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Donna McKechnie records her new album in London

Same Place, Another Time is Tony Award-winning actress Donna McKechnie’s latest cabaret act. Michael Darvell reports from the CD recording of the show for Jay Records (while, below, Patrick Honore catches up with the actress post-performance). Any musical cabaret fan who saw Donna McKechnie performing her new show in New York or at the Crazy Coqs […]

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Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory cancelled

The London premiere of the musical comedy Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory by Paul Boyd, due to run at Hackney Empire from 20 September to 5 October, has been cancelled following ‘unforeseen financial difficulties’. A statement from the show’s press representatives said: “Hackney Empire regrets that the producers of Molly Wobbly’s Tit Factory, Big Wobbly Productions […]

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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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Collaborations – The Songs of Elliot Davis

On 23 September, SimG Records – the leading independent label devoted to new writers and artists – is to release Collaborations – The Songs of Elliot Davis. Collaborations brings together some of the best songwriters in the music industry with an array of performers currently working in the West End, and is sold in aid of the […]

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Well-Strung and Varla Jean Merman

Well-Strung (The Singing String Quartet) and Varla Jean Merman in The Book of Merman at the Leicester Square Theatre, London. There won’t be many places in London where you can spend a more entertaining hour – with your clothes on, anyway – than with Well-Strung, a cute name for four good-looking young Americans who between them play two […]

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Wicked – Palace Manchester and touring

Wicked runs at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until 16 November before continuing its national tour. Stephen Schwartz’s spellbinding Oz-based musical Wicked opens in Manchester (the first leg of an extensive UK and Irish tour) and firmly casts its magic over the region, leaving a sold-out audience completely transfixed. While the show may have been scaled […]

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New musical Water Babies at the Curve

Curve Leicester will play host to the world premiere of a brand new musical inspired by Charles Kingsley’s classic novel, The Water Babies. Directed by Ed Curtis, with music by Chris Egan, and book and lyrics by Curtis and Guy Jones, this new musical, with sophisticated special effects, will open on 6 May 2014, with previews from the 24 April, and run until […]

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Workshop – The Five Labours of Harvey Fish

A new musical, The Five Labours of Harvey Fish, had workshops at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 17 and 18 September, reports Michael Darvell. A work-in-progress, The Five Labours of Harvey Fish has a book and lyrics by actor turned writer and presenter Brian Jordan, and music by Carlton Edwards, musical director of many […]

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Celia Imrie – Crazy Coqs

Celia Imrie performed Laughing Matters at the Crazy Coqs, London. Celia Imrie is a much-loved, very talented actress and comedienne whose work I greatly admire, so I looked forward with huge anticipation to seeing her in a new role – cabaret artist. Sadly, expectations are not fully realised. Cabaret, in my book, is an intimate thing […]

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The Lightning Child – Globe’s first musical

Shakespeare’s Globe’s first ever musical, The Lightning Child (14 September– 12 October), is a musical remix of Euripdes’ The Bacchae, hurtling from the ‘ecstatic, primal, musical roots of Ancient Greek tragedy to the squats and shooting galleries of contemporary London’. Alongside Ché Walker’s book, Arthur Darvill’s music is influenced by jazz, reggae, hip-hop and soul, […]

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Jackie the Musical debuts in Dundee

Mike James’ Jackie the Musical, running at the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee, from 19 September–5 October, revisits those heady days of 40 years ago, when there were no mobile phones, apps, texting, e-mails and Twitter and one of the only ways angst-ridden teenage girls had an outlet was through the pages of Jackie Magazine, which every Thursday […]

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Urinetown the Musical – St James Theatre 2014

Tony Award-winning Urinetown the Musical will open at the St James Theatre, London in February 2014, reports Michael Darvell. A huge hit on Broadway, the musical Urinetown the Musical has taken more than 12 years to surface this side of the Atlantic. The UK premiere of the show by Mark Holmann (music and lyrics) and Greg […]

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The Singers Soiree – St Giles-in-the-Fields

