WATCH “AND NOW I RISE” THE UPLIFTING NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR SUPER YOU A NEW MUSICAL COMING TO CURVE THEATRE, LEICESTER

WATCH “AND NOW I RISE”

THE UPLIFTING NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR

WRITTEN AND COMPOSED
BY LOURDS LANE

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
THE NEW SUNG-THROUGH ROCK OPERA AT
CURVE, LEICESTER

FROM 22 OCTOBER – 9 NOVEMBER 2024

And Now I Rise” is the latest video and single from SuperYou Musical with vocal and electric violin performance by the show’s creator, Lourds Lane. The song is sung by “Rise,” the socially awkward misfit superhero in SuperYou Musical who learns to embrace all of who she is with her mantra, ”If I can’t fix it, I will feature it!”

The song is an anthem for anyone who has ever been bullied, felt “othered” or doesn’t feel like they fit in, and captures the essence of SuperYou Musical’s core themes of resilience and self-love. The diverse cast of about 100 individuals in the music video are all real people playing themselves, including those who are LGBTQIA+, neurodivergent, differently abled, navigating various mental health issues, and those who have experienced racism, sexual abuse, trafficking, addiction, ageism, sexism, depression, and crippling grief. Collectively, they have learned to embrace who they are and wear their ‘scars with pride.’

Every person in the cast was interviewed about their “pain to power” stories and their real-life experiences are shared weekly in an inspiring video series on the SuperYou Musical social channels called “SuperYouman Stories” on #SUPERYOUSUNDAY.

View the video here: HERE

The music video and single of “And Now I Rise” was made possible through a grant awarded to Lourds Lane by The NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theatre by the City of

The New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts

Music and Lyrics for “And Now I Rise”Lourds Lane. Director: Guilherme Lepca, Production by:  SuperYou Musical and Smart Diseños, Music Video Story and “SuperYouman Stories” Concept: Lourds Lane, Editing and Animation: Smart Diseños, First Assistant Director: Richard Calvache, Casting: Ian B. Connor and Wojcik Casting Team, Producer: Jennifer Mary Mears, Executive Producer: All Awesome LLC /MelissaJones/Lourds Lane, Music Production: Lourds Lane and Baba Z. Buerger.

The single for “And Now I Rise” is available now on all streaming platforms. 

SuperYou runs at Curve 22 October to 9 November and tickets are now on general sale. To find out more, visit www.curveonline.co.uk, call 0116 242 3916 or visit Curves Box Office in-person.

SuperYou is an uplifting musical, written and composed by Lourds Lane, that centres around the transformative journey of a comic book artist who discovers self-love and her own voice as her superheroine creations spring to life. The new sung-through rock opera version of the show will have its first fully staged UK production at Leicester’s Curve theatre this autumn.

After making its West End debut for a sold-out, one night only concert at The Lyric Theatre in 2023, this new rendition of the beloved cult hit is a complete reimagination, now rewritten and presented entirely through song.

The musical’s score is a dynamic rock soundtrack that seamlessly incorporates a wide range of musical styles, including pop, hip hop, swing, blues, gospel, country, and soulful power ballads. Through its instantly memorable soundtrack, SuperYou delves into themes of discovering inner strength, while fostering acceptance, inclusivity, and kindness, both towards others and, crucially, oneself, making it a tale that feels particularly relevant and timely in today’s world.

Initially planned for an off-Broadway debut, SuperYouwas the first theatrical production to perform during the pandemic, staging concerts on socially distanced pick-up trucks at a drive-in, in upstate New York. These pandemic concerts garnered national and international attention, and a film was later released as a popular documentary on Broadway on Demand.

During the pandemic, while many shows stopped activity and shut down, SuperYougained what Playbill calls “a substantial cult following” for its online content and concept album of demos with over 23 million views on TikTok. #FANCOVERFRIDAY emerged as fans worldwide created their own SuperYoumusic renditions, a trend continuing until today, four years later.

