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Everything’s Coming Up Jule Styne – interview with musical director Alex Parker

Composer Jule Styne wrote some 1500 songs in a long career in Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood and on Broadway. Everything’s Coming Up Roses: The Jule Styne Songbook, opening at London’s Crazy Coqs on 2 September, is a tribute to a great songwriter who died 20 years ago this month. Devised and directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together, The […]

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Pasek and Paul give first UK interview in run-up to European premiere of Dogfight

Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul give Musical Theatre Review their first UK interview in the run-up to the European premiere of their show Dogfight, opening this coming Wednesday 13 August at London’s Southwark Playhouse. Since meeting at the University of Michigan where they were working on their Musical Theatre degrees, songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have continued to […]

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Edinburgh: The story behind The Factory – New Zealand’s first-ever Pacific musical

New Zealand’s first-ever Pacific musical, The Factory, a vibrant, funk-fuelled and entirely unique exploration of the Samoan migrant experience, is being presented by the Kila Kokonut Krew at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe (part of NZ at Edinburgh, continuing at the Assembly Hall – Main Hall until 25 August). Lured by the promise of a […]

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John Bucchino is ‘so proud’ of new cd with David Campbell

John Bucchino is one of New York’s most beloved composers. His work has been recorded by artists such as Art Garfunkel, Liza Minnelli and Kristin Chenoweth and performed at venues across the world – from the Sydney Opera House to the White House. His work with Harvey Fierstein, A Catered Affair, opened on Broadway in 2008 […]

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In rehearsal – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

When the latest Bill-Kenwright produced tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opens this week at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, it will be the first time there has been THREE big names above the title. Both making their musical theatre debuts are X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels in the title role and Matt Lapinskas (formerly of EastEnders, […]

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Seth Rudetsky deconstructs our questions in run up to London show

Having heard that Seth Rudetsky was returning to Leicester Square Theatre for one night only on Sunday 10 August with his one-man show Seth Rudetsky Deconstructing Broadway, our contributor Michael Darvell couldn’t wait to ask him a few questions. But Rudetsky hasn’t answered them in the old-fashioned way of dropping us an email. Oh no, he has […]

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Stefan Bednarczyk returns to Crazy Coqs with Noel Coward cabaret

Described as ‘one of the most important interpreters of Coward that we have’, Stefan Bednarczyk returns to the Crazy Coqs this week with his Noel Coward show (concentrating on Coward during the war and post-war years, but also including Coward’s works from the 1920s and ’30s as well as some of his lesser-known songs). There […]

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Morphic Graffiti – A new kind of Carousel

Theatre company Morphic Graffiti, founded by Stewart Charlesworth and Luke Fredericks, is behind a bold new interpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, which officially opens tonight at the London fringe Arcola Theatre. Cameron Smith catches up with Stewart Charlesworth… It started with a typo. In 2011 Stewart Charlesworth, along with co-founder Luke Fredericks, created a new production company […]

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Peter Skellern chats about new musical You Can Always Hand Them Back

Musical Theatre Review’s Lisa Martland talks to singer/songwriter Peter Skellern about his new musical You Can Always Hand Them Back, playing at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester. During a successful and incredibly varied 50-year career, singer/songwriter Peter Skellern’s musical vision has encompassed everything from brass bands to the classics of Fred Astaire, from television theme tunes […]

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Interview – entertainer Ray Shell is back in business

American entertainer Ray Shell has been a fixture in West End musicals for 30 years, from Starlight Express in 1984 to the original cast of The Bodyguard. He’s written books and directed shows as well. Earlier this year, he ventured into the world of cabaret with the much-praised Back2Black at The Pheasantry in London’s Kings […]

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Onstage Acts – Paul Spicer launches musical theatre summer course

West End performer and successful producer Paul Spicer in conversation with Musical Theatre Review’s Lisa Martland. Producer and actor Paul Spicer is all fired up. His latest project combines two of his biggest passions – nurturing the talent of others and introducing artists to contemporary musical theatre. Since co-founding the Notes From New York series […]

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Marc Folan, an English composer in New York – with A Little Princess

A major event in the career of British composer/lyricist Marc Folan has just taken place – his musical A Little Princess has had its professional US premiere, opening Off-Broadway at the Hudson Guild Theatre. Not only that, but an additional run has just been announced at a larger, more central space, the Alice Griffin Jewel Box […]

