Nicky Sweetland joins the team at London Theatre Bookings and The Theatre Café

London Theatre Bookings and The Theatre Café are delighted to announce that Nicky Sweetland has joined the company as a Sales and Marketing Executive.

The multi-award winning ticket agent – which opened The Theatre Café on Shaftesbury Avenue in 2015 – is hoping the appointment will further increase their online presence. By employing Nicky – who has worked as an entertainment journalist over the last three years for The London Weekly News, The South London Press, The Greenwich Weekender, Broadway World, Theatre.London and BBC Radio Kent – the company plans to implement an extensive schedule of live events in the intimate venue, including Q & As, Café takeovers and performances from some of the biggest stars of the West End.

The first live Q & A hosted by Nicky – with Tony Award Winner Kristin Chenoweth last month – gained over 15,000 live views and with the venue building in popularity with both stage stars and fans alike, the programme of special events is likely to gather a large interest.

Nicky Sweetland and Kristin Chenoweth

Nicky Sweetland commented, “I’m hugely excited to be working for London Theatre Bookings and I’m looking forward to putting the Theatre Café well and truly on the map. With our plans for more live Q & As, and events, The Theatre Café is going to become a destination for stagey aficionados from around the world, so keep an eye on our social media platforms and website for more details.”

Chief Operations Officer, Ryan Woods added, “I am so pleased Nicky has joined us to grow our social and web platforms across London Theatre Bookings and The Theatre Café. Nicky shares our passion and vision for The Theatre Café. January marks three full years the café has been open. We’ve achieved so much but there’s more to come; it’s very exciting! ”

 

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FIREWORKS GREET NEW MUSICAL CONCEPT ALBUM

ALL over the country, people will be marking November 5 with fireworks and parties. For some, that might have something to do with Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night. For many others, though, they’ll be celebrating the release of the concept album recording of a brand new British musical.

TESS, featuring lead vocals by Siobhan Dillon, Tam Mutu and Simon Bailey, will be officially unveiled to the public on Sunday, November 5.

Written by composer Michael Blore and award-winning playwright Michael Davies, the musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic Tess of the d’Urbervilles is going live on the show’s website www.tessthemusical.com as part of a drive to get the musical fully staged. Followers and fans can sign up to join #TeamTess and be given free access to listen to the whole show.

Set in the Wessex so beloved by Hardy, TESS tells the devastating story of Tess Durbeyfield, daughter of a poor villager who fatefully discovers that they may be related to the ancient aristocratic d’Urberville family. As Tess is sent to seek respectability with her new-found relatives, she embarks on an emotional and dramatic journey that leads to love, loss and ultimate tragedy.

With casting by Anne Vosser, the title role on the album is sung by West End and Broadway star Siobhan Dillon, who first rose to fame in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hunt for a Maria in The Sound of Music. She recently played opposite Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard at English National Opera and on Broadway and before that appeared as Ellen in Miss Saigon.

Tam Mutu, who plays the villainous Alec d’Urberville, is another Broadway and West End favourite. He alternated the role of the Phantom in Love Never Dies with Ramin Karimloo, starred as Anatoly in Chess and won a clutch of awards as Javert in Les Misérables.

Simon Bailey, who sings the role of Angel Clare, played Bob Gaudio in the West End production of Jersey Boys and is about to embark on the show’s national tour. He’s played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera, Enjolras in Les Misérables and Pharaoh in Joseph and is a founder member of Teatro, Theatreland’s first supergroup.

Other cast members include Jacqueline Tate, currently playing Mme Thénardier in Les Misérables, James Dinsmore (Adding Machine, Corbyn The Musical) and Olivier Award-winner Nathan Dowling (Jerry Springer The Opera) alongside a chorus and orchestra of professional singers and musicians.

Lyricist Michael Davies said: “It’s been a wonderfully exciting journey to get to this point, and we couldn’t have wished for a better cast and technical team. We’ve had amazing support and encouragement from the likes of Sir Tim Rice and, as he delicately points out, what we now need is a producer.

