Doctor Faustus releases more £15 tickets and announces three free events

Doctor Faustus releases more £15 tickets and announces three free events

  • Next round of £15 Monday tickets on sale tomorrow at 10am
  • New ‘JLC Extras’ events announced for June – ‘Jamie Lloyd in Conversation with Jenna Russell’, ‘Queering Marlowe’ and a rap re-telling of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus

 Hundreds of £15 tickets for every remaining Monday performance of Doctor Faustus, starring Kit Harington and directed by Jamie Lloyd, will go on sale tomorrow at 10am.

Doctor Faustus poster image no details

Kit Harington as Dr Faustus

As with all The Jamie Lloyd Company’s productions, all tickets for Monday performances of Doctor Faustus are £15. They will be available to buy in person at the box office of the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, and online thereafter. The Jamie Lloyd Company will provide entertainment and refreshments for those queuing for tickets.

Some of the £15 tickets will also be made available through a special outreach scheme, targeted at schools and first-time theatregoers.

The Jamie Lloyd Company also announced a series of free events arranged to complement Doctor Faustus. After the performance on Tuesday 7th June, Jamie Lloyd in Conversation with Jenna Russell will see the show’s director and one of its stars in conversation on stage. Jenna Russell, one of Britain’s leading musical theatre performers, will discuss her career and collaborations with Jamie Lloyd as well as perform a selection of her favourite songs from Sondheim, Victoria Wood and others.

Pre-show on Friday 3rdJune, ‘Queering Marlowe’ will see five monologues performed from the works of Christopher Marlowe: poet, hell-raiser, magician, genius, queer.  What would a female Tamburlaine look like? A male Dido Queen of Carthage? #QueeringMarlowe invites some of London theatre’s finest actors to gender-flip Marlowe’s most famous characters. Featuring Sharon D Clarke, Emily Taaffe, Ryan Sampson, Leo Wan and Muireann Bird.

Finally, after the performance on Monday 13thJune, spoken word and rap artist Charlie Dupre will perform ‘Faustus: Remixed’, a visceral, high-octane spoken word retelling of Marlowe’s famous tale. Building on the original’s cornerstones of vanity and thirst for understanding, the piece challenges the audience to examine Marlowe’s themes through a modern lens. It questions whether individualism and grandeur are the keys to fulfilment, or rather the gatekeepers of a hell we are desperate to avoid. Performed exclusively in partnership with The Jamie Lloyd Company on the set of Doctor Faustus, this is Marlowe like you’ve never heard him before.

Entry to these events will be free with tickets for that evening’s performance.

Directed by Jamie Lloyd, Christopher Marlowe’s masterwork Doctor Faustus, with two acts written by Colin Teevan, is at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, until Saturday 25th June.

With Teevan’s darkly comic scenes replacing the extant middle acts (widely believed not to have been written by Marlowe), the story of this 400-year-old play is transported to a celebrity-obsessed society of greed and instant gratification, offering a fresh perspective that chimes with our times.

Faustus makes a pact with the Devil, selling his soul in return for the ability to perform anything he pleases with the power of black magic. This fatal decision catapults him into an intoxicating world of celebrity, as he becomes a world-renowned conjuror, international heartthrob and friend of the rich, famous and powerful. But what is the cost of his insatiable thirst for wealth and fame?

The production is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by Jon Clark, and music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.  Movement direction is by Polly Bennett, with fights by Kate Waters and special effects by Scott Penrose.

As with The Jamie Lloyd Company’s previous productions, all tickets for Monday performances are £15. Some of these will be made available through a special outreach scheme, targeted at schools and first-time theatregoers. The remainder are released monthly to the public each month, available online or at the Duke of York’s box office.

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Alastair Knights talks about My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary concert, his next directorial venture and more

Alastair Knights

Alastair Knights set to direct My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary concert

The cafe is bustling with people. Alastair Knights is on a break from rehearsals for Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Union Theatre. Knights leads us to the bar area and we sit on an old sofa. He’s just returned from America and is a little jet-lagged. Last Summer Alastair directed The Spitfire Grill to great acclaim at the Union, went on to direct Kings of Broadway; featuring music from shows and an all-star cast of West End talent. He was also behind the St James Theatre RE:act scheme. Now, he is set to direct the hotly anticipated My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary Concert later this month.

