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

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 uplifting 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.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Bat Out of Hell Returns to the West End


The producers of Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits, are delighted to announce the musical’s return to London in 2023. The show, which is currently touring the UK and Ireland, will play a limited season at the Peacock Theatre with performances from 17 February, ending on 1 April 2023.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical will also have a residency at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from 27 September 2022.

Casting for both productions to be announced.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre in 2019. The current UK and Ireland tour began performances at Manchester Opera House on 11 September 2021 and has been playing to sold out houses and great critical acclaim.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical. Bat Out of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 60 million copies worldwide. 16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which contained the massive hit I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out of Hell albums, including You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Bat Out of Hell, I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

The electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out of Hell - The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, original wig designs by Linda McKnight, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, original casting by David Grindrod CDG and UK Tour casting by Anne Vosser.

Bat Out of Hell – The Musical is produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.

This tour is dedicated to the memory of Jim Steinman, who sadly passed away on 19 April 2021, and Meat Loaf, who passed away on 20 January 2022.

Twitter, Facebook & Instagram: @BatTheMusical

photo credit: Chris Davis Studio

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 19th April 2022 by Angie Creagh-Brown
★★★★

The Nutcracker Suite is an old and much beloved family Christmas favourite. Matthew Bourne's version, however is a somewhat different take on the classic.

What can I say about it? Well it was just wonderful!!! The New Victoria Theatre is a large, modern and inviting building, which at this performance welcomed an audience of all ages; there were some young children (well-behaved) and the ambience was happy and inviting, a taste of the sweet treat evening to come.

Bourne takes the original story of a well to do family celebrating Christmas Eve with friends and family and turns it completely round; his version starts in an orphanage, the cast are dressed in grey, the scenery is grey - no light, no joy. The teenage children are preparing to 'enjoy' their meagre Christmas Eve and are joined by the owner, Dr Dross, danced by Danny Reubens, his wife the Matron, Daisy May Kemp, son Fritz, Dominic North and their very spoilt daughter Sugar, Ashley Shaw.

The children manage to find a Nutcracker, which had been locked away in a cupboard, and they escape to a wondrous scene of falling snow, ice-skating and snowballs. To add to their excitement the Nutcracker miraculously changes from a toy to a handsome, well-muscled and talented young man, (Harrison Dowzellto the delight of the children and the leading lady.

The ensemble dancing was lovely, there were comic moments, surprises and hints of jealousies to come. The dancers were performing with large smiles on their faces, which in turn put joy onto the faces of the audience.

Act Two opens with a kaleidoscope of colour which is The Road to Sweetieland. Clara, beautifully danced by Cordelia Braithwaite, is desperately trying to gain entrance to Sweetieland aided by the The Cupids, wonderfully portrayed by Enrique Ngbokota and Shoko Ito. She is still dressed in her undergarments and they find a pretty dress for her, but it does not compare in any way to that worn by her nemesis, Sugar.

There is a lot of humour in this act. Superbly bright costumes and a plethora of well-known sweets dancing wonderfully. It's a visual treat like no other.

The cast is very diverse, which would mirror the children in an orphanage. The story has been re-written in a modern way. This means it would possibly not be suitable for very young children on whom the innuendoes would be lost, but in terms of aesthetics it's sure to appeal to all ages.

The staging, set design, lighting and costumes all added wonderfully to the most enjoyable evening which finished with a standing ovation and joy abounded both on the stage and in the auditorium.

The Nutcracker plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 23rd April

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Zorro, Charing Cross Theatre | Review


Zorro
Charing Cross Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 12th April 2022 by Hope Priddle
★★★★

Last seen in London in 2008, Zorro is back and ready to bring a taste of Spain to the Charing Cross Theatre! Set to a legendary soundtrack by the Gipsy Kings, this sizzling show follows the mysterious masked vigilante El Zorro in his efforts to defend the Pueblo of Los Angeles from a ruthless autocratic leader. Written by Stephen Clarke and Helen Edmundson, the book is pacey and exhilarating. Whilst drama and action undeniably motivate this production, it really shines in the quiet moments of passion and pathos between our central lovers.

