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

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Come From Away, Abbey Theatre, Dublin | Review


Come From Away (European Premiere) 
Abbey Theatre, Dublin 
Reviewed on Wed 19 December 2018 by Damien Murray
★★★★

As a former refuelling stop for trans-Atlantic flights, the remote town of Gander in Newfoundland was once well used to having many visitors on board passing planes. 

In 2001, due to its position and facilities, it unexpectedly found itself playing host to 38 international flights filled with 7,000 passengers of many nationalities during the horrific attacks of 9/11 on the North-Eastern region of the United States. 

This is not a show about those atrocities, but rather a true story of generosity, gratitude and ultimate hope performed as a theatrical documentation of the unfolding events at Gander as a result of the attacks and the efforts of a small island population to help their fellow man in exceptional and demanding circumstances. 

Ahead of its transfer to London at the end of January, it is, perhaps, appropriate that the European premiere of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s relatively new, but highly-acclaimed, award-winning musical, is being staged in Dublin as Newfoundland owes much of its music, language and culture to Ireland. 


This fact is reflected in the show’s accents, humour and music, with a distinctly ‘celtic’ approach to the score, instrumentation and underscoring in this Abbey Theatre co-production with Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. 

Playing a multitude of roles with a quick-fire change of accent, hat, shirt or jacket to convey each character, the hard-working and 12-strong cast - Jenna Boyd, Nathanael Campbell, Clive Carter, Mary Doherty, Robert Hands, Helen Hobson, Jonathan Andrew Hume, Harry Morrison, Emma Salvo, David Shannon, Cat Simmons and, returning to the city where she made her professional debut, Ireland’s own West End and Broadway star, Rachel Tucker - prove the perfect team for this exceptional ensemble piece. 

Indeed, the captivating cast takes ensemble performance to a whole new and higher level in this factual, intense and heart-warming drama. 

Performances here are of such a uniformly impressive standard, it is almost impossible to single anyone out for special praise, but it must be said that, with her commanding stage presence, quality vocals and passionate performance, it is no accident that one of Rachel Tucker’s main characters is, appropriately, that of the Captain. 


By necessity, the casting is diverse to reflect the wide cross section of some of those who were caught up in the Gander situation with people of various shapes, colours and creeds being represented; each with their own story and circumstances and each dealing with the situation in their own way. 

With Beowulf Boritt’s simple, sparse and static (apart from a stage revolve, which, thankfully, is not overused) set representing the remoteness of the forested island being cleverly lit by Howell Binkley’s mood-inspiring lighting, this production is greatly helped by Christopher Ashley’s no thrills direction and Tara Overfield-Wilkinson’s relentless choreography and movement to advance the evolving story in its 100-minute performance time, without ever losing the attention of its audience. 

Because of the nature of its unfolding story, this unconventional musical benefits greatly by the absence on an interval to ensure no loss of momentum or continuity. 

The show is also unusual in terms of the musical score, which mixes Celtic with folk and rock with the addition of a few ballads and, with tongue firmly in cheek, gives a musical nod to Titanic to add humour to the piece. 

Apart from when they take centre stage for a bit of an international hoe-down during Screech In (highlighting the importance of music as an international language), the eight accomplished musicians, under Alan Berry’s musical direction, are discretely positioned at the side of the stage. 


Musical highlights are dominated by the ensemble’s excellent choral work throughout, particularly in songs like Darkness And Trees, while the beautiful rendition of Prayer reinforces the commonality of music in religion. 

Other highlights include Rachel Tucker’s moving showcase song, Me And The Sky, and the tender love song, Stop The World. 

In the midst of mixed emotions, fear, confusion, panic, terror and tragedy, we find that camaraderie, friendship, tolerance, respect and humour are universal and all shine through in this story of interaction between strangers when they are thrown together in the most unusual of circumstances and when relationships survive and grow with random acts of kindness. 

Human resourcefulness becomes second nature as all rally round to provide such practical essentials as food, clothing, accommodation, language interpreters, counselling, medical and spiritual care, money and special care needed for babies and animals that were on any of the grounded flights. 

In addition to the positive feelings when they are all pulling together as one, a painful feeling of loneliness and emptiness descends on everyone immediately after they eventually leave to go home similar to that experienced at the end of an Irish wake. 

This story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in a time of need is truly inspirational and this intense, gripping, emotional and heart-warming production perfectly captures the generosity of the human spirit and the hope that has been born out of tragedy to create an oasis of harmony in a world of confusion. 

