Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jamal Crawford. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Jamal Crawford. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, 13 September 2019

Fame The Musical, Peacock Theatre | Review

Fame the Musical
Peacock Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 12th September 2019 by Olivia Mitchell

Back in the West End after 12 years, Fame makes a triumphant return with Nick Winston's production. This 30th Anniversary edition has been touring since 2018 but is having a prolonged five-week stop at the Peacock Theatre. Featuring the classic songs such as There She Goes, Fame and Bring on Tomorrow, those who grew up with the musical will be taken back to their youths. However, whilst many original aspects are still part of the show, the stage version is less leg warmers and dancing on cars, and more grit, hard work and struggle.

Despite being set in the 80s, most aspects feel fresh, relevant and grounded in truth. Nick Winston's choreography helps the entire production fizzle and buzz like a well oiled New York subway, and the young cast perform each second with conviction and power.
As Iris, Jorgie Porter gives a great showcase of her sleek dance skills and has a great chemistry with love interest Tyrone (Jamal Crawford) who gives an equally strong dance performance and gains rapturous applause after his uber-octane performance of Dancing on the Sidewalk. In the storyline with his teacher Miss Sherman (Mica Paris) Crawford gives a truthful performance as he struggles to read but doesn't want to appear stupid or weak. The battle of wills between the pair is exciting to watch and really comes to a head with Mica Paris' vocally impeccable rendition of These Are My Children.
As the quirky actress Serena, Molly McGuire is warm and instantly likeable. Her relationship with Nick (Keith Jack), a tv actor, wanting to break into the more serious world of acting, is sweet and the pair compliment each other well. With Jacques Levy and Steve Margoshes' music and lyrics, there are some lovely moments, especially Lets Play a Love Scene.
The ensemble are tight from start to finish, performing the sharp choreography extremely well and providing moments of interest away from the main action throughout. Serina Matthews and Tom Mussell particularly catch the eye throughout. This cast is also comprised of various quadruple-threats. The host of amazing actor-musos who are present on stage throughout,  really transport us to a performing arts school, and help keep up the frenzied energy of working on your craft. Louisa Beadel is feisty as Lambchops and gives a brief but beautiful vocal performance in the closing number; Alexander Zane is light relief and a wonderful energy on stage. Simon Anthony is outstanding in his instrumental, vocal, acting and dance skills. Giving a very heartfelt and highly energetic performance, he is a stand out performer and works wonderfully with his love interest, Carmen.
As Carmen, it's Stephanie Rojas who is really the crown jewel of this production. Opening with a fiery, sassy performance, her decline and struggle is incredibly moving to watch. Rojas' sublime vocals, gritty acting and sharp movement really should put her Name in Lights across the West End. In a show which sometimes lacks character development, Rojas makes Carmen a truly 3D character and gives the performance all audience members will remember.
Prema Mehta's subtle but atmospheric lighting does a fantastic jobs of quite literally highlighting the crucial moments and moods of the piece. Perhaps most striking is the contrast between Carmen's opening number and closing number. In There She Goes/Fame there is a vibrancy which bathes the stage, whilst In LA is stark and simplistic. Morgan Large's set of yearbook photos, lockers and desks keeps the school vibes alive and allows most of the focus to be on the performers.
For a no gimmick show about the tenacity needed to succeed, Fame is a wonderful way to spend an evening and will certainly leave you dancing along the road (or wishing you had the skill to dance along the road)!
Fame runs at the Peacock Theatre until 19th October 2019 before continuing its tour.
photo credit: Alessia Chinazzo

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Fame the Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review

Fame (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Monday 1st October 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 

Fame is the original high school musical drama. The story about a group of wannabe New York performers became an instant success with audiences after the 1980 film, and various incarnations including tv series and musical performances were spawned. Fame the Musical, developed by David De Silva, is currently touring again to celebrate it's 30th anniversary before a stint in the West End next year.

Fame the Musical follows the lives and struggles of students attending the New York High School of Performing Arts.  It is a real-life, non-sugar-coated version of being a young adult and facing issues, including substance abuse, sexuality and self worth.