Due to its online popularity and viral videos, SuperYou quickly sold-out Carnegie Hall for two nights in July 2022, and then proceeded to win BroadwayWorld’s Best New Musical Award in Milwaukee for its developmental presentation the following year.  With an impressive debut at London’s Musical Con in 2022, SuperYoureturned last year as a “teaser” ahead of the West End concert at The Lyric Theatre in November.

SuperYou Musical has book/music/lyrics and co-arrangements by Lourds Lane, direction and choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, music supervision by Wendy Bobbitt Cavett, scenic design by Anna Louizos, costume design by Cynthia Nordstorm with video design by Caite Hevner, lighting design by Ryan OGara and sound design by Tony Gayle. Casting by Pearson Casting and is produced by Melissa M. Jones / All Awesome LLC with general management by Anthology Theatre Productions.

Sell-out sensation Gwyneth Goes Skiing announces UK & Ireland Tour l September – December 2024

Awkward Productions’ viral sensation Gwyneth
Goes Skiing
heads on UK & Ireland Tour
September – December 2024

Awkward Productions are taking their viral sensation Gwyneth Goes Skiing on a UK & Ireland tour this autumn. Gwyneth Goes Skiing will return to the slopes after two sold-out and critically acclaimed runs in London, as well as a sold-out run across the globe in Park City, Utah, where the real trial happened. There, the show was enjoyed by both Gwyneth and Terry’s legal teams, as well as witnesses and jurors from the trial itself – with one describing the show as “99.9% accurate” and another as “more entertaining than the actual trial”. This ever-evolving show from the harbingers of queer chaos is a story of justice, betrayal and optometry, recounting the biggest case to rock the legal world since law was invented. The show makes the audience the jury, asking them to decide who’s guilty and who’s gooped.

Gwyneth Goes Skiing stars Linus Karp as the Goop-founding, Door-Sliding, Shakespeare InLoving, consciously-uncoupling Hollywood superstar Gwyneth Paltrow, and Joseph Martin as her nemesis, Terry Sanderson, a retired Optometrist from Utah. The show follows Awkward Productions’ multiple award-winning, Edinburgh Fringe sell-out hit Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story.

In an exciting development for Gwyneth Goes Skiing, Emmy and Golden Globe winner and Broadway legend Darren Criss will provide the singing voice of Terry Sanderson. Criss is best known for playing the role of Blaine Anderson in Glee (alongside the real Gwyneth Paltrow!), as well as his lead role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Criss has also starred on Broadway in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Alongside Criss, Edinburgh Comedy Award Winning comedian, actress and singer Cat Cohen will lend her voice as Gwyneth Paltrow on the vocal track with absolute bops including I Wish You Well and See You In Court

Cat Cohen’s live comedy performances combine stand-up with cabaret-style songs. The comedian, actress, and singer’s first Netflix comedy special, The Twist…? She’s Gorgeous, was released in 2022. As an actress, she has appeared on comedy series such as High Maintenance, Broad City, Search Party, and What We Do in the Shadows.

Drag legend, television personality, make-up mogul and singer-songwriter Trixie Mattel makes a special on-screen appearance as Gwyneth Paltrow’s mother, Blythe Danner. In 2015, the world fell in love with Trixie on the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and in 2018, she went on to win RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars

Gwyneth Goes Skiing recounts the collision in 2016 on the slopes of Deer Valley and the court case seven years later that enthralled the world. Gwyneth Goes Skiing features a whole lot of fiction, a sprinkling of verbatim lines from court transcripts and delightfully catchy original music by Leland (RuPaul’s Drag Race; Cher’s Christmas; Troye Sivan’s Something To Give Each Other). Audiences are advised that Gwyneth Goes Skiing is BYOJE (bring your own jade eggs).

