Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Aimee Lou Wood and John McCrea to Join Cast of Cabaret

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club in London’s West End are delighted to announce that BAFTA Award winner Aimee Lou Wood will play ‘Sally Bowles’, Olivier Award nominee John McCrea will play ‘The Emcee’ and Nathan Ives-Moiba will play ‘Cliff Bradshaw’ from 13 February 2022 until 27 May 2023kitkat.club

Aimee Lou Wood said today “I’ve wanted to be Sally Bowles since I was around 10 so this is really special. I’m unbelievably excited and having the greatest time in rehearsals. The production is so wonderful and I feel honoured to be stepping into this beautiful team of people!”

John McCrea said today I’m thrilled to be taking on the iconic role of the Emcee in this ground-breaking production of Cabaret.  It’s an absolute honour to be joining this amazing company of artists.

Aimee Lou Wood is best known for her portrayal of Aimee Gibbs in all three series of the Netflix series Sex Education for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performance. She recently starred in the critically acclaimed film Living opposite Bill Nighy. Her stage credits include Sonya in Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End and Downstate at the National Theatre.


John McCrea created the role of Jamie New in the smash hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at both the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and the West End’s Apollo Theatre. For his performance he was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical and won the Most Promising Newcomer at the Critics Circle Theatre Awards, the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor in a Leading role in a Musical and the UK Theatre Award for Best Musical Performer. He recently appeared as Max in Daddy at the Almeida Theatre and his film credits include Artie in the hit Disney film, Cruella.  


Nathan Ives-Moiba’s many theatre credits include As You Like It at the National Theatre, My Children My Africa at Trafalgar Studios, Our Country’s Good for Out of Joint, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, And Did Those Feet and Tull, all at the Octagon Theatre. For his performance in Tull, Nathan was nominated for the Best Newcomer at the Manchester Theatre Awards.


At certain performances, the role of Sally Bowles will be played by Emily Benjamin.


As a member of the original cast of this production, Emily has been a swing and understudy to the role of Sally Bowles since the show opened. Her other West End theatre credits include Bat Out of Hell The Musical at the London Coliseum and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Bridge Theatre.


The final performance for Callum Scott Howells as ‘The Emcee’ and Madeline Brewer as ‘Sally Bowles’ will be Saturday 28 January 2023. Sid Sagar’s final performance as ‘Cliff Bradshaw’ will be Saturday 11 February 2023.

Between 30 January 2023 – 11 February 2023 the role of ‘The Emcee’ will be played by Matthew Gent and the role of ‘Sally Bowles’ will be played by Emily Benjamin. At certain performances the role of ‘Sally Bowles’ will be played by Sally Frith.


Matthew Gent’s West End theatre credits include Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre, The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre and Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre. His other theatre credits include Rags at the Park Theatre, The Queen of the Mist at Charing Cross Theatre, The Water Babies at Leicester Curve, The Carnival of the Animals at Riverside Studios and Taboo at Brixton Club House.


The cast also includes Vivien Parry as ‘Fraulein Schneider’, Richard Katz as ‘Herr Schultz’, Danny Mahoney as ‘Ernst Ludwig’ and Michelle Bishop as ‘Fraulein Kost’. The cast is completed by Gabriela Benedetti, Charles Croysdill, Laura Delany, Sally Frith, Matthew Gent, Ying Ue Li, Ela Lisondra, Chris O’Mara, Grant Neal, Hicaro Nicolai, Adam Taylor, Toby Turpin, Patrick Wilden and Sophie Maria Wojna.


The Prologue Company currently includes Rachel Benson, Ami Benton, Laura Braid, Reuben Greeph, James Hastings, Samantha Ho, Emma Holt, Liz Kamille, Andrew Linnie, Aine McLoughlin and Callum Sterling.


This unique production of Cabaret opened in December 2021 to critical and audience acclaim, widely praised as the ultimate theatrical experience. In April 2022 the production won a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards, the most for any musical revival in Olivier history. The production has also won three prestigious Critics Circle Awards and most recently the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Design for designer Tom Scutt.


