Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Alan Menken. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Alan Menken. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Disney's Newsies to have UK Premiere


Producer Runaway Entertainment is delighted to announce that Disney’s NEWSIES, the award-winning Broadway musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and book by Harvey Fierstein, will have its UK premiere at London’s Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, where the strictly limited season will run from 28 November 2022.
Based on a true story, NEWSIES is set in New York City at the turn of the 19th century. It’s the rousing tale of a ragged band of teenage newspaper sellers, who dream of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. After newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer hikes up the prices for his papers charged to the newsies, Jack Kelly rallies his fellow newsboys in an attempt to protest the change, falling in love with young reporter Katherine along the way. These young newsies from across the city come together and rise up against the exploitation of wealthy publishing tycoons and fight for justice using the only power they have – solidarity. 
The original production of NEWSIES opened on Broadway in 2012 and was slated to play only 100 performances but went on to play over 1,000 performances before touring and winning two Tony Awards®, including Best Original Score. The original production was filmed live on stage and released in cinemas in 2017.
Now for the very first time, audiences in the UK have a chance to enjoy the thrill of one of the biggest Broadway hits of recent years. In an innovative and brand new immersive production ‘in the round’ at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, theatregoers will be thrust right inside the action as the newsies dance, sing, jump and fly around the streets of a booming 19th century New York City. 
Alan Menken said: “I am OVER THE MOON about Newsies opening in London!! I’ve been wishing and waiting for this for soooo long.  I truly cannot wait!
Matt Cole, Director & Choreographer, said: “As a huge fan of the original Disney film and the Broadway production, I am extremely honoured and thrilled to be reimagining this brand new version for London and the UK. With an incredible score by the legendary Alan Menken and book by Harvey Fierstein we will bring this all-singing, all-dancing show to Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. This site-specific version of the show provides an exciting opportunity to present the piece in a non-traditional format. Set in the round, the audience will be thrust into turn-of-the-century New York, where the action and choreography will weave its way in and out of the audience. I cannot wait to work with this talented creative team on delivering this wonderful and exciting show to the UK.” 
This new production of NEWSIES will be following on the recent successes of large scale shows at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre such as the National Theatre’s productions of War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Oliver Royds, CEO of Troubadour Theatres, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the UK Premiere of Disney’s much loved musical in Wembley and look forward to showing audiences just how versatile and flexible our venues are. We are sure this will be one of the theatrical events of the year."
Casting is to be announced.
Tickets will be going on sale in May 2022. To receive priority booking sign up at www.newsiesthemusical.co.uk
NEWSIES will be Directed and Choreographed by Olivier nominee Matt Cole, with Set Design by Morgan Large, Musical Supervision, Dance Arrangements & Musical Direction by Nigel Lilley, Costumes by Natalie Pryce, Lighting by Mark Henderson, Sound by Tony Gayle, Performer Flying by John Maddox for Suspended Illusions Ltd, Casting by Lucy Casson, Children’s Casting by Jo Hawes, Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams & Ruth Cooper-Brown for RC Annie, Associate Choreographer Jane McMurtrie, Associate Musical Director Chris Ma and Production Management by Lee Batty and Andy Fox for Setting Line.
NEWSIES is produced by Tristan Baker & Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment with Kater Gordon and Dianne Roberts, by permission of Disney Theatrical Productions.

Friday 21 January 2022

Beauty and the Beast to Play at the London Palladium


Disney’s beloved Olivier Award-winning stage musical Beauty and the Beast - re-imagined and re-designed in a completely new production staged by members of the original award-winning creative team - will come to London in Summer 2022, as part of its UK & Ireland Tour.

Performances will begin at the London Palladium from Friday 24 June 2022, for a strictly limited season until Saturday 17 September.

Tickets will go on-sale for London at 10am on Friday 28 January. Customers can sign up to be amongst the first to access tickets and can find all tour dates and information at BeautyAndTheBeastMusical.co.uk

The UK tour opened at Bristol Hippodrome on 25 August 2021 and is currently playing at the Sunderland Empire.  

Spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology fuse with the classic story, as the timeless romantic tale is brought to life on stage like never before, with all the charm and elegance audiences expect from Belle and her Beast.

Courtney Stapleton and Shaq Taylor will play the iconic lead roles. Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan HansenSixLes Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Shaq is best known for performing in Girl from the North CountryHadestown and Hex.

Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical, Les Misérables) plays Lumiere and Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance, Eugenius!) is Gaston.

Sam Bailey (The X-Factor winner 2013, Blood Brothers) plays the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Cogsworth.

Martin Ball (Les Misérables, Wicked, Top Hat) takes the role of Maurice, Samantha Bingley (Martha In The Secret Garden) is Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains, 42nd Street, Funny Girl) is Babette and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!) plays Le Fou.

The full company is completed with Richard Astbury, Sarah Benbelaid, Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Matthew Dawkins, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas-Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.

Beauty and the Beast is reimagined in startling new designs which use the latest theatrical innovations. Among the many new features is an exuberant tap dance within the legendary production number Be Our Guest, created expressly for Gavin Lee, recognised as one of the great tappers on either side of the Atlantic.

Olivier Award nominee Matt West directs and choreographs this new production, leading a team that includes composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, bookwriter Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team collectively received five Tony® nominations and a win for Hould-Ward’s costume design, when Disney first debuted Beauty and the Beast on Broadway 28 years ago.

The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history. Only once before – in Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid – had a Disney film been structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions. This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.

This new Beauty, while retaining the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony®-nominated score - which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter - has new dance arrangements by David Chase, allowing original choreographer Matt West to re-visit his work. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, respectively.

Completing the design team, Tony®-winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production. Casting for the production is by Pippa Ailion Casting.

The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001.

Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 28 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history. The 2017 live-action retelling of the animated classic quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time, a record only beaten by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.

Beauty and the Beast is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review


A Christmas Carol (LMTO) 
Lyceum Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 10th December 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra are fast becoming a staple part of my Christmas tradition, with their glorious performances of A Christmas Carol really bringing the joy and festivity of the season to life, and of course, providing a wonderful night of top quality musical theatre.

Based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens and with music by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens and a book by Mike Ockrent, A Christmas Carol tells the tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge as he's visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and is forced to evaluate the way he lives his life. 

Under the expert hand of Freddie Tapner the LMTO bring out all the best parts of this beautifully virtuosic score. Alan Menken's music brings a Disney-esque vibe to the story which actually broaches some dark subjects such as homelessness and poverty, and manages to evoke a whole range of emotions. 


Griff Rhys Jones brings the miserable but endearing Scrooge to life with a wonderful and fresh portrayal. His performance is supremely entertaining and he manages to enthral, even in this semi-staged concert production.

As the hilarious Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (among other characters) Nicolas Colicos and Rosemary Ashe have the audience in the palms of their hands whilst they give supremely humourous and vocally powerful performances. 

The vocal delights on offer in this concert are second to none, with Cedric Neal providing smooth riffs and a delicate but powerful tone that's to die for and Jeremy Secomb bringing the ultimate scrooge to life in a menacing but humourous rendition of Link By Link, in which he shows off his booming voice.  David Hunter is charming as Bob Cratchit alongside the fantastic Caroline Sheen as his wife and Jon Tarcy gives a memorable performance as Young Scrooge.


I'd like to be visited by the three ghosts just to be serenaded by them. Miriam-Teak Lee is sass embodied as the brings the Ghost of Christmas Past to life. Her vocals are super strong and she really brings magic to the stage with her performance. Lucie Jones' voice continually astounds; her clear as can be vocals and stellar diction bring Emily and The Blind Old Hag to the forefront of the show and equally, as the ghost of Christmas Future who never utters a word, Lucie still magnetises the audience and gives a subtle performance that you can't be drawn away from.

