire and Maisie Thorn, ten years old from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Pepper will be alternated by Drew Hylton, eleven years old from Loughton, Essex, Eva MacLaughlan, ten years old from Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire and Charlotte Ross Gower, fourteen years old from Sittingbourne, Kent.  The role of July will be alternated by Nancy Allsop, fourteen years old from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Carla Dixon, thirteen years old from Wimbledon, London and Isabelle Methven, thirteen years old from Harpenden, Hertfordshire.  The role of Duffy will be alternated by Kya Davis, nine years old from Slough, Berkshire, Nicole Dube, twelve years old from Colchester, Essex and Kathryn Whetter, ten years old from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

Foster’s production arrives in the West End 40 years after the original Broadway production opened in 1977 and received seven Tony awards including the Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.  The last West End production of Annie opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998. In 1982, Annie was adapted for the big screen directed by John Huston with a cast including Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Albert Finney and in 2014 a further feature film was released, directed by Will Gluck, with a cast including Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.  The much-loved score includes the classics It’s A Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow and Easy Street.

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Theatre:                  Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7DY

Dates:                    Booking from 23 May 2017 to 6 January 2018

Performances:          Tuesday 23 May at 7.30pm, Wednesday 24 May at 7.30pm, Thursday 25 May at 7.30pm, Friday 26 May at 7.30pm, Saturday 27 May at 3pm and 7.30pm.

Then Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm

Miranda Hart will be performing the role of Miss Hannigan until 17 September 2017

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Casting announced for Bring On The Bollywood

FULL CAST ANNOUNCED FOR
BRING ON THE BOLLYWOOD

A British Bollywood romantic comedy

From 6th May – 26th August 2017

 

Full casting has been announced for the brand new Bollywood dance-theatre extravaganza, Bring On The Bollywood. With a dynamic cast of celebrated British Asian performers and young rising stars, the comedic musical of East meets West is set to bring the explosive colour, vibrancy and beauty of classic Bollywood to the British stage.

 

Bring On The Bollywood is a love letter to traditional Bollywood, innovated for musical theatre aficionados and contemporary Bollywood lovers alike. Reflected in its casting, the fiery heroine Dr. Katrina Pawar will be played by newcomer Nisha Aaliya. Selected from hundreds of auditionees, Nisha Aaliya was discovered in the unlikeliest of circumstances. 

 

Samir Bhamra, director of Bring On The Bollywood, says of Nisha’s casting: “Andrew Lloyd Webber has rightly slammed the lack of diversity in musical theatre but, for me, the lack of opportunities for young British Asian performers goes much deeper. I discovered our perfect heroine, Nisha, by chance when she attended our auditions as a choreographic assistant. By urging her to audition herself, we have unearthed an exceptional acting talent for Bring On The Bollywood. However, like the majority of young South Asian performers, her only outlets for professional showcasing have been the Bollywood dance competitions. Without clearly defined pathways, formal training, and a diversity of roles, such talents can surely only rely on the chance few musicals that focus on Asian culture for a route into the West End.”

 

Joining Nisha is Avita Jay (Kangna), whose many theatre credits include: Spare (New Diorama Theatre), Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World (Southwark Playhouse, Battersea Arts Centre), Rapunzel (Park Theatre) and Silent Sisters (Hawth Theatre).

 

Anthony Sahota will play the part of Katrina’s mischievous, betrothed brother, Lucky. Having recently starred as a finalist on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine (BBC One), Anthony makes his professional acting debut alongside Robby Khela (Ronny).

 

Robby Khela’s work in music has seen him support pop acts such as Craig David, Blue, Lemar, Girls Aloud and Misteeq on tour. He re-joins Phizzical Productions for Bring On The Bollywood, having previously appeared in their previous national tour of What You Fancy (2007), a Bollywood adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Twelfth Night.

 

FULL CAST

 

Nisha Aaliya – KATRINA

Yanick Ghanty – AMIT

Anthony Sahota – LUCKY PAWAR

Avita Jay – KANGNA

Robby Khela – RONNY (and Lyrics)

Rohit Gokani – COLONEL SUNDER PAWAR

Sophie Kandola – REKHA

Sakuntala Ramanee – LALITA PAWAR

Subhash Viman – SHAHRUKH (and Choreography)

Jo Bispham – ENSEMBLE

Mithun Gill – ENSEMBLE

Raheem Mir – ENSEMBLE

Emiko Ishii – ENSEMBLE

Kesha Raithatha – ENSEMBLE

 

 

Having lived in London for 14 years, Dr. Katrina Pawar is summoned to her ancestral home, the shabby and un-chic Lakshman Villa, for her younger brother’s wedding. Sensing an opportunity to finally make a match for their last unmarried child during the festivities, Katrina’s parents search for a potential suitor for their quick-witted and resolute daughter. As the good-looking Bollywood film director Amit arrives at Lakshman Villa, along with his newly eligible British personal assistant Ronny, Katrina must navigate the true course of love between East and West.