Praise for Awkward Productions’ work:

Absurd, camp, chaotic, and hilarious – Attitude Magazine, ★★★★★

Perfectly imagined and brought to life on stage with vision and heaps of silliness – The National, ★★★★★

The Pantomime Awards 2024 announces celebrity hosts & performances

Ore Oduba, Angellica Bell and Myra DuBois will host
The Pantomime Awards 2024 in association with Stagecoach

with special guest performances from
Anita Harris, Matthew Siviter, Tweedy and Stagecoach Performing Arts

Stars of stage and screen, Ore OdubaAngellica Bell and Myra DuBois, will present The Pantomime Awards 2024 in association with Stagecoach, which take place on 18 June 2024 at G Live in Guildford (https://trafalgartickets.com/g-live-guildford/).

There will be special guest performances from panto legend Anita Harris who is celebrating 65 years in entertainment, panto Dame Matthew Siviter who is sure to cause a buzz with his special rendition of a Beatles classic, entertainment from one of the industry’s top clowns Tweedy and a high-energy routine from Stagecoach Performing Arts students. 

The UK Pantomime Association announced the shortlist of nominees recently with many familiar faces including acclaimed actor David Suchet who is up against Strictly star and musical performer Kevin Clifton within the Best Newcomer to Pantomime category and much-loved CBeebies actresses Jennie Dale and Katy Ashworth in the Carmen Silvera Award for Best Magical Being category. The Special Awards, which celebrate productions representing the values that the Association seeks to promote, as well as an award for Outstanding Achievement, are also to be announced at the ceremony. For more details of nominees, visit: https://pantomimeassociation.co.uk

In honour of the UK Pantomime Association’s President, 2024 will see the inaugural Christopher Biggins Award for Best Dame, with Elaine C Smith (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Crossroads Pantomimes),  Ben Roddy (Aladdin, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, Evolution Productions), Ray Spencer (Aladdin, The Customs House, South Shields), Johnny McKnight (Aladdin, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling) and Phylip Harries (Sleeping Beauty, Theatr Clwyd Big Top, Mold) all in the running for top Dame.

Style: “Angelica & michael “

Angellica Bell said: “I remember starring in Aladdin as the Genie many years ago and loving the buzz and excitement the audience brought every single show. Pantomime is part of our tradition. It’s part of the festive season. It’s a way for us to laugh at ourselves and spend time with loved ones. Let’s celebrate those who make it happen!”

Simon Sladen, Chair of the UK Pantomime Association, said: “The Pantomime Awards 2024 are set to be a fantastic evening celebrating excellence across Panto Season 2023/2024. We can’t wait to welcome everyone to a glittering ceremony with stunning performances and a fabulous line-up of presenters. It’s going to be a night to remember. Good luck to all the nominees!”

Andy Knights, CEO and Lisa Stead, COO of Stagecoach Performing Arts, said: “We are very excited to be the headline sponsor at this year’s Pantomime Awards. At Stagecoach Performing Arts, we take pride in seeing the positive impact that the arts can have on the lives of children and young people. For many, pantos are the first introduction they will have to theatre, and this can spark a lifetime love of, and engagement with, the arts. We know many of our students, and many of the adults that are a part of the Stagecoach community, will have been in the audiences of the nominees and we are looking forward to celebrating all the winners at the ceremony!”

Founded in 2021, the UK Pantomime Association (UKPA) is a charity that explores, shares and celebrates pantomime by investigating the genre’s rich past, engaging with contemporary practice and inspiring the future. During the 2023-24 pantomime season, the third year in which the Awards have taken place, UKPA’s 70 judges had their biggest year ever, collectively visiting 259 venues to see over 728 performances, far and wide across the United Kingdom. 

To join the nominees at The Pantomime Awards 2024 in association with Stagecoach, book tickets through G Live: https://trafalgartickets.com/g-live-guildford/.

Marie Curie Review

Charing Cross Theatre – until 28 July 2024

Reviewed by Julia Spargo

3***

Maria Sklowdowska leaves her native Poland by train to study at the Sorbonne university in Paris. On the train she meets Anne Kowalska (the beautifully expressive Chrissie Bhuma), a fellow Polish woman, who is due to work in Paris in order to make a better life for herself when she returns to her native Poland. The two become friends, Maria telling Anne of her dreams to fill in the periodic table, since she is sure there are elements still waiting to be discovered. Anne makes Maria promise that she will fulfill her destiny to “put Poland on the map” and the two remain in touch over the years.

