Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Nikolai Foster. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Nikolai Foster. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Full Cast and Creative Team Announced for Billy Elliot the Musical


Curve has announced the cast and creative team for its upcoming Made at Curve production of Billy Elliot the Musical.

The first new UK production is directed by Nikolai Foster (A Chorus Line, Sunset Boulevard – At Home, West Side Story) and will run at the Leicester theatre for six weeks only from Thursday 7 July to Sunday 14 August. Press night will take place on Thursday 14 July.

The titular role of Billy Elliot, the miner’s son with a passion for ballet, will be performed by Leo Hollingsworth from Nottinghamshire, Alfie Napolitano from Northamptonshire, Samuel Newby from Hertfordshire and Jaden Shentall-Lee, whose family live in Leicestershire.

Billy’s dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson will be played by West End and Broadway legend Sally Ann Triplett, whose iconic roles include Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (National Theatre and Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and Young Phyllis in Follies (Shaftesbury Theatre), as well as Martha in the recent Made at Curve UK tour of White Christmas.

Michael, Billy’s best friend will be performed by Bobby Donald, Lucas Haywood, Ethan Shimwell and Leicester’s Prem Masani, who will make his stage debut in the production.

All hailing from the East Midlands, Pearl Ball, Caitlin Cole, Lola Johnstone and Ellie Copping – who returns to Curve’s stage having previously appeared as Susan Waverly in the 2018 Made at Curve production of White Christmas - will share the role of Debbie, Mrs. Wilkinson’s daughter.

Joe Caffrey, who previously performed in the West End production of Billy Elliot the Musical, will join the cast as Billy’s Dad Jackie, while Broadway and West End sensation Rachel Izen will play Billy’s Grandma Edna. Luke Baker (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the Made at Curve UK tour of Grease) will play Billy’s older brother Tony and Jessica Daley (recently seen in Made at Curve productions of White Christmas and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber) will play Billy’s Mum.

The adult company will be completed by Craig Armstrong as George, Minal Patel as Big Davey, Cameron Johnson as Mr. Braithwaite, Micky Cochrane as Scab, Robin Paley Yorke as Lesley, Christopher Wright as Mr. Wilkinson, Michael Lin as Pit Supervisor, Jonathan Dryden Taylor as Posh Dad, William Atkinson as Older Billy and ensemble, and Steph Asamoah, Tori McDougall, Anna Rossa and Louie Wood as members of the ensemble.

The young company of ballet dancers and boxers, most of which are Midlands-based or have local family connections, will feature Willow Adamson, Maddie Seren Ashley, Oliver Back, Aneeka Kaur Bains, Ella-Rose Blackburn Price, Harvey Clarridge, Lily Corkill, Miley Dalton, Matisse Didier, Isabelle Francis, Ethan Galeotti, Rahul Gandabhai, Isla Granville, Uzziah Gray, Orlaith Rae Hunt, Ava Rose Johnson, Ava Mia Komisarczuk, Kyrelle Lammy, Lienna-Jean Langdon, Tahlia Maddox, Lorcan Murphy, Nesisa Mhindu, Sophia Pirie, Hayden Polanco, Gopal Thacker and Mirabelle Varakantam.

The Made at Curve production of Billy Elliot the Musical will by choreographed by Lucy Hind, with Musical Supervisor and Musical Director George Dyer. The set will be designed by Michael Taylor with costumes designed by Edd Lindley. Also joining the creative team are Lighting Designer and Curve Associate Ben Cracknell, Sound Designer Adam Fisher, Props Supervisor Lizzie Frankl, RYTDS Resident Assistant Director Lilac Yosiphon, Birkbeck Trainee Director Thyrza Abrahams, Associate Choreographer James Berkery, Dialect Coach Elspeth Morrison, Fight Director Kev McCurdy and Head Chaperone Helen ‘H’ Mclaren-Frost.

Children’s casting is managed by Jo Hawes, with adult casting led by Curve Associate Kay Magson CDG.