Transforming one of London’s most famous theatres with an in-the-round auditorium and reimagined spaces, before the show guests are invited to enjoy and explore the Kit Kat Club with pre-show entertainment, drinks and dining all on offer. When booking, guests receive a 'club entry time' to allow enough time to take in the world of the Kit Kat Club before the show starts. But of course, the show really starts when you first join us in the club…


One of the most successful musicals of all time Cabaret features the songs Wilkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Money and the title number. It has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.


Cabaret is directed by Rebecca Frecknall, set and costume design is by Tom Scutt with choreography by Julia Cheng. Musical supervision is by Jennifer Whyte and musical direction is by Ben Ferguson with lighting design by Isabella Byrd and sound design by Nick Lidster. The casting director is Stuart Burt and the associate director is Jordan Fein.

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions and Underbelly.

Monday, 12 December 2022

Rebecca to get its English Language Premiere

Following 12 hugely successful foreign language productions, critically acclaimed musical Rebecca by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay is to get its English language premiere in a new production at London’s Charing Cross Theatre in an English translation by Christopher Hampton
The hugely successful musical production by the Austrian musical producer VBW (Vereinigte Bühnen Wien) based on Daphne Du Maurier’s 1938 novel ‘Rebecca’ that has captivated more than 2 million people worldwide in 12 countries and 10 languages is to get its English language premiere in a new production at London’s Charing Cross Theatre.

Rebecca, by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay, two of the most successful German-language musical theatre composers, had its world premiere at the VBW-theatre Raimund Theater in Vienna, Austria, in September 2006, where it went on to play to sold-out houses in three seasons, and where it is currently enjoying a successful revival.

Rebecca will run at Charing Cross Theatre from 4 September - 18 November, 2023.

Press night is Monday 18 September, 2023 at 7.30pm.

Rebecca, with an orchestra of 18, will be directed by Alejandro Bonatto (director of the critically acclaimed production of Donizetti’s ‘Rita’ and the upcoming production of Francis Poulanc and Jean Cocteau’s ‘The Human Voice’ at Charing Cross Theatre later this month).

It has a new English translation by Christopher Hampton (two-time Tony Award winner Best Score & Best Book for ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ & ‘The Father’) and Michael Kunze.

Cast to be announced.

New ITV Entertainment Show to find a Sophie & Sky for Mamma Mia! in London

A one-of-a-kind theatrical competition will launch a nationwide search to find the future musical theatre stars of global smash hit and feel-good musical MAMMA MIA!. Seen by 65 million people around the world, MAMMA MIA! has wowed audiences across the globe and continues to break box office records.

MAMMA MIA! I Have a Dream is a brand-new eight-part series from producers Thames, a Fremantle label, and Littlestar, with the stage set for its arrival on ITV1.

MAMMA MIA! I Have a Dream will search for two ingénues to play the roles of Sophie and Sky in MAMMA MIA! in London’s West End, as characterised by Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper in the two films. Throughout the series, musical theatre hopefuls will be put through their paces as they navigate their way through challenges, masterclasses, and performances.

Filmed against the beautiful backdrop of the idyllic Greek islands, where the original MAMMA MIA! story is set, it will look and feel like no other talent show on television. Audiences will see the contestants mentored by guest industry stars through unique workshops and judged by a panel of well-known industry experts in both music and theatre. Contestants will have the full MAMMA MIA! experience and will get to see first-hand what it’s like to be part of a West End musical.

The competition will culminate in a live, dazzling grand-finale, broadcast from a theatre in London’s West End, where two winners will take it all and win the roles of Sophie and Sky in the musical.

MAMMA MIA! is the sunny, funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll, all unfolding to the magic of ABBA’s timeless pop masterpieces.

The success of MAMMA MIA! has spawned two record-breaking blockbuster films, MAMMA MIA! The Movie and MAMMA MIA! Here We Go Again, starring a host of stars including Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård, Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper, Lily James and Cher.

Creator and global producer of MAMMA MIA!, Judy Craymer will co-executive produce the show and will be on hand to help the contestants reach their full performing potential, every step of the way.

