Showing posts sorted by date for query West Side Story. Sort by relevance Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by date for query West Side Story. Sort by relevance Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Moulin Rouge! the Musical, Piccadilly Theatre | Review


Moulin Rouge the Musical 
The Piccadilly Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th January 2023
★★★★

A tale of two halves, Moulin Rouge the Musical is both a spectacular spectacular and a chaotic conundrum. Based on the 2001 film of the same name, it tells the story of fated lovers Christian and Satine, who despite the hardships which surround them, just want to be free to love one another. This musical adaptation takes elements from the film but also puts an extreme jukebox spin on the whole thing.


The real issue with Moulin Rouge is the clunky, all over the place book, which, especially in act one, feels basic. Random lines of dialogue are interspersed with pop songs that come out of nowhere and elicit awkward laughter from the audience; and the show feels confused, as if it can’t decide whether to lean into the comedy or try to be a serious show. There are also a number of side character arcs woven in to further the plot, each of which feel too random and under-developed to really elevate the show in any way. The heart of the story is Christian and Satine love and it would be more effective if we only followed their story.


However, on the other side of the coin, the musical is a visual masterpiece which completely astounds. It's the epitome of razzle dazzle, and the set certainly the most spectacular in the West End right now. Derek McLane has created a sumptuous backdrop which has details hidden in every corner of the auditorium, from the elephant who towers over, to the mini Moulin Rouges embossed in the golden decadence of the facade. Paired with Catherine Zuber's divine costumes, you really couldn't ask for more in terms of aesthetics.

Also, after a pantomime-esque Act One, the musical really steps up a gear. In Act Two the stakes get higher, the performances get more intense and it really becomes the show you'd expect. As leading man Christian, Jamie Muscato is absolutely glorious, serving divine vocals throughout and also bringing a charming, comedic side to the role. Crazy Rolling is a superb stand out moment, as is El Tango de Roxanne, which includes both breathtakingly good vocals, and fantastic dancing by Amy Thornton and Elia Lo Tauro

Both Ben Richards and Matt Rixon as the Duke and Harold Zidler respectively, are good as the 'baddies' but do lack a darker level of menacing that would really add to their performances. As Satine, Melissa James has some great moments, especially her duet of Come What May, a moment where I felt things levelled up and I became much more invested in the story.

Perhaps the most effective part of the musical are the group numbers where the ensemble come together with upmost energy to perform Sonya Tayeh's abundant choreography. The opening Lady Marmalade number is particularly impressive and there's no denying how talented this cast are.

Overall, a three star act one, a five star set, and a four star act two make this a distinctly middle of the ground show and there's definitely elements of style over substance, but when it's good, it's really good and worth seeing for the Act Two opening number alone.

Wednesday, 26 October 2022

Jeremy Jordan's Band Age of Madness Announce The Lonesome Frets and Sammie Jay To Perform Alongside Them


Jeremy Jordan and his band AGE OF MADNESS are delighted to announce that George Maguire and Rachael Wooding with their band, THE LONESOME FRETS and singer-songwriter SAMMIE JAY will be joining them at their debut UK shows at HERE at Outernet on Sunday 13 November 2022 at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale now from www.fw-live.com/aom
 
Jeremy Jordan said: 
“I am beyond excited to bring my band to London and we’re thrilled to be adding George and Rachael’s band, The Lonesome Frets and Sammi Jay to the line-up for this great night.  George and I shared the stage for Bonnie and Clyde in Concert at the start of this year, so it’s fantastic to be reunited through our mutual passion for our bands and music, he and Rachael will blow you away!”

 
AGE OF MADNESS is the passion project of Broadway, television and film actor Jeremy Jordan in collaboration with long-time friend and guitarist Mikael. Combining elements of modern alt rock with nostalgic throw backs to the 90s/2000s and a touch of the classical, AGE OF MADNESS are storytellers in epic rock form, their songs a testimony to where we came from and where we stand in today’s world.
 
THE LONESOME FRETS are George Maguire and Rachael Wooding. They met as performers on the London stage and began writing and gigging together in 2016. They have created a unique sound which focuses on well-crafted and catchy lyric driven songs. Their dynamic live shows are completed by a four-piece band and together the six deliver a tight and exciting show. The pair are no stranger to rock n roll royalty with George having worked on projects with both Ray and Dave Davies and Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry and Rachael with Brian May.
 