From the opening number to the very last moment of toe-tapping brilliance, Nick Winston's production screams energy and vibrance. The entire show is a well choreographed, lively machine that, although being set in the 80s, feel fresh, relevant and energetic.

The energy comes from the outstanding young cast who deliver every moment with enthusiasm and precision. Molly McGuire is loveable and quirky as she falls in love with Nick (Keith Jack) the TV actor, wanting to move to more serious roles. Both performers provide beautiful vocals, especially during Let's Play a Love Scene in which Molly shines. The pair compliment each other wonderfully and present a sweet romantic arc. 

Hayley Johnston brings humour and heart to the show, with bubbly Mabel earning laughs throughout and showing off her killer, powerful vocals in Mabel's Prayer.  

Jorgie Porter shows off her well-honed dance skills as Iris who falls for Tyrone (Jamal Crawford), an equally exquisite dancer who gave a standout performance with Dancing on the Sidewalk. Tyrone also has a storyline with teacher Miss Sherman (Mica Paris) as she realises he is illiterate and tries to inspire him to work on himself. The pair are realistically at odds with one another as their heightened tensions come to a boil with Mica Paris' effortlessly stunning rendition of These Are My Children.

Mention must also go to the fantastic actor-musicians who are present on stage throughout and bring a natural, realistic feel to the show and transport us to a frenetic performing arts school- Alexander Zane is a standout of the group. 

The real star of the show is undoubtedly, Stephanie Rojas who gives a fiery performance as Carmen, the Latina who longs for fame. Stephanie is everything Carmen should be with her transition from a larger than life girl in There She Goes/Fame, to a broken woman in the devastating In LA supplying a supremely moving storyline. Stellar vocals and superb acting make Stephanie's performance a must see and should be required viewing for any budding performers.

On top of the impressive performances, Prema Mehta's lighting is extremely atmospheric from the opening scene which dazzles the audience to attention and sets the tone for an exhilarating show. Particularly clever is the use of light tones, for example in Carmen's emotional climax during act 2, she is bathed in cool, stark light whilst her counterpart Schlomo (played touchingly by Simon Anthony) is lit in a warm tone. These subtle details are part of what makes this production of Fame superior.

Whilst there are a number of stereotypes and other than a couple of the main characters, not much character development, this show is raw and pure storytelling, told by a supremely talented cast. Helped by Morgan Large's set, the focus of this production is purely on no gimmick talent, so, if you want to see skilled performers and hear highly catchy songs then Nick Winston's production of Fame is the show for you- don't miss it!

Fame runs at the New Victoria Theatre until October 5th before continuing it's tour and heading to the Peacock Theatre next year.

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Friday, 27 July 2018

Fame the Musical (UK Tour), Manchester Palace Theatre | Review

Fame the Musical (UK Tour)
Manchester Palace Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 26th July 2018 by Roni Hughes

Most will be familiar with one of the many iterations of the Fame franchise, be it one of the many television adaptations, the 2009 reboot film, or even simply Irene Cara’s catchy song of the same name. Originated by David De Silva with the 1980 film from Alan Parker which netted two Academy Awards and a Golden Globe, the idea sparked many spin offs, before opening as a stage musical in 1988 in Miami. The last professional production in the UK was for the 25th anniversary tour ending in 2014, and as the latest UK tour kicks off in Manchester, there is a real buzz around this classic.

Telling the tale of the New York High School for the Performing Arts and its students, the show does everything it says on the tin. It’s vibrant, sassy, fierce, and with just enough backstory for each character to allow the audience to emotionally invest in them. In an interesting move, the staging itself is kept simple, with the occasional dance barre and mirror or set of lockers, but is wonderfully complimented by the busy backdrop of ‘character’ headshots set out as a yearbook. It provides a nice nostalgic touch, and reminds us that we have been transported back to the early 80’s.

This tour features an exciting cast, headed up by former Hollyoaks actress and Dancing on Ice contestant Jorgie Porter in the role of top dance student Iris. For her first musical, Porter’s performance was lovely, and you cannot fault her beautiful ballet steps and dance sequences with love interest Tyrone, played by Jamal Kane Crawford. Iris, however, is very much a secondary character in Tyrone’s story, and, whilst not the fault of the performer, was slightly too overlooked for us to fully embrace Porter as a musical theatre actress. Crawford, however, gives a stunning insight in to what it means as a young man to be illiterate, which is emotional, yet mixed with light hearted and genuinely funny moments that makes Tyrone so relatable to today’s audiences.