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Richard Maltby Jr – Closer Than Ever still brings surprises

Lyricist and director Richard Maltby, Jr. has been in London to direct a revised version of his Off-Broadway hit, Closer Than Ever (written with long-time collaborator David Shire) which has received its European premiere at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. With Shire, Maltby, Jr. has also written lyrics for Starting Here, Starting Now, Baby, Closer Than Ever and the musical […]

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Tamar Broadbent returns to the Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Prize

Last year, Tamar Broadbent’s song ‘17 Drafts’ won the runner-up prize and a special commendation at The Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize 2013 which took place at London’s Garrick Theatre in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Competition (SSSSPOTY). For this year’s event, held at the same venue on 18 May, […]

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The Lion King – the autism-friendly way

An autism-friendly matinee performance of The Lion King took place at the Lyceum Theatre, London on Sunday 4 May, 2014. I saw my first West End musical when I was ten years old (Oklahoma! at the Palace Theatre), and I am fortunate enough to have seen many, many more since. So why, on the morning […]

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Composer Adam Guettel – why he is drawn to cabaret

Composer, lyricist, performer, teacher and conservationist, Adam Guettel, a patron of the 2014 London Festival of Cabaret, will appear in concert and conversation with Maria Friedman at the Ambassadors Theatre on 20 and 21 May. Guettel’s musical The Light In The Piazza premiered on Broadway in 2005 and received six Tony Awards. Guettel also wrote […]

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Best of Friends – in conversation with writer Nick Fogarty

The Golden Voice, a musical exploring the trials and tribulations of two young musicians, was slated to open last summer at the Arts Theatre, with Darren Day in the lead role. The premiere was delayed due to financial problems before eventually being cancelled, with producer Rob Hewitt later being arrested on suspicion of fraud. Nick […]

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Lauren Samuels is making waves with the Water Babies

With her role as Ellie in the world premiere of Chris Egan, Ed Curtis and Guy Jones’ new musical Water Babies (based on Charles Kingsley’s 1863 Victorian morality tale), Lauren Samuels is returning to Curve, Leicester where she made her professional debut playing Wendy in Peter Pan the Musical. Following her success on the BBC1 talent […]

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Aaron Sidwell on being a Cool Rider

Best-known for playing the troublesome Steven Beale in the BBC’s long-running drama EastEnders, actor Aaron Sidwell is, once again, taking his talents to the stage, playing Michael in Cool Rider – the cult musical sequel to the iconic Grease which is back in the West End for one week only, at the Duchess Theatre. His theatre credits […]

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Once the Musical – even twice is probably not enough

Scott Matthewman writes… As fans of musical theatre, we’ve all been there. We’ve been to see a show, loved it, raved about it – and then someone we know goes to see it on our recommendation. And suddenly, that sense of fear hits. What if they don’t like it as much as we did? As a reviewer, it […]

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Niamh Perry playing The Beautiful Game

It’s not every 23 year-old musical theatre actress who can plausibly first-name drop Lord Lloyd Webber. Niamh Perry is one. “It’s taken the best bits of both productions… it’s what it always should have been in Andrew’s eyes.” The musical in question is one of the Lord’s lesser known works, The Beautiful Game. The show, […]

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Tim McArthur – on new musical Orton and supporting new writers

Actor, director and presenter Tim McArthur is directing Richard Silver and Sean J Hume’s Orton, a new British musical, playing at Above the Stag Theatre, London until 4 May‏. He is associate director at Above the Stag, and although this is the first production he has staged at the venue in Vauxhall, credits at the […]

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Amy Booth-Steel can’t wait for Betty Blue Eyes

Fresh from her success as Piper in The Light Princess at the National Theatre, actress Amy Booth-Steel is playing determined social-climber Joyce Chilvers in the brand new touring co-production of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s musical comedy Betty Blue Eyes, opening at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester this week. Based on Alan Bennett’s screenplay for the film A Private Function, […]

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Do I Hear a Waltz? – Rebecca Seale does

Actress Rebecca Seale is taking on the lead role of Leona Samish in Charles Court’s version of the seldom-performed musical Do I Hear a Waltz? The musical is based on Arthur Laurents’ play The Time of the Cuckoo and was adapted into a musical by Laurents, Richard Rodgers (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics). Charles Court Opera’s […]

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Rebecca Craven makes it big in Hairspray at Leicester’s Curve