SAMMIE JAY is a singer-songwriter whose powerful voice encompasses several genres of music. Her professional career started playing Little Cosette in Les Misérables in the West End, followed by appearing on television in Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush. Staging her own band in Nashville with a solo performance on the prestigious Grand Old Oprey, Sammy Jay has duetted with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free and performed concerts at University Studios Hollywood, Monte Carlo and supported Shalamar at The London Palladium.
 
JEREMY JORDAN is a Broadway performer who is best known for Newsies (Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk nominations), Bonnie and Clyde (Theatre World Award), American Son, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Waitress and Rock of Ages. On television he has appeared as a series regular on Supergirl, Smash, and Disney's Tangled. His film credits include The Last 5 Years, Joyful Noise, American Son, Newsies. He will soon star as the tenacious record industry giant, Neil Bogart, in the upcoming feature film, Spinning Gold. Jeremy is also a singer-songwriter whose concerts and cabaret shows have won awards and acclaim worldwide.
 
Fourth Wall Live (FWL) is a live entertainment company that produces events, concerts and on-stage shows. This January FWL presented Bonnie & Clyde the musical in concert for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Broadway favourite Jeremy Jordan. This concert broke Drury Lane box office records selling out a 2-night run in less than 6 minutes.
 
FWL regularly brings Broadway artists to the UK, previous concerts include Broadway and TV regulars Chita Rivera, Keala Settle, Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Kelli O’Hara, 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 and UK Stars solo concerts including Michael Ball, Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett, Hannah Waddingham, Sharon D Clarke, Bonnie Langford and Jenna Russell. 
 
Tori Amos’s musical The Light Princess was presented to critical acclaim, as a special one-off concert in the summer of 2018. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Zorro The Musical were presented with musical-all-star-casts in 2019 and 2020 respectively to sold out audiences.
 
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 concert event post lockdown in the UK.  Season two at the Hippodrome concerts ran from September 2021 to December 2021 and featured 20 nights of musical entertainment from the world of musical theatre and pop cross over.

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, 20 May 2022

My Fair Lady, London Coliseum | Review


My Fair Lady
London Coliseum
Reviewed on Thursday 19th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

On the eve of Eliza Doolittle day, the London Coliseum was packed to the rafters and buzzing to see the long awaited West End transfer of Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady. Bartlett Sher's joyous production had a highly acclaimed run on Broadway and has now opened here, with the glorious Amara Okereke in the leading role. A role that seems made for her.

As Eliza, Amara is astounding in her versatility. From loud, brash and boisterous, she can flip to a calmer, softer side in an instant and is a joy to watch, whatever side she is showing. Taking on the role of Henry Higgins, the phonetics professor who bets that he can transform a cockney flower girl into a Duchess, is Harry Hadden-Paton who is engaging, witty and kind of manic. His relationship with Eliza is interesting and feisty. They are combative throughout but there's also a simmering slow-burn relationship happening that is so enjoyable to watch.

In supporting roles, there are some gems. Malcolm Sinclair is hilarious as Colonel Pickering and Vanessa Redgrave is charming as Higgins' mum. Stephen K Amos also gives a comedic performance as Eliza's dad, Alfred. His vocals are quite as strong as you'd expect but his performance is spirited and exciting.

This really is a sumptuous production, with absolutely beautiful costumes by Catherine Zuber which reference the film nicely but aren't direct copies. The iconic Ascot scene is particularly impressive. In terms of the stage design there are peaks and troughs. Michael Yeargan has crafted a meticulously detailed Edwardian house, which spins on a revolve to to reveal the various rooms. However, the other sets aside from this are somewhat lacklustre and fail to provide the wow factor you'd expect with a production like this. Everything works and effectively tells the story but there's a final sparkle missing that keeps it from being a five star production. There's also the unavoidable issue that Higgins' patronising reaction to Eliza has not aged well at all and his flaws make it hard to really root for him. The open ended closing of the show does help to ease this uneasiness but there's still a lingering awkwardness.

