DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. I do not claim ownership of this material – all images and footage used are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise
Come From Away Casting
Best known for her time as Elphaba in Wicked, Rachel Tucker will now lead the London cast of Come from Away when it opens in the West End next year. The show tells the true story of a small town called Gander who welcomed the 7,000 passengers left stranded in Gander International airport after 9/11 and the resulting closure of U.S Airspace. Other casting for the West End production includes Jenna Boyd, Nathan Campbell, Helen Hobson and Andrew Hume. Come From Away has already become a huge hit on Broadway and will play in Dublin before coming to the Phoenix Theatre in January.
Anthony for Usnavi
Anthony Ramos is reportedly in talks to star in the film version of In the Heights. The actor, who is probably best known for originating the role of John Laurens and Phillip in Lin Manuel Miranda’s other hit musical Hamilton, is now in the running to play the lead role of Usnavi in the film adaptation. He’s no stranger to the show, having played the part of Sonny in 2012 and having starred as Usnavi in the Kennedy Centre’s Broadway Center Stage Series. The show tells the story of residents in the largely Latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan. The film is slated for release in 26th of June 2020.
Bat Out of Hell to Close
Bat Out of Hell is set to close on the 5th of January 2019. The jukebox musical, which famously features the music of Meatloaf, has been running since last April at the Dominion Theatre. It’s musical numbers include Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Paradise By the Dashboard Light.
Matthew Bourne’s New Romeo and Juliet
Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures is to stage a production of Romeo and Juliet. Set to open at the Leicester Curve in May of next year, it will of be a contemporary retelling of the tale, starring a mix of professional dancers and dancers aged 16 to 19. Dancers already announced include Cordelia Braithwaite, Bryony Harrison and Seren Williams as Juliet and Paris Fitzpatrick, Andrew Monaghan and João Carolino as Romeo. Bryony Wood and Harrison Dowzell will also make their professional debuts in the titular roles.Company Extends It’s Run
Company has already extended its run following rave reviews. The new West End production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical, which has now famously swapped the gender of the main role from Bobby to Bobbie, is now booking until the end of March. Running at the Gielgud Theatre, the production stars Rosalie Craig, Patti LuPone and Mel Giedroyc.
Only Fools and Horses Casting Announced
Further casting has been announced for the new West End show based on Only Fools and Horses. Pete Gallagher and Adam Venus will play the Driscoll brothers, whilst Chris Kiely will appear as Mickey. Meanwhile, Dianne Pilkington will play Raquel, Pippa Duffy will step into the role of Cassandra, Jeff Nicholson will play Boycie, Samantha Seager will play Marlene, Pete Baker will play Trigger and Adrian Irvine will play Denzil. The show is set to begin it’s run on the 9th of February – tickets are available now.
Clive Rowe to Star in Wind In the Willows Hip Hop Musical
He was best known to kids of the 2000s as Duke from Tracy Beaker – now, Clive Rowe will take on the role of Badger in a new hip hop musical, based on Wind in the Willows. In the Willows which has been modernised and is now set in a school, will also incorporate BSL and will feature deaf street dancer Chris Fonseca as Otter, whilst Kloe Dean is set to play Owl.
Idris Elba for Cats Movie?
Idris Elba is said to be joining the upcoming film adaptation of Cats, with early reports suggesting that he is going to be stepping into the role of the villainous Macavity. Based on one of the most successful West End and Broadway musicals of all time, the film will be directed by Tom Hooper and will also star Ian Mckellen, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Jennifer Hudson. The film is slated for December 2019.
Aladdin’s Moving Out, Mary’s Coming Home!