As the only female studying at the Sorbonne, Maria encounters prejudice and misogyny, but her academic life changes when she meets the French physicist Pierre Curie and begins working with him.

The discovery of radium opens the doors for incredible medical advances, but at the time its properties and consequences are not fully understood, and it was used all over Paris for everything from lighting to cosmetics. This is highlighted in Marie Curie by the fictional story of Polish workers in a radium factory, one of whom is Anne, who in turn fall victim to radium poisoning and die as a result. Maria, by now Marie Sklowdowska-Curie since she has married Pierre, is forced to confront the potential for medical progress in contrast to the reality of people dying from exposure to radium, including her best friend Anne.

The story of Marie Curie does not form the basis of a cheery musical, but the first half is a fast-paced exploration of the resilience of a foreign woman in the male-dominated academic world of science. Ailsa Davidson gives a strong performance as the determined Marie, obsessed with her work and the potential radium (when she discovers it) may hold. Clever use of lighting highlights her tenacity, illuminating the back of the set with notes from Marie’s experiments in her own handwriting, showing just how many times she repeated the same experiment. The set is simple but used to good effect and moved around by the cast during the play with no disruption to the pace of the story (the musical is 1 hour 40 minutes and runs straight through). The score is solid, performed with gusto by the cast and cleverly thread throughout the performance, the song Unpredictable, Unidentified reprised with new meaning at the end. For a musical celebrating a woman’s triumph in the face of misogyny and dismissal by men, it makes sense that the strongest performances are by the female cast members.

As the factory workers fall victim, the musical takes a somewhat macabre turn and despite effective use of back-lighting and choreography to depict their fate, songs about necrosis and autopsy results were graphic and went on for too long, losing the grip of the audience and making for an uncomfortable middle of the musical, from which I felt it never recovered.

Marie Curie is a valuable history lesson, a confronting story of the human cost of medical advances which could lead to lively debate and, in my case, further research in my efforts to separate the scientific facts from the narrative fiction. Marie Curie changed the world and this musical celebrates that fact without diminishing the harsh realities, but I was strangely unmoved.

Rent Review

Curve Theatre Leicester – until 8th June 2024

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh

3***

A reframing of Puccini’s La Bohème, Rent depicts the struggle of life and the dichotomy between wealth, poverty, and homelessness in New York’s lower East side in the 1980s. Penned by Jonathan Larson, who tragically died the night before the first ever scheduled performance, it’s the heart-wrenching story of love, friendship, and the AIDS epidemic. A poignant tale of those who understand that we must treasure life as the precious gift that it is, to make the most of each and every day because it can be oh so short. It gives a voice to the marginalised, the often unseen and offers a rich tapestry of diversity, beautifully celebrated and fabulously explored through music and movement.

This offering from the Leicester Amateur Operatic Society in Curve’s studio space was puzzling. There is a lack of diversity which is integral to this tale. The ensemble did an excellent job with singing the group numbers, but there were some pitching issues with solos and duets. Sound was a serious concern, with several mics dropping out during the second half, so swarths of dialogue were missed, but the main thing which left me baffled was that the main characters didn’t seem to quite get the motivations of the people they were playing. Lines were nonchalantly spoken without true meaning, such as people dying, people having AIDS and key moments in the production were not embraced with the gravity they deserved. At times it felt like I was watching an episode of Friends, ‘The one where she dies, and she doesn’t’. This production appeared to be sold as a glitzy, glam, ‘he is dating her, she used to date him saga’, rather than the gritty, gut-wrenching wonderful story it is.