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are beyond excited to share our extraordinary cast for Lee Hall and Elton John’s astonishing musical Billy Elliot, ensuring this summer in Leicester is truly memorable.
“Billy Elliot is a musical filled with incredible characters, epic ideas and at its heart, the story of a young boy who has the passion and courage to dance down a different path from the one prescribed for him. We are thrilled to be working with our four Billys - Alfie, Leo, Jaden and Sam - and the entire young company - all hugely talented, brimming with energy and representing the very best young talent in the UK today.
“And leading the entire company, theatre legend Sally Ann Triplett takes on the role of the inspirational teacher we all need in our lives, Mrs. Wilkinson. Joining Sally, we are proud to welcome a first-class company to Curve, totally 55 performers! This is by far the most ambitious show we have staged at Curve and there is no better time to present this musical which recognises the value of culture in our society, the importance of expressing your truest self and gives a voice to the courageous working-class communities who are depicted in Lee Hall’s astonishing play. All beautifully framed by Elton John’s electrifying score.”

Based on Stephen Daldry’s BAFTA-winning 2000 film starring Jamie Bell and Julie WaltersBilly Elliot the Musical features music from Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. The musical first premiered at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 and went on to win a host of international awards, including four Olivier Awards and ten Tony Awards.

Tickets for Billy Elliot the Musical at Curve be purchased on Curve’s website www.curveonline.co.uk, over the phone by calling 0116 242 3595 or in-person at Curve’s Box Office.

photo credit: Marc Brenner

Friday, 17 September 2021

Leicester's Curve Theatre To Stage First New UK Production of Billy Elliot


Leicester’s Curve theatre will stage the first new UK production of iconic musical Billy Elliot.

 

The Made at Curve production will be directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Nikolai Foster and is set to run exclusively at Curve for six weeks only, 7 July to 14 August 2022. The musical will be choreographed by Lucy Hind (Girl From the North CountyThe Last Ship) with full casting to be announced in due course.

 

Based on Stephen Daldry’s BAFTA-winning 2000 film starring Jamie Bell and Julie WaltersBilly Elliot the Musical features music from Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall. The musical first premiered at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in 2005 and went on to win a host of international awards, including four Laurence Olivier Awards and ten Tony Awards.

 

Children’s casting will be managed by Jo Hawes CDG, the leading children’s casting director in the UK. Auditions for the title role and young people will begin soon and those interested in finding out more are encouraged to contact Jo Hawes by emailing joanne.hawes2013@gmail.com. All information will also be available on johawes.com.

 

Adult casting is led by Curve Associate Kay Magson CDG.

 

The musical’s set and costumes will be designed by Colin Richmond, with lighting from Curve Associate Ben Cracknell.

 

Speaking about this new Made at Curve production, Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“We are beyond excited to share Lee Hall and Elton John’s astonishing musical Billy Elliot with Curve audiences, ensuring summer 2022 in Leicester is truly memorable.

Billy Elliot is a musical filled with incredible characters, epic ideas and at its heart, the story of a young boy who has the passion and courage to dance down a different path from the one prescribed for him. We are indebted to the incredible creatives who made Billy such a hit and hugely grateful they have trusted us to create the first brand new UK production for our audiences in Leicester. Collaborating with a terrific production team and an incredible cast of the most exciting young performers, we are proud to present this mighty musical which recognises the value of culture in our society, the importance of expressing your truest self and gives a voice to the courageous working class communities who are depicted in Lee Hall’s astonishing play. All beautifully framed by Elton John’s electrifying score.”

It’s the mid 80s. Thatcher is at her most powerful. Men mine and boys box. Until, in a small town in County Durham, a young boy falls in love with ballet.

Set amidst the increasingly bitter 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot the Musical is a tale of determination, acceptance and daring to be different. In a close-knit community where family and tradition means everything, can Billy forge a new destiny and follow his passion?

Based on Stephen Daldry's acclaimed 2000 film, with music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall, this electrifying musical features incredible songs such as Solidarity, The Letter, He Could Be a Star and the show-stopping Electricity.

 

Tickets for Billy Elliot the Musical at Curve will go on sale to Curve Friends from Thursday 30 September, Supporters from Friday 1 October, Members, Groups and Access Register Customers from Monday 4 October and on general sale from Monday 11 October, all at 12 noon. Tickets can be purchased online at www.curveonline.co.uk or by calling Curve’s Box Office on 0116 242 3595.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Peter Andre to play Vince Fontaine in Grease at the Dominion Theatre


Peter Andre will make his West End debut playing the role of Vince Fontaine at certain performances in a new production of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE opening at the Dominion Theatre on Tuesday 17 May 2022, with previews from Tuesday 3 May 2022. GREASE is directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips. 

