Friday, 27 March 2015

Casting announced for Once's run in Dublin

Once is heading home to Dublin, Ireland, opening at the Olympia Theatre on 14th July for a limited run until 22nd August 2015. 

The cast includes: Tom Parsons as Guy, Megan Riordan as Girl, Sandra Callaghan as Baruska, Phelim Drew as Billy, Lisa Fox as Ex-Girfriend, Bob Kelly as Eamon, Michael Mahony as Emcee, Bill Murphy as Da, Dylan Reid as Andrej, Rickie O'Neill as Svec and Ruth Westley as Reza.

Set in Dublin, Once is a celebration of music, love, and the city that inspired it. It is based on the movie of the same name, written and directed by John Carney. The musical features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová and book by Enda Walsh.

Shakespeare in Love confirms West End closing date

As Shakespeare in Love enters its final weeks at the Noël Coward Theatre, it has been confirmed that the play will complete its run on Saturday 18th April 2015 having played more than 330 performances since its West End premiere in 2014.

The production has been nominated for ‘Best New Comedy’ in this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards. The winners will be announced at the annual Awards ceremony which will take place at the Royal Opera House on Sunday 12th April 2015. 

Young Will Shakespeare has writer's block... the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he's in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse – Viola. This beautiful young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece.

Big Interview: Rachel Tucker - Back From Broadway!

Rachel Tucker recently returned from Broadway where she created the role of Meg Dawson in Sting’s new musical The Last Ship.

Directed by Joe Mantello, the show ran in New York at the Neil Simon Theatre for four months following an out-of-town tryout in Chicago. During the run Rachel starred opposite Sting when he joined the cast in an attempt to boost ticket sales. 

Rachel is currently preparing to return to the St James Theatre with her new solo concert show Back From Broadway for two performances only on Sunday 19th April. 

She has also been cast in Lindsay Posner's revival of Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn which begins performances at the Menier Chocolate Factory on 7th May.

Rachel was a semi-finalist on I’d Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s television search for an actress to play Nancy in a West End revival of Oliver. After leaving the competition Rachel joined the West End production of We Will Rock You, starring as Meat and understudying Scaramouche. 

Next Rachel joined the West End production of Wicked as Elphaba. She starred in the iconic role for nearly three years and over 1,000 performances, making her the West End’s longest serving Elphaba. In 2012 Rachel won the West End Frame Award for Best Performance of a Song in a Musical for her performance of the show's anthem, ‘Defying Gravity’.

Rachel left Wicked in October 2012 and released her debut album The Reason, playing sell out concerts at the St James Studio and Theatre. Rachel played Meg Giry in the workshop of Love Never Dies and received a TMA Theatre Award Nomination for Best Performance in a Musical for her portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Lyric Theatre, Belfast).

Her other theatre credits include: Ida in Farragut North (Southwark Playhouse), Mary in Tonight's The Night (national tour), Maureen Johnson in Rent (Olympia Theatre, Dublin), Sally Simpson in The Who's Tommy (national tour), Estelle Genovese in The Full Monty (national tour), Grace Power in To Be Sure, Kelly in Merry Christmas Betty Ford and Amy in Have A Nice Life (Lyric Theatre, Belfast). 

Yesterday I caught up with Rachel about her return to London. We discussed her upcoming concerts, what drew her to Communicating Doors, the closure of The Last Ship and how she found New York life plus much, much more…

A lot has happened since the last time we spoke! You’re back from Broadway and about to do some more concerts at the St James Theatre. The last one was incredible – what have you got up your sleeve this time round?
[laughs] Well… you know what… I feel like I set the bar quite high with that last concert! I’ll be honest with you, I am a bit worried about people’s expectations – will it be as good or not? I was worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with enough ideas of different things to sing and people to sing with and so on. But Andrew, it’s just happened again naturally. I stopped worrying about what I did in the past and have tried to concentrate on what else I would love to do. I had to remind myself that it’s a great opportunity to sing and act the stuff that I have never done but always wanted to do! It really is exciting for me! But obviously I’m not going to tell you all my secrets [laughs], I want to keep it all a nice surprise for everyone! I always like to have fun at my gigs, there may be one or two special guests…

Casting announced for West End transfer of Farinelli and the King starring Mark Rylance

Casting has been announced for the West End transfer of Claire van Kampen’s new play Farinelli and the King.