“If you see Sir Cameron, do let him know…”

www.tessthemusical.com

Ahead of launching his new EP, John McLarnon takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Glaswegian singer-songwriter John McLarnon launches his much-anticipated debut EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’.

Combining soaring melodies and raw vocals ‘Thirty Two Winters’ acts as an exciting follow-up to John’s debut single ‘Snow Angels’, which reached number 4 on the iTunes chart upon release.

Influenced by fellow celtic songwriters Glen Hansard, Damien Rice & Foy Vance, ‘Thirty Two winters’ weaves thoughtful powerful lyrics with sweeping folk inspired instrumentation to produce an honest and exciting debut.

In addition to his songwriting, John is also an actor most recently appearing as Killick in Season Three of Amazon’s epic drama ‘Outlander’ and in West-End play ‘Apologia’ alongside Tony and Emmy award winner Stockard Channing. He also played guitarist Outspan Foster in Roddy Doyle’s hit show ‘The Commitments’ in London’s West-End.

John will launch his new EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’ at Above The Arts Cabaret Club London on 24th November, but took some time off from preparations to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently coming to the end of working on ‘Apologia’ at the Trafalgar Studios and writing and rehearsing new songs for my EP launch next month. 

What is the one thing that has helped you to become successful? 

I think the key thing is being honest with yourself and identifying where your strengths lie and focusing on constantly improving what makes you stand out in such a competitive business.  

What is your favourite Book?

I would say ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland, I read it whilst travelling and it has stuck with me ever since, I also recently really enjoyed Matt Haig’s ‘How To Stop Time’.

What are you currently watching on TV?

‘MindHunter’ on Netflix at the moment, it’s my new addiction, hoping to get it finished in time for season two of ‘Stranger Things’.  

Would you choose the cinema, theatre or a restaurant for a night out? 

I’d say restaurant then the theatre or cinema…….. is that cheating? 

What’s your favourite sweet? 

I have got the sweetest of sweet tooth’s so that is a tough one but if pressed I would have to go for peanut M&Ms.  

What did you want to be when you were a child? 

When I was a kid I only wanted to be a footballer, then as I grew up I decided on an architect then ended up an actor and musician, funny old life.

What was the naughtiest thing you did when you were a child?

Me and my mates were really into WWE wrestling when we were kids and I can distinctly remember knocking my best mate out with an Argos catalogue, his Mum wasn’t too pleased, however we are still friends today so all was forgiven.  

What is your proudest achievement to date?

 Finishing and releasing music I’ve written.     

What’s next? 

Launching my EP ‘Thirty Two Winters’ at Above The Arts Cabaret Club London on 24th Nov.

Tickets are on sale now and available at:

https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/john-mclarnon-thirty-two-winters-ep-launch/

New musical EUGENIUS! To open at The Other Palace 

After a successful debut concert performance at the London Palladium last year, Warwick Davis and Kevin Wood announce the full-scale production of the British cult musical “EUGENIUS!” at The Other Palace from 22 January until the 3 March 2018.

Written by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins, “EUGENIUS!” tells the story of Eugene, a teenage boy whose nightly dreams of a distant world of heroes and villains may just be the ticket to him creating his very own comic book movie in Hollywood. Joined by his best friends ‘Janey’ and ‘Feris’, our comic writing genius must discover the true meaning of growing up, finding the superhero within, saving the world from both earthbound villains and possibly those from distant galaxies, and along the way, falling in love.
EUGENIUS! is produced by legendary “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” actor Warwick Davis and features the voice of Prince Vultan himself, Brian Blessed. Warwick said, “We are thrilled to be bringing an original British musical to The Other Palace. After a tremendous concert performance at the London Palladium last summer we can’t wait to see the fully staged production. Ben and Chris have written this incredible 80’s inspired score and includes the songs ‘Go Eugenius’ and ‘Comic Book Kind of Love’, which recieved popular acclaim last year’.