The young cast are great, as are the LMTO Chorus who are perhaps the strongest chorus at an LMTO concert yet. Completely in sync throughout their humourous numbers and close harmony pieces, they ground the piece and bring a magnificent Christmas choral feel to the show.

The true festive kindness was shown when two young girls in front of us beamed from start to finish and shared a single sweet between them during the final song. Cheer and love enveloped the theatre throughout this magically festive, and brilliantly performed evening. Get yourself to the Lyceum Theatre next Monday for a jubilant night of theatre. 

A Christmas Carol is on at the Lyceum theatre on Monday 17th December at 4pm and 7.30pm

photo credit: Nick Rutter

Thursday 1 September 2016

Little Shop of Horrors (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review



Little Shop of Horrors (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 23rd August 2016 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★


Little Shop of Horrors is one of those cult musicals that everyone has heard of but not necessarily seen. I'd seen the film years ago and knew some of the songs but all I remembered was that its about a plant and this was my first time seeing the musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken onstage.

This is certainly a weird musical. We follow Seymour the shop assistant of Mushnik's flower shop who finds fame when he discovers an unusual, unknown plant with a mind (and appetite) of its own which he uses to win over his co-worker Audrey.

For me the standout performance was given by our Seymour, Sam Lupton who has just finished  a three year run playing Boq in Wicked. He has a wonderful voice and perfectly embodies the quirky, geeky Seymour.  I also adored the Greek chorus-esque divas Sasha Latoya, Cassie Clare and Vanessa Fisher. Stephanie Clift was heartwarming as Audrey, with an especially beautiful rendition of 'Somewhere That's Green', which although being somewhat contrived with the special effects was a very nice moment of the show.

Overall the cast were superb with wonderfully honest performances and although this story is very eccentric and the moral very twisted, its a brilliant show which is well worth checking out for a fun and enjoyable night out.

Little Shop of Horrors will be touring the UK until Saturday November 26th.
Further information and tickets can be found at www.littleshopuktour.com

Monday 31 December 2018

Olivia's Top 10 Shows of 2018


2018 has been a whirlwind year full of amazing theatre. I was lucky enough to see a total of 150 shows so whittling them down to a top 10 was extremely difficult. Although this list is in an order, I really loved each of them equally as they all moved me in a particular way and provided some theatrical treats. 2019 is the year of change for West End theatre as a lot of beloved shows close and we get a number of new shows and shows from across the pond. I can't wait to see what next year provides and if we get anything like the treats from this year, it's going to be truly wonderful...


This was one of the wackiest nights out at the theatre. Alan Menken's score, accompanied by the changing natural light, a dancing tongue (shoutout Billy), and a host of standout performances, you couldn't help but smile and laugh at this treat of a summer show.



My heart was torn out and I ugly cried most of my train home but this was a magical theatrical experience. Highlighting the struggles of grief, this production cleverly used simplistic, ensemble staging to create a highly moving, highly polished, yet still raw piece of theatre.



This is one of the most truthful productions I have ever seen in my life. The outstanding cast seemed as if they were living the show for the first time as they travelled through Nine Nights of mourning with humour and depth in perfect balance. 



This show deserved better. Mythic was a whole host of self-aware-hilarity accompanied by the catchiest music. A modern twist on the Greek Gods, it was 90 minutes of unadulterated brilliance and I can only hope 2018 isn't the last time this show graces the stage.



Robert Hastie's revival of The York Realist was 130 minutes of theatrical perfection. Handled with genuine care and a real attention to detail, this was a beautiful exploration of love, class and life. 



All I can say is that London is not ready for the perfection that this show is. Book your tickets NOW.



Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss are the best thing to happen to British theatre in a long time. Telling the stories of the wives of Henry VIII, Six uses modern musical styles, mixed with laugh out loud one liners, out of this world performances from the Queens and it's just spectacular. It's a show for all ages that is sure to wow audiences for years to come as they keep coming back for their royal fix.



This is another gem of a show from Trafalgar Studios. Arinzé Kene gave the most devoted and energy fuelled performance I've ever seen. Misty is vibrant and fresh as it uses the dual-narrative structure perfectly to leave you wordless.



