Casting announced for Five Guys Named Moe at the brand new Marble Arch Theatre

Underbelly Productions have today announced full casting for a brand new production of Clarke Peters’ Olivier Award-winning and Tony-Award nominated musical, Five Guys Named Moe. The production will open on 14 September 2017 in a new temporary theatre in Marble Arch, London.

Edward Baruwa will play Nomax and the ‘Moes’ will be played by: Ian Carlyle (Four-Eyed Moe), Dex Lee (Know Moe), Idriss Kargbo (Little Moe), Timothy Martin (Big Moe) and Emile Ruddock (Eat Moe).

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Underbelly have also released the first look at how the inside of the new Marble Arch Theatre will look. Specifically designed for the production will be reminiscent of 1940s New Orleans Jazz clubs, occupying the whole space. There will be cabaret table seating in the centre of the space with a drinks table service.

In addition to the theatre, there will be a connecting foyer designed in the style of a New Orleans courtyard with hanging atmospheric foliage, festoon lighting, a beautiful bespoke bar, a performance area for a jazz trio and concession stands selling popcorn, sweets, snacks and merchandise as well as a cloakroom area.

Five Guys Named Moe was first seen at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 1990, it transferred to the West End and played for four years, subsequently playing on Broadway from 1992. Clarke Peters’ career defining musical features the irresistible hits of trailblazing ‘King of the Jukebox’ Louis Jordan, including Early In The MorningIs You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Saturday Night Fish Fry. The soundtrack of soul, blues, gospel and early r ‘n’ b is performed on stage by a live band.

The production, which is to be directed by Peters himself,  is currently booking from 29 August to 25 November 2017, with an Opening Night on 14 September.

Five Guys Named Moe will be directed by Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme, Person of Interest, Porgy and Bess, The Ice Man Cometh) with musical staging and choreography by Andrew Wright (Half a SixpenceSingin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls), inspired by Charles Augins’ original choreography, set and costume design by takis (Side Show, In The Heights, Hairspray, The Good Person of Sichuan), lighting design by Philip Gladwell (The James Plays, Cymbeline, Trainspotting, After Miss Julie, Hairspray), sound design by Ben Harrison (Cabaret, Dreamboats and Petticoats, Dancing in the Streets, The King & I, Starlight Express, Blood Brothers, Soul Sister) and musical supervision from Steve Hill (Fame, RENT, The House That Nat Built, Bent, Hair).

Cameron Mackintosh said: I am really thrilled that Underbelly are producing a brand new production of Five Guys Named Moe in London later this year. It’s a show that brought fun and joy to audiences in the West End for many years so it’s great to see its return for its 25th Anniversary. I am particularly excited that this new production is being staged in a Spiegeltent theatre specifically tailored for Five Guys so that Underbelly’s unique style will give audiences and the show a special intimate experience which will definitely make it the best party in town – a party which I’m delighted to support Underbelly in throwing.”

Clarke Peters said: “It’s a rare and wonderful thing to have the chance to direct a show that not only you have created but also performed in. It’s a show that is very close to my heart and soul and is so much of who I am. It’s an honour to return to it on its 25th Anniversary and reimagine the show in this new theatre space; one which is perfect for creating a closeness and dynamic energy between the story and the audience. Further to this it’s a treat to be working with a fantastic creative team and I can’t wait to transport audiences into the magical world of rhythm and blues. This rhythm will lift one and all from their blues!”

Robert Davis, Westminster City Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Culture and Heritage said: “Westminster City Council is delighted to be working with Underbelly Productions to bring Five Guys Named Moe to Marble Arch in its very own, bespoke theatre. Bringing this internationally acclaimed musical to this world-renowned, iconic space is a truly mouth-watering prospect that will further increase the cultural offer available to residents, businesses and visitors throughout the City of Westminster.  To quote the show itself; ‘Let The Good Times Roll!’”

Five Guys Named Moe is at the Marble Arch Theatre from 29 August – 25 November 2017 

Photos by Graham Michael

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Around the World in 80 Days comes to Cadogan Hall

The New Vic Theatre’s celebrated production of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days adapted by Laura Eason and directed by Theresa Heskins arrives at London’s Cadogan Hall, as part of a major six month tour.

