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

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Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander will join all-star cast of Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

Emma Williams and Lukus Alexander complete the principle casting for the London Palladium Pantomime this Christmas playing the role of Alice Fitzwarren and Eileen the Cat respectively.  They will join the previously announced Julian Clary (Spirit of the Bells), Elaine Paige (Queen Rat), Ashley Banjo (The Sultan) and Diversity (The Sultan’s Special Advisors), Paul Zerdin (Idle Jack), Nigel Havers (Captain Nigel), Gary Wilmot (Sarah the Cook) and Charlie Stemp (Dick Whittington).

Dick Whittington will run at the London Palladium for five weeks only over the festive season from Saturday 9 December 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018.

Dick Whittington is produced by Nick Thomas and Michael Harrison for Qdos Entertainment, the team behind last year’s twice Olivier-nominated London Palladium production of Cinderella, which broke box office records for the highest grossing week in West End theatre history.

Emma Williams completes an award-winning run as Helen Walsingham in Half A Sixpence at the Noël Coward Theatre tomorrow having also played the role at Chichester Festival Theatre alongside Charlie Stemp. She returns to the Palladium where she made her West End debut as Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Her other theatre credits include Mrs Henderson Presents at the Noël Coward Theatre, Zorro at Garrick Theatre and Love Story for Chichester Festival Theatre as well as in the West End.  Her television credits include Silent Witness, Casualty, Bleak House, Doctors, Marple: The Body in the Library, Heartbeat and Where the Heart Is.

Lukus Alexander’s recent theatre credits include the UK Tour of The Who’s Tommy, Dick McWhittington at the SECC, Glasgow, Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, Guys and Dolls at Cambridge Arts Theatre and Doctor Atomic at the London Coliseum.

As the world’s biggest pantomime producer, over the past 35 years Qdos Entertainment has established itself as one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe. Over the past three decades the pantomime giant has staged 684 pantomimes and this season expects over two million people will see one of its shows this season.

Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit celebrated in a one-off concert at the London Palladium. 

They are the most beloved and recognisable big and small screen creations of all time – let alone just in the world of the Fantasy genre – and now, for the first time, the music of Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will be celebrated in a one-off concert at the London Palladium.

The show, presented by Senbla and Silva Screen Live, will be a celebration of the music from the most memorable moments from across the world’s of Middle Earth and the Seven Kingdoms, with the stunning musical accompaniments performed live by a huge orchestra, creating an immersive live concert experience that is every bit as thrilling as the twists and turns in the world’s respective histories.

Game of Thrones is a TV show like no other – the hit HBO series has captured the hearts and minds of millions the world over, and had audiences hooked on it’s 7th season right up until last Monday’s finale. Composer Ramin Djawadi began creating the music for the show in 2011, with most of the eerie, magnificent score back then being penned for a small string ensemble. With the success of the next six seasons of the show, the music budget became bigger and bigger, allowing Djawadi to create even more emphatic pieces for large orchestras.

The success of HBO’s Game of Thrones is almost unfathomable. The small screen adaptation of George R.R Martin’s series of fantasy novels has drawn in record numbers of viewers all across the world, being awarded thirty-eight Emmy Awards so far.

One of the most successful film series of all time, The Lord of The Rings, as well as it’s prequel series The Hobbit, will also have their most memorable pieces performed live in the concert.

The original trilogy of The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson, are among the highest grossing film series of all time, as well as being critically acclaimed – winning a combined 17 out of the 30 Academy Awards they were nominated for.

Composed by Howard Shore, conceived the soundtrack as music of unparalleled power and invention, demanding of huge resources – a large symphonic ensemble, and scored around 95% of the films’ length – eventually having over 12 hours of music released over various formats / used in the films.

The success of the The Lord of the Rings’ soundtrack led Shore to also score Peter Jackson’s follow-up prequels to Lord of the Rings; The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug, and The Battle of the Five Armies.

Now audiences in the UK for the first time can experience a concert celebrating one of the most vital and stand-out aspects of the Fantasy genre in an all encompassing live concert experience at the London Palladium in November – though fans will have to be quick to snap up the precious tickets, as Winter is coming!

Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth to return to London

“I count the Royal Albert Hall as one of the top three experiences of my lifetime.” Kristin Chenoweth told The Sweet London Life when we spoke to her last year, so it’s no surprise that the Broadway star is returning to London in October for an intimate concert at the London Palladium.

