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Friday, 11 June 2021

West End Musical Celebration, Palace Theatre | Review



West End Musical Celebration (Concert) 
Palace Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday10th June 2021 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

As two pioneers in making theatre accessible, diverse and welcoming, Shanay Holmes and Chris Steward have continually pushed through all of the setbacks of the last year to provide high quality, delightful entertainment. Most recently through their West End Musical Drive In’s and now through their West End Debut which was a full, flamboyant and fabulous celebration of, and return to theatre.


As hostess with the mostess, Shanay took us through the night with grace and passion. Like all the performers, it was really evident just how much theatre and the theatrical community means to her and the love throughout the auditorium was frenetic.


Joining Shanay were some of the West End's best: Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Ben Forster, Rachel John, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Layton Williams. It's unfair to pick favourite moments when every performance was a complete treat and the song selection was outstanding. From Defying Gravity, to a bluesy version of Don't Rain on My Parade and a sweetly sentimental rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow there was something for absolutely everyone. If that wasn't enough, the pre-show/interval playlist was also a stagey delight. 


As well as this, the night featured a fantastic band, wonderful backing singers and excellently sleek dancers. Several standing ovations and plenty of chair dancing highlighted that the audience were completely on the performers side and were just as much a part of the show as those on stage, albeit with considerably vocal ability. Overall the whole evening felt like a high quality, well-oiled, musical theatre sensation.


Alongside the mile a minute song selection, the night also included the sparkling wardrobe of dreams. The sheer glitz, glam and spectacle of the whole night's proceedings felt so special to be a part of. 


The night closed with a series of high octane numbers, including Don't Stop Believing, How Will I Know and One Night Only, which had everyone on their feet and proved that we really can have a good time, even under covid restrictions. 


As the final chorus of The Greatest Showman’s From Now On rang out “and we will come back home”, I was reminded that the theatre really is home and if last night's concert is what it's like then never want to leave.



West End Musical Celebration runs at the Palace Theatre until Sunday 13th June 2021


Photos by Bonnie Britain

Monday, 23 November 2020

The Digi Creative release Theatrical Coffee Table Book


The Digi Creative release Dear Audience, a theatrical coffee table book filled with over 140 pages showcasing the Arts industry. With exclusive imagery, personalised letters to the Audiences, and more, this book is a celebration of Theatre and everyone who works in it.  

Featuring Lucie Jones, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Cedric Neal, Lambert Jackson Productions,  Layton Williams, Alice Fearn, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Rachel Tucker, Carl Man, Paul Taylor-Mills, Sejal Keshwala, Frances Ruffelle and so many more. 

15% of profits will be donated to Applause For Thought a triple award-winning organisation that facilitates lower-cost Mental Health; support, talks, accredited courses, and bespoke Mental Health and Well-being Consultancy for all those working within the Arts and Entertainment Industry.


Digi Creative co-founder, Sophie Ross says: “We hope that this coffee table book will bring joy in a time when the Arts industry needs to be celebrated the most. Theatre is made up of so many people, (this being just a small percentage) and it’s important to showcase that at every given opportunity. I’m so proud of Danny and I for creating something that is an homage to this year and something we can look back on in years to come. Super grateful for everyone who gave up their time to be involved and can’t wait to share the book with everyone.”

 

Digi Creative co-founder, Danny Kaan says: I’ve always wanted to make a coffee table book but making it in 2020 feels even more special. The number of people that were willing to be involved was overwhelming and shows how supportive this industry is and how passionate we all are for the Arts. Combining Photography and my love for this industry has been a joy and I’ve honestly had the best time. Seeing so many faces in a time where human contact has been so limited has been heartwarming and wonderful”.

 

Pre-order the book here: www.dearaudiencebook.com (Christmas guarantee)

General on-sale Wednesday 25th November 10am (second batch delivery)

Pricing £35 with worldwide shipping available

Friday, 1 July 2022

Come From Away to Play Final Performance in West End on 7 January 2023

The multi award-winning London production of global hit musical Come From Away will extend in the West End from September until the end of the year before holding its final performance at the Phoenix Theatre on Saturday 7 January 2023.

By the time the West End company take their final bow, this critically acclaimed production will have played 1048 performances in London, 47 performances in Dublin and won many major UK theatre Awards including the Olivier, Critics’ Circle and What’s On Stage Awards for ‘Best Musical’.