Around the World in 80 Days first premièred at the New Vic Theatre in 2013 followed by a successful season at the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester in 2014. This production has been nominated for both the UK Theatre Awards’ ‘Best New Production’ and the Manchester Theatre Awards’ ‘Best Show for Children and Families’.

The mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his life’s fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days. Join Fogg and his loyal valet, Passepartout, as they voyage from the misty alleys of Victorian London to the exotic subcontinent and the Wild West in a race against the clock.

An ensemble cast of 8 play over 125 characters in an imaginative and physically inventive high-spirited escapade including six trains, five boats, four fights, three dances, two circus acts and an elephant!

Theresa Heskins is currently Artistic Director of the New Vic Theatre. Recent directing credits include, The Snow Queen, Peter Pan in Scarlet, Kiss Me Quickstep, Robin Hood & Marian, Dracula, The Borrowers, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Widowers’ Houses, A Christmas Carol, Far from the Madding Crowd and Where Have I Been All My Life? In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of the Arts for services to theatre and for her cultural contribution to North Staffordshire.

The UK tour of Around the World in 80 Days reunites original cast members Andrew Pollard (Phileas Fogg),Michael Hugo (Passepartout), Dennis Herdman (Inspector Fix), Pushpinder Chandi (Mr Naidu) and Kirsten Foster (Mrs Aouda). They are joined by Matthew Ganley (Colonel Proctor), Simi Egbejumi-David (Captain Speedy) and Joey Parsad (Miss Singh).

Around the World in 80 Days is at Cadogan Hall from 2 August until 2 September.

RT & Follow for a chance to win The Wind in the Willows Original London Cast recording

Producer Jamie Hendry and Sony Masterworks Broadway are pleased to announce the release of the original cast recording of new musical The Wind in the Willows with book by Julian Fellowes, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.

With music and lyrics by Olivier Award-winners George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the album features the original West End cast of The Wind in the Willows, accompanied by a fourteen-piece band. The album is produced by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and co-produced by Simon Lee. Tris Penna is the executive producer.

The original London cast is led by actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound as the amazing ‘Mr Toad’ with West End stars Simon Lipkin as ‘Rat’ and Craig Mather as ‘Mole’; EastEnders actor Neil McDermott as ‘Chief Weasel’; Coronation Street and Boy Meets Girl star Denise Welch as ‘Mrs Otter’ and West End legend Gary Wilmot as ‘Badger.  Also included are Chris Aukett, Joel Baylis, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Abigail Climer, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, Emilie du Leslay, Joshua Gannon,James Gant, Evan James, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Ryan Pidgen, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Natalie Woods. The cast album also features Dylan Mason, Patrick Sullivan and Karli Vale who recently appeared in the show’s pre-London tour.

Based on Kenneth Grahame’s treasured novel which has captivated generations of readers for over a century, The Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the stage with a book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes.

Tickets are on-sale from £15, with reduced price preview performances. Kids go free on Monday to Friday performances – terms and conditions apply. No additional booking fees or charges are applied to tickets booked via www.WillowsMusical.com.

This riotous comedy follows the impulsive Mr Toad whose insatiable need for speed lands him in serious trouble. With his beloved home under threat from the notorious Chief Weasel and his gang of sinister Wild Wooders, Toad must attempt a daring escape leading to a series of misadventures and a heroic battle to recapture Toad Hall. Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows brings an explosion of anarchy, humour and heart to the world-famous London Palladium.

The Wind in the Willows CD competition Terms and Conditions
1. The promoter is The Sweet London Life
2. Employees of The Sweet London Life or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
4. Route to entry for the competition is via social media but retweeting and following the Twitter page or liking and sharing the Facebook page
5. Closing date for entry will be Friday 30th June 2017 . After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7. The rules of the competition and the prize for each winner are as follows: One The Wind in the Willows CD Album
8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
11. Winners will be chosen by an independent adjudicator or panel of judges appointed by the Sweet London Life.
12. The winner will be notified by social media within 48 hours of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 7 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
13. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
14. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
15. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
18. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by emailing the promotor  info@thesweetlondonlife.com
19. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
20. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network. You are providing your information to The Sweet London Life and not to any other party.

Review: “Unadulterated escapism” ★★★★ Bat Out of Hell – The Musical, London Coliseum

Jim Steinman had a musical theatre show in mind when he first wrote the classic album Bat Out Of Hell and the theatrical nature of both the lyrics and the music mean the songs perfectly lend themselves to the stage.