Judy Craymer says:  "MAMMA MIA! has always been a show that has encouraged young actors and given opportunities to those making their stage debuts - just as our current Sophie and Sky in London (Meg Hateley and Miles Henderson) are making their West End debuts - so it feels the perfect fit for a TV show that will seek out new talent for musical theatre.

“In the lead-up to the celebrations for the stage musical’s 25th birthday in 2024, we're really looking forward to working with Thames and ITV on this show and involving our well-loved musical as much as possible in the programme."

Amelia Brown, Managing Director of Thames, says: “The excitement we have for making this show is like no other - it’s a dream come true for so many of us at Thames. Merging the global brand of MAMMA MIA! and all the talent at Littlestar with the power behind the talent show juggernauts such as Britain’s Got Talent will mean it’s a show that can’t be missed.” 

Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Comissioning at ITV adds: “MAMMA MIA! I Have A Dream is everything we could want in an entertainment show - legendary music, an iconic West End theatre show, high energy performances, and a brand new search for talent, set against the backdrop of a gorgeous island.”

MAMMA MIA! I Have a Dream is executive produced by Amelia Brown, Charlie Irwin and Ashley Whitehouse for Thames (a Fremantle label) and Judy Craymer for Littlestar. The show is commissioned by Katie Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning at ITV, Lily Wilson, Commissioning Editor for ITV and Louise Major, Commissioning Editor for ITV.


To apply: https://www.thames.tv/takepart

Friday, 9 December 2022

Newsies, Troubadour Theatre | Review

Troubadour Theatre
Reviewed on Thursday 8th December 2022 by Olivia Mitchell 

As temperatures soar below zero, the heat is definitely up at the Troubadour theatre in Wembley as their long awaited production of Newsies sizzles and soars.

The musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein has become somewhat of a cult classic in the musical theatre world, with many fans around the globe despite the show only previously being performed in America and Canada. The 2017 Broadway pro-shot brought the show within touching distance but now London finally get to see it in the flesh, and the good news is, it was completely worth the wait. 

Telling the story of the New York Newboys and Girls who went on strike over unfair work conditions, it’s an unlikely plot for a musical but it mostly works so well. More than anything this is a show with dance at its core and it’s quite astounding to see so many talented dancers on stage, even more so when you hear their divine vocals which accompany the moves. Matt Cole’s choreography is fierce, sharp and so so strong. The energy and precision is truly mesmerising to see and is so appreciated by the audience who give several standing ovations throughout.

It's the plot of this show which lets it down somewhat. The pretty formulaic story doesn't exactly thrill and whilst it does touch on important issues, there's a lack of depth so you don't fully connect with the characters and their plight. Due to this there are moments where the pacing feels a bit slow, however this is quickly fixed every time a big dance number is performed. 

What is great is that despite some stilted moments in the story, the show as a whole is continuously moving. Morgan Large's semi-immersive set allows for action to be taking place at all times, whether through actors walking along sides or quite literally soaring into the audience. The grey-toned backdrop somehow feels gloriously colourful as various shades leap across the stage. The multi-level design allows for varying sight lines and there's something to discover in every nook and cranny. Mark Henderson's lighting design works in complete harmony with all of this and really brings some wow moments to life; it's a very well oiled machine.

The incredibly strong cast who make up this show (and must have a physio bill to rival any other) are the beating heart of it all. The varying characters of the Newsies all get small moments to shine and their interactions are very touching to watch. Leading the pack Michael Ahomka-Lindsay is charming as Jack Kelly, at moments too cool for school, and others afraid of his circumstance, his performance is really moving. Alongside him Bronté Barbé is sparky and witty as Katherine Plumber; her performance of Watch What Happens is a real stand out (although it could be a touch faster) and her portrayal of the role allows you to really engage and connect with her. Ryan Kopel as new newsboy Davey is delightful too. 

This has got to be one of the strongest casts in theatre right now and the astounding performances really need to be seen to be believed. Newsies is a hugely welcome addition to the London theatre scene and it's sure to delight anyone who sees it!

photo credit: Johan Persson