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

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Rachel Tucker to perform her biggest solo concert yet at Shoreditch Town Hall

Following a triumphant UK tour including six sell-out shows in London, musical theatre luminary Rachel Tucker performs her biggest solo concert to date at the stunning East London venue Shoreditch Town Hall.

Joined by a dynamic nine-piece band, Rachel will also perform with a choir of fifty up and coming child stars from the Stagebox Musical Theatre Choir, providing all of the necessary ingredients to create an especially magical evening.

Led by MD Kris Rawlinson, Rachel will showcase some of the musical theatre classics she has become famous for and material from her recent tour, as well as brand new material from her ‘On The Road’ sessions.

Rachel Tucker rose to fame as a finalist on the BBC One show ‘I’d Do Anything’, winning heaps of praise from both Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, subsequently embarking on a nine month run on Broadway as lead role ‘Elphaba’ in the smash hit musical Wicked, more recently reprising the role in the West End as part of Wicked’s special 10th anniversary cast.

Rachel received critical acclaim in a range of roles in some of the West End and Broadway’s best shows, including creating the role of Meg Dawson on Broadway in rock icon Sting’s musicals Last Ship, which was lauded as one of New York Times top ten performance of 2014.

This one-off solo spectacular with full live band will be directed by her husband Guy Retallack, renowned for his work on an eclectic range of productions including new plays, devised work, musicals, opera and classical concerts, as well as his achievements as a sought after acting coach.

Rachel Tucker will perform at Shoreditch Town Hall on 17 November

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 fascinating insight’ ★★★★★ Ink, Duke of York Theatre

As someone who has worked extensively with a number of ex-tabloid hacks, I have to say, the prospect of sitting through a play depicting the rather unsavoury breed didn’t strike me as an attractive prospect. But what Ink at the Duke of York Theatre offers is a fascinating insight into the history of British Newspapers in a powerful and yet, at times, humorous production, performed with absolute aplomb by a great cast.

Written by James Graham, Ink depicts an evolutionary moment for the red-top newspapers, when an ambitious businessman by the name of Rupert Murdoch (Bertie Carvel) purchases The Sun and along with his editor Larry Lamb (Richard Coyle) revolutionizes the media industry as we now know it. They were to blame for the first sensationalist reporting and for the advent of the page three girl.

And in this snapshot, we see the burgeoning relationship between the two men, with an occasional hint of a conscience, which is mostly outweighed by the desperation to succeed at all cost.

Carvel is almost unrecognisable as Murdoch: such is his transformation into the powerful mogul. His performance is quite remarkable as the sneery, slimy and yet charismatic tycoon whose ambition drives his employees to make questionable decisions on taste and decency in print.

Coyle, on the other hand, manages to gain sympathy with his portrayal of Lamb, who is so worried about not topping the readership leaderboard that he will print almost anything in order to win favour.

And I have to say, they are both much more lovable than the hardened and unscrupulous media men I have had to endure throughout my career, but I don’t think anyone wants to watch a play about them.

Ink is playing at the Duke of York Theatre until 6 January 

Mel Giedroyc to star in Much Ado About Nothing at Rose Theatre Kingston

Mel Giedroyc will star in Rose Theatre Kingston’s centre piece of for their ten-year anniversary. Giedroyc will play Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing next April, reuniting with director Simon Dormandy following Luce at Southwark Playhouse in 2016.

Mel Giedroyc in Luce at Southwark Playhouse

Don Pedro is victorious. Having won a turf war down in the city, the Mafia overlord and his entourage take over the luxury spa hotel Messina in order to hide-out, party and recover deep in the Sicilian hills. As hotel owner Leonato fawns over his clan boss, his beautiful daughter Hero wins the heart of Claudio, the Don’s young protégé. Meanwhile the no-nonsense, customer experience manager Beatrice has unfinished business to attend to with Benedick, Pedro’s commitment-phobic consigliere. But when Hero is disgraced, the party is over, love turns to hatred and new battle lines are drawn.

Beneath its witty surface, Much Ado About Nothing is a powerful exploration of the struggle for love, identity and self-knowledge in a male-dominated world – as relevant today as ever before. Our production will use Shakespeare’s original language in a sharp contemporary setting that not only offers glorious opportunities for physical comedy amid the furnishings of a spa hotel but also provides a social context that enhances the darker themes in Shakespeare’s timeless masterpiece.

Executive Producer of Rose Theatre Kingston, Jerry Gunn said today, “We are delighted to be producing Shakespeare’s most popular comedy Much Ado about Nothing for the first time, and in our tenth anniversary year, with the superb Mel Giedroyc. I’m very excited to see Mel put her stamp on the role, and it is entirely fitting to have such a popular actress and performer playing Beatrice, something our Founding Artistic Director Sir Peter Hall would have been enchanted by.”