Direction by John Bale was confusing. There were times when the stage was either very full or quite empty. There were moments when I was not sure of what the space was being used for, an HIV support group suddenly turns into punters for a strip show with Mimi jumping of the stage into Rogers room with zero transition. Actors were often stilted, singing out to the stage or wandering awkwardly. Choreography by Carl Robinson-Edwards was equally as puzzling, very pantomime like at points and ‘La Vie Boheme’ was quite ‘Thriller’ esq in its uniformity and not like its free-spirited vibe. Scenery and staging consisted of a raised central platform which was not always effectively utilised, along with some interesting projections on the back wall. The chairs were overkill and swamped the stage.

Tom Urch as Roger had an incredible voice, belting out ‘Glory’ with true passion, but he didn’t endear. Mostly sullen I wish he had engaged more with acting like he was playing the guitar as if he were an actual musician. Charlotte Kennedy as Mimi seemed very unsure and was not believable in anyway as dealing with a serious health condition or having an addiction. Her singing was beautiful. Their relationship warmed up towards the end of the production.

Dan Brewer was an Angel of 2 halves, delicately acted but seemed to really struggle with the dance numbers. Charlotte Brown gave Maureen no light or dark, completely one note she was difficult to warm to and did not have the audience mooing. Ed Turner as Mark lost his story, yet he narrates everyone else’s, his singing voice was great, but his life struggles were not fed across. For all of these acting issues, I feel it could be due to directional choices as opposed to talent as they were all sensational singers. Dan Rowberry as Tom Collins was fantastic. He along with Mia Dobney as Joanne belted out their songs and gave stellar performances. They truly grasped their characters, the layers and delivered on point.

As a collective this cast worked incredibly hard on this performance but its poorly executed as a whole. Were it to be reimagined as songs from Rent, with the cast singing it and the marvelous live band, led by the musical director Steven Duguid, it would be a sure-fire hit. However, in its current format, this production of Rent does not work as it misses the very heart of everything Larsons story stands for. In the end, it’s not about “what you own” but the way you made people feel. I wish this had been taken into account when this production of Rent was being staged.

Accolade Review

Royale Theatre, Windsor – until 15 June 2024

Reviewed by Joanna Huggett

5*****

We had the absolute pleasure of watching ‘Accolade’ at the Theatre Royale Windsor, written by Emlyn Williams almost 75 years ago, a play about a celebrated writer leading a Jekyll and Hyde lifestyle and a scandalous revelation coming to light on the eve of his knighthood.

The whole play takes place within the living room of an affluent Regents Park address. In that room there is a writing desk central to the room, a vast array of books on bookshelves, a comfy sofa, an often visited closet and patio doors to the garden and the outside world – every aspect of the story represented in physical form.

Will Trenting (played by Ayden Callaghan) a celebrated writer, spends most days sat at the writing desk working on his next novel. He lives with his wife Rona (Honeysuckle Weeks), his young son Ian (Louis Holland) and is assisted by his man servant Albert (Jamie Hogarth) and the maid Gladys (played by Kayleigh Cooper). Initially the story seems to be about Will’s knighthood announced in the new year’s honours list and Rona’s achievement of becoming a ‘Lady’ in which she celebrates with her best friend Marian (played by Sara Crowe). However, the later arrival of Will’s friends Harold (Gavin Fowler) and Phyllis (Sarah Twomey) reveals a promiscuous darker side of Will’s character, one in which Rona is fully aware of and indeed complicit.

Will’s book publisher Thane (David Phelan), blissfully unaware of this other side of Will, brings news of a police investigation into these goings on, and here the story unravels the delicate balance between public and private lives, truth and deception, and ultimately about public opinion towards those enjoying a better standing in life. The arrival at the front door of Mr Dakar, (played by Narinder Samra), brings new perspectives on the events of one of Will’s recent parties, but Mr Dakar’s own objectives and his role in all of this remain unclear, until we learn the situation is so much worse than we had originally thought.

The original play written in 1950 draws many parallels from Emlyn William’s own life. A writer who was a secret bi-sexual, for which his wife and children had full knowledge. In the play, Will Trenting writes novels around characters drawn from his own promiscuous experiences, and again his wife is also fully aware. But also, there are so many parallels with the scandals and secrets of the rich and famous in today’s modern life.

