London Show News
|NKEKI OBI-MELEKWE & ASHLEY ZHANGAZHA ARE THE NEW LEADS IN TINA THE MUSICAL (18 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Nkeki Obi-Melekwe will play Tina Turner in the West End production of Tina - The Tina Turner Musical from 15 April 2019. Joining the company from the same date will be Ashley Zhangazha as Ike Turner. Adrienne Warren, who has played the title role in London since the show's world premiere, will lead the Broadway production opening in autumn 2019.
Tina Turner said: "I know just how extensive the search was to find her, and I am delighted that Nkeki will be joining our Tina family. Her raw talent is clearly extraordinary and her determination and spirit are second to none. Audiences at the Aldwych will be amazed. I look forward to welcoming her to London!"
Nkeki Ob-Melekwe said: "I am beyond excited! To be coming to London to join the West End community is one thing, but to be taking on this extraordinary role is something else. Tina means so much to so many people, including me, and I do not take this opportunity lightly. I hope I can make her as proud as I am to be playing Tina Turner. I can't wait to get started."
Based on the life of legendary artist Tina Turner, Tina - The Tina Turner Musical recently announced a new release of over 200,000 tickets for the hit musical, now taking bookings at the Aldwych Theatre to 21 December 2019.
Earlier this month a new music video of 'River Deep - Mountain High' was released featuring Adrienne Warren performing the track from the upcoming original cast album.
The second year company will begin performances on 19 March 2019, with Nkeki Obi-Melekwe (Tina Turner) and Ashley Zhangazha (Ike Turner) joining the following month. Aisha Jawando will play the role of Tina at some performances each week, Irene-Myrtle Forrester will play Tina's Grandmother GG, Howard Gossington will play record producer Phil Spector and lyricist Terry Britten, Francesca Jackson will continue to play Ike and Tina's manager Rhonda Graam, Jammy Kasongo will play Tina's father Richard Bullock and Tina's first love Raymond Hill, Edward Bourne will play record company marketing manager Erwin Bach and Oscar Batterham will play Tina's manager Roger Davies. Maria Omakinwa joins to play the role of Tina's mother Zelma until 22 June 2019, when Madeline Appiah will rejoin the company in that role. Final casting will be announced shortly.
They are joined by ensemble members Daniella Bowen, Chloe Chambers, Joelle Dyson, Sia Kiwa, Lejaun Sheppard, Kibong Tanji, Cameron Bernard Jones who also plays Tina's son Craig and Ashlee Irish who plays Tina's son Ronnie and Joseph Richardson, and swings Gavin Alex, Derek Aidoo, Joshua Da Costa, Amandla Elynah, Hannah Jay-Allan, Angela Marie Hurst, Leisha Mollyneaux and Samuel J. Weir.
The production received its world premiere in April 2018 in London and subsequently has broken all box office records at the Aldwych Theatre. Next month, the German premiere begins performances at the Stage Operettenhaus in Hamburg and the musical will have its Broadway premiere in autumn 2019.
|DONMAR WAREHOUSE'S SWEAT TRANSFERS TO THE GIELGUD (14 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|The Donmar Warehouse's sold-out production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat by Lynn Nottage will transfer to London's Gielgud Theatre for a limited six-week run from 7 June to 20 July 2019, with Martha Plimpton reprising her role as Tracey in Lynette Linton's acclaimed production. Further casting is to be announced.
Speaking about the transfer, Sweat playwright Lynn Nottage said:
"I'm beyond thrilled that this beautiful and haunting production of Sweat will have the opportunity to be in dialogue with a larger audience in the West End."
Donmar Warehouse artistic director Josie Rourke added:
"We are overjoyed to be able to bring Lynette Linton's scorching production of Lynn Nottage's great play to a bigger audience. We're grateful for the people who have worked to make it happen."