It was announced this week that the West End production of Aladdin is to close after three years at the Prince Edward Theatre – and in other news, a revival of Mary Poppins will replace it when it finishes it’s run sometime next August! Aladdin is of course based on the 1992 animated film and is currently enjoying success on Broadway and in the production touring the U.S at the moment. The revival of Mary Poppins will star Zizi Strallen, who recently played the title role in the sell out international tour, as Mary Poppins and Charlie Stemp, best known for his roles in Half a Sixpence and Hello Dolly, as Bert. Tickets for Mary Poppins are to go on sale in January 2019.
9 to 5 casting announcement
Casting has been announced for next year’s West End run of 9 to 5, which will be on at the Savoy Theatre from the 29th of January to the 31st of August next year. The musical, based on the 1980 film of the same name and featuring the classic country tunes of Dolly Parton, will star Brian Conley, Louise Rednapp, Amber Davies and Natalie McQueen. Further casting is yet to be announced and tickets are available now.
Steven Mangan and Lara Pulver for Royal Albert Hall Guys and Dolls
Yesterday brought a major casting announcement for the Royal Albert Hall’s upcoming production of Guys and Dolls. Stars including Lara Pulver, Stephen Mangan and Sharon D Clarke will appear in the performance, due to take place in October. They will be joined by previously announced cast members, including Adrian Lester, Jason Manford and Clive Rowe. This will be the first full performance of the musical at the Royal Albert Hall and it will be directed and choreographed by Stephen Mear.
Marin Mazzie passes away at 57
In much sadder news, beloved Broadway star Marin Mazzie has passed away at the age of 57, from ovarian cancer, surrounded by her loved ones. Best known for her roles in Ragtime, Passion Kiss Me Kate and Spamalot amongst many others, she was an icon to generations of theatre fans. She is survived by her husband, her mother and her brother. A private gathering will be held and further details on a celebration of life are expected soon.
Waitress Set For West End
The hit Broadway musical Waitress is headed for the West End. The Sara Barellies penned show, which first came to Broadway in 2016, will begin performances at the Adelphi Theatre next spring, replacing the soon-to-be touring Kinky Boots. The show’s story focuses on a waitress named Jenna, who longs to escape from her loveless marriage and who enters a local pie-making contest. Casting has yet to be announced and tickets will be on sale in the Autumn.
Pretty Woman Opens on Broadway
Pretty Woman the Musical has opened on Broadway to mixed reviews. The show, which stars Samantha Barks and Andy Karl, is of course based on the 1990 romantic comedy which catapulted Julia Roberts to stardom. Whilst the Guardian called it a ‘tasteless mess’ and the New York Times were also less than impressed, the Telegraph gave the show 4 stars, praising the two lead actors for their chemistry and The Stage also gave it a positive review.
Full Cast of The Inheritance revealed
The full cast of Matthew Lopez’s play The Inheritance has been announced. The two-part show, which is set to transfer to West End, more specifically the Noël Coward Theatre from the 21st of September until the 19th of January, will feature an ensemble cast of Robert Boulter, Hugo Boulton, Hubert Burton, Paul Hilton, Andrew Burnap, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Marcus, Syrus Lowe, Samuel H Levine, Jack Riddiford, Michael Walters and Kyle Soller.
Craig Zaden Passes at 69
And finally, in much sadder news, Craig Zaden, the man widely credited with bringing musicals back to the screen, has died at the age of 69. Some of his most famous projects include the Academy Award winning film adaptation of Chicago and the start of the string of musical productions broadcast live, including The Sound of Music and Jesus Christ Superstar. The news was confirmed by NBC Vice-President Stuart Levine.
School of Rock the Musical to Close
The School of Rock will play their final Broadway gig on the 20th of January. The hit musical, based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black, has been successful both in the West End and Broadway and has even toured the U.S, it’s only hitch being it’s flagging ticket sales during non-holiday periods. So far no official explanation has been offered as to it’s closure. The show, which was produced and had its score written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, will continue in London, will open in Melbourne in October and continues to be a popular choice for schools and youth groups.