If The Rink was a person, I would've married it by now. Caroline O'Connor gave a masterclass in acting and this show needs to come back right now. Roller blades, delightful music and fabulous staging made this a faultless production.



I saw Hadestown twice this year but if I could've made it 20, I would have. I truly can't describe how special this show is; the lighting, staging, choreography, ensemble, leads and music come together to create an emotional journey and spectacular theatrical experience. The entire show is painfully relevant and the whole spectacle of it is exceptional.


So there we have my Top 10 Shows of the year, do you have any of the same ones? I'd like to give mention also to Bat Out of Hell which became a huge part of my year and provided some wonderful memories; and the BTA who put on two fantastic shows: Spring Awakening and Bring it On which featured stellar performances from the stars of the future.

For me, this was the year of female led performances and a real forward movement in the showcasing of diversity in theatre which are two huge positives in the industry. Lets hope for a continuation of these changes in 2019! Wishing you a the stagiest of stagey 2019s!

-Olivia x

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Sister Act (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Sister Act (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 20th February 2023 
★★★★

If you're looking for a great night out, look no further than Sister Act. It's a heat-warming show that doesn't take itself particularly seriously, while also boasting a wonderfully talented cast and songs that'll have you dancing in your seat. The musical has got something for everybody and certainly feels like bang for your buck.

Based on the iconic Whoopi Goldberg film, Sister Act tells the story of wannabe singer Deloris Van Cartier (Sandra Marvin) as she's hidden away for protection in a nunnery by Mother Superior (Lesley Joseph) after witnessing her gangster boyfriend (Jeremy Secomb) kill someone. It's a riotously funny show which thrives on excellent characterisation and really cohesive staging.

Leading the show, Sandra Marvin has star quality and seems to get more and more comfortable in the role as the show progresses. Vocally she is really strong and does brilliantly at developing her character throughout and clearly has the magnetism needed in a role like this. Lizzie Bea really does the character of Sister Mary Robert justice and gives and incredibly sweet performance, which of course is vocally outstanding. There's a not much emotional development throughout the show so Lizzie never truly gets to connect with the audience but her performance is still a touching one. As the policeman Steady Eddie, Clive Rowe is lovely to watch and has some moments which border on emotional, if never quite peaking. His solo number is vocally perfect and a real standout of the show. However, there is a slight lack of nuance to his whole characterisation which means the audience never get a chance to truly root for him.

That being said, this is a still a completely enjoyable show and the cast perform Alan Menken's disco score with great energy. The individual personalities of each nun really shine and there are some proper laugh out loud moments.

Morgan Large's set literally frames the show perfectly and Tim Mitchell's lighting transforms the space into a party within moments. It's an incredibly cohesive show which is so sleek that it allows you to bask in the joy its feel-good fabulousness throughout.

Sister Act is an utterly crowd-pleasing musical which often ascends the superficial and has some thoroughly pleasing moments. There could be some more heart and a little more development of character motives to give everything a touch more impetus, but as a whole it's a Nun-derful treat of a night out that's worth a late bedtime.

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}

Tuesday 19 December 2017

A Christmas Carol (LMTO), Lyceum Theatre | Review


A Christmas Carol (LMTO) 
Lyceum Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 18th December 2017 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The London Musical Theatre Orchestra have a stellar reputation and provide theatrical treat after treat, this time in the form of Charles Dickens' festive favourite, A Christmas Carol. With the shows composer Alan Menken in attendance, the Lyceum theatre was a buzz of excitement and festivity and the LMTO provided a wonderful night of music and jovial entertainment.

A Christmas Carol is simple and easy to follow, telling the story of a rich, isolated man who is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future as they show him the error of his ways and the importance of love and sharing. A heart-warming tale, it's perfect for people of all ages during the build up to Christmas.