In 2011, Nottage began spending time with the people of Reading, Pennsylvania: officially one of the poorest cities in the USA. During the following two years, she dug deep into the forgotten heart of middle America, finding a city divided by racial tension and the collapse of industry. Sweat is the Pulitzer Prize-winning play that Nottage wrote following her experience.
Centered around the friendships of factory workers and set in an all-American bar, the play explores the relationships, resentments and fears of a community left divided by de-industrialisation. Simmering racial tensions and mounting anger lead to a devastating outcome for the residents of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Sweat is the first production of artistic director Josie Rourke's final season at the Donmar, followed by Berberian Sound Studio in February and her revival of Sweet Charity in April. Sweat receives its West End transfer following its sold-out UK premiere at the Donmar Warehouse and is directed by Bush Theatre artistic director and former Donmar resident assistant director Lynette Linton.
|WAITRESS EXTENDS BOOKING PERIOD AHEAD OF THE SHOW'S LONDON PREMIERE (13 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Ahead of the first preview performance of Waitress in the West End this week, it is announced that more tickets have been released and the show has extended its booking period to 19 October at the Adelphi Theatre. The Tony-nominated musical by Sara Bareilles will have its official opening night on 7 March. The production have also just announced that a limited number of day seats will be available to purchase in person from the theatre box office for £25 (from 10am, Mon-Weds performances only, subject to availability and at the box office's discretion).
Currently playing its third year on Broadway, Waitress brings with it an all-female lead creative team - a West End musical first. Waitress stars Katharine McPhee (Smash) as Jenna, Emmy-nominee Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) as Ogie, Marisha Wallace as Becky, Laura Baldwin as Dawn, Peter Hannah as Earl, David Hunter as Dr. Pomatter and Shaun Prendergast as Old Joe.
The full company includes Kelly Agbowu, Laura Baldwin, Piers Bate, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Michael Hamway, Peter Hannah, David Hunter, Stephen Leask, Jack McBrayer, Chris McGuigan, Katharine McPhee, Olivia Moore, Nathaniel Morrison, Sarah O’Connor, Leanne Pinder, Shaun Prendergast, Charlotte Riby, Marisha Wallace and Mark Willshire.
Waitress also recently announced the first of its "Cast Album Karaoke" nights in London, meaning that theatre lovers who have always dreamt of singing on the West End stage will soon be able to make their dream a reality. The first ever karaoke nights will be held post-show on Tuesday 19 February and Monday 18 March 2019. For the chance to sing one minute of any song from the show - live on stage and accompanied by the show's musical director Katharine Woolley - interested audience members just need to sign up in the theatre before the performance.
Waitress opened on 24 April 2016 at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theater. Based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress was the first Broadway musical in history to have four women in the four top creative team spots, featuring original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles ("Love Song", "Brave"), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland) and choreography by Lorin Latarro. The production is currently touring the US and has also announced it will have its Australian premiere in 2020 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.
On its Broadway opening, Waitress was nominated for four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; two Drama League Award Nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical; six Drama Desk Nominations, including Outstanding Musical; and four Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical.
|ACCLAIMED WEST END STARS ANNOUNCED IN CAST FOR & JULIET (13 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|& Juliet - the joyous new West End musical that imagines Juliet's famous ending as just her beginning - has announced its cast.
Soaring with the music of Max Martin, the acclaimed song-writer of some of the biggest pop anthems of the last 30 years, & Juliet has previously announced that the award-winning Miriam-Teak Lee will star in the lead role of Juliet.
& Juliet brings together a host of acclaimed West End stars who have headlined some of the most celebrated shows of recent years: Cassidy Janson (Leading Ladies, Chess, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical); Oliver Tompsett (Kinky Boots, Wicked); Arun Blair-Mangat (Leave to Remain, Angels in America); Melanie La Barrie (Wicked, Matilda); Jordan Luke Gage (who starred in the lead role of Strat in Bat Out of Hell), and Tim Mahendran (Spring Awakening).