 

Dan Partridge (Link Larkin in Hairspray UK tour & Pepper in MAMMA MIA! West End) and Olivia Moore (Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre & Heathers at Theatre Royal Haymarket) will star as Danny and Sandy respectively, with Jocasta Almgill (& Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre) as Rizzo, Paul French (GreaseUK tour) as Kenickie, Mary Moore (Little Women at Park Theatre) as Jan, Jake Reynolds (professional debut) as Doody, Lizzy-Rose Esin-Kelly (A Chorus Line at Curve) as Marty, Damon Gould (Pretty Woman: The Musical at Savoy Theatre) as Sonny, Eloise Davies (Be More Chill at The Other Palace) as Frenchie, Jessica Croll (Hairspray UK tour) as Patty Simcox, Katie Lee (Matilda The Musical at Cambridge Theatre) as Cha Cha, Ronan Burns (West Side Story at Curve) as Johnny Casino and Corinna Powlesland (An Officer and A Gentleman at Regents Park Open Air Theatre as Miss Lynch. Darren Bennett (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre) will play Officer Mailie and Vince Fontaine at certain performances. 

 

They are joined by Jack Harrison-Cooper, Pearce Barron, Rishard-Kyro Nelson, Ellie Kingdon, Remi Ferdinand, Kalisha Johnson, Imogen Bailey, Kevin O’Dwyer and Carly Miles. Further casting is to be announced.

 

Peter Andre said “I'm beyond excited to be making my West End debut playing Vince Fontaine in Grease at the beautiful Dominion Theatre. Grease is such an iconic musical and we can guarantee audiences will have the most wonderful evening listening to songs we all know and love. We can't wait to see you there!"

 

GREASE originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972, where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. During the show's eight-year run at the time, little known actors including Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze and John Travolta all appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere. GREASE was first performed at the Dominion Theatre in 1993 before transferring to the Cambridge Theatre in 1996. It returned to the West End, opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2007. 

 

The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is the fourth highest-grossing live action musical of all time. The musical features beloved songs, including Summer NightsGreased Lightnin’Hopelessly Devoted To Youand You’re The One That I Want.

 

GREASE has designs by Colin Richmond, orchestrations and musical supervision by Sarah Travis, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and Richard Brooker, video and projection design by Douglas O’Connell and casting by David Grindrod CDG.

 

This production of GREASE is produced by Colin Ingram for InTheatre Productions, Donovan Mannato, Playing Field, Gavin Kalin, and Curve.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

White Christmas the Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review


White Christmas the Musical
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 25th November 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Seen last Christmas at the Leicester Curve Theatre, Nikolai Foster's exceptionally staged and completely charismatic production of White Christmas has taken it's place in the West End for a Christmas of festivities and theatrical joy.

Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, the musical follows the stories of two former World War II American soldiers who became a famous musical duo. The pair use their fame to join forces with Judy and Betty to save a holiday inn from financial ruin and spread cheer all around.

The embodiment of glamour from start to finish, this musical whisks you away and takes you to a wintery wonderland where lullabies and tap dances reign supreme. The audience are enthralled thanks to the intimate feeling which is somehow created in the vast cavern of the Dominion Theatre. 

The story is nothing special and there's really very little of it but there's a level of characterisation which runs deep throughout and makes the audience really care about the action and people on stage and brings a contemporary feel to an otherwise un-relatable musical. For example, Martha, Judy and Betty sing 'Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun' which highlights their desire to not being completely reliant on men. In another vein, the vulnerability of Bob (Danny Mac) is shown thoughtfully and delicately. Whilst at first he appears distant and uncaring, it soon becomes clear that he is struggling to rejoin civilian life. These human characteristics are realistically brought to stage with great effect. 


The cast of all round triple threats provide enough energetic festive cheer to power all the Christmas lights in London. Clare Halse is a theatrical treasure as she draws the eye every moment she's on stage and is the epitome of Hollywood glamour. Her performance is faultless as she glides around and radiates excellence. Halse also gives a dazzling tap performance of 'I Love a Piano' alongside Dan Burton and the ensemble. Burton as Phil is equal measures charm and sleaze as well as giving top top top notch vocals and choreographic quality. Danny Mac once again gives a faultless performance and has a great love/hate chemistry with Danielle Hope as Betty. Their blossoming romance is lovely to watch just another level of sweetness in this candy-cane-sugary musical.