Despite these faults, it really is a lovely production which is chockablock with humour. And whilst is does show its age at times, much of the show feels fresh and Amara gives a starring performance that is worth the ticket price alone. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Grease The Musical, Dominion Theatre | Review


Grease The Musical
Dominion Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★

It’s a cult classic that’s got the word, got the groove, it’s got meaning, and in its current West End run at the Dominion Theatre, Grease provides a high energy, fun night out that’ll have you feeling good and tapping your toes.

The production which previously toured the UK features all the iconic moments and songs from the film, but shuffles them around and combines them with their original stage versions. For example The T Birds are now back to their og name of the Burger Palace Boys. These small tweaks allow the audience to be more engaged as they don’t quite know what’s coming. However, other attempts to somewhat modernise the book fall a little flat. You would assume that ending the show with the punchline of the girl changing herself so the boy likes her, could’ve been switched up a little but it remains the same as the movie and certainly feels dated. This version of Grease does give Sandy's character more of a backbone but it would be nice to see just a bit of dialogue added to give her a bit more autonomy at the end.

The West End cast is chockablock with strong performers who bring the array of characters to life incredibly well. As the leading lady, Olivia Moore is a delight as Sandy. Her powerhouse voice soars every time she opens her mouth and she gives a dynamic and endearing performance. Leader of the Burger Palace Boys, Danny Zuko is played well by Dan Partridge who really comes into his own in the angsty number How Big I'm Gonna Be and also provides great humour and vocals in Stranded at the Drive In.

Other standout performers include Jocasta Almgill, who’s rendition of There Are Worse Things I Could Do, is heart-wrenching and transforms the song to be heard in a new light. Mary Moore is also a gem as Jan and Eloise Davies is wonderfully witty and whimsical as the Beauty School Dropout, Frenchie. Paul French’s Kenickie is rough and brooding but sometimes lets his softer side show and is a delight to watch. 

If you’ve seen the adverts for this show, you’ll have probably seen Peter Andre who is starring as Vince Fontaine and Teen Idol. Whilst only appearing briefly in act one, in act two he comes to life and is highly entertaining and will certainly please audience members who are fans!

There are a few moments in the show where the energy lulls or jokes fall a bit flat but it’s the full ensemble sections that really bring it back up and make it soar. The Hand Jive and We Go Together are especially good moments that ooze energy and almost create electricity in the auditorium. This is in a big way thanks to Arlene Phillips' outstanding choreography that is fresh and exciting but completely in keeping with what we know and love as typically Grease

As a whole the cast are top notch and work really well together. It's great to see how much characterisation work has gone into each role, so that no matter who you're looking at one stage, you can always see a story or relationship developing with them.

Despite a few shortcomings, the musical is a real laugh and a nice, hand jiving escape from reality. It's not groundbreaking but Grease The Musical does what it says on the tin and delivers iconic scenes and songs that fans of the film will love. So, all you crazy cats better get booking!

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Prima Facie, Harold Pinter Theatre | Review


Prima Facie
Harold Pinter Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 13th May 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★★

Anyone who's seen Jodie Comer in her multifaceted performance in Killing Eve understands why she is such a well loved and in demand actor. In her one-woman West End debut in Prima Facie, Comer lives up to every expectation and delivers a performance that astounds and stays with you long after the curtain comes down.

What's so impressive with Comer is not only how she brings interesting and enticing vocal intonations to the script, but how she physically embodies every moment. The high-voltage emotions which run through the piece are literally carried by Comer and she imbues every moment with intensity and expressiveness. You can just tell how much work has gone into crafting such an intelligent and wonderful portrayal, even from small details such as becoming slightly posher when she's presenting in court compared to talking to her mother. Comer never flags for a second of the 95 minute show and whether she's shattering you with heart-breaking moments, or having you laugh out loud with her witty performance, she has you wrapped around her finger in a phenomenal way.

Of course this performance wouldn't exist without Suzie Miller's script which is so expertly crafted and focusses on the heartbreaking realities of sexual assault and how difficult it is for women to get closure via successful prosecutions in a court which is based on archaic rules written by men and does very little to support or empathise with victims.