Ben Purkiss is perfectly cast in the titular role. He is utterly endearing as the charismatic and courageous Diego, but he transforms into the suave crusader with ease. Alex Gibson-Giorgio gives an accomplished performance as the tormented tyrant, and Diego’s estranged brother, Ramon. Gibson-Giorgio masterfully conveys Ramon’s internal conflict, inviting sympathy despite his character’s irredeemable actions. Special mention must go to Marc Pickering as Garcia, who is tremendous as our comedic antagonist. Not only does he play the fool, but his character has real heart and displays a truly rewarding arc.

Despite its name, this production is all about its women. Phoebe Panaretos is a complete tour-de-force as the sensual, strong-willed Gyspy queen Inez. Her voice is rich and full-bodied, stealing the showing on more than one occasion. Panaretos leads a rousing rendition of Bamboleo at the end of Act One, captivating her audience in every way possible. Paige Fenlon is similarly exquisite as Diego’s childhood friend Louisa. Louisa may appear innocent on first introduction, but a fire quickly ignites inside of her as she leads the Pueblo uprising. Fenlon’s heavenly vocals soar as her character finds her voice.

Panaretos and Fenlon are supported by a searing female ensemble who truly are the lifeblood of this production. Their vital choreography and visceral harmonious drive the action forward. During Libertad, the ensemble cries sympathetically as one, moving as a single pulsating body under sanguine lighting designed by Matthew Haskins.

Creative elements work in harmony to create a production which is immersive and evocative. The traverse staging, admittedly typical of productions at this venue, works to enclose the Pueblo and create a homely, intimate feel. Set and Costume Designer Rosa Maggiora does a tremendous job of world building. A multi-levelled set elevates the action, whilst aisles and doorways are used effectively for either flamboyant or stealthy entrances and exits. An actor-muso approach greatly compliments this production. Talented ensemble members play classical guitar and trumpets, recreating the sounds of 19th Century California. Moreover, the very stage itself becomes an instrument, integral as brass or string. As the cast stamp and stomp across the floor, they ‘play’ the boards and percussive sound fills the rafters.

With thrilling stage combat (Renny Krupinski) and impactful flamenco routines (Cressida Carre) led by the commanding Ajjaz Awad, this dynamic production is packed full of colour, texture and noise. It fully embraces its audience, sweeping them up into the spirited world of Spanish Gypsies and swashbuckling heroes.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Alex Gibson-Giorgio Discusses Playing the Villain and Returning to the Stage | Zorro | Interview

You’re in for a night of heartfelt story telling full of passion, love, swashbuckling and sword fighting Alex Gibson-Giorgio is set to play Ramon in Zorro the Musical which is set to open at the Charing Cross Theatre this weekend. Pre-opening he chats to us about the rehearsal process, what it's like playing the villain and what audiences can expect from the musical...


Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about what audiences can expect from Zorro?
We all know and love the mask-wearing, sword-wielding bandit who fights for the poor and defends injustice, breaking many a heart along the way; made eternally famous by Antonio Banderas. Well, the musical has all the passion, love and fire of the film, with a little extra heart, all set to the songs of the Gipsy Kings.

It must be great to get back into theatre post-lockdown, especially with such a high energy show, what has the rehearsal process been like?
Being back in the rehearsal room is a huge privilege … it’s definitely one of my favourite parts of putting on a show. The pure magic of a group of actors in a space creating an imaginary world together … it’s so exciting! It’s a place to make bold offers and explore the full range of your character with no judgement … there are no wrong choices, instead there are endless possibilities. As my acting teacher Margot Fenley would say “Be bold and fail gloriously!”

Ramon is a pretty evil character and you’ve previously played Jafar in Aladdin, are you a fan of the villains?
I do love myself a villain. I think they’re the most interesting characters to play because you get to safely explore often darker ways of thinking and existing that are not always socially acceptable in everyday life. In the case of Jafar, it’s just CAMP!

The score of Zorro is by the Gipsy Kings, if you were to have a band write the score for a musical about your life, who would you choose?
Fleetwood Mac for sure. Or Gaga. Maybe James Taylor … this one’s hard.

What song are you most excited to perform for an audience when the show opens?
I love Baila Me … such a good tune! But watching Djobi Djoba and Bamboleo from offstage is a personal highlight for me. We are lucky to have such a talented company who not only sing and act, they also have to play multiple instruments, dance (WHILST PLAYING), shoot guns and sword fight!