Director, Simon Dormandy commented, “A contemporary Sicilian setting offers the perfect social context for the play: an inflexibly patriarchal world, where daughters still marry as their fathers decree; a world brittle with honour and the law of vendetta; a south-Mediterranean world where a wedding is a major community event, and a shrine is still a place where magical things might just happen. Much Ado About Nothing is more than just funny: it is full of joy, a joy that springs as much from the overcoming of darkness by light – of brutal codes of behaviour by wit, imagination and love – as from wonderful jokes and sublime clowning.”

He added, “Not only a household name for her television presenting and comedy work, Mel is an outstandingly subtle, powerful actor, as well as a very funny one and we’re sure, an unforgettable Beatrice.”

Mel Giedroyc plays Beatrice. Her theatre credits include Luce (Southwark Playhouse), Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour (UK tour), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Playhouse Theatre), Eurobeat (Novello Theatre) and New Boy (Trafalgar Studios). Television credits include The Sound of Music Live, Miranda, Sadie J, Sorry, I’ve Got No Head and The Vicar of Dibley. Presenting work includes Letterbox, The Great British Bake Off, Let It Shine, Horrible Histories, Eurovision Song Contest, Relatively Clever, Mel and Sue Show, The Gift, Now You See It, Collectaholics, Late Lunch and Light Lunch. Radio credits include The 4 O’Clock Show, Count Arthur Strong Series and The Mel & Sue Thing. Giedroyc has also appeared in many comedy television shows including Would I Lie To You?, Big Fat Quiz of The Year, 8 Out of Ten Cats and Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man.

Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will run at Rose Theatre Kingston from 18 April until 6 May.

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

Review: ‘A nippy night out’ ★★★ Venus in Fur, Theatre Royal Haymarket

With more and more revelations surfacing about sexual exploitation in the world of showbusiness, the new production of David Ives’ Venus in Fur at the Theatre Royal Haymarket couldn’t be more relevant.

Starring Game of Thrones star Natalie Dormer alongside David Oakes (Pride and Prejudice, Shakespeare in Love), the two-hander perfectly depicts the desperation felt by actors who may succumb to the casting couch in order to get on in the industry.  But the clever twist in David Ives’ play (directed by Patrick Marber) is the shift of power during a seemingly typical process.

The play centres on an actress, who although late for an audition, convinces the director to allow her to perform and what follows is an intricate game of cat and mouse, which is surprisingly funny.

Dormer is wonderful as the somewhat boorish Vanda; seamlessly moving from a wise cracking New Yorker to the well spoken English rose, to which we are more accustomed. In fact, the transition is so seamless that I found my ears were struggling to auto tune to the vast difference in accent, which occurred sometimes mid sentence.

Oakes on the other hand provides us with a much more sedate role, grounding the performance and allowing for flow to the dialogue, although at times the sexual chemistry between the pair is so electric, it derails the pace of the action altogether.

At just 90 mins straight through, it’s a nippy night out, but one that’s well worth the trip.

Venus in Fur is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 9 December.

Photo by Tristram Kenton

Broadway Star Adrienne Warren to portray Tina Turner in new musical

Adrienne Warren was announced by Tina Turner as the actor who will portray her in the world premiere of the new musical Tina. 

Adrienne Warren said: “Growing up watching Tina, I knew how to shake my hips before I could tie my shoes!  I am so grateful to our creative team and producers for entrusting me with this responsibility.  I say responsibility, because I am a Tina Turner fan first. I am elated, honoured and humbled.  Meeting and working with Tina is and will always be one of the great moments of my life.  Can’t wait to see you in London!”

Tina Turner said:  “It has been my joy to introduce Adrienne today.  From the moment I met her at our last workshop I saw her exceptional talent. Playing this role will require immense physical and emotional commitment, and bravery too. We are thrilled to have found Adrienne, and I very much look forward to spending more time together and developing a special friendship I know will grow even stronger as we prepare the production for the Aldwych Theatre. We can’t wait to welcome her to the show.”

From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them. This new stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race.

Adrienne Warren will make her West End stage debut as Tina.  Her most recent theatre credit was in Shuffle Along at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, for which she received a Tony nomination.  Her other US theatre credits include Bring it On the Musical at St. James Theatre, Dreamgirls at the Apollo Theater, which was followed by a National Tour, and The Wiz at Encores City Center.  She has toured and recorded with the multi-platinum selling Trans Siberian Orchestra in which she received her first Platinum and Gold records.  Her television credits include the Amazon Pilot Point of HonorOrange is the New BlackBlue BloodsRoyal PainsPeople in New JerseyIrreversible, and Black Box.  In March this year, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Pops.

With a career that has spanned more than half a century, the legendary rock performer Tina Turner is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time.  She first rose to fame in the 1960s partnering with her then-husband Ike Turner, achieving great acclaim for their live performances and catalogue of hits.  Later, Turner enjoyed an international solo career with her 1984 album Private Dancer earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards, including three Grammys.  She went on to deliver more chart-topping albums and hits,receiving a further eight Grammy Awards and reportedly selling more concert tickets than any other solo performer in history. The revered singer was introduced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and has often been voted as one of the most successful female Rock ‘n’ Roll artists of all time.

Tina begins previews on 21 March at Aldwych Theatre  www.tinathemusical.com