The production will play a limited season at Manchester Opera House, from Tuesday 10 September to Saturday 12 October, before beginning performances in London at The Shaftesbury Theatre on Saturday 2 November (Press Night: Wednesday 20 November at 7:00pm).
Tickets are on general sale from today.
The ensemble includes Jocasta Almgill, Josh Baker, Alishia-Marie Blake, Ivan De Freitas, Rhian Duncan, Danielle Fiamanya, Kieran Lai, Nathan Lorainey-Dineen, Jaye Marshall, Grace Mouat, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Kerri Norville, Christopher Parkinson, Dillon Scott-Lewis, Kirstie Skivington and Alex Tranter.
Romeo & Juliet final scene. Juliet picks up the dagger and... .gets a life. A timely and timeless tale of one independent young woman, & Juliet is a riotous comic blast of fun and glorious pop music that proves when it comes to love, there's always life after Romeo... & Juliet soars with some of the biggest pop anthems from acclaimed songwriter Max Martin and recorded by artists including Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Ariana Grande, all brilliantly arranged by Tony® and Grammy Award-winning orchestrator Bill Sherman.
Brought to life by an award-winning creative team in an explosive fusion of styles, & Juliet will be directed by Luke Sheppard (In the Heights) with a book by David West Read (Schitt's Creek), electrifying choreography from Jennifer Weber, stunning set design from Soutra Gilmour and costume design by Paloma Young.
Max Martin and Tim Headington present & Juliet, which is produced by Max Martin, Tim Headington, Theresa Steele, Jenny Petersson and Martin Dodd.
|MICHAEL BALL, ALFIE BOE, CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER AND MATT LUCAS TO STAR IN LES MISERABLES CONCERT (12 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Cameron Mackintosh has announced that for 16 weeks only Michael Ball (Javert), Alfie Boe (Jean Valjean), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Fantine) and Matt Lucas (Thenardier) will lead a large cast and orchestra of over 65 in the concert version of Les Miserables.
Katy Secombe also joins to play Madame Thenardier and for three performances a week, the role of Jean Valjean will be played by John Owen-Jones. Further casting will be announced shortly.
This spectacular staging of the legendary concert, previously seen in London at the Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Arena, will run from 10 August to 30 November 2019 at the intimate Gielgud Theatre next door to the current home of Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre.
Cameron Mackintosh said: "The success of Les Miserables continues to amaze me and break new ground. Despite the fact the show continues to play to 95% capacity we have been obliged to close the production at the Queen's Theatre for 16 weeks this autumn to do much needed work. This includes restoring the ceiling plasterwork and the auditorium, adding many more lavatories, as well as carrying out major renovations backstage, which haven't been touched since the 1940s. The theatre was heavily damaged during World War II and has never been properly restored and brought up to modern standards.
"Les Miserables is the only musical ever that has been equally successful on stage, film, in concert and in the classroom. Its spectacular staged concerts are legendary successes, just as popular as the stage show.
"I am thrilled that the plan to keep Les Miserables running in London with a staged concert version on Shaftesbury Avenue during the enforced closure period has attracted such a stellar cast, with Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, John Owen Jones, Matt Lucas and Katy Secombe, who all have a very close personal connection to the history of the show.
"Of course I am a bit miserable that Michael, the gorgeous young actor that created the student Marius in the original production, is now for the first time old enough to play the implacable inspector Javert, an amazing match for Alfie's career-defining portrayal of Jean Valjean."
Produced on stage by Mackintosh, Les Miserables is the world's longest running musical now in its thirty-fourth year in London. Produced on screen also by Mackintosh (along with Working Title and Universal), it is now the most successful movie of an 'original' stage musical.