Michael Brandon is commanding but vulnerable as General Henry Waverly, whilst, Brenda Edwards is a compelling force of comedic nature as Martha and provides a real show stopping moment with 'Let Me Sing and I'm Happy'. The ensemble are unanimously joyous and captivating throughout, with Aimée Hodnett and Kayleigh Thadani giving stand out performances as the ditzy, amorous Rhoda and Rita.

This is a visually exquisite musical which is the embodiment of production value. Diego Pitarch's sumptuous costumes not only look beautiful on their own, but float and flow divinely as part of Stephen Mear's choreography which is elegance and style wrapped up with a bow. The post-war era is brought to life glitteringly, as is the music of Irving Berlin which soars and fills the Dominion.

It's not about the story and of course there are faults as with many classic films but this is an utterly lavish production which will fill even the Grinch's heart with Christmas cheer. 

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Grease UK Tour starring Peter Andre to return in 2021


The producers of the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical Grease, are delighted that the show will tour the UK and Ireland in 2021. The musical was due to tour in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19.

Following his success starring in the UK and Ireland tour in 2019, Peter Andre will star in the 2021 tour at certain venues and performances (Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Dublin, Liverpool, Bromley, Southampton, Nottingham, Manchester, Dartford, Canterbury and Birmingham). As well as reprising the role of Teen Angel, Andre will also play Vince Fontaine.

The 2021 tour will begin at Theatre Royal Plymouth, running from 22 – 30 January, and will then play Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff from 1 – 6 February, Bristol Hippodrome from 8 – 13 February, Edinburgh Festival Theatre from 16 – 20 February, Norwich Theatre Royal from 22 – 27 February, Milton Keynes Theatre from 1 – 6 March, Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin from 16 – 27 March, The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford from 29 March – 3 April, Liverpool Empire from 5 – 10 April, Sheffield Lyceum from 12 – 17 April, Churchill Theatre, Bromley from 19 – 24 April, Stoke Regent Theatre from 3 – 8 May, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from 11 – 15 May, Grand Opera House, Belfast from 18 – 22 May, Theatre Royal Nottingham from 24 – 29 May, Royal & Derngate Northampton from 31 May – 5 June, Palace Theatre Manchester from 7 – 19 June, The Orchard Theatre Dartford from 21 – 26 June, The Marlowe Canterbury from 28 June – 3 July, The Sands Centre, Carlisle from 6-10 July and The Alexandra, Birmingham from 12 – 17 July.

Andre said "I was so thrilled to have been returning to Grease this year as I had the most wonderful time last year working with our incredible cast and creative team. Sadly, this year's tour had to be postponed due to COVID-19 but I'm overjoyed that we can return in 2021. Grease is joyous and will truly allow you to escape to a different time, with show-stopping dance routines and some of the most iconic songs of all time. It's a show about solidarity and it celebrates friendship. As the song goes, We Go Together!"

Grease is directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, with designs by Colin Richmond, orchestrations and musical supervision by Sarah Travis, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and 2021 tour casting by Kay Magson CDG, with original tour casting by David Grindrod CDG.

This new production of GREASE is produced by Colin Ingram, InTheatre Productions, Donovan Mannato, Playing Field, Hunter Arnold, Araca and Curve.

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Annie (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Annie (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 10th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★

Annie is an absolute cult classic show, from it's various film incarnations and tours around the world, there's something wonderful about the story of a young orphan who overcomes adversity and finds the love she's always desired.

Nikolai Foster's current UK touring production of the show features a wonderful set, some thrilling choreography and a whole lot of foot stamping energy from both the children and the adults. Colin Richmond's set is reminiscent of Matilda, with fragments (in this case puzzle pieces) framing the stage and creating a backdrop which leaves a lot to the imagination but also seems to flow and transition. Richmond's costumes are perfect for the setting but also manage to put a refreshing spin on the styes which have become synonymous with the show such as Annie's red coat and Lily St Regis' flowing dress. 

Nick Winston once again provides the goods with his sharp choreography that incorporates a number of dance styles and never waivers. Particularly impressive are the tap numbers and rousing NYC sequences. The cast are precise and clean as they bring Winston's vision to life in an entertaining and stylistic way.