Comer's character Tessa is a barrister who rose from being the underdog at university to being one of the top defence lawyers for men accused of sexual assault. The play opens with her revelling at being great in court and later on contrasts this by showing flashbacks to her younger self full of doubt as to whether she could succeed when surrounded by all the private school classmates who she cannot relate to. Her excitement and razor sharp cross examination skills show how she can sew the seed of doubt that the victim may have in fact given consent and that the man was doing what he believed she wanted. The way she talks about it almost gets you on her side until she herself is raped by a colleague and realises how messed up the whole system and court process is.

Natasha Chiver's lighting design and Justin Martin's direction really hammer this message home, with folders creating a blank canvas for the action but also becoming part of the story at times. Gradual lighting changes bring further gravitas to the mood changes and the clever closing monologue which breaks the fourth wall is so well done. As a whole this production is a sleek treat which discusses a dark matter but has you feeling uplifted by the talent and skill displayed on stage and behind the scenes.

In a stunningly moving performance, Jodie Comer shows her emotional range and magnetic stage presence which makes her the wondrous performer she is and makes this an unmissable piece of theatre. Beg, borrow, or steal a ticket if you can find one, or book to see Prime Facie in cinemas!

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Jeremy Jordan to Perform Live in London


Fourth Wall Live is thrilled to announce that Broadway star Jeremy Jordan will be performing a solo show live in London at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Monday 29 August 2022. Pre-sale sign up is open now. www.fw-live.com/jeremy
 
This marks Jeremy’s fourth solo engagement in London after three previous sold-out runs as well as the sold-out Bonnie and Clyde in Concert at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in January of this year. The show is an opportunity for Jeremy to celebrate the some of music he is most loved for performing as well as personal favourites both old and new. 
 
Jeremy Jordan is a Broadway performer who is best known for Newsies (Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk nominations), Bonnie and Clyde (Theatre World Award), American Son, Little Shop of Horrors, West Side Story, Waitress and Rock of Ages. On television he has appeared as a series regular on Supergirl, Smash, and Disney's Tangled. His film credits include The Last 5 Years, Joyful Noise, American Son, Newsies. He will soon star as the tenacious record industry giant, Neil Bogart, in the upcoming feature film, Spinning Gold. Jeremy is also a singer-songwriter whose concerts and cabaret shows have won awards and acclaim worldwide. 


Benjamin Rauhala is one of the Broadway community's most trusted music directors and collaborators. He is the Music Supervisor and co-creator of Disney Princess - The Concert, touring over 90 cities in North America throughout 2022. He was named Best Musical Director at the 2020 Broadway World Cabaret Awards. He has toured the world as the music director for Jeremy Jordan, the Tony-nominated star of Broadway's Newsies and The CW's Supergirl. He is also the music director for Academy Award Winner Ariana DeBose, Halston star Krysta Rodriguez, Tony nominees Derek Klena, Jennifer Damiano, Kathryn Gallagher, Nashville star Kyle Dean Massey, and Frozen stars Caroline Bowman and Austin Colby. He was the Associate Music Director for the world premiere of The Secret Life of Bees at the Atlantic Theater, directed by Sam Gold, with music by Duncan Sheik. He worked on the music team for both Bartlett Sher's Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof and the Broadway production of Duncan Sheik's American Psycho simultaneously during the 2016 season. His Off-Broadway credits include David Byrne’s Joan of Arc: Into The Fire at The Public Theater and The Marvelous Wonderettes at Theater Row. He previously served as music director for Hit List, the meta-musical from the NBC television show SMASH and is an Original Programming Producer at Feinstein's/54 Below, where he has created dozens of sold-out concerts, including the Broadway Loves Series, that has famously honoured Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Celine Dion and many more beloved pop icons.

 

Fourth Wall Live (FWL) is a live entertainment company that produces events, concerts and on-stage shows. This January FWL presented Bonnie & Clyde the musical in concert for two nights to a sold-out audience at Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Broadway favourite Jeremy Jordan. This concert broke Drury Lane box office records selling out a 2-night run in less than 6 minutes.

