Thursday, 28 May 2015

Katie Paine, Kane Oliver Parry & Jodie Jacobs + more set for The West End Big Busk

The line-up has been confirmed for the second West End Big Busk.

West End stars will perform in Cardinal Place in Victoria between 12pm and 2pm on 4th June to raise money for local homeless charity The Passage. Each performer will sing a 15-20 minute set with only acoustic instruments as accompaniment.

The line-up includes: Kane Oliver Parry (Urinetown/The Light Princess), Jodie Jacobs (Rock of Ages/Carrie The Musical), Jodie Steele (Jesus Christ Superstar/Fame), Luke Baker (Sunny Afternoon/I Can't Sing), Katie Paine (We Will Rock You/Godspell) and Sarah O'Connor (The Commitments/Les Miserables). The event is organised by Alex James Ellison.

Review: Keith Jack 'A Little Bit More of Me' at the Pheasantry

Keith Jack - A Little Bit More of Me
The Pheasantry
Reviewed on Sunday 24th May 2015

Following the release of his latest studio album, last Sunday Keith Jack brought his solo show ‘A Little Bit More of Me’ to the Pheasantry in Chelsea. Staying true to his theatrical roots whilst guiding us through his past and throwing in one or two surprises, the carefully constructed set list worked a treat.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Danielle Brooks joins Cynthia Erivo & Jennifer Hudson in The Color Purple on Broadway

It has been announced that Danielle Brooks will star as Sofia in the upcoming Broadway revival of The Color Purple.

Best known for starring in Orange Is the New Black, Brooks joins West End star Cynthia Erivo as Celie and Academy Award-winning Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery. All three performers are making their Broadway debuts. 

Speaking to Essence,  Brooks said: "[The Color Purple] was actually the first Broadway show that I saw 10 years ago, and to now get to step into the part… my heart flutters every time I think about it."

The show is directed by John Doyle who also directed The Color Purple's UK premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory starring Erivo. The Color Purple opens at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on 3rd December 2015 (previews from 9th November). Oprah Winfrey is producing the production (she also produced the original 2005 Broadway production).

Further casting confirmed for Elegies For Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Further casting has been announced for this Sunday's (31st May) one-night-only staging of Elegies For Angels, Punks and Raging Queens at the Criterion Theatre.

More than 30 of the West End’s most talented performers will take to the stage for the special performance in aid of The Make A Difference Trust, with direction by Stephen Whitson and musical direction by Dean Austin.

The cast features the likes of Madalena Alberto (Evita), Simon Bailey (I Can't Sing), Daniel Boys (Spamalot), Fra Fee (Les Miserables), Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (In The Heights), Emma Hatton (Wicked), Nick Hendrix (The Light Princess) and Emma Williams (Annie Get Your Gun).

Images released for I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

First images have been released for the upcoming London revival of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change by Joe DiPietro. Check out the images below (click picture to enlarge). The show runs for a limited season at Above The Arts between 1st and 18th July 2015. 

The cast includes Julie Atherton (Shock Treatment/Avenue Q), Simon Lipkin (Assassins/Rock Of Ages), Gina Beck (Far From the Madding Crowd/Wicked) and Samuel Holmes (Water Babies/Spamalot). Kirk Jameson directs.

Extra tour dates announced for Mary Poppins

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh have announced further dates for the upcoming UK tour of Mary Poppins.

In addition to the previously announced dates, the musical will also play the Norwich Theatre Royal (29th June – 30th July 2016), Plymouth Theatre Royal (3rd August – 3rd September 2016) and Newcastle Theatre Royal (8th September - 29th October 2016). 

The new Mary Poppins UK tour opens at the Leicester Curve on 13th October 2015. Casting will be announced soon.

Review: Island Of The Lost Children at the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke

Island Of The Lost Children 
Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke 
Reviewed on Sunday 24th May 2015

Written, composed and directed by Simon Driscoll and Jen Bird, this show started its performing life as a Kickstarter campaign and is a testimony to two people's desire to bring a new children's musical to life.

Interview: Lucy Briggs-Owen, starring in Communicating Doors at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Lucy Briggs-Owen is currently starring as Jessica in Lindsay Posner’s London revival of Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

The play sees a dominatrix (played by Rachel Tucker) who, in the process of fleeing for her life, stumbles into a cupboard and – thanks to the wonders of time travel – finds herself twenty years in the past. After realising lives are in danger, she teams up with Ruella (played by Imogen Stubbs) and Jessica to change the course of events. 

Lucy recently created the role of Viola in Lee Hall’s stage adaptation of Shakespeare In Love at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre to tremendous critical acclaim. 

Her theatre credits also include: Times Olga in Fortune's Fool (Old Vic), Brooke in Noises Off (West End), Mrs Fainall in The Way Of The World (Sheffield Crucible), Vivie Warren in Mrs Warren's Profession (West End/UK tour), Cecily in The Importance Of Being Earnest (Open Air), Blanche in Widowers Houses (Royal Exchange), Sybil in Private Lives (Hampstead) and Cressida in Troilus And Cressida (Barbican/international tour).

Lucy’s work for the RSC includes: Helena in Midsummer Night's Dreaming, Maryna in Boris Godunov, Princess in The Orphan Of Zhao, Luscinda in Cardenio, Anne in The City Madam and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I recently spoke to Lucy about why she has been longing to take on her first Ayckbourn play, having a giggle with her co-stars and her fond memories of Shakespeare In Love…

What jumped out for you when you first looked at Communicating Doors? Jessica is such a fun role!
Well I have been, for a number of years, a huge Ayckbourn fan and have been longing to do some. In fact, I can remember auditioning with speeches from his plays – Absent Friends in particular – for drama school. He’s something I hold dearly. So this meeting came up for Communicating Doors, which was very exciting, and I read the play and thought ‘that is absolutely bananas… but completely brilliant!’ Whilst it is farcical and terribly funny, it is also so very human at points and taps into some really big issues and thoughts about what it is to be human. It seems very absurd and funny on one hand, but I think it’s actually got a lot of meat to it.