The original London production currently at the Queen's Theatre (following runs at the Barbican and the Palace Theatre) will play until 13 July 2019 when the theatre will then close for four months of rebuilding work both backstage and in the auditorium as well as adding many much-needed new lavatories to the front of house. This work will also restore architect W.G. Sprague's original boxes and loges which, along with the entire front of house, were destroyed by a bomb in 1940 and caused the theatre to be closed for 20 years. The restored Queen's Theatre will reopen in December of 2019 with a new production of Les Miserables continuing its run indefinitely, with a new West End company being put together now.
The new production of Les Miserables, with a separate company, is currently on a record-breaking international tour, sold out a year in advance through to January 2020 which has now been extended to autumn 2021.
Les Miserables is written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and is based on the novel by Victor Hugo. It has music by Schonberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and original French text by Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel with additional material by James Fenton and adaptation by Trevor Nunn and John Caird.
|STAGE ADAPTATION OF NIGEL SLATER'S MEMOIRS TOAST TRANSFERS TO THE OTHER PALACE (11 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Following its world premiere at The Lowry, Salford, in May and a sold-out run at as part of Traverse Festival 2018 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the critically-acclaimed stage adaption of Nigel Slater's best-selling memoirs Toast is to receive a London transfer. The production opens at The Other Palace on 4 April 2019, running until 3 August.
Toast is a new play based on Slater's award-winning autobiography. Vividly re-creating suburban England in the 1960s, Slater's childhood is told through the tastes and smells he grew up with - to reflect this, audiences will be offered samples of the dishes and tastes central to his story during the show.
From making the perfect sherry trifle, waging war over cakes through to the playground politics of sweets and the rigid rules of restaurant dining, this is a moving and evocative tale of love, loss and...toast.
Originally produced by The Lowry for Week 53 festival, Toast is written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and directed by Jonnie Riordan.
Nigel Slater said of the transfer announcement:
"I am absolutely delighted that Toast will transfer to The Other Palace next April. It's been wonderful to see my story so sensitively adapted and so creatively staged this year. The response from audiences and critics alike has been heart-warming and it's indeed a festive gift to announce that the show will continue into 2019 in London."
Director Jonnie Riordan added:
"I'm really excited that we can bring Nigel Slater's Toast to the London stage. A huge amount of love has gone into the creation of this show and it is so thrilling to see the production's evolution since its world premiere at The Lowry. We can't wait for audiences to see the show next April."
The author of a collection of bestselling books and presenter of nine BBC television series, Slater has been the food columnist for The Observer for 25 years. His memoir 'Toast - the Story of a Boy's Hunger' won six major awards, has been translated into five languages and became a BBC film starring Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore. He is currently working on a new book and television series.
|MENIER CHOCOLATE FACTORY'S FIDDLER ON THE ROOF TRANSFERS TO THE WEST END (7 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Trevor Nunn's critically-acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof with Andy Nyman and Judy Kuhn will transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory to the reconfigured Playhouse Theatre from 21 March 2019 for a limited run.
The production, which officially opens on 27 March and is booking until 15 June, is currently running at the Menier where it completes its sell-out run on 9 March. Caroline Or, Change, currently running at the Playhouse Theatre and originally due to run until 6 April, is now closing on 2 March.
Direct from its sold-out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the Playhouse Theatre will be specially transformed into an immersive space for Tony and Olivier Award-winning director Nunn's revival of the classic Broadway musical.
Fiddler on the Roof features the iconic score including 'Tradition', 'Matchmaker, Matchmaker', 'Sunrise, Sunset' and 'If I Were a Rich Man', and is packed with Jerome Robbins' original Tony Award-winning choreography.
|TOM BURKE & HAYLEY ATWELL STAR IN ROSMERSHOLM (7 FEBRUARY 2019)|
|Tom Burke and Hayley Atwell will star as John Rosmer and Rebecca West in Ian Rickson's new production of Rosmersholm, Ibsen's classic study of a country in political flux, in a new adaptation by Duncan Macmillan. Further casting will be announced soon.