Why should people come and see Zorro?
If you love The Gipsy Kings, you will love this show. The music fills your soul! You’re in for a night of heartfelt story telling full of passion, love, swashbuckling and sword fighting. VIVA EL ZORRO!


Thank you so much Alex for taking the time to chat to us. Zorro opens at the Charing Cross Theatre 2nd April

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Singin' in the Rain (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Singing in the Rain 
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th March 2022 
★★★★

It's been 10 years since Jonathan Church's stage version of Singin' in the Rain was brought to life at the Chichester Festival theatre, showering the front rows during the title number and delighting audiences with its sheer spectacle. The show is a fast-footed feast which is full of charm and keeps its wow factor after all these years.

This UK tour which opened with a run at Sadler's Wells closely mirrors the original film in which Gene Kelly created some iconic moments, including his joyful tap dancing through puddles. This scene and many others are performed brilliantly by Adam Cooper as the lead Don Lockwood. A former Royal Ballet dancer, Adam has been with the show since the start and is enthralling in the role of the silent movie star making the transition to 'talkies'.

His famous counterpart, Lina Lamont (played hilariously by Faye Tozer) doesn't make the move quite so seamlessly, with her poor singing voice and harsh, shrill speaking voice not quite delighting audiences. So, at the suggestion of Cosmo Brown, Don's real life love interest Kathy Selden is drafted in to dub the voice and vocals.

Alastair Crosswell plays the highly energetic Cosmo Brown in the most engaging and entertaining way. His incredibly hard working performance provides great slapstick moments alongside stellar dancing. As Kathy Selden, Charlotte Gooch is a sleek, stunning, star. Her magnetic aura is a delight to watch and she never falters for even a second.

What's so impressive about this touring production is the sheer scale of it. It's amazing how such a detailed and technical show can go on such a quick turnaround tour- major props to all the backstage team! Simon Higlett's set is brimming with art deco features and feels like it goes on far beyond the stage of the New Victoria Theatre; and the costumes are utter treats.

This is a complete spectacle of a show that feels sleek and refreshed. Comedic moments including the re-creations of stilted silent films contrast beautifully with Andrew Wright's larger than life choreography which floats and fills the stage with the elegance you dream of. This is a decadent production that really stands the test of time and provides a treat for all the senses.

Singing in the Rain plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd April and then continues its tour

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Tom Felton, Mandip Gill, Beatriz Romilly and Sam Swainsbury to Join Cast of 2:22 A Ghost Story


Producer Runaway Entertainment is delighted to announce casting news for the transfer of Danny Robins’ edge-of-your-seat, supernatural thriller 2:22 - A Ghost Story for a third season to the Criterion Theatre. The run at the Criterion follows two record breaking runs at the Noel Coward and Gielgud Theatres and three Olivier Nominations including Best New Play as well as winning the Best New Play category in the Whatsonstage awards.
 
Tom Felton will play the role of Sam. Having made his breakthrough as ‘Draco Malfoy’ in the Harry Potter series of films, Tom has gone on to star in award winning films The Rise of the Planet of the ApesA United Kingdom, and Belle, television series The Flash, Netflix filmThe Forgotten Battle and was most recently seen on screen in SKY’s Save the Cinema. Coming up, he will star in Independent Film Burial.
Tom Felton said:I’m incredibly excited about getting to play in 2:22. I first started acting age 6 in a local theatre group and I haven’t trodden the boards since. I love the play, I’ve taken all my family to see it & everyone leaves with a smile. I’m thrilled to be part of this summers cast and will have a lot of fun with it.”
Mandip Gill will play Jenny. Mandip played companion Yasmin Khan in series 11, 12 and 13 of Doctor Who opposite Jodie Whittaker. She also played Phoebe McQueen in Hollyoaks and has appeared in CuckooDoctorsThe Good Karma Hospital and Casualty.
 