The current London cast of Come From Away includes Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), James Doherty (Claude and others), Mark Dugdale (Kevin T/Garth and others), Alice Fearn (Beverley/Annette and others), Kate Graham (Diane and others), Robert Hands (Nick/Doug and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J/Ali and others), Gemma Knight Jones (Hannah and others), Kirsty Malpass (Bonnie and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), Lejaun Sheppard (Bob and others), with Chiara Baronti, Ricardo Castro, Stuart Hickey, Alexander McMorran, Sarah MorrisonLucy ParkJennifer Tierney and Matthew Whennell-Clark.

The Come From Away band includes Alan Berry (Musical Director/UK Musical Supervisor), Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uillean Pipes), Aoife Mairead Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Oli Briant (Electric/Acoustic Guitar), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitars/Mandolins/Bouzouki), Joey Grant (Electric and Acoustic Bass),  Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Ian Whitehead (Drums/Percussion), Huw Evans (Associate Musical Director), Andrew Barrett for Lionella Music, LLC (Electronic Music Design), Phij Adams (Associate Keyboard Programmer), Ryan Driscoll (Music Preparation), and David Gallagher (Orchestral Management).

Come From Away shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives.

Experience the joy, heartache and soaring music as the spirited locals and global passengers overcome their fears and a world of cultural differences to come together and forge friendships that will stay with them forever. The first female American Airlines captain, the quick-thinking town mayor, the mother of a New York firefighter and the eager local news reporter are among the many real characters caught at the start of the moment that changed the course of history, and whose stories became a true celebration of hope, humanity and unity.

The international hit musical has celebrated sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada, throughout Australia, and on a 60-city North American Tour.

The Come From Away creative team includes Irene Sankoff and David Hein (Book, Music and Lyrics), Christopher Ashley (Director), Kelly Devine (Musical Staging), Ian Eisendrath (Music Supervision and Arrangements), Beowulf Boritt (Scenic Design), Toni-Leslie James (Costume Design), Howell Binkley (Lighting Design), Gareth Owen (Sound Design), David Brian Brown (Hair Design), August Eriksmoen (Orchestrations), Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG (Casting), Joel Goldes (Dialect Coach), Michael Rubinoff (Creative Consultant), Bob Hallett (Newfoundland Music Consultant),  Shirley Fishman (Dramaturg) and Tara Overfield (Associate Director and Choreographer UK).

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

Tickets for Come From Away at the Phoenix Theatre are available via comefromawaylondon.co.uk.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Thespie Present Streamed Concert Series with Dozens of UK Stage Stars


Theatre discovery platform Thespie today announces the Reunited Series, bringing together more than two dozen of the UK’s top musical theatre artists for a series of filmed concerts premiering throughout December. Developed by Aimie Atkinson, Thespie’s Creative Producer and the Olivier nominated star of Pretty Woman and SIX), each concert presents ensemble music performances (filmed in COVID-secure London venues), and ranges from musical theatre hits, to pop music, to favourite Christmas songs. The program of each concert has been developed by the artists involved and will also include intimate interview footage.

 

The concerts are designed to inspire global theatre audiences, by bringing the UK’s best musical theatre talent directly to their homes this holiday season. The artists collectively represent over two and a half centuries of experience on UK stages; their recent credits include The Prince of Egypt, Pretty Woman, SIX, & Juliet, Come From Away, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and Kinky Boots.

 

Thespie Creative Producer Aimie Atkinson commented, “We’re thrilled to be bringing you our first shows—high-energy, joyful concerts with great production values and astonishing vocal performances. I am so in awe of the level of talent working with us to make these December shows incredibly special. You are in for a treat.”

 

The series begins with the premiere of Unlimited: The Songs of Stephen Schwartz on 3 Dec at 8pm GMT, a celebration of the famed composer’s works including WickedPippinGodspellChildren of Eden, and The Prince of Egypt, Schwartz’s newest musical. The nine artists in the concert (Nikki Bentley, Sophie Evans, Alice Fearn, Alexia Khadime, Melanie La Barrie, Carl Man, Dianne Pilkington, Liam Tamne, Oliver Tompsett) all starred in Wicked during its first 14 years in London, and two (Khadime, Tamne) are in the current cast of The Prince of Egypt. Schwartz himself will make a special appearance in the program, with further details to be announced.

 

Oops!... I Streamed It Again... premieres 10 Dec at 8pm GMT and is a high-energy concert of favourite classic pop, rock, and musical theatre songs. The concert is performed by five artists who met as part of the original company of the UK musical & Juliet: Jordan Luke Gage, Tim Mahendran, Grace Mouat, Oliver Tompsett, and 2020 Olivier Award Winner Cassidy Janson.

