Monday, 2 May 2016

GOSSIP: Pretty Woman musical to open on Broadway in 2017 directed by Jerry Mitchell?

Speaking to Vanity Fair, director Garry Marshall has suggested a musical version of his romantic comedy Pretty Woman could open on Broadway in "the fall or spring of 2017". 

Marshall and his creative team are apparently honing their material for the long-rumoured musical. 

Marshall is adapting Pretty Woman for the stage with J.F. Lawton who is the author of the original screenplay. The score is by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance. Kinky Boots' Jerry Mitchell will reportedly direct the musical. 

PICS: Jack Black visits School of Rock on Broadway

Yesterday (1st May), Jack Black visited Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new Broadway musical School of Rock at the Winter Garden Theatre. Black reportedly received two standing ovations; firstly when he took his seat before the show and again after intermission. 

Black, who played Dewey in the original film, met with the cast led by Alex Brightman. He visited the show with fellow actor Paul Rudd and family. Check out images below (click picture to enlarge). 

Aaron Sidwell returning to EastEnders

It has been announced that Aaron Sidwell is returning to BBC One's EastEnders to reprise his performance as Steven Beale after an eight year absence.

Sidwell, who has already returned to filming at the soap, first played Steven Beale in 2007. He left EastEnders the following year and went on to make his West End debut as Michael Dork in Loserville in 2012. 

His theatre credits also include: Jack Spratt in Carnaby Street (UK tour), Michael Carrington in Cool Rider (West End), Carl Bruner in Ghost The Musical (Frankfurt), Johnny in American Idiot (West End) and Joe/Jerry in Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse). 

Review: Emma Hatton Live at The Pheasantry

Emma Hatton Live 
The Pheasantry
Reviewed on Sunday 1st May 2016

On her day off from playing the most demanding female role in the West End, last night Emma Hatton showed off a whole different side to her talents at the Pheasantry. The show was constructed around singer-songwriters that have heavily influenced her over the years; she put her own spin on everything and had clearly put the set list together carefully because nothing felt out of place.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Big Interview: Frances Ruffelle

Frances Ruffelle is bringing her new solo show I Say Yeh-Yeh to the London Hippodrome on 5th May.

Having premiered I Say Yeh-Yeh at Crazy Coqs last year, Frances recently took the show to the Kennedy Center in Washinton D.C. The show takes the same name as Frances’ most recent album. 

Frances famously created the role of Eponine in the West End production of Les Miserables. She reprised her performance for the musical’s Broadway premiere, winning the 1987 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

Her additional West End credits include: Roxie Hart in Chicago (Adelphi), Yonah in Children of Eden (Prince Edward), Dinah in Starlight Express (Apollo Victoria) and Princess Louisa in The Sleeping Prince (Theatre Royal Haymarket)

Frances’ theatre credits also include: title role in Piaf (Curve), Fastrada in Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), Narrator in Joseph (UK Tour), Candy in Whistle Down The Wind & Betty Shaefer in Sunset Boulevard (both at Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sydmonton Festival), Delilah in Apples (Royal Court), Paula in Bend it like Beckham (workshop) and The A-Z of Mrs P (Southwark Playhouse).

Her previous solo shows include Paris Original and Beneath The Dress whilst her previous albums include Imperfectly Me, Showgirl, Frances Ruffelle and Fragile. On screen Frances has appeared in Birds of a Feather, The Road to Ithaca, The Invitation, Secrets and Lies, Long Forgotten Fields, Devil's Tower and Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Les Miserables. She represented the UK in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Lonely Symphony (We Will Be Free)', finishing 10th.

I recently spoke to Frances about bringing I Say Yeh-Yeh to the Hippodrome, her upcoming return to the West End and why she’s learnt to embrace Les Mis…

You have so much going on at the moment! You’ve just been performing in America, you have a new album out, your London solo show is coming up and you just directed Evelyn Hoskins’ concert. How do you manage it all?!
[laughs] Well the show I’m doing at the Hippodrome I just did in Washington D.C., so I’m pretty confident with that which is good. When I was directing Evie’s show I was waking up in the night going through her show rather than my own! It has been quite nice in a way. Although I still have a bit of anxiety, it’s just nice to have been able to focus on something else. When you’re directing someone else’s show you feel very responsible in a different way. I always like to keep busy – last week I recorded a new track for an EP which is coming out in a few weeks.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Callum Francis to star as Lola in Kinky Boots Australia!

It has been announced that West End actor Callum Francis will originate the role of Lola in the Australian production of Kinky Boots.

Francis is currently understudying the role in the West End production at the Adelphi Theatre. Kinky Boots is set to open at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne on 12th October 2016.

The cast will also include Toby Francis (Charlie), Sophie Wright (Lauren), Damien Bermingham (Don), Teagan Wouters (Nicola) and Nathan Carter (George) as well as  Blake Appelqvist, comedy veteran Glenn Butcher, Hilary Cole, Jessica Condon, Denise Devlin, Euan Doidge, Daniel Downing, Bronte Florian, Linden Furnell, Ryan Gonzalez, Samm Hagen, Anthony Harkin, Joe Kosky, Jenni Little, Liam Peel, Emma Powell, Matthew Predny, Eric Rasmussen, Mark Stefanoff and Mitchell Woodcock.

Interview: Alastair Whatley, starring in Invincible

Director, actor and producer Alastair Whatley is the artistic director of the Original Theatre Company. 

He is currently starring as Oliver in the company’s touring production of Torben Betts’s Invincible, directed by Christopher Harper.

As an actor Alastair was most recently seen on stage as Teddy Graham in Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path. His credits also include: Three Men in a Boat, Birdsong, See How They Run, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Madness of George III, Vincent in Brixton, Journey’s End and Henry V at the RSC. 

He is the director of Shadowlands by William Nicholson which is currently touring the UK. Alastair’s direction credits also include touring productions of Birdsong, The Private Ear and the Public Eye, Our Country’s Good, Twelfth Night and Journey’s End. He has produced all 16 of the Original Theatre Company’s productions.

I recently spoke to Alastair about why Original Theatre chose Invincible as their next project, life on the road and his advice for actors about to take on the touring life…

It’s a very busy time for the Original Theatre Company! Invincible is very different to the company’s recent shows, what drew you all to it?
Absolutely, it is very different and that’s exactly what drew us to it. We’ve always wanted to live up to our name, Original Theatre. We did some old classics – like Birdsong and Flare Path – in an original fashion, but they weren’t true originals… whereas with Birdsong this is the first time it has ever been seen out in the regions. For a play about the North South divide, it seems a crime that it has only previously been done in London. It very much feels like a new piece of work for us.

The Lion King announces new West End cast

New cast members will join The Lion King in May 2016. Nicholas Afoa is taking over as Simba in the show which runs at the Lyceum Theatre.

Afoa made his stage debut as Simba in the Australian production of The Lion King in 2013 and played Simba in the Sydney production of the landmark musical between 2013 and 2016 performing more than 860 times over that period.

Also joining the cast are: Etian Almeida, Jonathan Andre, Janique Charles, Zinhle Dube, Sandile Gontsana, Kwesi Jeffers, Stephanie Lo, Sadia McEwen, Khaya Maseko, Daniel Monteiro, Nosipho Nkonqa, Dominique Planter, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Kayode Salina and Ricardo Walker.

Check out our interviews with West End stars