Dirty Dancing UK Tour Cast
Casting has been announced for the U.K Tour of Dirty Dancing, which will begin in September. Kira Malou will be returning to the iconic lead role of Baby, whilst newcomer Micheal O’Reilly will be dancing alongside her as Johnny. Other casting includes Lyden Edwards as Dr Jake Houseman, Lori Haley Fox as Marjorie Houseman and Simone Covele as Penny Johnson. The tour will make it’s first stop a the Theatre Royal Brighton on the 20th of September and will then play at various venues across the country until July of next year.
Curious Incident to Tour Schools
A 90-minute version of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time will tour schools across the U.K later this year. Based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, the play has experienced massive success across the world, including in the West End and on Broadway. This production, designed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Bunnie Christie, will tour 60 schools across 12 weeks in September. The performance will be followed by a question and answer session with students.
Diana Rigg to Exit My Fair Lady on Broadway
Having returned to Broadway after a 20-year absence, Diana Rigg will leave the acclaimed new Broadway production of My Fair Lady later this year. The Tony and BAFTA award winning Game of Thrones actress, will play her final performance in the role of Mrs Higgins, for which she received much critical success, including a Tony Award nomination. Her replacement is yet to be announced at the time of writing.
Spongebob to Close on Broadway
Initially a surprise hit with 12 Tony nominations, Spongebob Squarepants the Musical is set to close on the 16th of September, after less than a year. Whilst the show has been underperforming as of late, the closure is also due to the extensive renovations planned at the theatre. It is, however, set to begin a North American tour next year and the show will also be made available for schools and youth groups.
West Side Story Broadway Revival
A Broadway revival of the seminal classic West Side Story is to open for February 2020. Directed by Tony Award winner Ivo van Hove, it will also be the first production to feature brand-new choreography, as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker is on board to shake up one of the musicals most famous assets. With music penned by Leonard Bernstien and Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story of course tells the tale of Romeo and Juliet with warring street gangs in New York. Performances of this production will begin on the 10th of December 2019 – it is then slated to officially open on the 3rd of February the next year.
Sandi Toksvig to Adapt Treasure Island
She’s primarily known for TV appearances including QI and the Great British Bake Off. Now, Sandi Tosksvig and her sister Jenifer Toksvig are set to adapt Treasure Island for a new stage production. The Haymarket Theatre will re-open following its refurbishment to stage the production, which will be directed by Matthew Forbes.
Hamilton to Stage Gala Performance
The smash-hit West End production of Hamilton is set to stage a gala performance to raise money for Sentebale, a charity which helps children and young people in Northern Africa affected by HIV and AIDS. The charity was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho – the performance is set to take place on the 29th of August.
Quick Fire News: Heathers Transfer, Devil Wears Prada and More
Heathers Set For West End
The new production of the smash-hit musical Heathers, currently sold out at the Other Palace, is to transfer to the West End. Announced at the curtain call of last night’s performance, the show’s run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket will start on the 3rd of September and will end on the 24th of November. Heathers the Musical is based on the cult classic 1988 film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater and had it’s first production off-Broadway in 2014. Tickets went on sale immediately following the announcement and as a result the website promptly crashed. You can currently buy tickets at http://www.trh.co.uk/. Above image by Pamela Wraith photography.
Iwan Rheon to Star in Foxfinder
Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon (Ramsey Bolton for those of you who are bad with actor names), will be appearing in a revival of dystopian thriller Foxfinder, which was last performed in 2011. The actor is no stranger to the stage, having most famously starred in Spring Awakening in 2010, but he hasn’t performed on stage for seven years. Of course, he’s not the first actor from Game of Thrones recently announced to be treading the boards, as Masie Willaims will soon be performing in I and You at the Hampstead Theatre, whilst Kit Harington will be starring in True West in November and Natalie Dormer starred in Venus in Fur last Autumn.