The book, music and lyrics for ‘EUGENIUS!’ are written by Ben Adams and Chris Wilkins. Award winning Ian Talbot will direct. Ian was previously the Artistic Director at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre for 20 years, for which he received an OBE. He has directed ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘Lend Me A Tenor’. The creative team is completed by Aaron Renfree who will choreograph, sound design by Gareth Owen, lighting by Andrew Ellis, musical supervision by Stuart Morley and musical direction by Darren Lord. Set and costume design will be by Hannah Wolfe and the show’s design features specially commissioned comic book artwork by Marvel artist, Simon Williams (Transformers, Spider Man, Marvel Heroes, The lncredible Hulk).
  

EUGENIUS! THE MUSICAL will run at The Other Palace from Monday 22 January – Saturday 3 March 2018 

A host of West End stars will gather for Sunday at the Musicals

A whole host of West End stars will gather at St. Paul’s Church (The Actors’ Church) in Covent Garden next month for a very special concert.

Entitled Sunday at the Musicals the show will be hosted by Rosemarie Ford and feature a cast of musical theatre performers together with the renowned musical pair Classical Reflection and seventy members of the London Show Choir.

The company will perform songs from past and present musicals – accompanied by pianist, Matt Pallant –  in what is expected to be a night not to be missed.

The cast will include, Emily Clare, Classical Reflection, Susan Colclough, Amanda Coutts, Lizzie Deane, Aimée Fisher, Michelle Francis, Gabriela Garcia, Jenny Gayner, Pippa Gearing, Catherine Hannay, Aimée Hodnett, Claudia Kariuki, Alex Lodge, Carolyn Maitland, Natalie Moore-Williams, Sarah O’Connor, Louise Olley, Alfie Parker, Laura Pick, Caroline Rodgers, Jordan Shaw, Elena Skye, Pippa Winslow, Alex Young

Sunday at the Musicals will take place at St. Paul’s Church (The Actors’ Church) in Covent Garden, London, on Sunday 26th November 2017. Doors will open at 7.00pm and the concert will begin at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the production, which is in aid of Marie Curie UK, can be purchased online now: www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/383903.

Carolyn Maitland will perform Songs Chosen By You Live at Zedel

West End star Carolyn Maitland will perform an intimate cabaret at the celebrated Live at Zedel, Piccadilly this weekend. The acclaimed performer – who is perhaps best known for portraying Ellen in the West End production of Miss Saigon – has created a unique show, with the set list put together from suggestions on social media.

Maitland – who recently wowed audiences as Sally Bowles in Cabaret – will be joined by some of her London stage colleagues, Marsha Songcome and Kieran Jae.

The show entitled Songs Chosen By You will feature Kris Rawlinson as MD and audiences can expert a variety of jazz, pop and musical twists all under the roof of the stunning art Novo venue.

Carolyn Maitland will perform Songs Chosen by You Live at Zedel on 28 October 9:15pm.

https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/carolyn-maitland-songs-chosen-by-you-oct-2017/106481053

Review: ‘Fast becoming a renowned jazz virtuoso’ ★★★★★ Emma Hatton, Pizza Express Live

Although best known for her leading roles in the West End, Emma Hatton started her musical journey as a jazz singer and it’s with jazz and blues music that she admits to being most at home performing.

And in her latest solo show – at the new Pizza Express live in Holborn – the songstress performed a wonderfully mixed programme of jazz, blues and even some rock, but with the odd show tune also mixed in to ensure her musical theatre fans were content.

Emma Hatton has just finished playing the iconic role of Eva Peron in the West End production of Evita, but is perhaps best known for portraying the green witch Elphaba in the musical phenomenon Wicked.

But despite being an acclaimed leading lady, you’ll be struck by how grounded and humble Emma is, something which came across as she talked about the songs she was singing and the reasons for choosing them.

The new Pizza Express Live has a much better set up than the other two I have visited in Chelsea and Soho, with the staging area much more central, allowing for a better view for those in attendance. The four-piece band – led by MD Sean Green – comfortably filled the performance area and provided an extremely good quality sound throughout, taking their moments to shine, but never overpowering Emma’s vocals.

After starting with a rousing version of James Bay’s “If You Ever Wanna Be in Love”, followed by a gorgeous interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, Emma performed a truly magnificent rendition of Imelda May’s “Black Tears”; her powerful vocals fitting the soaring melody to perfection.

