Kara Lily Hayworth scoops the role of Cilla after a lorra, lorra of auditions

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Following weeks of open auditions at venues up and down the country – the producers of Cilla the Musical have found their star. Kara Lily Hayworth has fought off thousands of hopefuls to be named as the girl who will step into the Legend’s coveted shoes in the first ever musical about the star’s life.

Cilla – The Musical, is a spectacular and heart-warming musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed ITV mini-series based on the early life of Cilla Black, by BAFTA award winner, Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomena, From The Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs). The new musical, opens in Cilla’s hometown at the Liverpool Empire from Thursday 7th – 16th September before embarking on a nationwide tour.

Kara queued for four hours at London’s Dominion Theatre to have her chance to audition in the first rounds. She made it through to the final 30 before being chosen to do her final audition at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Robert Willis said, ‘We wanted somebody who wasn’t going to impersonate my mum but someone who could capture her spirit. Kara came in with her huge personality and amazing voice – when I saw the response of the audience at the Cavern, I knew we’d found her!”

Originally from Watford, Kara trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She recently performed in Secret Cinema’s Moulin Rouge and this will be her first leading role in a big new musical…and her first time on tour!

She said “When I was 11 I was shopping out with my mum and bumped into Cilla and asked her for an autograph. I told her I wanted to be an actress – she laughed and said ‘It’s a tough industry, but if you really work hard and go for it, you’ll be just fine.’ She was a huge inspiration to me as a child; I grew up watching her on Blind Date every Saturday night with my Nan. To be chosen to play her is such an honor and I’m so excited to take on the role. To open in her hometown of Liverpool is so special and a real privilege.”

The story follows the extraordinary life of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, Priscilla White, and her rocky, yet incredible, rise to fame. By the age of just 25 she was recognized as international singing star Cilla Black. By the age of 30 she had become Britain’s favorite television entertainer headlining series’ of Blind Date, Surprise Surprise and many more.

The musical score will be the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, alongside a backdrop of the legendary “Liverpool Sound” including the Beatles’ Twist and Shout, and American influences like California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas and many more.

Full details of the tour including the venues it will visit can be found on the website cillathemusical.com

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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

 

 

Bat Out Of Hell Star Andrew Polec takes our Sugar Rush Quiz

Andrew Polec is about to lead the cast in the hotly anticipated West End production of Bat Out of Hell The Musical at the London Coliseum. The show, which features the music of Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf was a big success with fans when it completed a run at the Manchester Opera House earlier this year.

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Andrew plays a rebellious rocker called Strat the forever young leader of The Lost, who has fallen for Raven, daughter of Falco, the tyrannical, ruler of Obsidian, a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland.

Andrew took some time off from final rehearsals to take our Sugar Rush Quiz.

What are you currently working on?

Bat out of Hell The Musical

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

My hair

What is your favourite Book?

A Clockwork Orange

What are you currently watching on TV? 

Reruns of Sienfeld

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

Theatre

What’s your favourite sweet? 

I don’t know if you guys have it here. It’s called Fun Dip? It’s powdered sugar and a sugary stick that you lick. [We established it’s what the British would call a Sherbet Dip]

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

An inventor

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

I pretended I was a wild dog in the woods to scare a neighbour.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

This musical

What’s next? 

Going to Toronto with Bat out of Hell The Musical and sharing love and joy with the world

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

Photo by Specular

Theatre News: Diana Vickers to lead cast for new Dusty Springfield Musical

X-factor finalist Diana Vickers will create the role of Kat for the 2017 tour of the new musical Son of a Preacher Man. 

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 by internationally renowned writer Warner Brown will have you laughing, crying and singing your heart out to some of the greatest songs ever written.

Diana Vickers first came to public attention as a semi-finalist on the X Factor and has made her professional acting debut in the title role of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in 2009 (West End, Vaudeville Theatre). Since then her theatre credits have included The Duck House (West End, Vaudeville Theatre), Hatched ‘n’ Dispatched (Park Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour). Her film and television credits include The Perfect Wave, Awaiting, To Dream, Give Out Girls and Top Coppers.

The search for Cilla comes to London and we went along to check out the competition

The Search is on in London’s West End today for the next star of the stage. A brand new musical about Cilla Black held open auditions at the Dominion Theatre this morning and we popped along to check out the competition.

Thousands of hopefuls lined the streets around the theatre hoping to get their chance to shine, with a good mixture of both professional and non-professional performers all being given a level playing field. In fact, we spotted a few familiar faces from the London stage in the queue, who were trying to be incognito!

Cilla The Musical is an adaptation of the acclaimed ITV mini-series based on the early life of Cilla Black, by BAFTA award winner, Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomela, From The Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs). The series starred Sheridan Smith and was greeted with plaudits from both critics and the television viewing public alike.

Sheridan Smith played Cilla Black in the critically acclaimed television drama

The Story follows the extraordinary life of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, Priscilla White, and her rocky yet incredible, rise to fame.

Cilla Black’s son Robert Willis is the Executive Producer of the show and said, “The turn out’s been fantastic, with so many girls turning up to hopefully land the role of Cilla. She would have been incredibly flattered.”

We asked Robert what he was looking for from the aspiring stars and he said, “We’re looking for that ability to be able to hold a tune, but we also have a chat with them to find out a bit about their character and so far we’ve had a whole range.”

Writer Jeff Pope added, “In the same way that Sheridan Smith created such an amazing performance, I think the way’s open for someone else to do the same.”

The musical score will be the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits “Anyone Who Had a Heart”, “Alfie” and “Something Tells Me”.

Jeff Pope explained, “I wanted it to be a drama with music; to have lots of the great songs but also for the audience to be able to follow a strong story through both acts.”

We will all have to wait to find out who eventually lands the coveted leading role in the musical, with the open auditions around the country making up just part of the selection process.