Having a young and energetic cast is a breath of fresh air, and the energy was consistent and electric throughout the entire show. The choreography is slick and strong, however at times it feels a little too ambitious, and a few cast members are noticeably fighting to keep up. This doesnt detract too much from the overall fun, and the buzz is still tangible long in to the finale.

The stand out performance of the show must go to Stephanie Rojas as fiery Latina, Carmen. Her voice is second to none, with her buttery–toned riffs making it look easy. Her rendition of There She Goes/Fame is flawless, show-stopping, and leaves the audience begging for more. Notable mention too to the powerhouse that is Mica Paris for her phenomenal performance as home room teacher Miss Sherman, in particular her solo number These Are My Children. Never before have I witnessed a cast member receive a standing ovation mid-show, but my god was it deserved.

Overall, Fame is still the thrilling, joyous, slightly melodramatic story we’ve all come to know. The music is beautifully contrasted with love songs and ballads to full out dance numbers, and the audience is never bored. This is definitely one to catch for an entertaining night out that will leave you singing that song for days afterwards.

Fame runs at the Manchester Palace Theatre until 28th July before heading to the Kings Theatre Glasgow and then continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Fame The Musical (UK Tour) | Press Launch

1980 musical theatre favourite, Fame opens in a new reincarnation which Keith Jack (Nick) says "feels like the iconic film and series which made Fame great" tomorrow (26th July) at the Manchester Palace Theatre, before continuing it's tour. Featuring memorable songs such as Think of Meryl Streep, There She Goes, I Want To Make Magic and of course the title song Fame, the musical tells the real-life version of breaking into the performing arts and confronts many of the struggles young adults face, "we're not here to sugar coat it" says Mica Paris

I was lucky enough to see the amazing cast in their penultimate day of rehearsals as they gave us a sneak peek into the show and whet out appetites for what's sure to be an energetic, thrilling show. 

Choreographer and director, Nick Winston introduced the show and set us up to hear and see a few numbers. First up a full-out rendition of There She Goes performed by Stephanie Rojas (Carmen) and the cast. From the first moment they began, the energy was infectious and it's genuinely thrilling to see such talent on stage, Rojas is feisty as the Latina who dreams of being famous and I already anticipate her performance as being outstanding. Also notable is the fact that there are a number of actor musicians featured throughout which add to the real life feel and really transports us to a vivacious theatre school. Jorgie Porter exclaimed how excited she is to be performing in her first musical and how "it's constant all the time", Keith added that Nick's aim with the show is to make it fast paced and to feel like New York in terms of being ever moving and full of verve.

Keith Jack gave a truthful rendition of I Want To Make Magic whilst Molly McGuire was hilarious as and lovable as Serena, it will be lovely to see their relationship play out on stage. When asked about the show Keith told us that it's so special because "the cast and director and the entire team have made this electric, buzzy show" and hopes audiences will "be able to relate to a certain character and latch onto to something in the story." 

Jamal Kane Crawford's performance of Dancing on the Sidewalk tired me out just watching! Full of energy he completely commanded the space. Alongside Mica Paris the pair create a realistic, but heightened portrayal of a student and teacher who are at odds. Paris' performance of These Are My Children left us all in awe at her effortless vocals. A lovely thing is how supportive the cast are of one another, all cheering each other on and embodying the family feel of being in school together, something which I think will definitely translate to the whole production. When chatting to Mica, Keith and Jorgie after the performance, this was even more evident and they all echoed that the team feel and talent of everyone is what makes the show so special for them. 