Come From Away runs at the Abbey Theatre until Sat 19th January 2019 

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy 

Friday, 11 March 2022

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical Extends Booking Period


Producers have today announced that the hit production Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical has extended booking until 29 January 2023.  The critically acclaimed production has been playing to sell-out ecstatic crowds since October last year at the Lyric Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue and it has just been nominated for 4 Olivier Awards, including BestNew Musical. 

 

Producers said: “Bob’s music has a power to heal, and bring joy and life and happiness to the whole world. In these difficult times we are so pleased that audiences are feeling the positive vibrations reverberating around the Lyric Theatre which we have made our home. ONE LOVE to all nominees and welcome to our family, the brilliant Michael Duke.” 

 

This news comes as new images are released of Michael Duke who has taken over the role of Bob Marley from Arinzé Kene. Duke has been performing for 20 years, starting his career as Young Simba in The Lion King. He has appeared in the West End run of The Inheritance, West Side Story at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, Beautiful: The Carol King Musical, Thriller Live and The Rat Pack LIVE! (all in the West End).

 

On Tuesday this week it was announced that the show had been nominated for 4 Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for Arinzé Kene, Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Gabrielle Brooks and Best Original Score or New Orchestration for Orchestrator Simon Hale.

Award-winning director Clint Dyer channels the creative quest and spiritual power of a universally embraced icon, in this critically acclaimed production which features Marley’s magical, revolutionary songs and a book by award-winning Lee Hall.

Lose yourself to the rhythm of 'Exodus', 'No Woman No Cry', 'Waiting in Vain', 'Three Little Birds', ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, 'Could You Be Loved', 'Redemption Song' and many more.

The explosive production celebrates the immense life and timely message of Jamaican soul rebel Bob Marley - from a life of poverty to visionary international superstar. Crucial fellow soul rebels in the cast include the sensational Rita Marley and the I Three and his inspiring brothers in arms, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer and Lee ‘Scratch Perry’.

 

The full cast features Michael Duke (Bob Marley), Gabrielle Brooks (Rita Marley), Shanay Holmes (Cindy Breakspeare), Sophia Mackay (Judy Mowatt), Melissa Brown-Taylor (Marcia Griffiths), Jacade Simpson (Bunny Wailer), Natey Jones (Peter Tosh), David Albury (Alternate Bob Marley) Daniel Bailey, Craig Blake, Charles Blyth, Luke Buck, Maxwell Cole, Athena Collins, Viquichele Cross, Kimmy Edwards, Raphael Estavia, Henry Faber, Cannon Hay, Llewellyn Jamal, Savanna Jeffrey, Kieran McGinn, Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton, Cleopatra Rey, Julene Robinson, Lawrence Rowe, Nate Simpson, Amarra Smith, Archie Smith, Declan Spaine, Jaime Tait, Teddy Wills

 

‘It’s not all that glitters is gold, half the story has never been told’ 

 

From the hills of rural Jamaica, armed only with his overwhelming talent, Bob Marley applied himself with resolute determination to achieve international acclaim for his prophetic musical message – a gospel of love and unity.


photo credit: Craig Sugden

Monday, 4 May 2020

Theatre You Can Stream For FREE

With no end in sight to this lockdown, the boredom may be setting in for a lot of people so I thought I'd make a little round up of some FREE theatre you can watch from your home. Now some of these do rely on you having a Netflix, Disney+ and/or Amazon Prime account but I assume most people do! There are also some no subscription shows at the end. If you have a show you'd like to be included in this list, feel free to email rewritethisstory@outlook.com


Netflix has a whole host of binge-worthy films and series, with a great selection of musicals including:

The Wizard of Oz: A young farm girl Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her dog Toto are whisked away from their Kansas home in a tornado to the magical land of Oz. A complete classic, with whimsy to take you away and a load of tunes to sing along to.

Burlesque: Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a singer who moves to LA in hopes of achieving her dreams. After getting a job at a burlesque lounge, Ali performs there nightly and helps the lounge's owner (Cher) restore the club to its original glory. It's a film of absolute boppage with two musical queens.

La La Land: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an actress (Emma Stone) fall in love. As they start to experience professional success, they struggle in their relationship and have to decide between love and doing what they love.

Opening Night: A failed Broadway singer who now works as a production manager must save opening night on his new production by wrangling his eccentric cast and crew. Starring Lesli Margherita and Taye Diggs.


West Side StoryRomeo and Juliet told through the street gangs of New York City — The Sharks and The Jets. When Tony (Richard Beymer), a Jet, falls in love with Maria (Natalie Wood), a Shark, drama ensues as the gangs fight one another and Tony and Maria fight for their love.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend: Rebecca Bunch, a New York City real-estate lawyer abandons her job and her life in an attempt to find happiness in the unlikely locale of West Covina, California. It's hilarious and heart-warming and the music (by Rachel Bloom) is completely genius.