Alastair Knights

Alastair Knights

How much of the industry is who you know vs what you know

I ask him how much of the industry is who you know vs what you know. “Oh God. Who you know! Friends help each other out. You need to be talented and prepared, that’s a given. But what you do need is luck. You need that little moment and if you don’t get it you’re fucked.” It’s clear from speaking to Alastair that a little luck goes a long way.** It was in 2013 that Knights and Musical Director Alex Parker devised and directed Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and staged Putting It Together – A Musical Revue at G Live in Guildford. Putting It Together was a hit later at the St James. One man in the audience was Robert Mackintosh, who runs the St James Theatre and brother of theatrical producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh. He adds “I had my luck because Robert Mackintosh decided to drive to Guilford to see Putting it Together. I wouldn’t be here now if that hadn’t happened. Actually, I’d say it’s 60% who you know and 40% what you know.”

Favourite off -West-End-Theatre

We discuss London venues and I inquire his favourite off-West-End theatre. “The St James Theatre. They gave me my first opportunity in RE: act, a short-plays initiative, and over the last year we have worked with 120 emerging artists. Writers are paired with upcoming directors and actors to create a response piece to productions. It’s an exciting place to be.”

Actors are the bravest people ever

Sitting in one of London’s most vibrant pub-theatres, it is apt that Alastair speaks of his admiration for fringe theatre workers; It’s here that shows can be calling cards for emerging artists. “I’m strongly for Fringe Theatre. I think actors are the bravest people ever. It’s so exposing.” He delves deeper into this advocacy, “There is a lot of discussion around low pay work, but fringe theatre gives actors and directors such wonderful opportunities. I would have never been asked to do Little Voice at a West End or big regional theatre. For me, working somewhere like The Union is a creative and collaborative dream.”

Whats next on the direction list

Alastair’s modesty is endearing. Some directors talk like they’re reading from a script; Alastair speaks with utter conviction and clarity of thought. His enthusiasm is persuasive to the point of being faintly intoxicating. I probe to find out what is next on his directing wish-list. He beams “Fanny and Stella! It’s a new musical I’m working on with composer Eamonn O’Dwyer. It’s about two female impersonators in the gruesome underbelly of Victorian England. We have the rights to Neil Mckenna’s book and we’ll workshop the show next month.”

More about the My Fair Lady Concert happening at St. Paul’s Church

For someone at the start of their career Knights has a lot already under his belt, his ambition is palpable. He tells me about the My Fair Lady Concert he will be directing, “Amazingly, Liz Robertson called Cameron Mackintosh and he suggested Alex Parker and I put it together. We are celebrating 60 years since the first Broadway performance! It’s a gala performance at the iconic St. Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, the location of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins’s first encounter. We have an incredible cast including Patricia Routledge, Kara Tointon, Frank Skinner, Gina Beck and many more telling the story of the inception of the show, along with songs from the musical itself. The evening is generously supported by Cameron Mackintosh and all proceeds are going towards St Paul’s Church to improve access.”

We talk briefly about imposter syndrome. He says that, if he wasn’t doing this he’d be working an office job. “Probably PR. That’s what I’d probably be doing. Definitely marketing, actually, because I like talking.” Well, quite.

The last five photos on his phone

At this point I ask what are the last five photos he took on his phone. He giggles and coyly begins to list: “The Little Voice Poster, me with a teeth whitening strip in California, a soundboard desk here at the Union, me and my best friend in Hollywood and a theatre in LA.” Whilst looking at his phone, it strikes me that I’m five seconds away from being able to contact Cameron Mackintosh.

The thing about being star struck

I ask Alistair if he’s ever been star-struck. “All the time. I think the first time that I worked with Elaine Paige was a huge deal for me. She is so incredibly talented. Her voice is insane; she’s in her 60’s and looks amazing. What’s more in rehearsals she sang Nobody’s Side from Chess at a Danceworks in Fulham, at midday, and proper belted it. A dream. I know I’m going to be star-struck when I start rehearsals with Patricia Routledge!”

Finishing on a Sheridan Smith note

As we draw to the end of our lunch I ask him if there’s anything he’d like to add, or retract. He seems concerned about Sheridan Smith, who has taken time out from Funny Girl due to exhaustion. “I find the Sheridan Smith situation really, really sad. I’ve seen her be absolutely incredible on stage in Flare Path and Legally Blonde. I watched her in Funny Girl and the spark was missing. I hope she takes some time out and returns better.”