Mandip Gill said: “I am thrilled to be making my West End debut as part of the new cast of an already successful show. I am equally scared of ghosts so this should be fun” 
 
Beatriz Romilly will play the role of Lauren. Beatriz was born in Spain. She is best known for her work in Assassin's Creed ValhallaFinal Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringersand War of the Worlds. She has also appeared on stage at Chichester Festival Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and The Bush Theatre.
 
Beatriz Romilly said: "I’m delighted to be returning to London and joining the new 2:22 company. I feel very lucky to be working with Matthew Dunster again, and getting a chance to dive into Danny Robins nail biting script with such a wonderful creative team and cast.”
 
Sam Swainsbury will play Ben. Sam is known best for his roles as Jason in the BBC sitcom Mum and Rowan in the 2019 film Fisherman's Friends. In 2015, Swainsbury featured in the film Thor: The Dark World, In 2017, Swainsbury appeared on Fearless, In 2019, he appeared in Victoria as Dr John Snow.
 
Sam Swainsbury said:It's such a privilege to be joining the 2:22 company! I was really drawn to the script. It's engaging, funny, exciting and poignant, but… there was something else. Something I can’t put my finger on. Drawing me to it. Almost like… like a voice. From another place. That’s normal, right?!
 
Matthew Dunster said: Planning our 3rd iteration of 2:22has been just as exciting as the first two; working with Danny and my Co-Director, Isabel Mar, and our brilliant casting directors to re-imagine the characters once more. It’s such a privilege to do that and to know audiences are excited about ‘who’s next?’  We have a wonderful cast that once again is loaded with surprise, excitement and West End Debuts. People love watching this show and we love making it.”
 
After breaking all box office records for a new play at the Noel Coward Theatre; described as the theatre event of the year and the hottest ticket in the West End; and after weeks of sell-out performances, the show transferred for another record breaking run at the Gielgud Theatre. The run there ended in February and a third season, this time to the Criterion Theatre, was immediately announced. 
 
2.22 - A Ghost Story is written by award-winning writer Danny Robins, creator of the hit BBC podcast The Battersea Poltergeist and it is directed by Matthew Dunster. Intriguing, funny and scary, it takes audiences into one adrenaline fueled night where secrets will emerge and ghosts may appear….What do you believe? And do you dare to discover the truth?
 
“There’s something in our house. I hear it every night, at the same time.”
 
Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and her new partner Ben. Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is getting closer, so they are going to stay up… until 2.22am… and then they will know.
 
Danny Robins said "I'm overjoyed to have a cast of this outrageously exciting calibre for our new season. Tom and Mandip are stellar talents who I have admired for years, Sam is awesome and will be known and loved by comedy fans and Beatriz is someone I know is bursting with ability and on the cusp of stardom. Each new cast unlocks new surprises and thrills for me as a writer, each actor bringing their own distinctive take to the play. If you haven't seen 2:22 before, there's never been a better reason to come, if you have seen it, come back and see it again with this exciting line-up!” 
 
2:22 - A Ghost Story features set design by Anna Fleischle, costume design by Cindy Lin, lighting design by Lucy Carter, sound by Ian Dickinson for Autograph Sound, co-direction by Isabel Marr, casting by Jessica Ronane CDG and illusions by Chris Fisher.
 
2:22 - A Ghost Story is produced by Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons for Runaway Entertainment, Isobel David and Kater Gordon. 
 

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.

Friday, 25 March 2022

The Choir of Man to return to the Arts Theatre, London this Autumn 2022


Due to phenomenal demand, the smash-hit, Olivier-nominated The Choir of Man returns to The Arts Theatre in London’s West End this autumn, with performances beginning 1 October 2022 and a national press night on Thursday 13 October.  Tickets will be on sale from 10.00am, Friday 25 March.
 
Casting is to be announced.
 
The initial limited season at The Arts Theatre will finish on Sunday 3 April 2022.  This month, it was announced that the show has received an Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play.
 
The Choir of Man has previously played three sell-out seasons at the Sydney Opera House and multiple sold-out US and European tours.
 
The Choir of Man is the best lock-in at your local you'll ever have, featuring amazing reinventions of folk, pop, Broadway and rock chart-toppers from artists including Guns ‘N’ Roses, Fun!, Adele, Avicii, Paul Simon, Sia and many more. It’s a party, it’s a concert and it’s a lock-in like no other.
 