Other act one highlights included a tribute to the late Glen Campbell – with a wonderful version of the country classic “Wichita Lineman” – and a couple by Sara Bareilles, with “City” (and some amazing riffs!) and “I Didn’t Plan It” from the musical Waitress.

Act two had a much more chilled vibe going on and after the James Bond theme “License to Kill” – originally performed by Gladys Knight – the audience was treated to a great version of “Hey Laura” by one of Emma’s more modern influences, Gregory Porter.

The singer really showed her versatility by seamlessly switching from one style to another and with her slight West Country twang, chatted about her teenage obsession with Macaulay Culkin before performing The Temptations classic “My Girl”.

Heading back into musical theatre, Emma then performed an emotive and extremely potent rendition of “Burn” from the new American musical Hamilton, before finishing the show with the upbeat crowd-pleaser “You Got It” by Roy Orbison.

The real highlight was left for the encore however, when the band whipped up a storm and Emma belted out the Prince anthem “Purple Rain”, leaving the audience in raptures.

Emma Hatton is a real star of the stage, but with her solo cabaret performances is also fast becoming a renowned jazz virtuoso.

After the huge success of the number 1 Christmas collaboration with Anthony Strong Merry Christmas Darling, the pair will join forces again to release a new EP later this year and you’ll be able to see them perform together at Christmas in Leicester Square on 14 December. 

 

Photo by Troy David Johnston

 

 

Kander and Ebb’s The Rink to return to the London stage

Kander and Ebb’s The Rink will return to the London stage for the first time in 20 years.

The new production of The Rink will play at Southwark Playhouse for a limited season from 25 May to 23 June 2018 and will be directed by Adam Lenson and choreographed by Fabian Aloise.

Anna, an Italian housewife who runs a roller-skating rink on the Eastern seaboard, is about to sell it to developers until her estranged daughter, Angel, returns after a long absence, hoping to save the rink and patch things up with her mother.

The Rink originally premiered on Broadway on 9 February 1984, starring Chita Rivera as Anna and Liza Minelli as Angel.  Rivera won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her performance. The show premiered in London at the Cambridge Theatre on 17 February 1988, starring Josephine Blake and Diane Langton as Anna and Angel respectively.

Adam Lenson most recently directed 35mm: A Musical Exhibition (The Other Palace) and Superhero (Southwark Playhouse). His other recent directing credits include Whisper House (The Other Palace), Songs For A New World (St James Theatre, 20th Anniversary Production), The Sorrows of Satan(Tristan Bates Theatre), Disgraced (English Theatre Frankfurt) and Dark Tourism (Park Theatre). In 2016, Adam was the recipient of a Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award, for which he is currently developing Wasted, a new rock musical based on the Brontës which had a workshop production at West Yorkshire Playhouse in October 2016.

Adam said of directing The Rink, “I have long admired the ingenious work of Kander and Ebb and to get to direct this rarely seen masterpiece is a true privilege. Most people are only familiar with their most popular hits Chicago and Cabaret, but The Rink is as innovative as it is underrated and truly pushes the form of musical theatre. I cannot wait for audiences to see this beautiful and complex story.”

Fabian Aloise most recently choreographed the UK National Tour of Our House and the European Premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s Working at Southwark Playhouse. Fabian was resident choreographer on Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, and associate choreographer on the Australian production. Prior to this, Fabian was associate choreographer to Arlene Phillips on We Will Rock You in Belgium, and associate choreographer to Ann Reinking for US and International tours of Fosse.  He choreographed The 24 Hour Musical at The Old Vic for Kevin Spacey and Jamie Lloyd, and Off-West End productions of Bright Lights Big City and The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Rink will run at Southwark Playhouse from 25 May to 23 June 2018.

Review: ‘A once in a lifetime show’ ★★★★★ Kristin Chenoweth, London Palladium

There are few performers who could pack the London Palladium for a one-off concert. There are even fewer who could completely captivate the two thousand strong audience for an entire evening with just a piano as accompaniment and a collection of stories.