The story remains so relevant even after nearly 75 years, the acting is just sublime and the set design so cleverly and subconsciously nods to aspects of the story, up to and including closing the pages of the book of Will’s own story.

This is a must-see play, it closes in Windsor on June 15th, do not miss it.

CHARIOTS OF FIRE: SHEFFIELD THEATRES ANNOUNCE CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM

CRUCIBLE THEATRE

A Sheffield Theatres production

SHEFFIELD THEATRES ANNOUNCE CAST AND
CREATIVE TEAM FOR

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

Stage Adaptation by Mike Bartlett

Director Robert Hastie
Designer Ben Stones
Associate Director Lilac Yosiphon
Lighting Designer Richard Howell

Sound Designer Alexandra Braithwaite
Composer Frew
Movement Director Ben Wright
Casting Director Stuart Burt CDG

Assistant Director Chantell Walker
Dialect Coach Anita Gilbert

Based on the Enigma Productions Limited motion picture

By arrangement with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

And Allied Stars S.A. Panama

Screenplay by Colin Welland

Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd. On behalf of Samuel French Ltd. www.concordtheatricals.co.uk

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Saturday 6 – Saturday 27 July 2024

Sheffield Theatres today announces the cast for Chariots of Fire, which runs in the Crucible from Saturday 6 – Saturday 27 July 2024. Adapted by Mike Bartlett (Doctor FosterKing Charles III) from the 1981 Oscar-winning film based on the remarkable events of the 1924 Olympics and directed by Sheffield Theatres’ Artistic Director Robert Hastie, this production marks the 100th anniversary of the true stories of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams and their record-breaking achievements.

Chariots of Fire will be the final production Robert Hastie directs at Sheffield Theatres. During his eight year tenure as Artistic Director he has directed many acclaimed productions at Sheffield Theatres including PAPER (ROCK / PAPER / SCISSORS), The York Realist and Standing At The Sky’s Edge.

The cast includes: Bethany Antonia as Florence and Frank; Adam Bregman as Harold Abrahams; Richard Cant as Master of Caius; Waleed Elgadi as Sam and as cast; Bessy Ewa as Sybil; Sally Frith as cast; Tom Glenister as Aubrey Montague; Mark Lockyer as Master of Trinity; Lois Pearson as Jennie and as cast; Eddie-Joe Robinson as Schloz and as cast; Seb Slade as Watson and as cast; Ciaran Stewart as Sandy and as cast; Michael Wallace as Eric Liddell; Leo Wan as The Prince of Wales and as cast; Benjamin Westerby as Andrew Lindsay; and Iverson Yabut as cast.

Returning to Sheffield after previously performing in Sheffield Theatres productions is: Richard Cant, who performed in Talent at the Crucible in 2021 and before that in Original Sin and The Country WifeBessy Ewa, who performed in Beauty and the Beast at the Lyceum in 2023; Lois Pearson, who performed in Much Ado About Nothing at the Crucible and on tour; Eddie-Joe Robinson, who performed in Coriolanus at the Crucible in 2020Ciaran Stewart, who also performed in Much Ado About Nothing at the Crucible and on tour, and Tribes in the Playhouse; Leo Wan who performed in The Good Person of Szechwan in the Crucible, and ROCK / PAPER / SCISSORS across the Crucible, Lyceum and Playhouse; Iverson Yabut,who performed in Miss Saigon at the Crucible in 2023. All other members of the cast make their Sheffield Theatres production debut with Chariots of Fire.

The company is completed by members of Sheffield People’s Theatre, Sheffield Theatres’ inter-generational theatre company, including: Tom Boydell, Simelele Canaan, Alexander Clayton, Bella Davies, Catherine Davison, James Doolan, Michele Gardner, Millie Glaves, Laura Hegarty, Peter Kenyon, Fiona Newman, Jane Norburn, Bel Odawa, Ali Saqeeb and Noor Sobka.1924 Paris Olympic Games, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell race for acceptance and glory as they vie to become the fastest men on Earth. Based on an extraordinary true story, both men yearn for the simplicity of the track as they battle for their faiths and nation in this inspirational and moving tale of courage, honour and conviction. A heart-pounding new production set to a soaring musical score, adapted from the Oscar-winning movie.