The Singers Soiree is a series of charity concerts founded by enterprising and compassionate young director Jamie Chapman Dixon. The events raise funds for Shooting Star CHASE, a charity that supports families with terminally ill children and helps them to enjoy and be looked after in the last few months/years of their lives. The Soirée […]

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New £12,000 award for musical theatre writing

Perfect Pitch and Royal & Derngate, Northampton, are offering British writers and composers the chance to create a brand new musical. The winning team of writers will be awarded a commission of £12,000 to complete a full draft of a new musical over a 12-month period, supported and mentored throughout by Perfect Pitch and Royal […]

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Singular Sensations – Kerry Ellis

Singular Sensations – Kerry Ellis was at the Charing Cross Theatre, London. Subtitled ‘Up Close and Personal with the Stars of Musical Theatre’, Singular Sensations is a series of intimate Sunday afternoon sessions at the Charing Cross Theatre aimed at musical theatre enthusiasts. These sessions are hosted by Edward Seckerson, erstwhile presenter of BBC’s Stage […]

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When Midnight Strikes – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

When Midnight Strikes continues at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 29 September. A man cheats on his long-suffering wife and panic arises. This is a theme played out regularly across television, film and theatre. However, author and lyricist Kevin Hammonds and composer Charles Miller’s When Midnight Strikes adds a new twist to this formula […]

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Another Way – Cockpit Theatre

Another Way continues at the Cockpit Theatre, London until 5 October. If you were lucky enough to catch Streets last year, either at the Cockpit or at its brief transfer to the Hackney Empire, then you will realise that Interval Productions is making some interesting moves in the musical theatre genre. Not without its flaws, Streets […]

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Fiddler On the Roof – Southampton and on tour

Fiddler On the Roof continues at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton before touring the UK until 26 April 2014. Who would have thought that a musical set in an Ukrainian shtetl telling of the persecution and eviction of Jews from their homeland would prove to not only be a success, but also a durable one. Frequent revivals of […]

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Liza, Liza, Liza – Tabard Theatre

Liza, Liza, Liza continues at the Tabard Theatre, Chiswick until 29 September. Way out west (London) there’s Liza, Liza, Liza, a hugely enjoyable new musical play by Richard Harris (of Outside Edge and Stepping Out fame) at the lively 80-seater fringe theatre above the buzzy Tabard hostelry next to Turnham Green station in Chiswick. Using the […]

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Singular Sensations – Charing Cross Theatre

Edward Seckerson – formerly the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s long-running musical theatre show Stage & Screen – is to host Singular Sensations, a series of in-depth encounters with stars of musical theatre at London’s Charing Cross Theatre. This winter’s inaugural season of intimate sessions will become a regular Sunday afternoon fixture for musical theatre enthusiasts. […]

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Sutton Foster – Cafe Carlyle, New York

Sutton Foster is performing at the Café Carlyle, New York until 28 September. There aren’t many performers these days who merit the old-time appellation ‘a toast of Broadway’, but Sutton Foster is certainly one of them. Foster toiled away in four Broadway shows before her career-making Tony-winning lead performance in Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. […]

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Dave Willetts – Crazy Coqs

An Evening With Dave Willetts was performed at the Crazy Coqs, London. Singer and actor Dave Willetts presented his cabaret evening at the Crazy Coqs to a sell-out audience. The performer’s career in musical theatre spans 25 years, during which he has starred in a host of major shows. He also holds the distinction of being the first […]

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Menier Chocolate Factory presents Candide

Fra Fee, Cassidy Janson, Ben Lewis, Scarlett Strallen and David Thaxton have been cast in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Christmas musical Candide with music by Leonard Bernstein, book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler, lyrics by Richard Wilbur and additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Park and Bernstein. From Westphalia to […]

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London Festival of Cabaret is launched

The London Festival of Cabaret launch took place at the Hospital Club’s Oak Room, London. If the party to launch the London Festival of Cabaret is anything to go by, the festival itself which runs from 13 October to 17 November at a variety of great venues throughout the capital, is going to be a […]

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Lost Musicals – Holly Golightly

