West End round-up – Jersey Boys, Matilda, Billy Elliot, Charlie, Wicked

Frankie Valli (centre) with LtoR Sam Ferriday, Tim Driesen, Stephen Webb and Lewis Griffiths (UK and Ireland Tour cast)

Frankie Valli (centre) with (left to right) Sam Ferriday, Tim Driesen, Stephen Webb and Lewis Griffiths (UK and Ireland tour cast)

Frankie Valli catches up with casts of Jersey Boys

Legendary singer Frankie Valli took time out from his sold-out concert tour to meet the casts of both UK productions of the hit musical Jersey Boys, which tells the true-life story of Valli’s rise to fame along with his band The Four Seasons. Valli joined the UK and Ireland tour cast in Manchester as they performed an excerpt from the show on BBC Breakfast, and visited the London show at the Piccadilly Theatre before going onstage to meet the cast and crew.



Picture: Alex Rumford

Partnership with Radisson Blu Edwardian creates Matilda the Musical Afternoon Tea

In celebration of the new partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda the Musical and hotel Radisson Blu Edwardian, members of the cast were invited along to enjoy the new official Matilda the Musical Afternoon Tea, at the boutique, four-star hotel.

Craige Els and Haley Flaherty, who play Miss Trunchball and Miss Honey respectively, were joined by the four actresses who share the role of Matilda (Anna-Louise Knight, Lara McDonnell, Matilda Shapland and Violet Tucker) at the hotel, which is just across the road from the Cambridge Theatre.

The official Matilda the Musical Afternoon Tea, which is now open for bookings, features an assortment of sandwiches, scones and desserts. In addition to a newly created Matilda the Musical Cocktail for grown-ups, the children’s menu comes with extras such as candied newts and apple mojito cocktails.

Packages can now be purchased online at: www.matildathemusical.com/showpackages

'1. Nat Sweeney (Billy) in Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Photo credit Alastair Muir

‘Nat Sweeney in Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London. Picture: Alastair Muir

Nat Sweeney is 41st in line to play Billy Elliot

Twelve-year-old Nat Sweeney from Birmingham has become the 41st boy to play the title role in Billy Elliot the Musical, making his West End debut on 3 July at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Now in its 11th year in London, the show recently extended booking until 17 December 2016.

Nat previously performed in Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies at the Birmingham Hippodrome. He trained at the Sparkles School of Dance and was a junior associate with Elmhurst School of Dance. Nat is also a keen gymnast and has competed and won various competitions with the Revolution Gym Club.

Sweeney joins Brodie Donougher, Thomas Hazelby, Ollie Jochim and Bradley Perret who alternate the title role of Billy Elliot.

Billy Elliot the Musical has now been seen by more than ten million people worldwide and has played on five continents. The musical has also received ten Tony Awards and five Oliviers, including the 2013 Audience Award. In total, 85 boys have now played the iconic role on stage across the globe.

Billy Elliot the Musical is brought to life by the creative team behind the film, including writer Lee Hall (book and lyrics), director Stephen Daldry and choreographer Peter Darling, joined by Elton John who composed the show’s score.

The first UK and Ireland tour of Billy Elliot the Musical begins in February 2016 with tickets now on sale for performances at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.


Jonathan Slinger (Willy Wonka, Centre) With Noah Crump, Johnny Evans Hutchison, Zachary Loonie A

Jonathan Slinger with Noah Crump, Johnny Evans Hutchison, Zachary Loonie and Jake Poolman (who share the role of Charlie Bucket). Picture: Dave Benett

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory celebrates second anniversary

West End show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Sam Mendes, recently marked its second anniversary with a gala performance and party for cast, crew and special guests.

Zachary Loonie (one of the four actors who plays Charlie Bucket) led the curtain call at the end of the show with new Willy Wonka, Jonathan Slinger and fellow cast members.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has quickly become one of the West End’s most popular stage musicals, having been seen by more than 1,400,000 people since it first opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in June 2013 and winning two Olivier Awards in April 2014.

This world premiere musical, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, with a book by David Greig, is currently taking bookings until 4 June 2016.




image001Wicked receives TripAdvisor certificate of Excellence Award

Wicked, the award-winning musical at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, has received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given to establishments that consistently achieve impressive reviews on TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed for at least 12 months.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire company of Wicked at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. We’d like to thank all of the theatregoers who took the time to complete such fantastic reviews on TripAdvisor,” said executive producer Michael McCabe. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by our audiences and this accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence for the show and for the continued commitment to excellence from the cast, musicians and production team.”

Wicked is also the first ever UK stage production to be Reader Recommended by both Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan magazines and was also recently awarded the 2015 This Morning Audience Award, presented by the Olivier Awards.

The musical has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, a book by Winnie Holzman (based on the novel by Gregory Maguire), and is directed by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello.


Polly Sisley


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