Monday, 3 October 2016

West End Frame - Over and Out... For Now!

After almost five years of staginess, West End Frame has bid a fond farewell to theatreland... for now.

I was truly overwhelmed by the response after announcing West End Frame's closure - the reaction surpassed all expectations and your kind messages meant so much. If you would like to be kept in the loop about any further West End Frame updates, please sign up below and you will be the first to hear of any upcoming announcements. 

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Most popular news articles, interviews & reviews in West End Frame history!

Here are the most popular news articles, interviews and reviews in West End Frame history! (25th February 2012 - 3rd October 2016.)

Most Popular News Articles 

Big Interview: West End & Broadway director Laurence Connor

Laurence Connor is currently directing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical School of Rock. 

Following tremendous success on Broadway, rehearsals are currently underway for the London production which opens at the New London Theatre on 14th November 2016 (previews from 24th October).

Laurence began his career as an actor; whilst performing in the UK tour of Les Misérables he was asked to direct charity gala A Slice of Saturday Night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre. He then took on resident/associate director jobs, working on shows including The King and I (London Palladium/UK tour) and The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre).

Laurence’s big break came when he was asked to direct a new touring production of Miss Saigon. He recently directed the musical’s West End revival at the Prince Edward Theatre which is about to be shown to cinemas worldwide before opening on Broadway. 

His directing credits also include: Les Misérables (Broadway/UK & US tours/O2 gala), The Phantom of the Opera (UK & US tours/Royal Albert Hall gala), Oliver! (UK tour) and Jesus Christ Superstar (UK & Australian arena tour).

I recently sat down with Laurence at the London Palladium during a break from rehearsals to discuss why he’s thrilled to be bringing School of Rock to London, the challenges of taking on huge shows such as Les Mis & Miss Saigon and how he fell into directing…

I know the idea of working on a musical adaptation of School of Rock was something you were interested in for a while, but when did it become a reality? Have long were you and Andrew working on it?
We started about two and a half years ago; Andrew (Lloyd Webber) and I were doing the arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and I think we had just opened at the O2 when we started having a serious conversation about it. When we were casting Jesus for the TV show we had discussions about what would make a good musical, and Andrew was talking about this idea he had for Stephen Ward and I was talking about the idea of School of Rock. I never realised this conversation would lead to anything. 

Big Interview: West End legend Jodie Jacobs

West End legend Jodie Jacobs is currently starring in the world premiere of new British musical 27. 

Written and co-directed by Sam Cassidy and co-directed by Arlene Phillips, 27 is playing a limited run at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone. The piece is a "shattering exploration of the fragility of life and the unwitting connections that bind us together".

Jodie’s West End credits include: Regina in Rock of Ages (Shaftesbury/Garrick), Serena in Fame (Aldwych), understudy Eva Peron in Evita (Adelphi), understudy Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (Duke of York’s/Ambassadors), understudy Scaramouche & Meat in We Will Rock You (Dominion) and Joanne in Rent In Concert (Garrick).

Her further credits also include: Paulette in Legally Blonde (Upstairs at the Gatehouse/Kilworth House), Nancy in Oliver! (Grange Park Opera), Miss Gardner in Carrie (Southwark Playhouse), Grizabella in Cats (Arena Tour), Rusty in Footloose (UK tour), Jest End (Waterloo East/Jermyn Street), Holly in The Wedding Singer (UK tour), Tink in Lost Boy (Charing Cross), Nurse Fiona in Happy Ending (Arcola), Sister Mary Robert in Sister Act (Aberystwyth), Betty/Carmen in Me & Juliet (Finborough), Marcy Fitzwilliams in I Love You Because… (Landor), Emily in State Fair (Trafalgar Studios 2), Another Kind Of Magic (Scandinavia Tour) and Broadway and Beyond (Dubai). 

Earlier this year Jodie performed An Evening with Jodie Jacobs to a sold out audience at the Chapel of St Barnabas, receiving rave reviews.