The show opens on 29th September (previews from 14th September) and runs until 5th December 2015.

Directed by John Dove with design by Jonathan Fensom, the production will star the previously announced Mark Rylance as King Philippe V of Spain. 

Sam Crane will once again play the acting role of Farinelli, while the singing role will be reprised by opera star, Iestyn Davies and shared with Rupert Enticknap. The rest of the cast will also transfer with Huss Garbiya playing Doctor Jose Cervi, Melody Grove playing Isabella Farnese, Colin Hurley as Metastasio and Edward Peel as De la Cuadra. 

Details revealed for West End transfer of Farinelli and the King starring Mark Rylance

The Daily Mail has revealed further information about the West End transfer of Farinelli and the King.

Baz Bamigboye confirms that the show will open at the Duke of York’s Theatre on 14th September for a limited run until 5th December 2015. Tickets will reportedly go on sale from 10am this morning (Fri 27th March).

Directed by John Dove with design by Jonathan Fensom, the production stars Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall, Jerusalem) as King Philippe V of Spain. The production recently completed its run at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe.

GOSSIP: Alexia Khadime in discussions to star in Abyssinia

According to the Daily Mail, Alexia Khadime is in discussions to star in the American gospel musical Abyssinia by Ted Kociolek (music/book) and James Racheff (lyrics/book).

The production is set to run in Sheffield before transferring to the Hackney Empire. Khadime recently starred in a workshop production of the show alongside Sharon D. Clarke and Clive Rowe.

The actress is currently starring as Nabulungi in the West End production of The Book of Mormon. Her theatre credits also include: Eponine in Les Misérables (Queen’s), Elphaba in Wicked (Apollo Victoria), Deb in Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios), Harmonia in Welcome to Thebes (National), Nala in Disney’s The Lion King (Lyceum), Candy in Whistle Down the Wind (UK tour), Ronnie Spector in Leader of the Pack (UK tour), Alice in Dick Whittington and his Cat (Hackney Empire) and Cinderella (Hackney Empire).

Thursday, 26 March 2015

GOSSIP: Joanna Riding & Claire Moore to star in world premiere of The Girls

According to the Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye, Joanna Riding (The Pajama Game / Billy Elliot, pictured right) and Claire Moor (Phantom of the Opera / Miss Saigon) will star in the world premiere of The Girls.

Gary Barlow and Tim Firth's new musical, which is inspired by the story of The Calendar Girls, opens at the Leeds Grand Theatre for a limited run between 14th November and 12th December 2015. 

The production will then transfer to The Lowry in Salford for a second out-of-town tryout between 13th and 30th January 2016. Tickets are now available. 

Riding and Moor both appeared in the show's recent workshop which was held at a village hall in the Yorkshire Dales. The cast also included Debbie Chazen, Sally Dexter, Michelle Dotrice, Rachel Lumberg and Harriet Thorpe. 

Production images released for Beautiful Thing

Production images have been released for Jonathan Harvey's Beautiful Thing which is touring the UK ahead of a limited West End run at the Arts Theatre between 3rd June and 11th July 2015. Check out the pictures below (select image to enlarge)

The new cast of Nikolai Foster's production includes Gerard McCarthy (Hollyoaks), Vanessa Babirye (Our Girl), Charlie Brooks (EastEnders), Thomas Law (EastEnders) and Sam Jackson (Skins).

Harvey wrote Beautiful Thing when he was just 24. It premiered at the Bush Theatre in 1993 and sold out its five-week run before transferring to the Donmar Warehouse, and then the Duke of York's, eventually winning its author an Olivier Award nomination and the John Whiting Award. A screen adaptation of the play was released in 1996 by Channel 4 films, which went on to be a cult hit.