Bob Merrill’s Holly Golightly, part of Ian Marshall Fisher’s Lost Musicals season at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells continues on September 15, 22 and 29. In his time, some 20 years, Ian Marshall Fisher has excavated many real collectors’ items from the repertoire of Broadway shows for his Lost Musicals series. He has surveyed […]

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On a Clear Day You Can See Forever – Union

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever continues at the Union Theatre, London until 28 September. In the pantheon of musical theatre, there are shows that make you think. And then there are those that, while outwardly encouraging you to contemplate philosophical ideas, are all the while crossing their fingers, hoping that the song […]

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The Prodigals – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

The Prodigals continues at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry until 14 September. For a production presented in conjunction with Ray Goudie’s company Inspire Arts Trust, and one with press material that maintains it is ‘a musical whose time has come’, I did find myself anything but inspired by The Prodigals. The writers offer a perfectly good justification for ‘updating’ the New […]

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Love, Loss and Passion – Chelsea Town Hall

Love, Loss and Passion was performed at the Chelsea Town Hall, London. Marketed as ‘The Singing Dentist’ Andrew Bain’s career is varied to say the least. Alongside practicing at the King’s Road Dental Clinic, Dr Bain has been a professional singer in the West End, had a record deal with SonyBMG and performed live on GMTV […]

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Formby – Hackney Empire and touring

Formby was performed at the Hackney Empire, London before continuing on tour until 2 November. You can’t help but feel a little confused when Ewan Wardrop pops his head around the curtains and announces: “I know what you’re thinking… he looks nothing like him!” It’s true, Wardrop, perhaps more familiar to audiences as a dancer from […]

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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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Pride and Prejudice the Musical – Lyric, Belfast

Pride and Prejudice the Musical continues at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast until 6 October. Jane Austen’s timeless novel about manners and marriage has been an irresistible lure to film and television makers in recent years while remaining stubbornly resistant to making the transition from page to stage. The last high-profile attempt to set the enduring tale […]

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Wilma and Friends – St James Studio

Wilma and Friends Cabaret was performed at the St James Theatre Studio, London. You didn’t really need to be Sherlock Holmes on entering the St James Theatre’s plush, if very compact downstairs studio space to realise this was not going to be your average night’s entertainment – a whole tea set, various teddy bears and a stand […]

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Stephen Ward – Alexander Hanson leads line-up

The cast for the world premiere of Stephen Ward, directed by Richard Eyre, comprises Alexander Hanson in the title role, Charlotte Spencer as Christine Keeler, Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo, Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson, Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo […]

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Stand Up the Musical – Floral Pavilion, New Brighton

Stand Up the Musical was performed at the Floral Pavilion, New Brighton. Take some of our most legendary entertainers, put them in a musical about stand-up comedy, and watch them all die on stage in a horrific car crash of a show that runs for five minutes less than Les Misérables and involves even fewer […]

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Profumo the Musical – Waterloo East Theatre

Profumo the Musical was performed at the Waterloo East Theatre, London. As part of Waterloo East Theatre’s New Musical Showcase Season, Gordon Kenney presented the world premiere of Profumo the Musical, pipping Andrew Lloyd Webber to the post. The latter’s musical Stephen Ward about the Profumo affair will open at the Aldwych Theatre in December. […]

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Love, Lies and Lust – Queen’s, Hornchurch

Love, Lies and Lust continues at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch until 21 September. Love, Lies and Lust premiered at the Queen’s Theatre in 1992 and after 21 years this celebration of ‘the noblest urge bestowed on us’ has returned to its birthplace in Hornchurch. The piece is based upon the Restoration comedy The Country Wife, […]

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Happy Days – Ben Freeman is The Fonz

Actor Ben Freeman (best-known for playing Scott Windsor in TV’s Emmerdale) will take on the iconic role of The Fonz in the UK premiere and national tour of Happy Days – A New Musical, alongside Cheryl Baker as Mrs Cunningham and the previously announced Heidi Range as Pinky Tuscadero. Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award […]

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Miss Saigon – public booking opens

