Thursday, 29 September 2016

Jersey Boys announces West End closure

Jersey Boys will close in the West End next year after nine years. 

The show's final performance will take place at the Piccadilly Theatre on Sunday 26th March 2017. A new Jersey Boys national tour will open in December 2017. 

Michael David (producer) said: "When we brought Jersey Boys here nine years ago, we hoped it was a good idea and that West End audiences would embrace it, but you never imagine it’ll multiply and resonate as much as it has. We couldn’t be more proud of the cast and crew who gave their all every night, and are profoundly grateful to the audiences who returned that energy without fail. Our time in London has been extraordinary, and we hope audiences around the UK will continue to embrace Jersey Boys as we bring the show to their hometowns."

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Editor's Blog: Wicked celebrates ten positively emerald years in London's West End

Last night (27th September) the Apollo Victoria Theatre was transformed into the most swankified place in town, as Wicked celebrated its tenth anniversary in London’s West End. Fresh from her stint on Broadway, London’s longest-serving Elphaba Rachel Tucker led the triumphant performance alongside former Australian Glinda Suzie Mathers who recently made her West End debut in the production.

As the performance drew to an end, former cast members – including all the British Elphabas and Glindas – took to the stage before composer Stephen Schwartz made a surprise appearance to pay tribute to the musical’s extraordinary creative team and explain why the London production is so special to them (it was the first time the entire original creative team reunited to fine-tune the musical since it opened on Broadway, and the changes made for London were later rolled out into all other productions worldwide).

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Feature: Wicked celebrates 10th birthday - quotes from cast members past & present!

Over the years we've interviewed our fair share of Wicked cast members! Check out some of our favourite quotes below:

Rachel Tucker
Currently playing Elphaba

"Elphaba was always a dream role for me so for that to become my job was a dream come true. It’s a tough role to sing, it’s pretty hardcore, but when you love something so much it’s really not hard work. It might have been a job but it was also something I loved doing. Each night I had to see how I was feeling and think about whether I was feeling physically tired or vocally tired and pace myself throughout the show accordingly. Then when I got into 'Defying Gravity' I always wanted to better what I had done the night or week before and try and get something new from the song. Everybody knows Defying Gravity is the big number so I had to live up to that as much as I could every evening without shattering my voice [laughs]!"

Original Broadway replacement Elphaba

"I don’t even know how long it took for me to realise what a huge deal it was. It was a big deal when Idina was in it and then it grew and grew and the tour went out so it was a big deal nationwide. I don’t think I realised until years later. It’s just a phenomenon and I think realising that was when I got just very happy to sing ‘Defying Gravity’ if that’s what people want, because it has really been a gift."

Feature: Everyone Deserves The Chance To Fly!

Today Wicked celebrates ten swankified years in London's West End at the Apollo Victoria Theatre! 

The spellbinding act one finale 'Defying Gravity' has become one of the most iconic moments in musical theatre history. Have you ever wondered what goes through an Elphabas mind moments before they fly into the air..?

"Actually, so much of what went through my mind was technical, because if I didn’t do the technical side of things right then I wouldn’t fly which would be a massive anti-climax for all the people who are waiting for that big moment. Also lots of health and safety issues went through my head. 

"Then I had to think about where I was going to place the song and think about how I was feeling and maybe decide “I need to take it a bit easier on this line tonight”. Depending on the conductor, sometimes the show was a bit slower, which made it harder, or sometimes you had a fast show, or sometimes I would feel so buzzed up and sing through it with no problem – there really are so many elements which make every single night different and there is so much you have to have in place before you even open your mouth! It’s hard to believe that all that happens in just ten seconds!"

Wicked's UK & Ireland tour to return in 2018

Oh what a celebration we'll have today! As Wicked prepares to mark its 10th anniversary in the West End tonight (27th September), it has been announced that the musical's UK & Ireland tour will return in 2018. 

Following the conclusion of Wicked's international tour in January 2018, the UK tour will open in February 2018 at the Bristol Hippodrome with tickets on public sale from 1st February 2017. Further cities and dates are to be announced. 

Already the 8th longest running show currently playing in the West End, in November Wicked will become the 18th longest running show in West End theatre history, surpassing the run of the original production of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Wicked is one of only three Broadway transfers in West End theatre history to ever run 10 years or more (the two others being Disney’s The Lion King and the 1997 revival of Chicago).

Monday, 26 September 2016

Big Interview: Sanne den Besten, starring as Sophie in Mamma Mia!

Sanne den Besten is currently starring as Sophie Sheridan in the West End production of Mamma Mia!, having taken over the role in June this year. 

Last year Sanne, who is from Holland, made her West End debut as understudy Fantine in Les Miserables (Queens Theatre). 

Her credits also include: understudy Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Dutch tour), The Humans (New York, Rotterdam and the Festival D’Avignon) and alternate Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (Dutch tour). 

Mamma Mia! opened in the West End in 1999 and recently celebrated its 17th birthday. The Abba musical is currently booking at the Novello Theatre to 4th March 2017.

I recently spoke to Sanne about life in Mamma Mia!, what it was like to go from the West End’s heaviest musical to the West End’s sunniest musical and her journey from Holland to the West End…

Are you feeling settled into life in Mamma Mia!?
Yes, we’re up and running and everybody has settled in. Now we’re able to have more and more fun with it. It has been really good!

Release date confirmed for DVD of Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton

Following its BBC broadcast last Christmas, Gypsy starring Imelda Staunton will be released on DVD later this year.

Filmed during its run at the Savoy Theatre, the recording will be released on DVD on 28th November 2016 courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Directed by Jonathan Kent with book by Arthur LaurentsGypsy has music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Choreography is by Stephen Mear, designs by Anthony Ward, musical direction and orchestration by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis. 

The Phantom of the Opera announces 30th anniversary performance

On Monday 10th October, The Phantom of the Opera will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a charity gala performance.

The performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, which runs at Her Majesty's Theatre, will be in aid of The Music in Secondary Schools Trust.Tickets are on sale now via Her Majesty’s Theatre Box Office.

To celebrate this milestone, Phantom's current cast including Ben Forster as ‘The Phantom’, Celinde Schoenmaker as ‘Christine Daae’ and Nadim Naaman as ‘Raoul’ will be joined onstage by members of the original company and special guests in a special finale.

Check out our interviews with West End stars