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Interview – Julian Ovenden on new album Be My Love – and being struck by lightning

From Broadway to the West End, to the dappled light of Downton Abbey, JULIAN OVENDEN has been delighting audiences with acting and song since the age of seven (starting as a choir boy at St Paul’s Cathedral). Twenty years and a hugely varied career later, he releases his second solo album, Be My Love, a smooth […]

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Interview – Caroline Sheen stars in new British musical Only the Brave

CAROLINE SHEEN is soon to appear in Rachel Wagstaff, Matthew Brind and Steve Marmion’s new British musical Only the Brave, premiering at the Wales Millennium Centre from 28 March to 2 April. Based on the real lives of men and women caught up in the D-Day landings, the show tells the inspirational true story of […]

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In memory of Michael White – theatre impresario and film producer

Michael White – theatre impresario and film producer dies, aged 80. Famous for staging controversial shows such as Oh! Calcutta, The Rocky Horror Show and Y and producing Monty Python films and The Comic Strip Presents series for Channel 4, Michael White, an engagingly laid-back impresario who only staged shows he liked himself, was also […]

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Interview – lyricist Don Black on Bar Mitzvah Boy and 2016 being a very good year

This year is looking to be a good one for lyricist DON BLACK. As well as a new West End musical, Mrs Henderson Presents, under his belt, the London Coliseum is to play host to a revival of Sunset Boulevard (for which he co-wrote the book and lyrics with Christopher Hampton and won two Tony […]

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In memory of Louise Plowright – star of Mamma Mia! and Wicked

Louise Plowright, star of Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Les Misérables and EastEnders, has died at the age of 59 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer… Louise Plowright was forced to leave Wicked in 2013 shortly after the diagnosis of her condition. She underwent major surgery but two years later the cancer returned and could only […]

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Interview – Hayley Tamaddon starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago on tour

Having worked on television for the past few years, HAYLEY TAMADDON is back on the boards in the touring production of Chicago. With Emmerdale and Coronation Street, not to mention Dancing On Ice, behind her, the actress now takes on Roxie Hart in the supremely successful musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, with former EastEnders […]

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Remembering Frank Finlay – one of Britain’s great all-round actors

Frank Finlay was a celebrated actor who in his time worked for all the major UK theatre companies, the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre at Chichester and The Old Vic. He died on 30 January 2016. Michael Darvell recalls the working life of a great […]

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Interview – Oliver Tompsett in The World Goes Round – The Songs of Kander & Ebb

The World Goes Round, the compilation revue of songs by John Kander & Fred Ebb, had a great reception at Chelsea’s Pheasantry last year. It returns to the St James Studio from 2 to 7 February with a cast including OLIVER TOMPSETT, at only 34, a veteran of the musical stage. Tompsett is best known for playing […]

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End of the Rainbow UK tour – first look and exclusive interviews

There’s an unassuming little rehearsal space in East London – wood floor, parish notices, stacked chairs. A table at the back buzzes with laptops, low chatter and paperwork. A keyboard sits in anticipation on its stand, and a makeshift set has been constructed from an old sofa and the resident grand piano. You’d be forgiven for not […]

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In conversation with Andrew Lynford – director of Carnival Dreams the Musical

Andrew Lynford became a household name playing Simon Raymond in the popular soap opera EastEnders. Since leaving his career has diversified and he has also established himself as a director, television presenter, producer and choreographer. His next project is the world premiere production of Carnival Dreams the Musical which will be presented at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon […]

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Alan Rickman Remembered – an actor of great range on stage, in films and TV

Alan Rickman (21 February, 1946-14 January 2016) was an actor known for his villainous but sometimes comic roles. Here we look at his remarkable, eclectic career on stage, film and television. Although Alan Rickman was mainly known as both a dramatic and comedic actor, he was not without a good singing voice and actually sang on […]

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Broadway Preview 2016 – from Disaster! to Paramour

Broadway Preview – Ron Cohen reflects on the musical theatre openings during the first half of 2016. While nothing on the immediate horizon seems ready to challenge the primacy of Hamilton as the champion of the 2015/2016 Broadway season, musical theatre gourmands nevertheless can still look forward to a promising buffet of late winter-into-spring openings. […]

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Interview – creators of Grey Gardens, Scott Frankel, Michael Korie and Doug Wright

Grey Gardens received its European premiere at the Southwark Playhouse opened on 2 January and has quickly proved to be the first must-see show of 2016. This quirky musical takes its inspiration from the 1975 feature-length documentary of the same name – indeed, it’s the first Broadway musical based on a documentary – turning the […]

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In memory of Robert Stigwood – impresario extraordinaire