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Although the story that’s been wrapped around them for the new musical is a bit flimsy, with spectacular staging and plenty of tongue in cheek fun, the result is an evening of unadulterated escapism.

It’s a joyful mix of power ballads and cheesy dialogue (also written by Jim Steinman) with some central performances that are so good, the dubious plot is somehow held together. You will, in fact, get so wrapped up in the spectacle of the show that you’ll almost find yourself believing that a dystopia in which adolescents are stuck at the age of 18 is actually a reality. Well, almost.

Andrew Polec’s Strat leads ‘The Lost’, a band of misfits rebelling against the tyrannical rule of Falco (Rob Fowler). Polec’s performance is reminiscent of the rock front men from yesteryear; a blend of Axel Rose and David Bowie, brimming with charisma and sex appeal, while smoothly meandering through the famed melodies.

The youth becomes obsessed with Raven (played with zeal by Christina Bennington), the daughter of the evil dictator in one those zingy love-at-first-sight moments, and decides he must liberate her from her prisoner like existence. The mesmerising chemistry between the couple makes their stage time a joy to watch and with just enough Addams Family like macabre humour provided by Rob Fowler (whose vocals are to die for) and a wine swilling Sharon Sexton, the action never feels too sickly sweet.

John Bausor’s set design is rumoured to be one of the largest in the world and in this instance bigger is definitely better, with huge futuristic video projections further giving a rock concert feel and some lovely little details – including a plunge pool amongst a rocky outcrop– adding to the overall otherworldly look.

As expected, motorbikes also play a big part in the show, but it’s a convertible car that provides the comedy highlight when it’s pushed into the orchestra pit, resulting in some of the musicians making a hammy exit across the stage with their broken instruments.

Mostly the songs bear little relevance to the plot, but they are nevertheless still extremely powerful and in act two the ensemble’s rendition of “Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” feels particularly poignant.

Yes, it’s formulaic and the ending is predictable, but in the current political climate, a show, which takes you away from the real world, is just what is needed.

Bat Out of Hell The Musical is at the London Coliseum until 5 August 

Photos by Specular

Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff to make stage debut in Fat Friends – The Musical

Former England cricket captain, and star of SKY’s League of Their Own, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff will swap the cricket pitch to tread the boards as he joins an all star cast for the world premiere of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – the Musical. Freddie will play Kevin Chadwick opposite the previously announced, Jodie Prenger as his fiancée, Kelly. Freddie takes to the stage for the first time on 7thNovember 2017 as Fat Friends – the Musical opens at Leeds Grand Theatre. He will then tour with the production to Southampton, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool.

One of the world’s most recognised cricket stars, Freddie Flintoff won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2005 after playing a pivotal role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. Since the Lancashire Lad’s cricket career ended in 2010, he has forged a career as a much loved presenter and broadcaster. Appearing as a captain on Sky’s A League of Their Own, being crowned King of the Jungle in the first Australian version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, Freddie has also launched a clothing range ‘Flintoff by Jacamo’. Having just filmed a part in Kay Mellor’s new ITV series, this role will see Freddie continue to affirm his acting credentials after bowling over the show’s creator, Kay Mellor and composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber during auditions!

Freddie Flintoff said: “I am really excited to be starring in Fat Friends – The Musical at Leeds Grand in November and at some other great venues around the UK in 2018. Having had the pleasure of recently working on an episode of Kay’s latest TV series, it’s great to have the opportunity to work with her again. I loved the TV series and think Fat Friends – The Musical, is going to give people a great night out. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kay Mellor said: “I was introduced to Freddie at one of our TV casting sessions – it was clear to me that he could leave his cricket bat behind, embody a character, and understand the drama. It was a no brainer… he got the part. Then, as we were talking through Fat Friends – The Musical, I wondered if Freddie could sing. I was ecstatic when Nick met him and agreed his voice was perfect for the role. I am thrilled and delighted that Freddie is able to join us for our run at Leeds and part of the tour as well, playing our leading male and fiancee to Kelly played by Jodie Prenger. I can’t wait to start working with the super talented cast we’ve got so far!”

Nicholas Lloyd Webber said: “I am thrilled that Freddie will be joining our stellar cast of Fat Friends – the Musical. He immediately really impressed us in his audition and we are so excited to be working with him on our show. Our starting XI is now nothing short of sensational.”

