Thursday, 3 September 2015

Gina Beck & Michael Xavier to star in Show Boat

Baz Bamigboye has announced that Gina Beck and Michael Xavier have been cast as Magnolia Hawks and Gaylord Ravenal in a revival of Show Boat.

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's musical will open at the Sheffield Crucible on 10th December 2015. The cast also includes Rebecca Trehearn as Julie, Allan Corduner as Cap’n Andy, Lucy Briers as Parthy, Sandra Marvin as Queenie and Emmanuel Kojo as Joe. 

What's It All About? transferring to the West End!

Baz Bamigboye has announced that What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined is transferring to the West End following its run at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

The show will begin performances at the Criterion Theatre on 3rd October 2015. Co-creator Kyle Riabko will continue to star in the show which is directed by Steven Hoggett. Further casting is yet to be confirmed.

The show has been renamed Close To You: Bacharach Reimagined for its West End run.

Cassidy Janson takes over as Carole King in Beautiful

Baz Bamigboye has announced that Cassidy Janson is taking over as Carole King from Katie Brayben in the West End production of Beautiful from 30th November 2015.

Diane Keen is also joining the cast, taking over as Carole's mother. Beautiful has extended its booking period at the Aldwych Theatre to November 2016.

Janson's West End credits include: Kate Monster/Lucy The Slut in Avenue Q, Maggie in Lend Me A Tenor The Musical and Standby Elphaba in Wicked. 

Full casting announced for Teddy Ferrara at the Donmar Warehouse

Full casting has been announced for the UK premiere of Teddy Ferrara by Christopher Shinn. The piece is inspired by real events, exploring society’s "uncomfortable embrace of the outsider".

Directed by Dominic Cooke, the production opens at the Donmar Warehouse on 7th October (previews from 1st October) and runs until 5th December 2015. 

The cast includes: Nancy Crane, Griffyn Gilligan, Nick Harris, Christopher Imbrosciano, Oliver Johnstone, Kadiff Kirwan, Ryan McParland, Matthew Marsh, Anjli Mohindra, Luke Newberry, Pamela Nomvete, Abubakar Salim and Nathan Wiley.

Guest Blog: Robert Hands - The multi-roling actor

The experience of playing multiple parts in a theatre production has been a part of my career from its very beginning. 

My first professional job as an actor was with the now defunct English Shakespeare Company. When I joined them two days after graduating from drama school, they were doing a world tour of 'The wars of the Roses', the seven play history cycle going chronologically from Richard II right the way through to Richard III. My contract was a 'play as cast' contract. This essentially meant that I was obliged to play whatever they wanted me to as well as to understudy. I played a large assortment of servants, soldiers and Lords some (but not all ), with a few lines, as well as having some thirty six understudies to learn. 

I loved every minute of it. Even playing these tiny parts I relished the challenge of making them all different . It made me focus on ways in which they were different from me. Their different energies, their voices, the way they moved. I loved it at the time and I've always relished it when I've had the opportunity to do so since.

#SummerSays: Playing the Yes Game

'YES' - what a funny word! A word that ultimately decides what we do and where we go in everyday life. Ever heard of the yes game? Ever played the yes game? 

I now spend more time in my life attempting to say no, which is always harder than it sounds when you want to see and do everything possible that's happening in London (especially if Tuesday Timeout is your weekly bible, as it is mine).

People often say, the older you get the easier it becomes to say no, along with the idea that you're far more likely to do exactly what you want to, regardless of what people think. I guess that is one of the bonuses of growing up. I’m still working this one out as I go, aiming for that perfect balance that we all strive to achieve.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Interview: Leon Ockenden, starring in Flare Path

Leon Ockenden is currently starring as Peter Kyle in the UK tour of Flare Path by Terence Rattigan.

Based on Rattigan’s experiences as a tail gunner during World War II, Flare Path paints an evocative portrait of life in wartime Britain for the life-and-death existence of the RAF bomber crews, and their wives and sweethearts who were left waiting their return.

Leon's theatre credits include: Mat in Muswell Hill (Orange Tree), Charles/Sir Oliver Martext/Jaque de Boys in As You Like It & Lorenzo in The Merchant Of Venice (both Lamb Players), Terry Fordham in Plague Over England (West End), Krapp in The Big Lie & Messenger in Women Beware Women (both RSC), Terry Fordham in Plague Over England (Finborough), Ferdinand in The Tempest (Liverpool Playhouse) and Merlin in Tricky (Courtyard). 

Just a selection of his television work includes playing: Prince Serge de Bolotoff in Mr Selfridge, Hector Reid in Waterloo Road, Cameron Shannon in An Old Fashioned Christmas, Kevin Humphries in New Tricks, Connor in Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Chris Oakley in Heartbeat, Sam Taylor in Family Affairs and Simon in Hustle. On film he has appeared in Open Desert, The Cosmonaut, Across The River, Red Tails and Dread.

I recently spoke to Leon about what makes Flare Path such an extraordinary play, how he’s feeling about taking on his first UK tour and why he likes being kept on his toes…

The first time I saw Flare Path was in the West End a few years ago with Sheridan Smith and Sienna Miller. It took my breath away and is now one of my absolute favourite plays. Were you aware of it? What made you want to take on the role?
I didn’t get to see that production, but what you just said is exactly what drew me to it! As an actor you’re an interpretive artist and you want as rich a text as possible to investigate. We are touring this production to the end of November, and I think we will still be investigating and working on it right to the end because Rattigan is a bit like an English Chekhov – the characters are so well drawn. This is a play set in very extreme historical circumstances but, like when you saw it and when I read it, the play makes you laugh so much and then it is so deeply moving at the end. 

GOSSIP: Meryl Streep to star in Mamma Mia sequel?

According to the New York PostMeryl Streep could star in a sequel to the 2008 Mamma Mia! movie.

The first film, which is adapted from the stage show which premiered in London in 1999, is the highest-grossing musical movie of all time. 

Michael Riedel reports that once Mamma Mia! closes on Broadway next weekend, concluding a fourteen year run, producer Judy Craymer will "turn her attention" to a Mamma Mia! movie sequel.