 

Next up is the return of the artists from The Reunion, with an empowering concert of songs by famous girl bands through the decades: Girl Power premieres 17 Dec at 8pm GMT. Expect the tight harmonies and true sisterhood vibes that these artists have come to be known for since they first met as the original West End queens of the musical SIXGirl Power stars Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Grace Mouat, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarneia Richard-Noel.

 

Finally, the fourth instalment of the Reunited Series arrives on the 21 Dec at 8pm GMT. All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is a love letter to the tradition of seeing theatre with those you love during the holiday season. More than three dozen top UK theatre artists are lending their talents to this special concert, featuring classic Christmas songs of all styles. Performers from UnlimitedOops!... I Streamed It Again, and Girl Power will all be featured, alongside more than a dozen more, to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Streaming tickets for a single concert are £12.50 ($15) if booked early (by 30 Nov), or £15 ($18) if purchased in December. (10 other currencies available.) Purchasers of the first three concerts will have 72 hours to watch, and purchasers of All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre will have 7 days to watch with their households. An Extended-Access bundle (£37.50/$45 in Nov; £45/$54 in Dec) gives purchasers access to all four concerts from their premiere through 31 December, and provides a 25% discount over booking the concerts separately. All concerts and the bundle can also be purchased after their premiere, with the same window of access (72 hours, 7 days, or through 31 Dec.)

 

The Reunited Series and Thespie’s original content initiative support its work to foster the connection between artists and audiences on its theatre discovery platform. Thespie’s first original production, The Reunion, was one of the bestselling paid theatre streaming events in the UK, selling tickets to 3600 households across 65 countries; and employed 35 live entertainment workers who received over £30k in income from the event.

 

Thespie founder Tyler Stoops said, “Watching our first concert, The Reunion, revived my spirits, and hundreds of viewers told us how meaningful it was, how inspired they were, and how much fun they had. So I’m thrilled we can deliver four more concerts for audiences at home around the world, just in time for Christmas. I think all of us are ready for some joy and excitement.

 

Thespie offers listings for theatre streaming, theatre music & audio, theatre eBooks, educational resources, live London theatre, theatre news, and more. Audiences can use Thespie to stream the Reunited Series and more than 400 other shows, or to discover over 1000 more shows available on other popular platforms and services, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Audible.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Bonnie and Clyde in Concert Full Cast and Company Announced



Fourth Wall Live is delighted to announce the full cast joining Broadway star Jeremy Jordan in the sell-out BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 January 2022. www.bonnieandclydeconcert.com
 
Joining the previously announced Jeremy Jordan as ‘Clyde’ will be Olivier-nominated performer Frances Mayli McCann as ‘Bonnie’. The previously announced Laura Osnes is no longer performing in Bonnie and Clyde in Concert.
 
The principal cast is completed by West End stars including Olivier Award winner George Maguire as ‘Buck’, Natalie McQueen as ‘Blanche’, Trevor Dion Nicholas as ‘Preacher’ and Liam Tamne as ‘Ted’.
 
The cast is completed by Casey Al-Shaqsy (The Prince of Egypt, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) as ‘Stella’, Simon Anthony (The Wedding Singer, Ragtime) as ‘Cop/Bud/Archie/Deputy Johnson’ Gillian Bevan (Holby City, Into The Woods) as ‘Cummie Barrow/Eleanor’, Eloise Davies (Be More Chill, Grease) as ‘Trish’, Adrian Grove (Follies, Wonder.land) as ‘Henry Barrow’Olivier Award nominee Debbie Kurup (Girl From The North Country, The Bodyguard) as ‘Governor Miriam Ferguson’, Matthew Malthouse (Matilda, Mrs Henderson Presents) as ‘Bob Alcorn’, Jeremy Secomb (Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera) as ‘Judge/Sheriff Schmid’, Russell Wilcox (Billy Elliot, Annie) as ‘Captain Frank Hamer’ and Julie Yammanee (Lazarus, Spamilton) as ‘Emma Parker’.
 
George Maguire is the winner for the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his performance as ‘Dave Davies’ in Sunny Afternoon. His other theatre credits include 35mm: A Musical Exhibition at The Other Palace Studio, Oliver! at the London Palladium and the European tour of Rent.
 