Shaina Tuab on board for Devil Wears Prada Musical
Shaina Tuab will partner up with Elton John to pen the music for the Broadway-bound adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada. The show, currently in it’s early stages of development, is of course based on the classic 2006 film, starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, which was in turn based on Lauren Weisburger’s best selling 2003 novel, about the world of a high end fashion magazine. For those of you who don’t know, Shaina Tuab is an award-winning composer and performer who has most recently starred in Hadestown and Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
UK Tour For Wise Children
It has been announced that the new stage adaptation of Angela Carter’s iconic novel Wise Children, will tour the UK following it’s premiere at the Old Vic from the 8th of October to the 10th of November. It is the first production of the former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Emma Rice’s new company of the same name.
Come from Away UK Premiere
The hit Broadway musical Come From Away will transfer to the West End next year. The show tells the story of a Canadian town which found itself with 7,000 passengers stranded passengers stuck there following 9/11 and was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2017. It will play for a short run at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin before playing at the Phoenix Theatre from the 30th of January. Tickets go on sale on Monday.
Maisie Williams stage debut
Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams is set to make her stage debut at the Hampstead Theatre next October. Further casting for Lauren Gunderson’s hit play I and You is yet to be announced, but we do know that Maisie will be playing the role of Caroline and that the show will be running from the 24th of October to the 24th of November.
Mazz Murray replacing Ruthie Henshall in Chicago
Mazz Murray is set to star alongside Martin Kemp as she replaces Ruthie Henshall in Chicago. She will be stepping into the role of Mama Morton from the 2nd of July, whilst Kemp will replace Cuba Gooding Jr in the role of Billy Flynn. Murray’s previous theatre credits include Tanya in Mamma Mia, Killer Queen in We Will Rock You and Grandma Bertha in Pippin.
Grease coming back to Leicester
Grease is coming back to the Leicester Curve next year, although dates and casting are yet to be announced. The same production originally opened in 2016 and starred Dex Lee and Jessica Paul in the iconic roles of Danny and Sandy.
Aladdin swapping Genies
The two actors currently playing the Genie in the West End production and the U.S Tour of Disney’s Aladdin are to swap places this summer. Trevor Dion Nicholas, who has played the iconic character at the Prince Edward Theatre since the show started there, will now take on the role in the current U.S Tour for six weeks before returning to the West End, whilst the previous U.S Tour’s Michael James Scott will take his place in London.
Michael Jackson Musical Heading to Broadway
A new musical inspired by the life and music of the Michael Jackson will be headed to Broadway in 2020. The currently untitled show, which was announced by the Michael Jackson estate and Columbia Live Stage on Tuesday, will most likely feature hits including Bad, Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller. The book will be written by two time Pulitzer Prize winning writer Lynn Nottage.
West End Live
Crowds of around 80,000 gathered in Trafalgar Square last weekend for the biggest event in the calendar of British theatre fans: West End Live. The summer event, where entry is free and which has now been running for 14 years, featured performances from casts including Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. There were also appearances from several new and upcoming shows, including the eagerly anticipated new production of Little Shop of Horrors and the cast of Heathers the Musical, which has recently opened at the Other Palace.
Club Tropicana Heading Out on Tour
Club Tropicana: The Musical, a new show described as an 80s version of Love Island and featuring several classics from the era, will be going on a tour of the U.K next year. It will open at Bromley’s Churchill theatre on the 24th of January and will then go to locations including Edinburgh, Manchester and London, touring until the 13th of July.
More casting announced for Follies
The National Theatre have announced further casting for their already highly successful production of Follies, which will be returning to the Olivier Theatre in February of next year. Joanna Riding and Alexander Hanson will join Peter Forbes and Janie Dee, who are reprising their roles from the previous run of the show. They have also announced several other details of their new season, including the West End transfer of Natasha Gordon’s hit play Nine Night and further casting details for the world premiere of David Hare’s latest play, I’m Not Running, including Alex Hasell and Siân Brooke.