Rosmersholm will play at the Duke of York's Theatre from 24 April 2019, with an opening night of 2 May. The run will end on 20 July. The production will also feature set and costumes by Rae Smith, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Stephen Warbeck, sound by Gregory Clarke and casting by Amy Ball CDG.
Rosmersholm is the tenth collaboration between Sonia Friedman Productions and director Ian Rickson following celebrated West End productions of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, Old Times and Betrayal, and Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem (West End and Broadway), The River (Broadway) and Mojo (West End). He also worked with SFP on productions of The Children's Hour (West End), Electra at the Old Vic and The Seagull on Broadway.
Duncan Macmillan is an award-winning writer and director who previously collaborated with Sonia Friedman Productions on the West End and Broadway run of 1984, which he co-adapted/co-directed with Robert Icke. His other plays include People Places and Things which enjoyed huge success in London and New York, Lungs, Every Brilliant Thing, 2071 (co-written with Chris Rapley), The Forbidden Zone and most recently City of Glass adapted from Paul Auster's novel.
The role of John Rosmer will be played by Tom Burke who was recently seen on the London stage in The Deep Blue Sea at the National Theatre and Reasons to Be Happy at Hampstead Theatre. He is best known for playing the lead role in Strike, the BBC television adaptation of the Cormoran Strike novels by JK Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Other notable television roles include Athos in the BBC series The Musketeers and Dolokhov in the BBC literary-adaptation miniseries War and Peace. His latest film, The Souvenir, premiered at this year's Sundance Festival.
Hayley Atwell will play the role of Rebecca West. A prolific actress across stage, TV and film, her most recent theatre work includes Measure for Measure at the Donmar, Dry Powder at Hampstead Theatre and The Pride at Trafalgar Studios. She won great acclaim for her performances in the BBC adaptations of Howards End and The Long Song last year. Widely known as Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and subsequent TV series Agent Carter, she also starred in The Duchess, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella and most recently Christopher Robin. Her latest film Blinded by the Light, directed by Gurinder Chadha and based on the book by Sarfraz Manzoor, premiered at Sundance 2019.
|SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE 2019 SEASON NOW ON SALE (4 FERUARY 2019)|
|Tickets are now on sale for Shakespeare's Globe's summer season 2019. The celebration and interrogation of 'our sceptred isle' through Shakespeare's history plays continues with Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, while elsewhere there is A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, and the return of 2018's As You Like It.
The cast for Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V will comprise the new resident Globe Ensemble, echoing the approach that Shakespeare's company would have taken over 400 years ago. The Globe Ensemble includes Tayo Akinbode, Sarah Amankwah, Philip Arditti, Sarah Bedi, Nina Bowers, Jonathan Broadbent, Leaphia Darko, Steffan Donnelly, Federay Holmes, John Leader, Sophie Russell, Oliver Ryan, Helen Schlesinger, Michelle Terry, Rob Walker, Sia?n Williams, and Jessica Worrall.
Sarah Bedi and Federay Holmes will direct, and Michelle Terry will play Hotspur in Henry IV Part 1. Terry is currently playing Lady Macbeth in Macbeth in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Her other credits include the titular role in Hamlet, Adam and other characters in As You Like It (Globe, 2018), Cleansed (National Theatre), and Tribes (Royal Court), for which she won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Helen Schlesinger will play Falstaff (Henry IV Part 1 & 2), and Sarah Amankwah will play Hal in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, and the titular role in Henry V. Amankwah is currently starring in Doctor Faustus in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Her previous credits include Amadeus, The Threepenny Opera(National Theatre), Black Earth Rising (BBC/Netflix) and ITV's drama series Marcella. Schlesinger performed in Hamlet and As You Like It as part of the Globe Ensemble last summer. Her other credits include Albion (Almeida), Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse), The Crucible (RSC),The Hour and Criminal Justice (BBC).