Robert Stigwood (16 April 1934–4 January 2016): Impresario Extraordinaire who promoted The Bee Gees, John Travolta and Lloyd Webber musicals. Impresario Robert Stigwood, who has died aged 81, was a unique example of a businessman with his own vision that saw him achieving success in many forms of public entertainment. Not one to stick to […]

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Interview – Roxanne Palmer shares the magic of Mr Popper’s Penguins

Having just enjoyed a Christmas season at the Lowry Salford, the world premiere of brand new family musical Mr Popper’s Penguins, directed by Emma Earle, completes its tour of the country with a run at Rose Theatre Kingston from Thursday 14 January to Sunday 17 January. Painter and decorator by day, Mr Popper dreams of Antarctic adventures. He is astounded when one day […]

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Interview – West Yorkshire Playhouse artistic director James Brining on flying cars and telling stories

Since returning to his hometown of Leeds and becoming artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse, James Brining has directed The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Crucible, Enjoy, Talking Heads and Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. He recently re-created Sweeney Todd for Welsh National Opera at the Wales Millennium […]

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Musical Theatre 2016 Preview – all you need to know

You can’t get more comprehensive than this, here’s a preview of all the 2016 musical theatre openings we know about so far in the West End, on the London Fringe and across the UK. JANUARY: Guys and Dolls – Savoy Theatre, London. The highly acclaimed Chichester Festival Theatre revival of Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and […]

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Yarico Liberty Buckland (Yarico) and Alex Spinney (Inkle) 2 Photo Honeybunn Photography

London Fringe – new musicals which made their mark in 2015

Paul Vale believes the London Fringe’s commitment to new musical theatre has reaped dividends in 2015. As 2015 draws to a close, it’s worth contemplating some of the new musicals which have made their mark on the Fringe over the year. Truth be told it’s been a bumper year, with projects that have occasionally proved […]

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Musical Theatre 2015 – a reflection – what was your favourite?

Musical Theatre Review reflects on an incredibly busy year of theatre – in the West End, on the London Fringe, across the UK and in New York – and pick four shows from each month that topped the FOUR and FIVE star ratings with our contributors. The results may surprise you… JANUARY Whistle Down the Wind continues […]

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Interview – Gina Beck embraces the sweeping melodies of Show Boat at the Crucible Sheffield

Show Boat, this year’s Christmas production at Sheffield Theatres, opens tonight (16 December). Spanning 40 pivotal years in American history, the epic musical by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II follows the lives and loves of three generations aboard a show boat as it plies the Mississippi River. Among those characters is Magnolia Hawks, played by actress and […]

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Interview – Gillian Bevan goes Into the Woods via Manchester

Officially opening this week at the Manchester Royal Exchange is a new production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s dark fairytale mash-up, Into the Woods. In the central role of The Witch is local lass GILLIAN BEVAN, who was born just seven miles down the A6 in Stockport. As one of the UK’s most experienced Sondheim proponents, […]

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Interview – Marilyn Cutts on playing Mrs Brice in Funny Girl and why she still loves Doctor Theatre

This week has been all about the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Funny Girl which has not only broken box office records at its current London home, the Menier Chocolate Factory, but has extended its West End run at the Savoy Theatre where it will transfer in April 2016. Actress and singer MARILYN CUTTS is a crucial part of that very production, playing […]

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I Want My Hat Back at the National – writer Joel Horwood on hats, children, and why he is secretly a rabbit

JOEL HORWOOD made his mark as a writer back in 2005 with a madcap musical, Mikey the Pikey. Now an associate artist at the Lyric Hammersmith, his portfolio spans the Royal Court, Bristol Old Vic, the BBC, the Almeida, the Old Vic, and, most recently, the National Theatre. It is for the National that Horwood […]

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Interview from Austria – Sona MacDonald plays Billie Holiday in new play Blue Moon

Acclaimed Austrian-American actress and singer SONA MACDONALD is about portray the role of Billie Holiday in a Blue Moon, a brand new play by Torsten Fischer, who also directs, and Herbert Schäfer (who alongside Vasilis Triantafillopoulos is in charge of sets and costumes). The play will pay tribute to the famous jazz singer and will […]

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Interview – Cassie Compton makes her debut at Crazy Coqs

Actress and singer/songwriter CASSIE COMPTON came to our notice in the first series of The X Factor, since when she has gone from strength to strength on stage, in film and television and music tours. In the West End her many starring roles include Eponine in Les Misérables, Nessarose in Wicked, Jean in American Psycho opposite Matt Smith, and the […]

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Interview – Richard Fleeshman celebrates the Kings of Broadway

Singer, actor and songwriter RICHARD FLEESHMAN will be appearing in Kings of Broadway, a special concert celebrating legendary composers Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim and Jule Styne, at London’s Palace Theatre on Sunday 29 November. The latest show from Alex Parker and Alastair Knights, the creative team behind the staging of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music which played the Palace […]