The EMMY ® AND TONY ® Award-winning singer and actress will bring her boundless talent and charisma to London’s Palladium in October for what is likely to be an unforgettable evening of song.

Chenoweth last performed in London in 2014 at the Royal Albert Hall, a concert which featured a very special duet with British stage star Kerry Ellis.

Kristin Chenoweth and Kerry Ellis

In a career that spans film, television and stage, Kristin Chenoweth originated the role of Glinda the Good Witch in Broadway’s smash hit “Wicked. Chenoweth brings her powerful voice to the Palladium for a performance of popular songs from Broadway and the Great American Songbook accompanied by Michael Orland.

A Hollywood Walk of Fame Star recipient in 2015, she received in 2009 an EMMY® Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in “Pushing Daises.” Previously, she won a TONY®Award for “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and was also nominated for her role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked” in 2004.

Known to millions for her role on the worldwide TV hit Glee (for which Chenoweth was nominated for two EMMY® Awards and for a People’s Choice Award), in 2009, she wrote an upliftingly candid, comedic chronicle of her life so far, “A Little Bit Wicked,” which debuted on the New York Times Hardcover Non Fiction Best Seller List.

In 2015, Chenoweth earned a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Broadway.comAudience Choice Award for her lead role in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “On the Twentieth Century.” She also earned nominations for a TONY® Award and a Drama League Award. Chenoweth has performed to sold-out audiences across the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. In 2014, she released a CD and DVD of her own live concert performance, “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home.” Notable television roles include appearances in “The West Wing,” Disney’s “Descendants” and most recently “The Muppets.” In film, Chenoweth voiced the role of Gabi in the hit animated film “Rio 2” and Fifi, Snoopy’s beloved French poodle in “The Peanuts Movie.” She starred in the indie teen drama entitled “Hard Sell” and additional film credits have included “The Boy Next Door,” “Deck the Halls,” “Twelve Men of Christmas,” “Four Christmases,” “RV,” “Bewitched,” “The Pink Panther,” “Hit & Run” and “Family Weekend.”  Chenoweth recently starred in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” as Velma Von Tussle. She is also lending her voices to some animated films such as Lionsgate/Hasbro’s “My Little Pony: The Movie,” set for a fall 2017 release and “The Star,” which is set to be released in November 2017.  This year, Chenoweth has reunited with executive producer Bryan Fuller to join his celebrated Starz series “American Gods,” in the role of Easter.

Chenoweth released “The Art of Elegance,” last year, her first album of American Songbook classics via Concord Records.  The album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Current Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts. Chenoweth also returned to The Great White Way in her limited engagement, one-woman concert event, MY LOVE LETTER TO BROADWAY, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York, receiving rave reviews.

An Intimate Evening with Kristin Chenoweth will be at the London Palladium on October 20th

Review: ‘A visual feast’ ★★★★ The Wind in the Willows, London Palladium

Us Brits are known throughout the world for our classic literature and particularly for the charm and simplicity of some of our children’s works, but it’s a challenge to bring the ever-so-twee tales up to date.

Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows is quintessentially English, but with woodland characters rather than humans carrying the story, it makes the task of bringing the traditional riverside tale into the modern era slightly easier.

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And with the now well-established musical theatre team of Stiles and Drewe once again collaborating with Julian Fellowes – after their huge success with Half a Sixpence – audiences at the London Palladium are treated to a heartening family musical with humour at its core.

There is something for everyone in Rachel Kavanaugh’s production with enough slapstick for the little ones, teamed with an awe-inspiring set design from Peter McKintosh and an additional element of sarcasm (particularly from the excellent Simon Lipkin as Ratty) to entertain the more pessimistic theatregoers.

It’s not a show that caters particularly well for feminists however, with Denise Welch’s Mrs. Otter failing to add any girl power to the plot known for its boy’s club theme and a song in which Toad transforms into a women in order to escape prison is pretty cringe worthy.

There are however, some lovely little nods for musical theatre fans; you might recognise Toad’s Prisoner number, and the families of animals (especially the hedgehogs), are just so adorable, you can forgive the story for being a little pedestrian and staid.

Craig Mather’s Mole is wonderfully wholesome, while Rufus Hound plays the hatefully hapless Toad with a wealth of humour.

The naughty weasels, stoats and foxes – led by the rock star-like Neil McDermott – steal the show and it’s such a clever twist to have the foxes clad in huntsman attire.