But Kristin Chenoweth is no ordinary performer and in a stripped back concert at the iconic Argyll Street venue she proved why she is seen as musical theatre royalty.


It’s difficult to describe just how charismatic Chenoweth is without sounding gushing. But the stage star – who is small in stature – somehow managed to fill the cavernous auditorium, reaching every corner and every person with her dazzling disposition, while maintaining a feeling of intimacy throughout.

From the very first entrance the audience erupted with adulation and after beginning with “Should I be Sweet” – which featured on her 2001 Let Yourself Go album – Kristin launched into her trademark self-deprecating and down to earth story telling.

There’s no doubt that Kristin Chenoweth is vocally one of the best in the business – her range is phenomenal and her ability to effortlessly switch from one musical style to another is remarkable – but it’s in the delivery where she really leads the field. When extracting every bit of emotion or humour from each lyric, she is able to completely connect with her audience. You could have heard a pin drop, such was the silent awe throughout the more meaningful numbers like “I Get Along Without You Very Well” and the glorious “Moon River”. Other act one highlights included an extremely emotional version of “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables, “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady – which showcased her extraordinary soprano voice – and the religious anthem “Upon this Rock” for which she was joined onstage by the Choir of the Arts Educational School.

After returning to the stage after the interval bedecked in a shimmering slip and matching thigh-high silver boots, Wicked fans were treated to the song for which Kristin Chenoweth is renowned; “Popular” (so perfectly performed it sounded as if we were listening to the original recording) before the songstress was joined onstage by another former Wicked star, Rachel Tucker for a stunning rendition of the duet “For Good”.

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There were homages to many of her influences throughout the show too (a number of who were in attendance) including British musical theatre star Elaine Paige, lyricist Lesley Bricusse, composer Andrew Lippa and director of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown – for which Chenoweth won a Tony award in 1999 – Michael Mayer.

Stand out numbers in act two included a gorgeous version of the country classic “You Were Always On My Mind” mashed up with Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” and the funny little ditty “Taylor the Latte Boy” along with another belter performed with the Choir of the Arts Educational School to close the show.

You can’t help but feel like you’ve been in the presence of greatness when you find yourself anywhere near Kristin Chenoweth; such is the positive energy which she emanates and her encore performance – without a microphone –  of “Smile” left the audience in no doubt they had witnessed a once in a lifetime show. Is Kristin Chenoweth a goddess? I think so.

Photo by Danny Kaan

Meera Syal to join the cast of Annie

Meera Syal will join the West End production of Annie to play the role of Miss Hannigan for the duration of the run which concludes, on 18 February 2018 at the Piccadilly Theatre.

Nikolai Foster’s West End production opened in May this year with Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan and last month Craig Revel Horwood joined the Company to play the role.  Following the conclusion of the West End run Annie will embark on a five week visit to the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto.

British comedian, actor and writer Meera Syal was last on stage earlier this year in a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) at the Royal Court Theatre where her previous credits include Serious Money and The Great Celestial Cow.  Her other theatre credits include Romeo & Juliet at the Garrick Theatre, Behind the Beautiful Forevers and Rafta Rafta for the National Theatre,Much Ado About Nothing for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Killing of Sister George at the Arts Theatre, Shirley Valentine for the Menier Chocolate Factory, Bombay Dreams at the Apollo Victoria, My Girl for Theatre Royal Stratford East and Goodness Gracious Me on tour.  On television, she is best known for her work in the BBC’s comedy series The Kumars at No. 42 and Goodness Gracious Me as well as roles in Midsomer Murders, Broadchurch, The Boy in the Dress, Silk, Bollywood Carmen, Doctor Who, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Secretary Who Stole £4 Million, Linda Green and Life Isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee.  Her film credits include Absolutely Anything, Desert Flower, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Beautiful Thing, It’s Not Unusual as well as the forthcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  As a writer, her work includes My Sister Wife and Anita & Me.  Syal was made an MBE in 1997 and a CBE in 2015.

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family…

Annie is playing at the Piccadilly Theatre until 18 February 2018