The award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, Kay Mellor, whose extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman. Freddie joins the award winning Jodie Prenger and X-Factor winner Sam Bailey with further casting to be announced.

Produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel, with original music and songs composed by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive UK tour, visiting Bromley, Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Sheffield, Southend, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Dartford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bradford, Aberdeen and Blackpool.

Fat Friends – the Musical is designed by Bretta Gerecke with choreography by Karen Bruce, musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements from Simon Lee, sound design by two time Olivier Award winning Gareth Owen and lighting design from Tony Award nominated Nick Richings, Fat Friends – The Musical, sees the nation’s favourite group of dieters reunited as this new show bursts on to the stage.

The ‘weight’ is over; Packed full of warmth, life and weight loss, this brand new stage show reunites our favourite foodie friends in an original musical bulging with hopes, humour and heart. Join the infamous group of loveable characters as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local branch of Super Slimmer’s by the lovelorn Lauren whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams. Fat Friends offers a generous serving of hilarious fun with a sprinkle of romance on top!

Fat Friends hit television screens in October 2000, following the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Running for five years on ITV, the show starred Alison Steadman, Gaynor Faye and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones. Written by Kay Mellor, the show was nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.

Online: www.fatfriendsthemusical.com

Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams to star in new production of Flashdance – The Musical

Flashdance – The Musical returns to the UK for the first time since 2011 starring Strictly favourite Joanne Clifton and singer-songwriter Ben Adams.

Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton is no stranger to being at the top, as she is also a World & European Champion ballroom dancer, and is one of very few pro dancers to have won both the main Strictly glitter ball with Ore Oduba last year and the Christmas Special in 2015 with Harry Judd.

Joanne made her musical theatre debut in the role of Streetwalker in the UK premiere of the Irving Berlin musical Face The Music, for which she was nominated for an Off West End Award. She followed this up with a turn as Marilyn Monroe in the Norma Jeane Musical and then tread the boards as Millie Dillmount in the No. 1 UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she garnered rave reviews.

She is now excited to take on her latest starring role as Alex Owens in the UK Tour of Flashdance. Joanne says,

“This is just another dream come true! I think everyone in the world whether dancer or non-dancer, as soon as they hear ‘What a Feeling’, remember that iconic scene at the end of the film and I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to do that every night in a UK TOUR along with fabulous numbers like “She’s a Maniac.” I’m over the moon! It’s another amazing opportunity in my musical theatre career and I can once again sing and act alongside dancing! I just hope the water’s not too cold when it falls on me!’

Ben Adams who will join Joanne on stage as Nick Hurley has been singing and performing since the age of 8. His career started as head chorister at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, singing at royal weddings, touring all over Europe, recording 2 classical albums and frequently singing for the likes of the Queen and the Pope.

At 16, he became the lead singer of the band a1, who racked up 10 million record sales, 2 UK number ones, 5 studio albums and toured throughout the world, winning a Brit award among many others.

When the band split, Ben took to the studio and is now a successful song writer and producer, working with the likes of Robin Thicke, Craig David, JLS, Ward Thomas, Sam Bailey, Boyzone and Alexandra Burke to name but a few. He also reached the final of Celebrity Big Brother, the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, and Master Chef in Denmark. As well as writing for other artists, he went straight to number 1 in the itunes charts with his classical album titled One Beautiful Mourning. His first solo album 1981 will be launched early 2018.

In 2010, A1 reformed and having successfully completed stadium tours in Asia and 68 sold out arena concerts across Europe, they starred in The Big Reunion on ITV2 and played arenas across the country.  They continue to tour throughout the world.

Ben has also written a brand-new musical called ‘EUGENIUS!’ Which after a sold-out London Palladium performance, is set to hit the West End stage next year.

Ben says of taking to the stage in Flashdance:

“It’s amazing to be part of such an iconic story, and as an 80’s child I was brought up on this music so I couldn’t be happier playing Nick in the theatre production of Flashdance. Whilst I continue with my own music career and touring with a1, Musical Theatre has always been a real passion of mine, so to be asked to play this role, and to be working with such an amazing cast and crew is a real honour. I look forward to seeing you all out on the road in the coming months”

Additional cast includes: Colin, Kiyani, Rikki Chamberlain, Garry Lee Netley, Carol Ball, Sia Dauda, Hillie Ann Lowe, Simeon Beckett, Rhodri Watkins, Demmileigh Foster, Emily Kenwright, Ameila Rose Fielding, Alex Christian, Matt Concannon

Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.