‘The Jungle’ Holds World Refugee Day Performance
The Jungle, a new play currently in previews at the Playhouse Theatre following a sell-out run at the Young Vic last December, this week held a special performance in honour of World Refugee Day. Tickets to the show, which is set in the Calias Jungle, were offered to refugee charities, guests from the cultural sphere and arts partners as World Refugee Day celebrates it’s 20th Anniversary.
Quick Fire News: The latest from the Tony Awards, Heathers and more
Your weekly round-up of news from all across the world of theatre!
DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. I do not claim ownership of this material – all images and footage used are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise.
The Band’s Visit Wins Big at the Tony Awards
The Band’s Visit took home the bulk of the awards at this year’s Tonys. The show, based on the 2007 film of the same name about an Egyptian band stranded in the Isreali desert, took home ten out of the eleven accolades it was nominated for, whilst the other Best Musical nominees were left in the dust. In spite of it’s 12 nominations, Spongebob Squarepants: the Musical only picked up one award for Best Scenic Design, whilst Mean Girls: The Musical and Frozen: The Musical failed to win anything, in spite of the latter receiving the same amount of nominations as Spongebob. Meanwhile, Once on this Island picked up the award for Best Revival, whilst the revival of Angels in America and the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two also made a splash, with 3 and 6 awards respectively.
Heathers Gets Warm Reception at The Other Palace
Widley considered to be a cult classic, a the first U.K production of the American musical Heathers started previews at The Other Palace on Saturday and to say that it’s been positively received it’s cosplay-filled audiences would be an understatement. The cast and set in particular have been widely praised all over social media, with performances by Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica Sawyer and Jamie Muscato as Jason ‘J.D’ Dean being highlighted as standouts. Based on the 1989 film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, the plot is basically Mean Girls gone horribly wrong (but in a good way). It was adapted into a musical in 2014, with the off-Broadway production starring Barrett Wilbert Weed, who is currently playing Janice in Mean Girls on Broadway, quickly gaining an immense following. Heathers will be running at the Other Palace until the 22nd of August.
Kinky Boots to Close
The hit West End production of musical Kinky Boots is set to play its final performance in London on the 12th of January 2019. The show is based on the hit 2005 film, which was in turn inspired by a true story of a worn-out shoe factory who eventually start producing for a more unusual clientele. It first made its Broadway debut in 2013, at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, where it is still playing to this day. Having opened in the West End in 2014, it will have played more than 1400 performances at the Adelphi Theatre in London by the time it closes. It’s departure from the West End will soon be followed by a U.K Tour, which will start at the Northampton’s the Royal and Derngate in September of this year.
Understudy saves the day at Mamma Mia!
When the leading lady of Mamma Mia hurt her leg in the first scene of last Thursday’s performance, the show was thrown into crisis, as both her understudies were ill! Luckily, the show’s general manager remembered that Steph Parry, who had previously starred in the show, was working as an understudy in 42nd Street, just across the road at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Within 20 minutes, she was able to step into the role and the performance, which would have been cancelled otherwise, was saved!
Bronté Barbé to star in Beautiful in MK
January 11, 2018
‘Over the Rainbow’ finalist Bronté Barbé is to star in Beautiful: The Carole King musical when it comes to Milton Keynes Theatre.
Bronté, who has appeared in musicals including Shrek the Musical and Hairspray, in addition to being a finalist of the BBC 1 programme Over the Rainbow’, is set to play the starring role of Carole King.
The Theatre announced several cast members and went into more detail on the show in a press release this morning.
They said: ‘Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Mike Bonsner in association with Michael Harrison are delighted to announce that Bronté Barbé will play ‘Carole King’ in the UK and Ireland tour of the Olivier, Tony and Grammy award-winning Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
‘(The show) tells the inspiring story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.’
It comes to Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday the 20th to Saturday the 24th of February- for more information on tickets, you can go to http://www.atgtickets.com and search for Milton Keynes Theatre.