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Interview – Let’s Dance Again! choreographer Nick Winston celebrates Hollywood hoofers

Let’s Dance Again!, celebrating the golden years of Hollywood dance films, comes to the Royal Festival Hall on Friday 13 November. Choreographer NICK WINSTON sets the scene for the evening’s tribute to those iconic hoofers up on the screen… Although musical films are still being made, emphasis now is less on the dance element. Do you […]

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Interview – Millicent Martin returns to London for Sondheim Birthday Gala

MILLICENT MARTIN is making a rare visit to London this Sunday 25 October to appear on stage at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in Hey, Old Friends! An 85th Birthday Tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Born in Romford, Essex, Martin first trod the boards in the children’s chorus at the Opera House in Covent Garden, and later turned up […]

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A Little Night Music at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre – we chat to Sarah Waddell and Jamie Birkett

Actresses SARAH WADDELL and JAMIE BIRKETT are currently appearing in All Star Productions’ staging of Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at the Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre in Walthamstow, London until 31 October. The show reunites the creative team behind last year’s critically acclaimed staging of Into the Woods. Theatre credits for Sarah Waddell, who plays Desiree Armfeldt, include: Into the Woods (Ye Olde […]

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The Roar of the Greasepaint – Interview With Leslie Bricusse – Part Two

Prolific and well-loved British film and musical theatre songwriter LESLIE BRICUSSE has been busy in recent weeks. Not only has the composer, lyricist and librettist revealed that he’s working on a major new musical about the life of his close friend, legendary entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr, but he has been in London celebrating the world premiere of Pure Imagination– The […]

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Interview – Sam Bailey – a passion for musical theatre leads to dream West End concert

SAM BAILEY, the 2013 winner of X Factor, is to perform a one-off concert of musical theatre songs, Sam Bailey – Live in the West End, at London’s Lyric Theatre on 12 October, with guest stars including Collabro, Michael Xavier and Scott Alan. She talked to Ollie Wilson about the show and her love of musical theatre. How did […]

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Triple threat writer Leslie Bricusse on what inspires his Pure Imagination. Interview – Part One

Prolific and well-loved British film and musical theatre songwriter LESLIE BRICUSSE has been in the news this week. Not only has the composer, lyricist and librettist revealed that he’s working on a major new musical about the life of his close friend, legendary entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr, but he has been in London celebrating the world premiere of Pure Imagination– […]

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Interview – Jonathan Butterell on why See What I Wanna See has made him want to act again

JONATHAN BUTTERELL, who choreographed the original production of Michael John LaChiusa’s Off-Broadway hit See What I Wanna See at New York’s Public Theater, has joined the cast of its London premiere at the Jermyn Street Theatre after a 22-year break from acting (in recent times he has been mainly concentrating on directing). Jonathan also directed the premieres of Michael John LaChiusa’s other works Giant and Tres Nińas. […]

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Dean Jones – original star of Company (1931 to 2015)

Dean Jones, original star of Company (1931-2015). Although he must have appeared in some musicals before his film career took off, DEAN JONES is remembered for one particular role in music theatre, for he created the role of Robert in Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company. Michael Darvell pays tribute to the actor-singer who died from […]

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Interview – American actress Alexandra Silber back in the UK making her cabaret bow at Crazy Coqs

August has already been a big month for the American (but Scottish-trained) soprano ALEXANDRA SILBER as she’s just landed the part of Tzeitel in the Broadway revival of Fiddler On the Roof which opens on 12 November – eight years after she sang Hodel in the same show in the West End. And it’s going to get even […]

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Composer and lyricist Alexander S. Bermange brings his own style of wit and whimsy to The Pheasantry

ALEXANDER S. BERMANGE is a prolific composer and lyricist who has written nine musicals and contributed music for a further nine titles, as well as writing material for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. His songs, both comic and dramatic, have been sung by a variety of artists including Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo, Lara Pulver, […]

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Interview – Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman prepare for their one-off London concert in September

If this interview is anything to go by, KERRY ELLIS and LOUISE DEARMAN’s one-off concert on 27 September is bound to be a fun-filled evening of great songs, fantastic anecdotes and a lot of laughs. Both actresses have an association with the musical Wicked, Dearman being the first person ever to play both Elphaba and Glinda in the […]

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Interview – Grand Hotel composer/lyricist Maury Yeston on his musical theatre vision

Maury Yeston is not just a Tony-Award-winning composer/lyricist: he’s a passionate teacher and advocate of new musical theatre writing. Forget the aphorism that “those who can’t, teach”– his first two shows on Broadway – Nine and Titanic – both secured the Tony for Best New Musical, and both shows continue to delight audiences. He is […]

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Interview – George Stiles and Anthony Drewe on being partners in rhyme