Producers are promising audiences will be blown away with an astonishing musical spectacle and phenomenal choreography to the iconic score, which includes the smash hits “Maniac, Manhunt”, “Gloria”, “I Love Rock & Roll” and the award-winning title track “Flashdance – What a Feeling”.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all odds. Flashdance proved a hit with audiences, and remained in the Top 10 Box Office in the States for 15 weeks after release. The original score also proved hugely popular, with the soundtrack album selling 700,000 copies within two weeks of release. The platinum selling hit title track “Flashdance – What A Feeling” won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1983, with the soundtrack winning the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984.

Flashdance will open in Glasgow on 4 August before embarking on a UK tour with visits to Wimbledon, Woking and Dartford all on the schedule. For full details of tour venues and dates, visit www.flashdanceuktour.co.uk

 

 

Brand New Production of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness For the Prosecution’ to open on the South Bank This Autumn

A major new production of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution is to open on London’s South Bank this October in a unique court room setting inside County Hall.  Lucy Bailey (Comus, The Graduate, Titus Andronicus) will direct this gripping tale of justice, passion and betrayal, with the audience thrillingly placed in the thick of the action in a spectacular location. This will be the first major London production of a play written by Agatha Christie to open since the 1960s.

Director Lucy Bailey at The Chamber in London County Hall. Photo by Helen Maybanks

Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high. Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony?  Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?

Witness for the Prosecution was one of Agatha Christie’s favourites of all her works.  In her autobiography, she said: ‘One night at the theatre stands out in my memory especially; the first night of Witness for the Prosecution. I can safely say that that was the only first night I have enjoyed…. It was one of my plays that I like best myself.’ 

The new production has been developed with the support and involvement of the Christie family. Christie’s Great Grandson and Executive Chair of Agatha Christie Ltd, James Prichard said “It is really exciting to see this innovative approach to one of my great grandmother’s best plays. The amazing setting of County Hall will help raise the production to great heights, and with Lucy Bailey directing it will be a must see theatre event. This show will help demonstrate that Christie’s works are as relevant today as they have ever been, and 21st century London is in for a treat.”

Witness for the Prosecution is part of an exciting new wave of adaptations of Christie’s work on stage and screen that are giving audiences a fresh perspective on her canon. It follows the highly acclaimed BBC One adaptation of the short story which aired last Christmas and starred Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough and Kim Cattrall, as well as the BBC’s And Then There Were None which starred Aidan Turner, Charles Dance and Sam Neill. The BBC has commissioned seven new adaptations with the first of these, Ordeal By Innocence going into production this summer. In November, 20th Century Fox’s feature film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express will be released, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. The all-star cast also includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Sergei Polunin and Lucy Boynton.

Witness for the Prosecution will run from 6 October – 11 March 

Casting News: Debra Stephenson will join the cast of new Dusty Springfield musical

Bad Girls and Coronation Street star Debra Stephenson will create the role of Alison in this heart-warming new musical, joining Diana Vickers in the 2017 tour.

Debra Stephenson

Featuring the soulful music of Dusty Springfield, with a book by Warner Brown and directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, Son of a Preacher Man embarks on a national tour starting at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre from Monday 4 September 2017.

Three broken hearts, one Soho hang-out, and the only man who could ever help them…

Welcome to the Preacher Man, the swinging 1960s Soho joint where the kids danced the night away to the latest crazes and dared to dream of love, while the legendary owner, The Preacher Man himself, dispensed advice to cure the loneliest of hearts.

Only, that was a long time ago and all that remains are the memories, the stories and the myths. Until now, that is, when three random strangers, generations apart but all in need of help with their hopeless love lives, are inexplicably drawn to the site of the original venue. The Preacher Man is long gone, but his son, with help from the wonderful Cappuccino Sisters, might just find it in himself to channel the spirit of The Preacher Man and once more give these three lovesick strangers the look of love.