Disney+ there are of course all the live action movies on here as well as the classic Disney films such as Annie, The Sound of Music, Frozen etc... but here are a few other things you may have missed/not gotten round to yet:

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: If you haven't watched this, you'll probably think it's rubbish but it's actually really entertaining and has some great songs. The main plot point is that the school where the HSM  movie was filmed are putting on their own production of the musical, but amongst that there's teen romance, rivalries and over the top musical numbers.

Newsies: Based on the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, this musical tells the story of Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), a rebellious newsboy who dreams of a life as an artist away from the big city. After publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices at the newsboys' expense, Kelly and his fellow newsies take action. The dancing, the choreo, the cast- it's all exceptional and worth a watch purely just for Jezza singing Santa Fe!

Encore!: Hosted by Kristen Bell, this series takes adults back to high school to revive the musicals they were a part of in their youth. There's a great selection of musicals included from Godspell to The Sound of Music and it's lovely to see theatre kids who have all taken different directions in life reunite through a shared love.


Amazon Prime has a few more rogue theatrical selections as well as some great documentaries; some of my favourites are:

Once The story of Girl meeting Guy. He, is a Dublin busker on the brink of walking away from music after having his heart broken and feeling unheard in a bustling world; whilst, she is a force for change who exudes positivity from the moment their worlds collide. In the space of a few days, their lives become beautifully connected and changed forever.

The Last Five Years: This show chronicles the lives of a struggling actress (Anna Kendrick) and a successful writer (Jeremy Jordan) as they journey through their ultimately doomed relationship. Told from two perspectives, this is just a beautiful piece of theatre.



Wild Rose: Fresh out of prison, a Scottish woman  (Jessie Buckley) juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice. Featuring both original music and covers, this is a lovely, lovely film.

Jesus Christ Superstar: Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice's musical, JCS recounts the last days of Jesus Christ (Ted Neeley) from the perspective of Judas Iscariot (Carl Anderson), his betrayer.

Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway: If you're a Hamilton fan this is a must watch. It looks at how the hit musical came to be and features snippets of the show as well as interviews and archive footage.


Aside from what's available on these regular streaming platforms, the brilliant creatives from the world of theatre have put together some amazing online resources:

National Theatre at Home: Each week the National Theatre are streaming plays from their archives on YouTube. Each show stays up for 7 days and there's a whole variety of genres. This week's stream is Frankenstein with Anthony and Cleopatra going live on Thursday and more to be announced. Check out the channel here

Ghost Quartet: If you missed the recent revival of Dave Malloy's show at the Boulevard Theatre, you can now watch the original production here

Signal: A series that presents new artist driven musical theatre has released a complete playlist of songs presented over the past two years. Available here

The Show Must Go Online: Each Friday Andrew Lloyd Webber is sharing one of his musicals, available here

21 Chump Street: Lin Manuel Miranda's lovely 15 minute musical is available to stream now. Telling the true story of an agent who went undercover in a school to reveal students who were dealing drugs. For a short musical, this fits so much in and the performances from Anthony Ramos and Lindsay Mendez are outstanding.


Cirque Du Soleil 60-Minute Specials: The iconic troupe are releasing regular hour long special's of their spectacular shows which can be viewed here

Southwark Playhouse have introduced the Southwark Stayhouse with three of their previous productions, including the tale of the Bronte sisters, Wasted. Find them all here

The Royal Opera House #FromOurHouseToYourHouse: The Royal Opera House are releasing lots of their archive shows, including La Traviata. Find them all here

The Shows Must Go On!: Weekly readings of Shakespeare's plays, performed by stellar actors take place on YouTube

Only The Brave: Telling the story of a group of soldiers in the run up to the D-Day landings, the hit musical starring Caroline Sheen and David Thaxton is available to view here



Myth: The Rise and Fall of Orpheus: Filmed live at The Other Palace in March 2018, this belt-fest of a musical is available to watch here

Eugenius! Towards the start of lockdown, team Eugenius! released their show which was filmed during its run at The Other Palace and the show is still available to stream now.

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.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Summer Holiday: The Musical (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Summer Holiday: The Musical (UK Tour) 
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 22nd May 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Based on the 1963 Cliff Richard hit, Summer Holiday: The Musical, taps into nostalgia and humour as a group of youngsters hop on a bus to live their dreams and go on a whirlwind adventure of self-discovery and love. The story follows four mechanics who, on a quest for the perfect summer holiday, travel around Europe on a double-decker bus as they plan a travel business. Along the way they meet a three person girl group and a runaway singer. Romance, laughter and catchy songs ensue.