The young cast do a great job of bringing the various personalities of the orphans to life, with stand outs at this performance including Chancé Quaye, Aliya Bashir and Francesca Robinson. Leading the way as Annie herself, Freya Yates gives a good, assured performance and is sure to grow and develop into a wonderful musical theatre performer.


Among the adult cast it's Carolyn Maitland who stands out as the caring Grace, who takes Annie under her wing and becomes the perfect mother figure. Maitland's voice is superb and she really does radiate warmth. Richard Meek is entertaining as the bad boy schmoozer Rooster, who cons his way through life but remains annoyingly charming. Alongside the talented Jenny Gayner as Lily, the pair give fiery performances, especially in the kick-line inducing Easy Street. Craig Revel Horwood is a clear audience favourite and does give a rounded performance. Whilst there are moments which lack in energy, others fizzle and excite. Overall there are times when the audience could have benefitted from Horwood having stronger diction within his strong New York accent but he does, mostly, do the iconic role justice.  

Although the sun might not be coming out in Surrey tomorrow, there's no doubt that this show will bring light and joy to many children. The beaming faces and exclamations of "I want to see it again" prove how magical theatre can be; and whilst this show is not everyone's cup of tea, it certainly has the heart to inspire. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Billy Elliot the Musical, Leicester Curve | Review


Billy Elliot the Musical
Leicester Curve 
Reviewed on Saturday 30th July 2022 by Hope Priddle
★★★★

After a staggering eleven years in the West End, Billy Elliot the Musical returns in an ambitious new Made at Curve production, directed by Nikolai Foster. Billy Elliot is the uplifting tale of a working-class boy from northeast England who discovers a love of dance during the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85. With a grieving family and embittered community at the heart of this narrative, Billy Elliot celebrates the vital, restorative potential of art and the value of coming together. With many of us bearing witness to the rising cost-of-living, an assault on the arts and a summer of strikes, it is no surprise that this musical - inspired by Stephen Daldry’s legendary film - continues to resonate.

While this Made at Curve production features book and lyrics by Lee Hall, and music by Elton John, it marks a radical break from the original production, with warmth and intimacy replaced by an allover grittier aesthetic. Tender moments such as The Letter were sadly eclipsed, not least by the Curve’s cavernous stage. However, this vastness is extremely effectual in capturing Billy’s loneliness and the colossal feat ahead of him.

Alongside Ben Cracknell’s impressive lighting design, Michael Taylor’s set is highly effective. Though the severe industrial scaffolding lacks a homely sense of place, it intimates towards a more universal working-class experience. The use of a mineshaft as Billy’s home is inspired, whilst moving railings are used to great effect in numbers such as Solidarity and Angry Dance, creating cage-like prisons which mirror the claustrophobic, limited world from which Billy is trying to break free.

The score sounds bigger this time around, with jazzy synthesized accompaniments a welcome addition. The tempo has been upped leaving several numbers feeing rushed. He Could Be A Star, a heartbreaking number in which Billy’s father desperately contemplates crossing the picket, is not given time to breathe, whilst Born to Boogie is treated as brief musical interlude rather than a tiring ballet bootcamp. Nevertheless, the ensemble moments swell and soar. The Stars Look Down is an extraordinarily emotive and impactful opening number, ushering in what remains a truly triumphant score.

Ironically, dance is no longer the focus of this production. Breathtaking ballet routines have been removed in favour of more instinctual and age appropriate movements. It is hard not to miss Billy furiously tapping against a barricade of riot shields with razor sharp precision during the Angry Dance and Hind’s choreography does feel a bit flat. However, this earthly and grounded style still makes sense in context.

The adult cast are incredibly strong; Joe Caffrey reprises his touching and empathetic performance as Billy’s grieving father, while Luke Baker delivers a passionate turn as brother Tony. Sally Anne Triplett offers just the right measure of chain-smoking cynicism and tough love as Mrs. Wilkinson. Lastly, Leo Hollingsworth and Bobby Donald were charming, cheeky and confident as Billy and Michael, capturing our hearts with a magical friendship that was a true delight to watch.

Changes aside, Billy Elliot the Musical still packs a mighty punch. Made in Curve have done an impressive job at reimagining this well-loved musical and brought with it a much needed celebration of determination, difference and daring to dream.

photo credit: Marc Brenner