Public booking for Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical Miss Saigon will open at 10am on Monday, 9 September 2013. Miss Saigon will return to the West End on 3 May, 2014 at the Prince Edward Theatre in the musical’s 25th anniversary year, booking for performances through to 25 October. […]

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West End Bares – Cafe de Paris

West End Bares presented All the Fun of the Bare at the Café de Paris, London. Although Broadway Bares, the brainchild of veteran Broadway director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell (The Full Monty, Hairspray and now Kinky Boots) has been around in New York for almost 22 years (supporting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS), its London answer West End Bares (raising money for […]

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Stalking John Barrowman – Cardiff

Stalking John Barrowman was performed at the Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. Stalking John Barrowman is a new musical by Naomi Chiffi and Jude Garner (book) and Patrick Steed (music and lyrics) that needs to learn that less is sometimes more. Its story is about two unlucky-in-life characters that use their love of John Barrowman to entertain their otherwise mundane […]

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Michael Ball leads the cast of the concert by joelanderson

Michael Ball sings Gershwin – Kenwood House

Summertime – An Evening of Gershwin, with Michael Ball (plus guests Gina Beck, Kerry Ellis, David Bardsley and Viv McLean) was performed at Kenwood House, London. Michael Ball’s name drew the crowds to the final Live By the Lake concert in the beautiful grounds of Kenwood House on a cool Sunday evening in north London, but […]

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Singin’ in the Rain – Kenwood House

Singin’ in the Rain was screened as part of the Live By the Lake series at Kenwood House, London. It feels odd to be reviewing a film which just last year celebrated its 60th anniversary. But when it’s one of the most enjoyable films ever made – and very possibly the greatest movie musical ever […]

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Great Expectations – Rose Theatre Kingston

Great Expectations is a Youth Music Theatre UK production at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. The immortal works of Charles Dickens have been turned into musicals with mixed success over the years – Oliver! was a massive hit for Lionel Bart, Pickwick ran for 694 performances in the West End and gave us ‘If I Ruled […]

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Cabaret – Wimbledon Theatre and Touring

Cabaret was reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London before continuing on tour. Never mind what those ‘Best Musicals of All Time’ polls say, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s hilarious, poignant and, yes, frankly shocking interpretation of Christopher Isherwood’s autobigraphical novel is one of the greatest ever written, some would say THE greatest, and now […]

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Bonnie and Clyde – King’s Head Theatre

Bonnie and Clyde was performed at the King’s Head Theatre, London. The story of the two outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow continues to capture the public imagination. Bonnie and Clyde’s violent exploits in the Great Depression have been a source of inspiration for music and the screen, most notably in the case of the well-known 1967 Hollywood […]

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Liza On An E returns for UK tour

Following a successful West End debut earlier on this year, Australian performer Trevor Ashley is taking his show Liza On An E out on its first ever UK tour. Channelling the talents of the iconic Liza Minnelli, Ashley will appear at the Theatre Royal, Brighton (30 September), the Dancehouse, Manchester (1 and 2 October), The Auditorium Liverpool […]

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DreamArts presents Twentyfour Seven

The next major project for DreamArts, the charity which creates opportunities for young people across inner London to learn through the creative arts, is a musical adaptation of Shane Meadows and Paul Fraser’s screenplay for the film Twentyfour Seven, performed from 3–6 September at the Embassy Theatre at London’s Central School of Speech & Drama. Twentyfour Seven has been developed into a musical involving a company of […]

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Leanne Masterton – Crazy Coqs

Leanne Masterton performed Something Good at the Crazy Coqs, London. The tinkling piano strains to be heard over yet another packed house at the Crazy Coqs, as this most enchanting of London venues plays host to Leanne Masterton, performing her one-woman tribute to Richard Rodgers. A newcomer to this stage, Masterton has already performed in occasional […]

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Sweeney Todd opens Brining season at WYP

Headlining his first full season, artistic director James Brining makes his directorial debut for West Yorkshire Playhouse with a ‘bold, contemporary production’ of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd (adapted from the play by Christopher Bond). The musical features David Birrell in the title role, a part for which he won Best Actor in […]

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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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