Having not seen the film (it came out 33 years before I was born) I was not sure what to expect but this production delivered on so many levels and pleasantly surprised me. The humour is predictable and the plot isn't anything special but this is a high-energy, feel good show that's perfect for warm summer nights of escapism.

The set is basic but the big red bus certainly provides the wow factor. Steve Howell's design is simplistic without being basic and really helps highlight Racky Plews' fantastic choreography which is certainly one of the finest aspects of the production. The mixture of dance styles are extremely impressive. There are some West Side Story vibes as well as fabulous rock and roll moments. I didn't expect this show to be so choreography heavy but was very dazzled. The sleek movements are pulled off by the entire cast to great affect. There were a few errors such as dropped props but the professional cast did a wonderful job of covering up and making mistakes a part of the show.

Summer Holiday's cast give high-energy performances matched with strong vocals. Ray Quinn as Don gives an especially strong performance although his different accent whilst singing vs speaking did throw me a bit. However, he is a very strong singer, dancer and actor and is perfect for the role- suitably cheesy but well-rounded. As runaway singer, Sophie Matthew gives a lovely performance, with her bright eyes gleaming from the stage and her vocals shining during act two especially. 

Each cast member does a great job of looking as though they're having fun on stage. This show is a real team piece with everyone working together well; particular stand out's are Billy Roberts as Steve and Alice Baker as Alma.

Summer Holiday: The Musical is lighthearted fun, perfect for those who want to reminisce on the 60s as well as those experiencing the story with fresh eyes. Take a break from the weight of the world and board the red bus for a few hours of carefree, musical fun.

Summer Holiday: The Musical runs at the New Victoria Theatre until May 26th before continuing it's UK tour.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

The Return of the Movie Musical


During the Golden Age of Hollywood, movie musicals were abundant and arguably the most popular genre. However, with the move towards pop culture in the 1960s, their popularity dwindled and gave way to a more rebellious style and tone, which meant the all-singing, all-dancing, wholesome stories fell to the side.

Since then, aside from animated films, there have been a handful of live action musicals, with a few big hits such as Hairspray, Chicago and Mamma Mia!, but these have been largely hard to come by and a rare feature at the cinema. However, it seems that things are changing and we are in the midst of musicals coming back into the mainstream!

In some ways, the huge success of La La Land in 2016, a film which combined Old Hollywood with contemporary vibes, marked the return of movie musicals, with A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman following in its footsteps and taking the box offices by storm. Disney's live action adaptations have also proved massive hits with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King making huge profits. Of course there's also been the occasional flop... Cats.... (which I actually enjoyed) but on the whole, each release has highlighted the demand and appreciation for musical theatre.  

It seems that Hollywood are finally taking note of the power of theatre people and are giving us the sweet, sweet, high quality films we deserve. There are a whole host of movie musicals in the works which are hugely exciting. Some that I'm most looking forward to are:

In The Heights: This is my all time favourite musical and I just can't wait for the summer vibes, incredible music and general wonder of Heights to be played out on the big screen. The film was originally set for release next month but thanks to Miss Rona it's been pushed back to June 2021.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie: This brilliantly British musical is set for release in October and is sure to thrill as it tells the real-life story of Jamie New, the 17 year old drag queen who wants to go against the norm and be true to himself. We'll also get the chance to see wonderful Max Harwood take on the lead role which will be a real treat.

West Side Story: In what's sure to be another 'Star is Born' performance, Rachel Zegler will be starring as Maria in this Stephen Spielberg adaptation. The production photos that have been released so far look amazing and I cannot wait to see this sumptuous film.

The Prom: I saw this show on Broadway so it'll be wonderful and interesting to see a film version. I think this will transfer brilliantly; plus, Meryl Streep is set to star in it so it's already a win in my eyes.

Matilda: The original Matilda film is a complete classic that will always be a heartwarming treat and the musical evokes the same magical and wondrous vibes. Tim Minchin's music is so clever and will no doubt get us all tapping our feet in the cinema!

Merrily We Roll Along: Ben Platt. Beanie Feldstein. Filmed over 20 years. Okay so this isn't going to be out in the near future but I just can't wait to eventually see this movie. The whole concept sounds so exciting and the cast are absolutely stellar.

As well as these there are more live action adaptations in the works as well as a number of current Broadway musicals being transferred from stage to screen. These include Dear Evan Hansen, Tick, Tick... Boom! and Come From Away. All in all, it seems that we can expect a whole lot more musicals in the mainstream and I cannot wait! What upcoming movie musical are you excited to see?

Post by Olivia Mitchell