Cilla – The Musical opens at the Liverpool Empire Theatre in September before embarking on a nationwide tour, which includes a visit to the New Wimbledon Theatre in November

Check out Danny Mac and the cast in rehearsals for On the Town, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s 2017 season opens with the musical On The Town, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie. With music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, including the hit song “New York, New York”, On The Town will be the biggest dance musical ever staged at the Open Air Theatre. Drew McOnie scored a hit with his choreography for Jesus Christ Superstar in 2016 and, in addition to In The Heights for which he won the Olivier Award as Best Theatre Choreographer, he has also choreographed Jekyll and Hyde and The Lorax (Old Vic), Bugsy Malone (Lyric Hammersmith) and Hairspray and Chicago (Curve, Leicester).

Danny Mac, Fred Haig and Samuel Edwards take the roles of the three sailors, Gabey, Chip and Ozzie, originally played in the film version by Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin.Siena Kelly, Lizzy Connolly and Miriam-Teak Lee take the roles of Ivy, Hildy and Claire, originally played in the film version by Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller. Also joining the cast are Maggie Steed as Madame Dilly, Naoko Mori as Lucy Schmeeler, Rodney Earl Clarke as The Workman and Mark Heenehan as Judge Pitkin.

Photos by Johan Persson

www.openairtheatre.com | 0844 826 4242

Musical adaptation of The Hunting of the Snark to receive West End Première

A brand new family musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark will receive it’s West End première this summer.

Inspired by the creator of Alice and Wonderland’s beloved classic poem and from the lead producer of the international smash hit musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical, The Hunting of the Snark made its world première in Cardiff at the Sherman Theatre last year followed by a run at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

All aboard! The ship is departing! All children, animals and silly people welcome!

The impossible voyage of an improbable crew to hunt an imaginary creature is brought magically to life in the sparkling musical comedy adventure for 4 to 94 year olds.

This show features five high-energy actors, a life-like puppet, fantastical characters, and lashings of daft humour.

A riotous ragtag gang of bold adventurers including The Boy, The Banker, The Butcher, The Baker, The Bellman and The Knitting Beaver set off on a quest to catch the mythical Snark… on the journey they encounter the Jub Jub Bird, the sly Bandersnatch and the dastardly Boojum… Can a Snark be caught with soap? Will the Beaver escape the hungry Butcher’s clutches? Will the Baker remember his name? Does anyone know what a Snark actually looks like?

Billed as side-splittingly funny, joyful, fast-paced and bursting with a soundtrack of witty songs by an award-winning songwriter, The Hunting of the Snark is expected to be a big hit with families this summer.

You can watch a trailer HERE

The Hunting of the Snarl opens at the Vaudeville Theatre on 28 July, with previews from 26 July until 2 September before embarking on a national tour.

Musical inspired by Broadway photographer Matthew Murphy comes to The Other Palace

Award-winning composer Ryan Scott Oliver’s musical inspired by renowned Broadway photographer Matthew Murphy’s images comes to The Other Palace Studio for a limited two week run this autumn.

35mm: A Musical Exhibition is directed by Adam Lenson with casting to be announced .

A picture is worth 1,000 words – what about a song?

In 35mm, each photo creates a unique song from a moment frozen in time.

Award-winning composer Ryan Scott Oliver’s music is inspired by Broadway photographer Matthew Murphy’s images in this thrilling new alternative rock musical. Together, they weave a collection of remarkable stories told through song.

Featuring the hit-songs ” The Ballad of Sara Berry” and “Leave Luanne”, Director Adam Lenson ( Whisper House, Songs for a New World) reimagines this piece in a stunning new production this September.

“35mm: A Musical Exhibition came from a desire to explore visual and aural stories in a variety of ways, and it’s vital that the show be ‘recreated’ for each version and space. I look forward to bringing this provocative piece to London audiences!” said composer Ryan Scott Oliver.

35mm: A Musical Exhibition will run at The Other Palace from 18 – 30 September 2017.

An American in Paris extends to January 2018

Christopher Wheeldon ’s stunning reinvention of the Oscar® winning film An American in Paris has been ecstatically received by audiences and critics since opening at the beautifully restored Dominion Theatre on 21 March 2017. The smash hit production has now extended booking, with tickets on sale until Saturday 27 January 2018.

The sumptuous new musical about following your heart and living your dreams is written by Craig Lucas and features the timeless music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin, including I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, I’ll Build a Stairway To Paradise and They Can’t Take That Away from Me, together with George Gershwin’s sweeping compositions including ‘ Concerto in F’ and ‘ An American in Paris’.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI pursuing his dream to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…

The cast is headed by the original, award-winning Broadway stars Robert Fairchild (as Jerry Mulligan ) and  Leanne Cope  (as Lise Dassin ), together with  Haydn Oakley  as Henri Baurel,  Zoë Rainey as Milo Davenport, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Jane Asher as  Madame Baurel. Ashley Day is the alternate  Jerry Mulligan  (and he will assume the role from Monday 19 June 2017). The company also features Julian Forsyth and Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, Zoe Arshamian, Sarah Bakker, James Barton, Alicia Beck, Chrissy Brooke, James Butcher, Jonathan Caguioa, Jennifer Davison, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Sebastian Goffin, Alyn Hawke, Nicky Henshall, Genevieve Heron, Amy Hollins, Frankie Jenna, Justin-Lee Jones, Robin Kent, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J. Nagle, Daniela Norman, Pippa Raine, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Max Westwell, Jack Wilcox, Carrie Willis, Stuart Winter and Liam Wrate.

The new musical An American in Paris premiered in 2014  at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it became the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. A major North American tour is currently playing.

AnAmericanInParisTheMusical.co.uk