I recently sat down with Jodie – one of my absolute favourite interviewees of all time – for a chat about starring in 27, the experience of performing her solo show, what it was like to finally play Nancy and the early days of her career…

27 is a brand new musical – when did you first hear about it? 
I met Sam (Cassidy) so many years ago – it was like 2007 and we hit it off straight away. I knew he had done a workshop recording of a musical he was working on, and when I heard it I was furious with him for not asking me to do it. I was furious! I said to him, “Oi, next time you do this I want in.” 

Friday, 30 September 2016

Best West End Debut 2016: Full result

Anthony Boyle has won West End Frame's 2016 Best West End Debut Award for his performance as Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Newton Faulkner finishes second for making his West End debut as Johnny in American Idiot whilst Suzie Mathers (Glinda/Wicked) finished third.

Last year's Best West End Debut Award was won by Matt Cardle for making his West End debut in Memphis. Previous winners also include Willemijn Verkaik (Wicked), Zrinka Cvitešić (Once) and Shayne Ward (Rock Of Ages).

Anthony Boyle 
Scorpius Malfoy 
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
35% of the final vote

Anthony Boyle wins Best West End Debut 2016

We're delighted to announce that Anthony Boyle has won West End Frame's 2016 Best West End Debut for his performance as Scorpius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Speaking to West End Frame, Boyle said: "Thank you West End Frame and the audience who have voted for this award. It's such a honour to play Scorpius Malfoy in this truly wonderful play, and knowing that the dedicated fans have reacted so positively means a great deal to me."

Boyle received huge acclaim for making his West End debut in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child earlier this year. His previous theatre credits include: Herons (Lyric Theatre Belfast) and East Belfast Boy, which he co-wrote (Ballymac Friendship Centre). On screen he has appeared in Game of Thrones, The Journey, City of Lost Z and The Party.

Big Interview: Billy Cullum

Billy Cullum is starring as Mark Cohen in the 20th anniversary production of Rent.

Jonathan Larson’s musical will launch a UK tour on 21st October at Theatr Clwyd. The tour includes a Christmas season at the St James Theatre where the show has broken box office records.

Billy recently received huge acclaim for understudying the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. For his performance as Jesus, Billy was nominated for West End Frame's 2016 Understudy of the Year Award.

His credits also include: Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Matilda (Cambridge Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Theatre Clwyd), Spring Awakening (UK tour), Godspell (Union Theatre), Hair (Ljubljana Festival), Ten Plagues (Royal Court) and Pieces Of String (Waterloo East Theatre). Billy is also a singer/songwriter and is currently working on his debut album.

I recently sat down with Billy during a break from rehearsals to discuss why Mark is a dream role, his whirlwind experience in Jesus Christ Superstar and his desert island musical theatre songs…

Rent means a lot to so many people, is it a show you’ve always wanted to do?
Yes, and Mark is actually the part I’ve always wanted to play. I think the film came out when I was in secondary school and I remember talking about it with a couple of my friends. The first musical I ever saw was Cats and I loved it, but Rent and Little Shop Of Horrors were the two shows that really got me into musical theatre. I watched the film and said “I really want to play Mark”. I was more into pop music and rock rather than musical theatre, so I guess that’s where my love for the show came from because it’s a different style. Rent made me realise that musical theatre can be cool… although I definitely wasn’t cool [laughs].

Ann Emery passes away, aged 86

We are devastated to report that Ann Emery passed away yesterday (29th September 2016) aged eighty-six.

Just a few of Emery's theatre credits included 'Mother Dear' in Betty Blue Eyes, 'Mrs. Hopkins' in My Fair Lady, 'Hortense' in Martin Guerre, Hard Times (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Cats (New London Theatre) and Babes In The Wood (King's Theatre, Hammersmith).

Emery famously originated the role of Grandma in the West End production of Billy Elliot in 2005, and continued with the show until 2014.