This adds to what is the show’s real draw, as a spectacle, and together with an enormous steam train, which fills the stage to the meandering riverbank bedecked with reeds and rushes, this show is a visual feast.

The Wind in the Willows is at the London Palladium until 9 September

Photos by Darren Bell

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.

Musical fans can experience Singin’ In The Rain Live on-screen with 60 piece orchestra at the London Palladium

One of the most iconic musicals of the golden era of Hollywood will be brought to life as never before this November 12th, as Singin’ In The Rain will be projected onto a huge 40ft screen, accompanied by full live orchestra for a matinee performance at the London Palladium.

Singin’ in the Rain is frequently described as one of the best films ever made, topping the American Film Institute’s 100 Years of Musicals list and ranking 5th in its updated list of the greatest American films ever made, testament to the relevance that the film still has on audiences 60 years later.

Featuring award-winning on-screen performances by Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and of course, Gene Kelly – who also co-directed and choreographed the musical to Nacio Herb Brown’s stunning original songs, and Arthur Freed’s renowned lyricism, there is little question that this is one of Hollywood’s most revered pictures.

Accompanying the film and illustrating the spellbinding music of Singin’ In The Rain will be the Novello Orchestra, conducted by David Mahoney. Having previously performed a sell out London performance of The Jungle Book Live with Orchestra, The Novello Orchestra and David Mahoney will also embark on a September tour of La La Land Live with Orchestra, proving them the leading film with live orchestra combination.

If you ever wanted to experience one of the greatest movie musicals of all time while a live orchestra performs all that unforgettable music, your time has come!

Singin’ in The Rain will be at the London Palladium on 12 November

Chief Weasel Neil McDermott takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Neil McDermott is best known for playing Ryan Malloy in Eastenders, but is no stranger to the West End and previously appeared at the Palladium in the revival of The Sound Of Music. He also became a favourite with musical theatre fans when he played Lord Farquaad in the musical version of Shrek at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Neil McDermott and the company of the UK tour of The Wind in the Willows. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Next month, the versatile actor is taking on the role of the mischievous Chief Weasel in The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium and we challenged him to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

The Wind in the Willows. We are just about to start recording the album and then we go into rehearsals in a couple of week’s time.

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

I was very lucky at school to have a teacher who helped to get me into drama. I was interested in sports and although I was quite popular, I was shy. He helped me by getting me into drama, which improved my confidence. He got me into theatre groups and then drama school, so I owe a lot to him.

What is your favourite Book?

The Wind in the Willows of course! By Kenneth Graham

What are you currently watching on TV? 

We’ve just finished Broadchurch and are now watching Line of Duty. I love all the British Dramas.

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

Can I go to the restaurant and then go to the theatre?

What’s your favourite sweet? 

Haribo tangtastic

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

A footballer

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

I used to mess around in business studies at school and one time I came across a really long joke, that was boring because of its length but then it became funny because it was so long. I asked to tell a joke to the class and I think it lasted 45 minutes. The teacher found it quite funny too.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

My children

What’s next? 

I don’t know what the future holds at the moment. We are doing Willows until September the 9th and so towards the end of the run I’ll start to audition again and see what’s about.

The Wind in the Willows begins previews at the London Palladium on 16th June. 

London Cast recording of The Wind in the Willows set for release

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. The cast of the new West End musical, which begins previews on 16 June prior to an official opening on 29 June at the London Palladium, headed to the studio earlier this month to record the 20-track album.

The album is available for pre-order today here and will be released by Sony Masterworks Broadway mid-June (catalogue number: 88985447482).

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.

Bananarama join line-up for Tonight at The London Palladium

Bananarama join Tonight At The London Palladium in their first TV music performance in nearly 30 years

Iconic girlband Bananarama take to the stage to perform in their original line up for the first time in nearly 30 years on Tonight At The London Palladum, which will air on 10 th May on ITV. Founding members Keren Woodward, Sara Dallin and Siobhan Fahey will be performing their classic hit ‘Venus’ in front of a live audience at this legendary venue.

This episode of Tonight At The London Palladium, hosted by entertainer, actor and presenter Bradley Walsh will include music from one of the world’s biggest stars, Barry Manilow , who will be performing his classic hit ‘Copacabana’ as well as his brand new track ‘This Is My Town’, the mind-blowing skills of The Chinese State Circus, and comedy from Pippa Evans.

The 2,200 strong audience inside the Palladium will also be featured and there will be huge surprises, special moments and prizes to be won.