Robert Lindsay reprises his role as the money-hungry Ebenezer Scrooge and is perfect for the role.  He is miserable but endearing at once as he brings humour to the "bah humbug" persona. I would love to see how Lindsay would perform in a fully staged production, I imagine his stellar portrayal would be even more entertaining and bold.

The entire cast are stellar with standout performances coming from Gemma Sutton as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Lucie Jones as Emily and Nicolas Colicos as Mr Fezziwig. Each performer gave their all both vocally and acting wise, really allowing the audience to use their imaginations and immerse themselves in the world Dickens created, despite the lack of sets and props. The children of the cast were equally brilliant with Ivy Pratt a vocal stand out for me.

The music truly does speak for itself and is really shown off when it's so stripped back. Seeing musicians, led by Freddie Tapner, enjoy what they're doing so much really transfers to the audience and provides a warm, intimate feeling throughout and it's always special to hear a score played by a full orchestra.

The LMTO give consistently brilliant performances and A Christmas Carol is no exception. A delightful production with glorious music it really is a treat and I would love for it to become a regular feature every festive season.

photo credit: Nick Rutter

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Don't Miss Sister Act the Musical in the West End: A Heavenly Night at the Theatre


If you're looking for a divine night out in London, then Sister Act the Musical is your calling! This sparkling show is lighting up the West End, and it’s a sin to miss it. Whether you’re a theatre aficionado or a casual musical-goer, here are some heavenly reasons to catch this nun-believable production. Plus, it's going on a UK tour, so if you can’t make it to London, the show might just be coming to a cathedral near you!

Star-Studded Cast: First off, let’s talk about the cast. This production is blessed with talent that will make you want to sing “Hallelujah!” Leading the way is the fabulous Alexandra Burke as Deloris Van Cartier, whose powerhouse voice and infectious energy bring this iconic character to life. Ruth Jones, known and loved for her role as Nessa in the hit TV show Gavin and Stacey plays the strict yet lovable Mother Superior. Also gracing the stage is the dynamic duo of Lee Mead as Eddie Souther and Lemar as Curtis Jackson, adding charm and villainy in equal measures. 

Joyous Music and Dance: The music in Sister Act is nothing short of heavenly. With Alan Menken's uplifting songs that blend gospel, disco, and Motown vibes, you’ll be tapping your feet and clapping your hands in no time. Glenn Slater's lyrics are jam packed with word play that'll have you laughing out loud. Hits like 'Raise Your Voice' and 'Take Me to Heaven' will have you bopping in your seat, while Lizzie Bea's astounding rendition of 'The Life I Never Led' with have you praising her talent. 

A Feel-Good Story: At its heart, Sister Act is a story about friendship, faith, and finding your true voice. Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer on the run, transforms a convent choir with her lively spirit and unites a group of nuns in a shared purpose. It’s a tale that warms the soul and reminds us of the power of community and self-discovery. You’ll leave the theatre with a full heart and a smile on your face.

Hilarious and Heartwarming Moments: From laugh-out-loud moments to tear-jerking scenes, Sister Act the Musical has it all. The comedic timing of the cast, especially Ruth Jones and Lesley Joseph, is impeccable. The variety of interactions are both touching and hysterical. Thanks to the uniquely defined personalities of each nun,  the musical strikes a perfect balance between humour and heartfelt emotion.

Stunning Production Value: Morgan Large's set and costume designs are vibrant and detailed, immersing you in the world of the convent and the seedy nightclubs. Coupled  with Tim Mitchell's dynamic lighting, and a Tom Marshall's really well balanced sound, every scene is a visual feast that enhances the overall experience.


With a stellar cast, sensational music, a heartwarming story, and top-tier production value, it promises a night of entertainment that is nothing short of divine. So grab your friends, book your tickets, and get ready to be blessed with one of the most enjoyable shows of the year. And remember, if you can’t catch it in London, the UK tour is coming soon to a town near you. Praise be!

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on this heavenly experience – it's sure to be a habit-forming night out!

Photo Credit: Johan Persson
{AD PR Invite- tickets gifted in exchange for honest review}