Tickets for Chariots of Fire are on sale now. Tickets can be booked through the Box Office in person, over the phone on 0114 249 6000 or at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.

YAMATO The Drummers of Japan: Hintori – The Wings of the Phoenix Review

Peacock Theatre – until 22 June 2024

Reviewed by Claire Roderick

5*****

YAMATO should be available on prescription – their latest show Hintori is a high energy, uplifting celebration of communal and spiritual joy.

Marking YAMATO’s 30th anniversary, Hintori takes the audience on a rhythmic adventure with incredible physicality and showmanship. The drummers work together to build seamless rhythms and each of the drummers get their chance to shine in solo sections. The choreography and dexterity are incredible, and often exhausting to just watch. The final section where the male drummers take off their jackets and you can see the muscles working around their shoulders reveals the physicality needed to drum like this – and they do it for almost 2 hours!

The show celebrates Japanese culture with the glorious tones of the taiko drums and the shamisen; but this is a young company looking to the future and sections that begin with a traditional feel, like the beautiful shamisen solo, soon grow into a group number with the energy of a rock band. Absolutely brilliant.

There is some wonderful humour in the show, with the universal language of mime and clowning making a call and response section a joy. There is also a drumming duel that gets out of hand very quickly, and a wonderful skit of choreographed work on chappa cymbals that brings the house down.

The infectious energy washes over the audience and by the end of the show only the stoniest hearts will be unaffected by the passion and joy of the drummers. An outstanding production for all the family to enjoy.

LET THE PEOPLE SING: LES MISÉRABLES 40th Anniversary community project presented by Cameron Mackintosh and Music Theatre International

CAMERON MACKINTOSH AND MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL ANNOUNCE

LET THE PEOPLE SING: LES MISÉRABLES 40thANNIVERSARY COMMUNITY PROJECT

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN THE UK 
11 AMATEUR COMPANIES HAVE BEEN INVITED TO PRESENT THEIR OWN STAGING OF THE FULL SHOW ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN 2025

Cameron Mackintosh and Music Theatre International (MTI) are delighted to announce LET THE PEOPLE SING, a UK-wide amateur theatre project celebrating the 40th anniversary of Boublil and Schönberg’s worldwide phenomenon, Les Misérables, throughout 2025.

The project, which runs from March 2025 to August 2025, will see 11 community-wide productions of Les Misérables: Let The People Sing being mounted in cities across the United Kingdom. The show, which has never previously been made available to amateur groups in the UK whilst it continues to play to packed houses in London’s West End, will be staged in: Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich, Porthcurno (Cornwall) and Swansea.

Uniquely, 11 amateur societies will act as lead producers in each venue but will work with other local groups in a collaborative manner to produce the best possible community-wide productions of the show. Groups will also have the support and guidance of the show’s West End and international associate creative teams as they prepare their non-replica, original productions of the show.

Casting for all 11 productions will be via open casting calls, details of which will be released at local level in due course.

The critically acclaimed production of Les Misérablescontinues to play at the Sondheim Theatre, celebrating its 39th revolutionary year, and several other local language productions around the world.

Cameron Mackintosh commented: “The phenomenon of Les Misérablescontinues to break new ground, just as Victor Hugo’s novel has since it was first published in 1862.

The world’s longest running musical was first made available to students under 19 (in an edited schools’ edition) in 2002, to mark the bicentennial of Victor Hugo’s birth.

As we approach the extraordinary landmark of the 40th record-breaking year of the iconic musical’s London run, alongside countless productions around the world, we are delighted to invite 11 of our leading amateur companies in the UK to stage, for the first time, the entire show in their own productions. This will involve many hundreds of amateur performers around the country, becoming part of our own yearlong celebrations.

