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The Secret Garden In Concert – Touring

The Secret Garden – In Concert was performed at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford and continues its UK tour until 2 November. Starting off at the King’s Head Theatre in Islington, Aria Entertainment and Knockhardy Productions’ take on composer Lucy Simon and librettist/lyricist’s Marsha Norman’s musical version of the classic French children’s novel The Secret Garden […]

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The Bakewell Bake Off – Landor Theatre

The Bakewell Bake-Off continues at the Landor Theatre, London, until 26 October. A fun night, good songs, fine team playing by stars of the future… what’s not to like in a frothy musical millefeuille of a pastry concocted by Guildford School of Acting graduates that started as an in-house project, moved up a gear to […]

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Urinetown – Russell and Fleeshman cast

Jenna Russell, Richard Fleeshman and Jonathan Slinger will lead the cast in the UK premiere of multi-Tony Award-winning Urinetown the Musical, directed by Jamie Lloyd, running at St James Theatre, London from 22 February–3 May 2014 (opening night is 11 March). The cast for the musical, which features music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and book and […]

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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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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – Touring

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers was performed at the New Wimbledon, London and continues on tour until 10 May, 2014. The biggest surprise about the musical Seven Brides For Seven Brothers is that it was not originally a stage production. It was a movie musical starring Howard Keel and Jane Powell that became one of the […]

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The Light Princess – National Theatre

The Light Princess continues at the Lyttelton in rep at the National Theatre, London until 9 January. The best children’s fairytale stories of classic literature are allegories wrapped up in engaging fantasy storytelling. The National’s new musical, The Light Princess, is a beautifully told example in this tradition, showing how living in denial may produce short-term […]

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The Commitments – Palace Theatre

The Commitments opened at the Palace Theatre, London on 8 October. Roddy Doyle’s socially engaged novel The Commitments focuses on young, working-class Dubliners in 1986 who view soul music as a form a release:  the music of the people. Doyle’s book was made into a successful film in 1999 and now the piece has made its way to […]

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Frances Ruffelle – Crazy Coqs

Frances Ruffelle performed Paris Original at the Crazy Coqs, London. Almost 30 years on from creating Eponine in Les Miserables, Frances Ruffelle is back in Gallic mode for her Paris Original show in a sold-out week at the Crazy Coqs and a first-night audience not short of celebrities – Tim Rice, Trevor Nunn and fashion designer […]

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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Touring

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was reviewed at the Harlow Playhouse  and continues its tour until 16 November. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss) was workshopped and developed at the Barrington Stage […]

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Matt Smith is lead in America Psycho at Almeida

Matt Smith will take on the role of Patrick Bateman in the world premiere production of American Psycho at London’s Almeida Theatre, directed by the venue’s artistic director Rupert Goold. The new musical thriller, based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, has a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik. The production […]

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Jesus Christ Superstar – NIA Birmingham

Jesus Christ Superstar was performed at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham as part of a tour which continues until 15 October. There are those, I among them, who opined that Godspell was a more sophisticated 1970s musical about Jesus than Jesus Christ Superstar. So what a pleasure to encounter the much-heralded tour of Tim Rice and Lloyd […]

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The Boys From Syracuse – Union Theatre

The Boys From Syracuse continues at the Union Theatre, London until 26 October. The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest, and most farcical, of plays. So it’s maybe no surprise that, in 1938, it became the first of the Bard’s works to be subsumed by the behemoth of the Broadway musical theatre machine. However, despite […]

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Tick,Tick… Boom! – Theater Drachengasse, Vienna

Tick, Tick… Boom! continues at the Theater Drachengasse, Vienna until 12 October. Following the success of The Last Five Years (2011) and Ordinary Days (2013), Vienna Theatre Project, Vienna’s only English-speaking theatrical company showcasing musical theatre, is back with another smash hit musical. After Jason Robert Brown and Adam Gwon, 2013 is dedicated to Jonathan Larson. While Larson […]

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Lady Day – Little Shubert Theatre, New York

Lady Day opened at the Little Shubert Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Dee Dee Bridgewater, a major talent herself when it comes to interpreting the great jazz standards, is simply spectacular in channelling Billie Holiday in Lady Day. Bridgewater is, of course, no novice when it comes to celebrating the jazz legend. In […]

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Chicago – Oldham Coliseum

Chicago continues at the Coliseum Theatre, Oldham until 12 October. “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ’em. Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it, and the reaction will be passionate.” And that is exactly what Kevin Shaw’s new actor/musician production of Chicago does at the Oldham Coliseum. This is the […]

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Steven Brinberg – Simply Barbra – Crazy Coqs

Steven Brinberg – Simply Barbra was performed at Crazy Coqs, London. On the face of it, it’s the Barbra Streisand concert any fan could want. In the intimate surroundings of the Crazy Coqs with only a pianist to accompany her, Streisand sings a selection of all her greatest hits. Only of course, it isn’t Streisand it’s […]

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Liza (on an E) – Brighton and on tour

Liza (on an E) was performed at the Theatre Royal, Brighton. There was theatrical magic on stage from the moment Australian performer and drag artist Trevor Ashley strode on as his alter ego Liza Minnelli. At times she was presented as a grotesque caricature, and at others she appeared a fragile and pathetic soul. Ashley came to […]

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Shrek the Musical – Harman directs the tour

Shrek the Musical will be heading out on its first ever tour of UK and Ireland from July 2014. The Drury Lane production will be directed by Nigel Harman who starred as Lord Farquaad in the West End production, a role which won him the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in […]

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The Bakewell Bake Off arrives at the Landor

Following a sell-out run at London’s Waterloo East Theatre in August, new British musical The Bakewell Bake Off will transfer to the Landor Theatre on 8 October 2013 (officially opening on 10 October). The action throws the spotlight on seven eager contestants, three feuding judges and one bewildered hostess all taking part in a high-pressure […]

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Putting It Together – G Live, Guildford

Putting It Together was performed at the G Live Studio, Guildford. The rarely-seen Sondheim revue Putting It Together, a veritable orgy of familiar and less familiar songs from the great man’s rich repertoire worked into an admittedly pretty flimsy storyline, made a welcome return with a classy cast of five at Guildford. First performed at […]

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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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Miss Hope Springs – Crazy Coqs

Miss Hope Springs performs Out of this World at the Crazy Coqs, London. Whilst the lion’s share of events for the London Festival of Cabaret will be taking place through October and November, here is a chance to sample early one of the delights on offer. Miss Hope Springs is the brain-child of accomplished singer/songwriter Ty […]

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Our House – New Wolsey, Ipswich and touring

Our House continues at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and then tours until 23 November. The Smiths were tarred as the great doom-merchants of the 1980s, but you don’t have to scratch too deeply beneath the braces and bomber jackets to find that Madness could give anyone – Morrissey and Marr included – a run for their […]

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John Barr – Self Portrait – Crazy Coqs

John Barr performed Self Portrait at the Crazy Coqs, London. Monday nights at the Crazy Coqs are rapidly becoming something of a treat as they afford fledgling artists and seasoned performers a chance to try out new material or hone their cabaret style in a one-off show. Among those seasoned performers is John Barr, a […]

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The Lightning Child – Shakespeare’s Globe

The Lightning Child continues in rep at Shakespeare’s Globe, London until 12 October. Che Walker’s 2008 play The Frontline – the first contemporary set play to be staged at Shakespeare’s Globe – remains one of the best modern pieces to be performed there. Its sprawling urban tangle of midnight Camden lives made sense in the space, a […]

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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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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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