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (@LittleVoiceLDN) runs at The Union Theatre (@TheUnionTheatre), Southwark from 4 to 26 June

My Fair Lady at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden on Sunday 19 June

 

Disney’s Aladdin extends booking into 2017 – Preview performances start tonight at Prince Edward Theatre

With 315 hours of rehearsals now complete; 68 tonnes of scenery hung at the Prince Edward Theatre; and 337 custom-designed, hand-made costumes created from over 1,225 varieties of fabric, adorned with millions of Swarovski crystals, Disney’s new musical Aladdin  begin previews in the West End tonight.

Disneys Aladdin in rehearsal

ALADDIN, Director and Choreographer – Casey Nicholaw, Scenic Design – Bob Crowley, Costume Design – Gregg Barnes, Lighting – Natasha Katz, Prince Edward Theatre, London, 2016, Credit: Johan Persson

Ahead of the very first performance in the UK, Disney Theatrical Productions has announced that Aladdinhas extended its booking period into 2017. Tickets for the spectacular production are now on sale for performances up to and including 11 February 2017. Aladdin’s official opening night will be on Wednesday 15 June. For further details please visit www.aladdinthemusical.co.uk

Dean John-Wilson plays the role of Aladdin alongside Jade Ewen as Jasmine in the new musical based on the classic Academy Award®-winning animated film. Broadway cast member Trevor Dion Nicholas makes his London stage debut as Genie and is joined by Don Gallagher as Jafar, Peter Howe as Iago, Irvine Iqbal as the Sultan, Nathan Amzi as Babkak, Stephen Rahman-Hughes as Kassim and Rachid Sabitri as Omar.

Aladdin features the timeless songs from the 1992 animated film as well as new music written by Tony®, Olivier© and eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Little Shop Of Horrors). With lyrics from Olivier Award and two-time Oscar® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid), three-time Tony and Olivier Award, three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (EvitaAida), and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), and a book by Beguelin, Aladdin is directed and choreographed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Now in its third record-breaking year on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it has been seen by more than 1.5 million people, Aladdin’s global presence has grown to four productions on three continents. It opened at Tokyo’s Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi in May 2015 and had its European premiere in December 2015 at the Stage Theatre Neue Flora, Hamburg. Aladdin will open in Sydney, Australia in August 2016.

Previous Disney stage productions in London have included Shakespeare in Love and the Olivier-winning productions of Beauty and the Beast,Mary Poppins and The Lion King, which is now playing its 17th year in the West End.

Aladdin is designed by Olivier and seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, five-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, Olivier and two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnesand sound designer Ken Travis. Casting is by Jill Green CDG.

The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer Josh Marquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.

Paines Plough announces line-up for Come to where I’m from: London

Artistic Directors of Paines Plough James Grieve and George Perrin today revealed the line-up for Come To Where I’m From: London which will take place across six London venues from 27 June until 6 July. Partnering with new writing theatre company Tamasha, Paines Plough will present twenty six writers from across London performing short plays about the place they call home. Tickets are on sale now at www.painesplough.com

Since 2010, Come To Where I’m From has seen more than 100 writers from across the UK writing plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

Now Come To Where I’m From invites London playwrights to tell their stories for the first time. In partnership with Tamasha, Paines Plough present a series of London Come To Where I’m From events across the city which will see some well-known names alongside some of the most exciting new voices from the Tamasha Developing Artists programme.

The playwrights featuring in Come To Where I’m From: London include Mediah Ahmed, Zia Ahmed, Mahad Ali, Afsana Begum, Adam Brace, In-Sook Chappell, Satinder Chohan, Lizzy Dijeh, Kathryn Golding, Miran Hazdic, Stephen Jeffreys, Arinze Kene, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Isley Lynn, Vinay Patel, Elena Procopiu, Divya Sachdeva, Lucy Sheen, Amman Singh Brar, Sandra Townsend, Ché Walker, Cheryl Walker, Monsay Whitney, Karla Williams, Alexandra Wood and Sally Woodcock.

Alongside the London events, the project extends its digital life as an audio experience as the Come To Where I’m From app. This new digital portal is a living library containing more than 90 short plays from writers across the UK who have taken part in the project since it began, with new plays to be added as they are written in the future.