The success of this much-loved musical was famously made by the public – not the early critics – so what better way to enjoy this unprecedented event, than Let the People Sing!”

Sean Gray, Managing Director of MTI’s London office said: “MTI cherishes our amateur theatre companies.  They bring our musicals to the whole country, including to towns and areas not regularly visited by national touring productions.  They nurture and develop talent in a unique and invaluable way, as well as providing opportunities for everyone who loves performing and making theatre to be a part of productions on all the country’s stages.  Many of the great shows live on in amateur productions, often decades after their initial productions in the West End or on Broadway. 

Although we have been able to license thousands of productions of Les Misérables School Editionto schools and youth groups, the remarkable success of the West End production in London and on tour means it hasn’t been possible to offer the show to our major amateur companies.  But for one year, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to invite amateur theatre companies across the UK to produce eleven local productions, which we hope will be genuine local community projects.  We already know how much excitement the project will generate, and we are really looking forward to guiding everyone towards a great national amateur celebration of Les Misérables in 2025 to mark the 40th anniversary of the London production.  Let the people sing!”

Olivier Award Winner John Dagleish to star as Benjamin Button at the Ambassadors Theatre

INITIAL CASTING ANNOUNCED

OLIVIER AWARD WINNER

JOHN DAGLEISH

AS BENJAMIN BUTTON

IN

THE AWARD-WINNING, UNORDINARY MUSICAL

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

BY JETHRO COMPTON & DARREN CLARK

AT THE AMBASSADORS THEATRE

FROM 10TH OCTOBER 2024

The producers of the award-winning and unordinary new musical THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON are delighted to announce that Olivier Award winner John Dagleish will star as Benjamin Button at the Ambassadors Theatre from Thursday 10th October 2024.

He will be joined by Matthew BurnsJonathan CharlesOonagh CoxAnna FordhamPhilippa HoggDamien JamesAnn MarcusonJack Quarton and Benedict Salter, all reprising their roles from the acclaimed run at Southwark Playhouse. Also joining the ensemble will be Elliot Mackenzie. Further casting to be announced in due course.

John Dagleish won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Ray Davies in Sunny Afternoon. His other theatre credits include Sylvia and A Christmas Carol both at the Old Vic, Common at the National Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Young Vic, and The Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade at the Garrick Theatre. John’s film credits include the live-action adaption of Disney’s The Little MermaidMatilda The MusicalThe GentlemanJudyChristopher RobinMary Poppins Returns and Justice League. His television credits include Lark Rise To CandlefordThe Third Day and 3 Body Problem.

An electrifying journey through the timeless tale of a love that defies all odds, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is an enchantingly beautiful and truly unordinary musical that reminds us to make every second count. The productioncaptured hearts last year with its sold-out Southwark Playhouserun – winning Best Musical Theatre Production at the 2024 Off West End Awards.

With a breathtaking soundtrack brought to life by an extraordinary actor-musician ensemble, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic short story is relocated to a fishing village on the north coast of Cornwall by writing team Jethro Compton and Darren Clark.

Under the light of a full moon, something most curious occurs… Benjamin Button is born old. Bound to the fate of growing younger each day, Benjamin wants nothing more than to live a little life. But will he ever find a place to belong? Only time and tide will tell…

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON is based on the short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby and The Beautiful and Damned. With Book & Lyrics by Jethro Compton and Music & Lyrics by Darren Clark. It is directed by Jethro Compton who also designs the stage, with co-music supervision, orchestration and arrangements by Mark Aspinall and Darren Clark, choreography by Chi-San Howard, costumes and associate stage design by Anna Kelsey, sound by Luke Swaffield, lighting by Zoe Spurr, musical direction by Mark Aspinall and casting by Ginny Schiller.

It is produced by ATG Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Gary Beestone Associates, Eilene Davidson Productions, Susan Edelstein Productions, Umeda Arts Theater, Rupert Gavin & Mallory Factor, Winkler & Smalberg and Jethro Compton Productions.