Best-known for playing the inconsolable Rhiannon in the BBC drama series Waterloo Road, actress Rebecca Craven is taking her talents in a new direction, making her professional theatre debut as Tracy Turnblad in the new production of Hairspray at Leicester’s Curve theatre. Playing the teenager with high hopes, huge ambitions and even bigger hair, Craven […]

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Nina Kristofferson – being Billie Holiday

Musical Theatre Review’s Cameron Smith catches up with actress and singer Nina Kristofferson as she prepares to take her show, the Billie Holiday Story, on tour. As one of the foremost jazz singers of the 20th century, Billie Holiday was a unique talent. Well, it takes one to know one. Nina Kristofferson is not only […]

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Mapping out new musical The A–Z of Mrs P – meet the writers

Henry Bird meets composer/lyricist Gwyneth Herbert and librettist Diane Samuels, the writers behind the brand new musical The A-Z of Mrs P (opening at the Southwark Playhouse on 24 February). The London A-Z, the map that has guided lost Londoners for almost 80 years, is said to have started life one night in 1935, when bohemian […]

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Drunk with Drew McOnie – Interview

Drew McOnie is becoming one of the UK’s most sought after choreographic talents. Last year saw him collaborate with Matthew Bourne on an original piece for the Coronation Festival Gala at Buckingham Palace, and most recently he choreographed the new production of Chicago at Leicester’s Curve Theatre. Indeed he is now an associate artist at the […]

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From Page to Stage’s Katy Lipson flies the flag for new musical theatre

Katy Lipson, producer of From Page to Stage at London’s Landor Theatre, talks about the future of musical theatre in the UK. Over the years, I have dedicated a lot of time and effort to new musical theatre. Primarily, this is because I love the genre – but also because in the material I see everything […]

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Tonight’s the Night – interview with Ben Elton

Ben Elton’s career has spanned plays, novels, and a feature film, in addition to 30 years as a successful comic writer and performer on British television and the stand-up circuit. But Elton has always reserved a special place in his heart for musicals, having written three that feature music from such diverse talents as Andrew […]

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Hayley Gallivan in Oliver! at Sheffield Crucible

Actress Hayley Gallivan plays Nancy in Sheffield Crucible’s production of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! which opens this week. The musical is directed by the theatre’s award-winning artistic director Daniel Evans, who also staged the Crucible’s critically acclaimed productions of My Fair Lady and Tim Firth’s This is My Family (the latter won two UK Theatre Awards). […]

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John Barrowman – one day musical theatre will call again

Paul F Cockburn recently caught up with the multi-talented John Barrowman in Glasgow. Having just been recording 25 episodes of Pressure Pad, his new entertainment quiz show for the BBC, Barrowman was – technically – promoting his pantomine, Dick McWhittington (opening at the SECC Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow on 14 December), but the conversation strangely enough […]

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Seussical – director Kirk Jameson makes musical magic

After a successful season in 2012, the Broadway musical Seussical – based on the books of Dr. Seuss – returns to London’s Arts Theatre, opening on 2 December (with previews from 30 November) and running until 5 January 2014. After Kirk Jameson’s success with On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, staged at the […]

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Verity Rushworth – Chicago-bound

Former soap star Verity Rushworth is taking on the role of Velma Kelly at the Curve, Leicester, in a brand new production of Chicago. As the show’s memorable opening line states, it’s ‘a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery’. Bit like an episode of Emmerdale, really. Born in West Yorkshire, Rushworth […]

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In conversation with Janie Dee

Barrie Jerram catches up with Olivier Award-winning actress and singer Janie Dee. This weekend versatile actress Janie Dee is the latest guest of Edward Seckerson in his Singular Sensations series at London’s Charing Cross Theatre. These shows have an ‘in conversation with…’ format as the writer and presenter encourages his guests to talk about their […]

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Sam Attwater – Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

TV and theatre performer Sam Attwater is starring as Adam Pontipee in the current UK tour of the critically acclaimed musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. This new production is directed and choreographed by Broadway’s award-winning Patti Colombo, described by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the finest musical comedy choreographers in the business”. The […]

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Ian ‘H’ Watkins lives the Joseph dream again

Cameron Smith catches up with Welsh singer, dancer and stage actor Ian ‘H’ Watkins, well-known for being a member of pop group Steps, but also now a musical theatre regular. He is currently playing the lead role in the touring production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Ian ‘H’ Watkins, best-known as a member of the pop band […]