 

FWL regularly brings Broadway artists to the UK, previous concerts include Broadway and TV regulars Chita Rivera, Keala Settle, Laura Benanti, Sierra Boggess, Kelli O’Hara, 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 and UK Stars solo concerts including Michael Ball, Matt Cardle, Kerry Ellis, Oliver Tompsett, Hannah Waddingham, Sharon D Clarke, Bonnie Langford and Jenna Russell. 

 

Tori Amos’s musical The Light Princess was presented to critical acclaim, as a special one-off concert in the summer of 2018. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Zorro The Musical were presented with musical-all-star-casts in 2019 and 2020 respectively to sold out audiences.

 

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 concert event post lockdown in the UK.  Season two at the Hippodrome concerts ran from September 2021 to December 2021 and featured 20 nights of musical entertainment from the world of musical theatre and pop cross over.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Gemma Collins to Star as Mama Morton in Chicago


David Ian in association with Barry and Fran Weissler are delighted to announce TV personality Gemma ‘The GC’ Collins will star as ‘Mama Morton’ in the acclaimed UK and Ireland tour of the international smash hit musical Chicago. Gemma will join the tour at the Sunderland Empire from Tuesday 31 May 2022, ahead of playing Cardiff New Theatre, Blackpool Winter Gardens, Sheffield Lyceum, Norwich Theatre Royal and New Theatre, Oxford.

 

David Ian said today, “We were completely stunned by Gemma’s audition for the role. She’s an undeniable force both on and off stage, and we can’t wait to see her portrayal of ‘Mama Morton’ on tour. Audiences across the country are in for a treat.”

 

Gemma Collins is best known as a media personality and businesswoman, having first featured in the reality series The Only Way Is Essex. She was awarded the 2021 winner of the Best Female Personality at the National Reality Television Awards. Since ‘Essex’ Gemma has appeared in numerous television shows including, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity Big Brother, Dancing on Ice and All Together Now in which she was a finalist. Most recently Gemma was seen on screens with her intimate Channel 4 documentary, Gemma Collins: Self-Harm & Me. Before finding fame on The Only Way Is Essex, Gemma was a keen performer having studied dance and winning a place at the renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School.

 

Gemma joins Faye Brookes as ‘Roxie Hart’, Djalenga Scott as ‘Velma Kelly’, Jamie Baughan as ‘Amos Hart’ and B.E. Wong as ‘Mary Sunshine’. The role of ‘Billy Flynn’ will be announced soon. Full tour schedule below. www.chicagothemusical.com

 

The cast is completed by Ishmail Aaron, Michelle Andrews, Gabby Antrobus, Delycia Belgrave, Joel Benjamin, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Daniel Clift, Callum Fitzgerald, Emily Goodenough, Billie Hardy, Aaron Jenkins, Liam Marcellino, Theo Reece, Hollie Jane Stephens and Harrison Wilde.  

 

Faye Brookes (Roxie Hart) reached the final of last year’s series of ITV’s Dancing On Ice. She is best known for her role as Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street, for which she won a National Television Award. Her theatre credits include Princess Fiona in Shrek and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, both on national tour, Ann/Edna in That Day We Sang directed by Victoria Wood at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Liesl in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Frenchy in Grease at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. Faye’s other TV credits include Agnes Franklin in Our Girl and Helena in Atlantis, both for the BBC.

 

Djalenga Scott’s (Velma Kelly) West End credits include Lily St Regis in Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London and Chicago at the Adelphi, Cambridge and Garrick Theatres. Her other credits include Anita in the national tour of West Side Story, Rizzo in Grease at Curve Leicester, Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show and Carmen in Fame, both on European tours, the US tour of Batman Live and Bombalurina in Cats at Kilworth House. Djalenga’s screen credits include Scarlett/Esme in Trapped for the BBC and Alexandra in the film I Give It A Year. 

 

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids. 

 

Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago’s sexy, sassy score includes the show-stopping songs “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango”, and “All That Jazz”.  Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, Chicago is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.

 

Since it opened in New York in 1996, Chicago has played in 36 countries worldwide and has been performed in English, Dutch, German, Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Danish, Japanese and Korean.  Worldwide it has been seen by an estimated 33 million people, grossed over $1.7 billion and played over 32,500 performances.

 

Chicago, which is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.  The 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago was choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, directed by Walter Bobbie, and produced by Barry and Fran Weissler.