The Merry Wives of Windsor opens on 17 May 2019, directed by Nicole Charles and Elle While. The production will be broadcast live into cinemas on 20 June. Charles was most recently at the Globe, directing Emilia, which transfers to the West End from 8 March - 15 June this year.
Opening 28 June 2019, A Midsummer Night's Dream will be directed by associate artistic director Sean Holmes. He recently announced his departure from the Lyric Hammersmith after almost a decade as artistic director and joint chief executive.
Opening 23 August, Bartholomew Fair, Ben Jonson's raucous comedy on London life, will be directed by Blanche McIntyre who returns to the Globe, having most recently directed The Winter's Tale (2018).
Brendan O'Hea returns to direct Globe on Tour, where a company of eight actors will once again offer audiences around the world a trio of plays which this year explore the themes of refuge and displacement. Continuing last summer's experiment, which revived the Shakespearean tradition of allowing audiences to vote for the play they'd like to see, this year's audiences will cast their votes for The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night or Pericles.
A day of panel discussions and workshops will take place on 9 March to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Richard Burbage and also marking 100 years since the birth of the founder of Shakespeare's Globe, Sam Wanamaker. Read Not Dead performances will return between February and September, this year celebrating the most famous outlaw in English history, Robin Hood. Maid Marian, Robin Hood, Maid Marian and Friar Tuck will also reappear in the annual family festival, Shakespeare's Telling Tales, taking place between 26 and 28 July to celebrate the joy of storytelling.
In May, Women & Power will comprise performances, panel events, a scholarly symposium and workshops to highlight the work and voices of women of all backgrounds. Poland is Hamlet, a two-week festival commencing on 26 June, will celebrate Poland's affinity and fascination with Shakespeare's works. This year will also see a return of Shakespeare Within the Abbey: All Places that the Eye of Heaven Visits, directed by Claire van Kampen. In celebration of Shakespeare's birthday, Mark Rylance will bring together a company of 22 actors in Westminster Abbey to roam amongst the audience performing fleeting extracts of drama, poetry and song.
This year's Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank production will be Romeo and Juliet, directed by Michael Oakley who returns to the Globe after directing last year's Playing Shakespeare production of Much Ado About Nothing.
|JOHN MALKOVICH TO MAKE FIRST WEST END APPEARANCE FOR 30 YEARS IN BITTER WHEAT (31 JANUARY 2019)|
|The multi award-winning actor John Malkovich returns to the West End stage after nearly 30 years to play Barney Fein, a top dog Hollywood producer in Bitter Wheat, a new play by the legendary author, director and playwright David Mamet inspired by the Weinstein scandal. It will preview at the Garrick Theatre on 7 June 2019 with a press night on 19 June and will be directed by Mamet.
Malkovich, one of the world's most revered actors, is best known for his many films including Dangerous Liaisons, Being John Malkovich, Con Air and Mulholland Drive. He recently received widespread critical acclaim playing Hercule Poirot in a new BBC TV Agatha Christie adaptation.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Mamet has written some of the most iconic plays of the last 50 years including Sexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and Oleanna.
Hollywood is a hell hole. Everything in Hollywood is for sale except the awards, which are for rent. Bitter Wheat is a play about a depraved Hollywood mogul. Our hero, Barney Fein, is a bloated monster - a studio head, who, like his predecessor, the minotaur, devours the young he has lured to his cave. His fall from power to shame is a mythic journey which has been compared to The Odyssey by people who claim to have read that book.
Also in the cast are Doon Mackichan as Barney Fein's assistant Sondra and Ioanna Kimbook as Yung Kim Li. Mackichan is well known for her extensive TV work which includes creating and starring in the hit comedy series Smack the Pony for Channel 4, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, Plebs for ITV2 and Two Doors Down for the BBC. Kimbook will make her debut theatre performance in Bitter Wheat. Further casting is to be announced.
Joining Mamet on the creative team are designer Christopher Oram and lighting designer Neil Austin.