The multi-talented cast combine beautiful harmonies and foot-stomping singalongs with world-class tap dance and poetic meditations on the power of community. This is a riotously feel-good homage to that gathering place we all love: the pub, complete with a real working bar on stage.

The Choir of Man is created by Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay, directed by Nic Doodson, with musical supervision, vocal arrangements and orchestrations by Jack Blume, movement direction and choreography by Freddie Huddleston, monologues written by Ben Norris, scenic design by Oli Townsend, lighting design by Richard Dinnen, costume design and associate scenic design by Verity Sadler, sound design by Sten Severson, casting by Debbie O’Brien. Associate Choreographer is Rachel Chapman and Associate Musical Director is Hollie Cassar.
 
The show is produced by Immersive Everywhere, Nic Doodson, Andrew Kay, Wendy & Andy Barnes and AK Theatricals.
 
Facebook: @thechoirofman
Twitter & Instagram: @choirofman

Lois Morgan Gay Releases Debut Single 'Don't Be That Guy'


Listen to the single ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ here

Lois Morgan Gay is so excited to release her debut single ‘Don’t Be That Guy' which will be available on all music streaming platforms from March 25th 2022. The track is influenced by a mix of performers including Lianne La Havas, Amy Winehouse and Aretha Franklin. 'Don’t Be That Guy' explores the inner monologue of yearning more from someone rather than just being friends.

"Have you ever gotten to that point in a relationship where it is going really well and you are hopeful that it's going to work then…BANG! They are not ready for anything “serious” and then end up being just another failed relationship? That's what this song is about haha” Lois says.

Lois crafted the single with musician/guitarist Jack Louis Rennie who helped with music arrangement and also plays guitar on the track alongside Meelie Traill on bass, and Max Blunos on drums. The track is produced by Ben Robbins.

The London based singer/songwriter was born and raised in Bristol, she delivers smooth R&B with a soulful feel to her voice, writing about heartbreak, relationships, and yearning. Her music is vocally led, having been heavily inspired by the likes of Adele, Aretha Franklin and YEBBA. Music has always been a huge part of Lois' life, there was always music playing in the house growing up. Lois began her performing career in theatre and then discovered her love for singing and writing at the age of 14. She states "Telling a story and expressing my feelings and inner thoughts through my music enables me to connect with the audience and that is the best feeling in the world”.

Lois is currently in the line-up of the final to win a £100,000 record deal with Alpha records, she will perform at the Indigo at the O2 Arena on March 30th where she will debut this song live for the very first time.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Rebecca Lock on Bringing Rock to the Stage | School of Rock | Interview

it has been such a joy to recreate this role and wonderful story
School of Rock is a cult classic film which celebrates music and how it brings people together. Post- pandemic it provides the perfect, lighthearted, high energy, night out. Currently starring in the show as headmistress Rosalie Mullins, Rebecca Lock tells us about her experience in the show and who her own inspirational teacher was...


Firstly, for anyone that doesn’t know could you explain a little bit about School of Rock?
A wanna be failed rockstar pretends to be his flat mate and earn some money by being a substitute teacher in a posh prep school. He forms a band with the class and enters into the battle of the bands whilst charming the headmistress Rosalie Mullins along the way.
 
This is such an iconic story and now show, what’s it been like bringing it to the stage?
It’s one of my favourite films so it has been such a joy to recreate this role and wonderful story.
 
If you could star in any other screen to stage adaptation, which film would you choose?
Oh cripes… there’s far too many to choose from… all the best ones have already been adapted!
 
Aside from the music, this is really a show about an inspirational teacher, have you had any influential teachers in your life?
Oh definitely… Mr Cobly my first drama teacher taught me so much and encouraged my pursuits.
 
You play the headteacher Rosalie Mullins who is an authority figure but also has some really humorous moments. How do you balance the two?
That’s the joy.. she’s one extreme and then she flips and you see a whole new side to her… super fun to play
 
Why do you think people should come and see the show?
It’s a proper family show… something for everyone! From 8- 98… you’ll leave wanting to pick up a guitar and form your own rock band!
 
Thank you so much Rebecca for taking the time to chat to me. School of Rock plays at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 26th March and then continues its tour.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

photo credit: Paul Coltas