This summer has seen the opening of The 3 Little Pigs, the brand new family musical from multi award-winning British songwriting duo GEORGE STILES and ANTHONY DREWE. Stiles (music) and Drewe (book and lyrics) have put their own musical twist on the retelling of this classic fairy tale which will play at the Palace Theatre until Sunday 6 September […]

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Interview – Alex Gaumond feels blessed to be in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Regent’s Park

ALEX GAUMOND is playing Adam Pontipee in the current Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, heading up the cast with Laura Pitt-Pulford as Milly. The Canadian actor and singer recently took on the role of Beadle Bamford in Sweeney Todd at the ENO, played opposite Robert Lindsay in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy), and portrayed Miss Trunchbull in Matilda the […]

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Interview – Matt Cardle – from X Factor to Memphis the Musical

X Factor winner, multi-platinum selling recording artist and songwriter MATT CARDLE has joined Beverley Knight in the cast of David Bryan and Joe DiPietro’s Memphis the Musical. He took over the role of radio DJ Huey Calhoun from Killian Donnelly (opposite Knight as Felicia Farrell) on 6 July and will continue in the show until the end of its run […]

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Interview – Robert J. Sherman reveals new musical Love Birds at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe

ROBERT ‘ROBBIE’ J. SHERMAN is the son of Robert B. Sherman (1925–2012), one half of the Academy-Award-winning songwriting partnership (with brother Richard) responsible for the unforgettable numbers in classic movie musicals such as Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. His grandfather Al Sherman also enjoyed a successful […]

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Interview – look what happened to Rebecca LaChance in Mack & Mabel at Chichester

After an extensive search, American actress REBECCA LaCHANCE was cast as Mabel Normand alongside Michael Ball’s Mack Sennett in Chichester’s summer musical, Mack and Mabel, which opens tonight at the Festival Theatre (playing until 5 September, and then touring across the UK and Ireland). Based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, this musical comedy (book […]

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Interview – Luke Sheppard brings a new dimension to Oliver! at the Watermill Theatre

LUKE SHEPPARD, a young director with a varied – and critically lauded – handful of shows under his (relatively) newly-donned belt, talks to Musical Theatre Review’s Oliver Beatson about his latest production, the Watermill Theatre’s up-and-coming production of Oliver! In what looks to be Oliver! with a twist – the production (playing at the Newbury venue from 31 July to 19 September) will offer the theatre’s signature integrated-musician […]

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Interview – Andy Barnes on why Perfect Pitch is dedicated to new British musical theatre

When new British chamber musical The House of Mirrors and Hearts had its official opening at the Arcola Theatre this week, it was partly due to the backing of Perfect Pitch, the UK company dedicated to the creation and development of new British musicals. Perfect Pitch executive producer ANDY BARNES took time out to give Musical Theatre […]

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Interview – Kyle Riabko on the inspiration behind What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

KYLE RIABKO is the 27-year-old actor-musician Canadian behind the Menier Chocolate Factory’s upcoming production, What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined. As the title suggests, it’s a show that explores the contribution that songwriter Burt Bacharach has made to popular music, but rather than a jukebox rehash of this unparalleled songbook, it’s a respectful and impassioned reworking, performed by a small […]

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Let’s pay tribute to actor Ron Moody – and for more than just one role

Ron Moody (8 January 1924–11 June 2015). If there was one part that Ron Moody will always be remembered for, it was his role as Fagin in Lionel Bart’s 1960 musical Oliver! However, there was more to the actor than just a single, successful role, as Michael Darvell explains… Ron Moody (born Ronald Moodnick in Tottenham, […]

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Sibling Revelry: an Exclusive interview with the Callaway sisters

EXCLUSIVE! Sibling Revelry: An interview with ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY and sister LIZ. Seventeen years after bring their Sibling Revelry show over from New York to form part of the Divas At the Donmar series, the Callaway sisters, Ann Hampton and Liz, are back in London from 7–11 July with an updated version at the Hippodrome. […]

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Face the Music – interviews with Samuel Haughton and Joanne Clifton

All Star Productions is presenting the first UK stage production of Irving Berlin and Moss Hart’s musical comedy Face the Music at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, Walthamstow until 3 July. In the cast are JOANNE CLIFTON (World and European Professional Ballroom Dancing Champion, Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer 2014) as the Street Walker and actor/singer SAMUEL HAUGHTON (Wind in the Willows, […]

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Onstage Acts – Julie Atherton on the musical theatre course which backs new writing

After great success last year, West End performers Paul Spicer and Julie Atherton are bringing back Onstage Acts, a summer course exploring contemporary musical theatre (running from 27 to 31 July and featuring masterclasses from theatre practitioners who work in all areas of the industry). The programme is presented by Spicer’s production company, Stage Acts Productions. Onstage Acts, developed as an […]

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