Frances Mayli McCann is an Olivier Award nominated actress, who originated the role of Kylah in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. Her other West End credits include ‘Heather McNamara’ in Heathers at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ‘The Mistress’ in Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Eponine’ in the UK and International Tour of Les Misérables.
 
Natalie McQueen’s West End credits include playing ‘Doralee Rhodes’ in 9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre and Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include the UK tour of Wonderland, Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre and Starlight Express at The Other Palace.
 
Trevor Dion Nicholas’s West End credits include ‘George Washington’ in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre and ‘Genie’ in Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. He also presents on Magic at the Musicals and appears as a panellist on ITV’s All Star Musicals.
 
Liam Tamne’s West End credits include playing ‘Ramses’ in The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre, The Light in the Piazza at the Royal Festival Hall, The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
 
BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT has a book by Ivan Menchell (Blended [movie], The Cemetery Club, Death Note The Musical), a Tony Award nominated score by Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlett Pimpernel), lyrics by Don Black (Tell Me On a Sunday, Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Henderson Presents) and is directed by Nick Winston (Director of the feature film Tomorrow Morning, MAME, The Royal Variety Performance) with musical direction by Katy Richardson (SIX, Rent, Jersey Boys). The Assistant Director is Alexzandra Sarmiento (Hamilton, Message in a Bottle), Lighting Designer is Zoe Spurr (The Unreturning, Tiny Dynamite), Set and Costume Designer is Philip Whitcomb (Atlantis, Stones In His Pockets, Mame), Sound Designer is Tom Marshall (The Drifters Girl, Nativity! The Musical), Production Manager is Phil McCandlish (Rock of Ages, Elf), Company Stage Manager is Graham Harrison (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Deputy Stage Manager is Anne Baxter (Singin’ in the Rain, Spamalot), Assistant Stage Manager is Tom Fisher (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Dialect Coach is Charmian Hoare (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, War Horse) and children’s casting is by Keston and Keston (Nativity! The Musical, A Christmas Carol).  BONNIE AND CLYDE IN CONCERT is produced by Fourth Wall Live and co-produced by DLAP Group, Jason Haigh-Ellery and David Treatman Creative.

The band is made up of Assistant Musical Director Chris Poon (Keys 2), Kate Ingram (Reed 1), Hannah Lawrance (Reed 2), Kobi Pham (Guitar 1), Jack Pennifold (Guitar 2), Zach Okonkwo (Drums), Elliot Lyte (Fiddle)and Annie Blake (Bass).

At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-town nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, Bonnie & Clyde is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire country. The show features the songs “Raise A Little Hell”, “This World Will Remember Me” and “Made In America”.
When Bonnie and Clyde meet, their mutual cravings for excitement and fame, combined with a desperate need to lift themselves out of the endless banality and poverty of West Dallas, set them on a mission to chase their dreams. Their bold and reckless behaviour turns the young lovers' thrilling adventure into a downward spiral, putting themselves and their loved ones in trouble with the law. Forced to stay on the run, the lovers resort to robbery and murder to survive. As the infamous duo's fame grows bigger, their inevitable end draws nearer.

Fourth Wall Live is a live entertainment company that produces concerts internationally. It regularly brings Broadway artists to the UK, previous concerts include Broadway and TV regulars Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Kelli O'Hara, Chita Rivera, Laura Michelle Kelly, Megan Hilty, Tituss Burgess, Jeremy Jordan, Matthew Morrison, Erich Bergen, Eden Espinosa, Julia Murney and Cynthia Erivo. Other concerts include West End Stars solo concerts including Michael Ball, Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett, Hannah Waddingham, Sharon D Clarke and Bonnie Langford. Upcoming productions at Cadogan Hall include Jenna Russell, Shoshana Bean, Keala Settle and Jessica Vosk.

Tori Amos’s musical The Light Princess was presented to critical acclaim, as a special one-off concert in the summer of 2018. Next year Bonnie & Clyde the musical concert will run for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Jeremy Jordan. 

Fourth Wall Live also regularly partners with the Hippodrome Casino, in November-December 2020 they produced 25 nights of socially distanced entertainment, proudly being the first live event post lockdown. The current season of Hippodrome concerts runs from September 2021 to December 2021 and features 20 nights of musical entertainment featuring Alice Fearn, Kerry Ellis, Hayley Tamaddon and David O’Reilly.Fourth Wall Live is committed to following all relevant UK Government Covid-19 guidelines, creating a safe working environment for our cast, musicians, creatives, crew and their families.