Featuring the greatest hits of Dusty Springfield, including “The Look Of Love”, “I Only Want To Be With You”, “Spooky” and of course, the classic “Son Of A Preacher Man”, this sparklingly funny and sweetly touching new musical play by internationally renowned writer Warner Brown will have you laughing, crying and singing your heart out to some of the greatest songs ever written.

Directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood, who returns to Wimbledon with Son of a Preacher Man after last year’s successful Sister Act. You only want to be with us!

Choreographer Craig Revel Horwood said:  

‘I am delighted to bring to life for the very first time this wonderful story created by Warner Brown, with soulful songs from the legendary Dusty Springfield’s iconic music catalogue. I hope that audiences in Wimbledon will come to love this warm-hearted and uplifting new musical as much as I do.’

Debra Stephenson is known for her long running roles in Coronation Street and Bad Girls, whilst her entertainment credits include The Friday Night Project, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, Comic Relief Does Fame Academy and Let’s Dance For Sports Relief. As a comedic impressionist she is best known as star of BBC One’s The Impressions Show, with her other credits including BBC Radio 4’s Dead Ringers as well ITV’s Newzoids.

 http://www.sonofapreachermanmusical.com

West End newcomer Jamael Westman lands role as Hamilton

West End newcomer Jamael Westman has gained the chance to lead the cast of the most anticipated show of the year.

The performer, who recently completed a run at Shakespeare’s Globe in The White Devil, having graduated from RADA in 2016, will mark his West End debut when he takes on the title role in Hamilton at the Victoria Palace in November.

He will be joined by Michael Jibson as King George. Jibson is best known among musical theatre fans for playing The Foreman in the film version of Les Misérables alongside Anne Hathaway.

They join the previously announced cast of Hamilton, which will re-open the Victoria Palace Theatre later this year following an extensive multi-million-pound renovation and expansion to the listed building.

The cast features Christine Allado (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds), Rachelle Ann Go (Eliza Hamilton), Tarinn Callender (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison), Rachel John (Angelica Schuyler), Jason Pennycooke (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Cleve September (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton), Giles Terera (Aaron Burr) and Obioma Ugoala (George Washington).  At certain performances, the role of Alexander Hamilton will be played by Ash Hunter.

They are joined by Jade Albertsen, Curtis Angus, Jonathan Bishop, Courtney-Mae Briggs, Jack Butterworth, Jon-Scott Clark, Kelly Downing, Leslie Garcia Bowman, Lia Given, Greg Haney, Leah Hill, Barney Hudson, Waylon Jacobs, Miriam-Teak Lee, Phoebe Liberty, Alexzandra Sarmiento, Marsha Songcome, Christopher Tendai and Lindsey Tierney.  Final casting will be announced at a later date.

Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now.

Winner of 11 Tony Awards including Best Musical, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Hamilton has smashed box office records on Broadway where it continues its run at The Richard Rodgers Theatre with the largest advance ever recorded in theatre history.   A second US production is also playing to capacity at the PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago and a third US production opened in March at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.

Hamilton will begin previews at the Victoria Place Theatre on 21 November 2017

Choreographer Botis Seva takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Scottish Dance Theatre presents hot new choreographer Botis Seva’s world premiere TuTuMucky alongside return of popular Dreamers in fresh Double Bill for Spring.

On Wednesday 4 January Botis Seva arrived in Dundee to start work with Scottish Dance Theatre dancers on his new work TuTuMucky which premiered at Dundee Rep Theatre on Friday 10 February. Now, Botis Seva is returning to his London roots, bringing TuTuMucky to The Place on June 16 & 17 and he took some tome off to complete our Sugar Rush Quiz.

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What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a new outdoor show which will be touring to 4 different festivals in June/July. The piece is called Da Native and looks at identity culture in Britain.

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

The one thing that has helped me is always keeping faith in my life and going with my heart and passion into everything that I do.

What is your favourite Book?

I don’t have a favourite book but I am very much into Self-help/Self-knowledge books.

What are you currently watching on TV? 

The new season of Prison Break.

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

Theatre

What’s your favourite sweet? 

Haribos

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

A musician.

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

I hid in my wardrobe for an entire day and missed going to school.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

Having a baby with my partner.

What’s next? 

Currently just working on pushing my company Far From The Norm. We’re doing a lot of work in the studio and developing a new work for 2018.

Dreamers & TuTuMucky The Place, London 16 & 17 June