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Pippin has razzle dazzle to believe in

Opened April 25 at The Music Box Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. ‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle’, goes the Fred Ebb lyric in the Bob Fosse-created Chicago, the revival of which is currently bumping and grinding its way through its 17th year on Broadway. And that same razzle dazzle dictum is working […]

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Matthew James Thomas and cast in the Broadway production of Pippin. Picture: Joan Marcus

Pippin has razzle dazzle to believe in

Opened April 25 at The Music Box Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. ‘Give ’em the old razzle dazzle’, goes the Fred Ebb lyric in the Bob Fosse-created Chicago, the revival of which is currently bumping and grinding its way through its 17th year on Broadway. And that same razzle dazzle dictum is working […]

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Jekyll & Hyde – prepare for a wall of sound

Opened April 18, at the Marquis Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Boo! Composer and occasional lyricist Frank Wildhorn, Broadway’s favourite whipping boy, has just landed another musical on Broadway. This one’s a horror story and a revival as well – Jekyll & Hyde – and of course, it has given uppity New York […]

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Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox as Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde. Picture: Chris Bennion

Jekyll & Hyde – prepare for a wall of sound

Opened April 18, at the Marquis Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Boo! Composer and occasional lyricist Frank Wildhorn, Broadway’s favourite whipping boy, has just landed another musical on Broadway. This one’s a horror story and a revival as well – Jekyll & Hyde – and of course, it has given uppity New York […]

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Sleeping Arrangements delivers humour and romance in spades

Running at the Landor, London until May 12. It was really only a matter of time before chick-lit, or to perhaps give it its official title of light romantic comedy, began to be considered for adaptation to the stage. Admittedly Helen Fielding’s hugely popular Bridget Jones’ Diary appears to be languishing in development hell at […]

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Geek! A New Musical, predictable but charming

Running at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London until May 18. When a musical’s title fails to deliver once, it can be disappointing. Twice, and it starts to look deliberate. Geek! A New Musical is not really about geeks. And while it’s technically a new musical, it treads such familiar ground that it hardly feels original. […]

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The Three Little Pigs entertain young and old

Reviewed at the Greenwich Theatre, London. Written by the Olivier Award-winning team that bought young audiences Honk! Just So, Mary Poppins, Betty Blue Eyes and Soho Cinders, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s European premiere of the well-known children’s story The Three Little Pigs is a sweet and simple tale, complemented by a sophisticated and appealing score […]

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Liz Robertson Sings Her Favourite Songs

Reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London. Forty years on from making her showbiz bow as a cabaret dancer at the nearby Savoy Hotel, the ageless Liz Robertson is back in cabaret mode for her one-woman show at The Crazy Coqs, the new go-to Piccadilly nightspot for lovers of the genre which becomes ever more polished […]

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Motown the Musical proves exhilarating

Opened April 14 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. “You built a legacy of love,” Smokey Robinson tells Berry Gordy, as Motown the Musical, heads toward its big finish. The show recounts the life of Gordy, the celebrated founder and force behind the Motown record company, which broke through seemingly impenetrable […]

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Gary Williams presents a Sinatra Jukebox

Reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London. This programme from singer Gary Williams and accompanist Harry the Piano was an unusual evening for The Crazy Coqs. Williams gave us a tribute to Frank Sinatra, but instead of an hour of songs and anecdote, halfway through members of the audience were invited fill in request forms, which […]

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Carnaby Street the Musical is labour of love

Hackney Empire, London, then touring until June 29. Since the back catalogue of The Beatles is already being hurtled through nightly over at the Savoy Theatre for Let it Be, there are no climactic ‘na-na-nah-nahs’ – indeed the Fab Four hardly get a look in here – in Carnaby Street the Musical, a jukebox musical which […]

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Ghost the Musical begins tour

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, then touring until January 2014. Ghost the Musical is a theatrical masterclass in translating emotion, so be prepared to shed a few tears but still have a few laughs. Set in New York, the musical naturally sticks to the same story as the original film – for which the show’s lyricist/librettist […]