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Billy Stritch and the art of cabaret

Fiona-Jane Weston talks to award-winning New York and international jazz cabaret artist Billy Stritch about the art of cabaret in general and his show at the Crazy Coqs, London: I’ve Got Your Number – The Jazz of Cy Coleman. Billy Stritch has been performing as a piano player since very young, when he was considered a […]

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Introducing Glass Half Full Productions

Launched this week, Glass Half Full Productions is a new production company aiming to produce musicals, plays and comedy both in the UK and US in partnership with Just For Laughs Theatricals. CEO of Just For Laughs, Adam Blanshay (who won a Tony Award as co-producer on the Broadway musical Kinky Boots) has teamed up […]

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Frances Ruffelle – French Connection

Frances Ruffelle’s new cabaret, Paris Original, will be a celebration of French singers and songs. The show premieres at the Crazy Coqs from 8–12 October and represents something of a golden Gallic thread that has run through her career. This began when, at the age of 19, she originated the role of Eponine in Les […]

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Liza is back, courtesy of Trevor Ashley

Following his week at London’s Vaudeville Theatre in May this year, Trevor Ashley is back in the West End for one night only, after a brief UK tour. Michael Darvell spoke to the man behind Liza (on an E), his show about the great Minnelli. In fact Trevor Ashley is Liza, or at least he […]

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Interview – actress Julie Atherton

Actress Julie Atherton has regularly performed in the West End, making her debut in the lead role of Sophie in Mamma Mia! She also originated the role of Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in the original London production of Avenue Q at the Noel Coward and Gielgud Theatres. Among her extensive other credits are tours of Fame and Sister Act, as […]

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Meet Ty Jeffries, aka Miss Hope Springs

Fiona-Jane Weston meets Miss Hope Springs (alter ego of songwriter and performer Ty Jeffries) who has a Sunday night residency at London’s The Crazy Coqs. Son of actor Lionel Jeffries (Camelot, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, director of The Railway Children) and actress Eileen Walsh, Ty grew up surrounded by artists of every genre (Fred Astaire and Danny La […]

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The Prodigals – meet the team

The Prodigals is a new musical by Ray Goudie and Joe Harmston (who also directs), which runs at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until 14 September. With its roots in the biblical tale of the Prodigal Son, it’s set in Afghanistan and tells the story of a father, Colonel Luke Gibson (Simon Bowman) and his two sons, Mike, a conscientious solder (Sam Ferriday) […]

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Edinburgh Fringe – how was it for you?

So how was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for you? Actor, director and performer Tim McArthur reflects on an entertainment experience like no other… You wish to go to the festival? The festival? The Edinburgh Festival Fringe? Yes, it’s been that theatrical time of year again when performers, comedians, producers, technical staff and all creative types decamped […]

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Michael Ball on Live By the Lake

Olivier Award-winner, multi-platinum recording artist, TV host and radio presenter, and one of Britain’s leading musical theatre performers, that’s Michael Ball. On Sunday, 1 September he leads the cast of Summertime – An Evening of Gershwin as part of the Live By the Lake season at Kenwood House in Hamsptead, London. Also in the cast […]

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Maury Yeston and Titanic

  The 1997 musical version of the Titanic story has finally reached London in a new chamber staging at the Southwark Playhouse. Michael Darvell meets the show’s composer and lyricist Maury Yeston. It may be more than 100 years since the Titanic sank, losing some 1,500 lives, but the disaster still fascinates the general public, […]

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Mark Carroll – Going Supernova

In addition to his career as an actor in West End musicals, straight plays and movies (his latest show has been Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre), Mark Carroll has written five musicals, the latest of which is entitled Supernova. Cameron Smith talks to him about what it takes to get a new musical produced […]

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Leigh Zimmerman in The Producers. Picture: Roy Tan

Every Little Step She Takes

Broadway and West End actress Leigh Zimmerman is always true to the characters she plays, as Lisa Martland discovers. It’s hard to argue with Leigh Zimmerman’s record when it comes to musical theatre. Alongside a string of impressive TV and film credits, she has made a habit of playing and creating leading roles in Broadway […]

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Q&A with Gavin Lee from Top Hat

You’ve been treading the boards for 20 years, can you describe your training and what difference it made when you were starting out? “I started dancing at the age of 9. My first classes were disco dancing… Well, it was 1980! When I was growing up I did lots of amateur dramatics and school productions […]

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