Tuesday, 15 November 2011

November West End News

All the latest news and gossip from the west end this month;

Sweeney Todd West End return

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is set to return to the capital taking up home a short walk from his infamous barber shop at The Adelphi Theatre on The Strand.

The latest revival of the Sondheim classic, directed by Jonathan Kent, will transfer from The Chichester Festival Theatre where it has received rave reviews including 5 stars from 6 national newspapers from March 10th.

Starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton in the roles of Benjamin Barker aka Sweeney, and his accomplice and landlady Mrs. Lovett, the new production is scheduled to run for an initial booking period of 6 months.

Sweeney Todd premiered in 1979 and revolves around the tragic story of Benjamin Barker whose wife is raped by a judge and subsequently commits suicide.

Barker who assumes the alias of Sweeney Todd vows revenge but following his failure to kill the villainous judge evolves into a serial killer. Todd murders his victims by slitting their throats as they sit in his barber’s chair, whilst his partner in crime Mrs. Lovett disposes of the evidence by using their flesh in her meat pies.

America’s arrival in London coincides with Darius’ return to Chicago

This month has seen the welcome return of long-runner Chicago The Musical. The West End classic by Bob Fosse opened its doors at The Garrick Theatre on the 7th of November with America Ferrera of Ugly Betty fame making her West End debut in the role of femme fatale Roxie Hart.

It’s certainly far removed from her most famous role to date – that of loveable loser Betty Saurez in the Emmy awarding winning ABC series which ran for four series to 2010.

In swapping her braces and trade mark specs for fishnets the 27 year old Californian will follow in a long line of Roxies such as Michelle Williams, Denise Van Outen, Brooke Shields and Ashley Simpson.

Opposite Ferrara in this latest casting of the Fosse favourite will be Amra-Faye Wright in the role of Velma, the part she is currently playing on Broadway, and Pop Idol product Darius Campbell (formerly Danesh) as Billy Flynn.

Campbell most recently trod the boards at The New London Theatre back in 2008 as Rhett in Trevor Nunn’s ill -fated Gone with the Wind.

Prior to that the Glaswegian has previously played the role of Flynn, having been the youngest ever performer in the role when he joined the cast of Chicago The Musical in 2005 at the age of just 25. He later went on to consolidate his leading man credentials playing Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage's Olivier Award winning production of Guys and Dolls.

Mamma Mia, on the move again, my, my...

Following in Chicago’s footsteps and moving homes in the West End, mega hit Mamma Mia has recently announced plans to relocate next summer.

So it’s So Long to the Prince of Wales Theatre where the lycra-clad cast have been entertaining audiences with Abba classics for over 8 years, and hello to the Novello which sits, ironically, just a stones through from Waterloo Bridge.

It can’t be denied that since opening back in 1999 Mamma Mia has certainly had its producers singing Money, Money, Money having played to 50 million people through its 34 productions worldwide and grossed a cool $2bn!!

Producer Judy Craymer is quoted as saying: “I am delighted that the original production of Mamma Mia will move to the stage of the beautiful Novello theatre. It is a perfect space for the musical. The Novello is a gem of a theatre that perfectly suits the creative needs of Mamma Mia, and provides a comfortable and friendly experience for audiences in the heart of Theatreland.”

Ramin Karimloo returns to Les Miserables

Joining fellow Iranian leading man, Darius Danesh, to the West End this autumn Ramin Karimloo returns to the stage in the role Jean Valjean in Les Misérables from November 29th.

Having recently originated the role of the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies as well as having performed in the title role at the 25th Anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera he returns to Les Miserables having previously starred as Enjolras.

Karimloo joins a current cast which includes Hadley Fraser as Javert, Caroline Sheen as Fantine and Alexia Khadime as Eponine.

Marti Pellow Joins Blood Brothers

Bill Kenwright’s production of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers has welcomed former member of boy band Wet Wet Wet, Marti Pellow, to the cast of the long running musical.

The Scot, a well seasoned stage performer following stints in The Witches of Eastwick and Jekyll and Hyde, stepped into the role of the Narrator at the Pheonix from November the 1st.

Million Dollar Quartet and Cool Hand Luke post closing notices; Hay Fever on the way

The writing is on the wall for two current West End shows with the news that after just under a year at The Noel Coward Million Dollar Quartet is to close, alongside Cool Hand Luke which is cutting its run at The Aldwych short and closing on November 19th.

Million Dollar Quartet is the juke box musical which tells the story of a legendary evening in rock ‘n’ roll folklore when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins convened on the Sun Records recording studios in Memphis for a impromptu jam session. Following a successful stint in the West End we are told the producers are now planning a national UK tour.

Replacing MDQ at the Noel Coward Theatre, will quite aptly be a Coward work in the form of Hay Fever.

The show which is one of Coward’s most popular, was last seen in the West End in 2006 when it starred Dame Judi Dench as Judith opposite Belinda Lang and Peter Bowles.

This time around Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Northam, Kevin McNally and Olivia Colman will star in Howard Davies’s production.

Lindsay Duncan will take on the role of Judith Bliss, once the star of the London stage and now intent on injecting drama into her retirement.

To spice up her weekend, she invites a young suitor to join her in the country, but her novelist husband and two children also have the same idea. The result of this inadvertent house party is a weekend of misjudged meetings, secret seductions and scandalous revelations

Theatre tickets to these and all other west end shows can be purchased securely online through BmyConcierge or TheatreTickets-London

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