The title song of Fame features the iconic lyric "remember by name". When asked what they would like to be remembered for I was met with semi-silence as it's a pretty deep question but each person had a lovely, heartfelt answer. Jorgie would love to be remembered for "making a fun situation out of anything", Mica would like to be remembered for "showing anyone that no matter what people tell you, you can be what you want to be and you should do what you feel". Finally, Keith told us a lovely story about his grandad who consistently made people happy and how it inspired him to do workshops for people to try and make them happy; so he would like to be remembered for "bringing light to people... although I'll probably be remembered for being Scottish!"

Keith rounded off  with: "I think people will come to the show and get what they expect, plus even more" so if you want all the energy, excitement, romance and pure storytelling from Fame, plus even more then book your tickets for the 2018 UK tour.

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Friday, 11 March 2022

Back to the Future Announces Extension and Cast Recording

Due to overwhelming demand, lead producer Colin Ingram together with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the creators of the Back To The Future film trilogy, are delighted to announce that Back To The Future The Musical’s performances at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End will extend to 23 October 2022. Tickets on sale now. The critically acclaimed Olivier Award-nominated and WhatsOnStage Award-winning Best New Musical had its opening night in London on Monday 13 September 2021.  


The much anticipated Original Cast Recording released on Sony Music’s Masterworks Broadway label is out today, exactly two years since the world premiere opening night performance of the musical at Manchester Opera House, featuring the new music by multi-Grammy Award-winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard alongside classic songs from the movie including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.  


Last month, Back To The Future The Musical won four WhatsOnStage Awards, including the coveted award for Best New Musical. Other awards included Best Supporting Performer in a Male Identifying Role in a Musical for Hugh Coles, Best Lighting for Tim Lutkin and Best Sound for Gareth Owen. This week, the musical received seven Olivier Award nominations, making it the most nominated new musical this year, including Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Olly Dobson, Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Hugh Coles and Best Original Score or New Orchestrations for Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard; Orchestrations: Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook.


Producer Colin Ingram said, “I’m so delighted to announce the release of our fantastic cast album today, which has been produced by multi-Grammy Award-winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard together with Nick Finlow in partnership with Sony Music’s Masterworks Broadway label.  As we break box office records at the Adelphi Theatre and celebrate 7 Olivier nominations along with winning Best New Musical at the WhatsOnStage Awards, I look forward to announcing other productions throughout the world soon.”


Back To The Future The Musical stars Roger Bart and Olly Dobson as ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively, with Hugh Coles as ‘George McFly’, Rosanna Hyland as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Cedric Neal as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Aidan Cutler as ‘Biff Tannen’, Courtney-Mae Briggs as ‘Jennifer Parker’, Will Haswell as ‘Dave McFly’, Emma Lloyd as ‘Linda McFly’ and Mark Oxtoby as ‘Strickland’.  Also in the cast are Rhianne Alleyne, Amy Barker, Matthew Barrow, Joshua Clemetson, Jamal Kane Crawford, Morgan Gregory, Sam Harvey, Ryan Heenan, Cameron McAllister, Alessia McDermott, Laura Mullowney, Nic Myers, Shane O’Riordan, Katharine Pearson, Justin Thomas, Oliver Roll, Melissa Rose, Charlotte Scott and Tavio Wright. 


Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, Back To The Future The Musical has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode


Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager who is accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr Emmett Brown.  But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.


Back To The Future The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (UrinetownOn The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), Tim Lutkin (lighting), Hugh Vanstone (lighting consultant), Gareth Owen (sound) and Finn Ross (video), with choreography by Chris Bailey, musical supervision and arrangements by Nick Finlow and Illusions by Chris Fisher. Orchestrations are by Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, with dance arrangements by David Chase. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.


Back to the Future the movie was released in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown. The film grossed $360.6 million (£279 million) at the box office worldwide and the total box office for all three films in the Back to the Future franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today’s money).


Back To The Future The Musical is produced by Colin Ingram, Donovan Mannato, Frankel/Viertel/Baruch/Routh Group, Hunter Arnold, Gavin Kalin Productions, Playing Field, Crush Music, CJ ENM, Teresa Tsai, Ivy Herman/Hallee Adelman, Robert L. Hutt, Universal Theatrical Group, Ricardo Marques, Augury, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, in association with Kimberly Magarro, Stage Entertainment, Glass Half Full Productions/ Neil Gooding Productions.