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Matilda the Musical Arrives on Broadway

Opened April 11 at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. Bless her little heart! And her big brain, too. Matilda the Musical has landed on Broadway in a blaze of glory. This musicalisation of novelist Roald Dahl’s dark depiction of childhood fears – and how gumption, smarts and literacy can […]

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Once

Opened 9 April at the Phoenix Theatre, London. “Hello,” Girl tentatively whispers to the piano before she starts playing it, as Guy gazes at her sheepishly before picking up his guitar to join in. “You must always say hello to the piano,” she instructs him sternly before they unite to create a wealth of raw, […]

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Kinky Boots

Opened April 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, New York, for an open-ended run. La Cage Aux Folles comes to Northampton, England, a town filled with failing shoe factories, in Broadway’s new dazzler Kinky Boots. Based on a 2005 movie, the show tells how a flamboyant drag queen and her sextet of high-stepping pals of […]

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The Billie Holiday Story

Playing at the Charing Cross Theatre, London until 25 May. More than 50 years after Billie Holiday’s tragic death, her life story continues to be a subject of film and theatrical performance. Holiday’s painful life of child prostitution, sexual abuse and violent partners is interpreted by Nina Kristofferson who takes a unique approach to the […]

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The Book of Mormon

Currently running at The Prince of Wales Theatre, London. Thank God for The Book of Mormon. Not only is it performing miracles at the box office – recently breaking records by taking £2.1 million in a single day – this original musical also offers a shining beacon in a market saturated with film remakes. No […]

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Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – The Musical

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton. 11-16 March, then touring the UK until 5 January, 2014. Bringing to the stage a musical version of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was always going to be something of a risk. Priscilla is, after all, the nickname given to a second-hand bus and Stephan Elliot’s masterpiece of cinematography […]

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The Hired Man

Reviewed at Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Transfers to Curve, Leicester, 12-27 April. The Hired Man, devised by Melvyn Bragg from his 1969 book of the same name, is based on the few facts he knew about his grandfather who was born about 1890. Bragg got to know him well during the Second World War when his […]

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Quasimodo

King’s Head Theatre, London. 20 March to 13 April. Since the 19th century, the bells of the best-known cathedral in Paris have been ringing out with deafening clangs. So bad were they, that they were mocked as having deafened Quasimodo, the lead of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But on Palm […]

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A Chorus Line

Currently running at the London Palladium. A major London revival of the iconic Broadway musical that is A Chorus Line has been a long time coming for those of us who weren’t around to catch the original West End production in 1976. Sadly, as the programme credits so poignantly point out, most of the original […]

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The Tailor-Made Man

Musical Theatre Review catches up with the world premiere of The Tailor-Made Man, a new musical at London’s Arts Theatre. As the title suggests silent film actor William (Billy) Haines was a product of the Hollywood system, he was also its first openly gay star. This exuberant and entertaining musical tells of his career as […]

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Merrily We Roll Along transfers

Reviewed at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London. Merrily We Roll Along transfers to the Harold Pinter Theatre on 23 April. This has very much been a season of for first-rate revivals of second-rate Broadway musicals, and Maria Friedman’s production of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth Merrily We Roll Along is an admirable addition to the list.  A […]

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9–5 The Musical

Touring until 27 July. Seen at Theatre Royal, Brighton. The trend for successful films to find new lives on stage continues with this hilarious transition which has music and lyrics written by Dolly Parton, one of the film’s original stars. Miss Parton also appears in the show, albeit on film, when she talks to the […]

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The Bodyguard

Currently running at the Adelphi Theatre, London. A good, solid, honest musical, The Bodyguard delivers what it says on the label, and gives its audience exactly what they come for – a live version of the popular 1992 movie. If it doesn’t do much more than that, if there’s nothing especially special about it – well, […]

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