Playwrights whose plays are included on the Come To Where I’m From app include Mike Bartlett, Gupreet Kaur Bhatti, Alice Birch, Leo Butler, Alison Carr, Molly Davies, Phil Davies, James Graham, Alan Harris, Matt Hartley, Joel Horwood, Emteaz Hussein, Paven Virk, Laura Lomas, Duncan Macmillan, Mufaro Makubika, Bethan Marlow, Glyn Maxwell, Rory Mullarkey, Tim Price, Beth Steel, Chris Thorpe and many more.

James Grieve and George Perrin co-Artistic Directors of Paines Plough said today: Come To Where I’m From is the very first project we dreamed up when we joined Paines Plough in 2010. Since then we have celebrated the company’s twin passion for new writing and touring by commissioning more than 100 playwrights to write plays about their home towns from Edinburgh to Ipswich to the Isle of Wight. Now we’re delighted to partner with Tamasha to bring Come To Where I’m From to London for the first time and celebrate a city that inspires so many great writers in a six-date series of live events across the capital. In tandem, we’re thrilled to launch the Come To Where I’m From app which will allow listeners to sonically travel across the UK listening to more than 90 playwrights read their own plays. We’re so excited people everywhere will get to hear these extraordinary, enchanting, evocative plays from everyone from Olivier Award winners to first-timers with many more to come in 2016 and beyond.” 

Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director of Tamasha: “Tamasha are thrilled to be partnering with Paines Plough. As one of the most diverse cities in the world, London is teeming with stories that reveal both local experiences and cross-cultural narratives that connect us to a wider world. Our Tamasha Developing Artists writers have a wealth of these to offer and where better to present them than as part of the ever-growing rich map of writing that is Come To Where I’m From.”

Come To Where I’m From is supported by Garrick Charitable Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.

Come To Where I’m From: London is part of Programme 2016 from Paines Plough which also includes Sabrina Mahfouz’s play-come-gig With A Little Bit Of Luck, three world premieres at ROUNDABOUT, the return of the internationally acclaimed Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan and Tom Wells’ new coming of age comedy Broken Biscuits.

Images released today of new cast in rehearsals for 1984 ahead of return to West End

Rehearsal images have today been released of an entirely new cast in rehearsals for Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s adaptation of 1984. The cast for the hit West End production of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece will be: Rosie Ede, Andrew Gower, Joshua Higgott, Richard Katz, Anthony O’Donnell, Daniel Rabin, Catrin Stewart and Angus Wright alongside Eve Benioff Salama, Cleopatra Dickens, Amber Fernee and India Fowler who will alternate the role of Child. Also making up the company, as understudies: Gerard Gilroy, Thom Petty and Ingrid Schiller.

Cast of 1984 in rehearsal. Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Cast of 1984 in rehearsal. Photo credit: Manuel Harlan
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Following a sell-out international tour, the critically and publicly acclaimed production of 1984 will return to the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End this summer. George Orwell’s canonical work, adapted by Olivier Award-winner Robert Icke and Olivier Award-nominee Duncan Macmillan, will preview from 14 June 2016, with the press night on 28 June 2016

Now seen by over a quarter of a million people, this Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre production premiered at Nottingham Playhouse in September 2013. Since opening, 1984 has played to packed houses at the Almeida Theatre, as well as throughout its two West End runs and in performances across the globe during national and international tours.

April, 1984.13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary and falls in love. But Big Brother is always watching.

The definitive book of the 20th century is re-examined in a radical, award-winning adaptation exploring surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.

1984 is directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan with Daniel Raggett, set and costume is designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting designed by Natasha Chivers, sound designed by Tom Gibbons and video designed by Tim Reid.

George Orwell’s 1984, published in 1949, is one of the most influential novels in recent history, with its chilling depiction of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance and incessant public mind-control.  Its ideas have become our ideas, and Orwell’s fiction is often said to be our reality.

Sean Foley to direct new West End productions of Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser and Molière’s The Miser, produced by Mark Goucher

Director Sean Foley who has recently enjoyed sell out success adapting and directing The Painkiller in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season of Plays at the Garrick will, starting this autumn, under producer Mark Goucher, direct two new productions in the West End.

Ken Stott. Photo: Vincenzo Photography

Ken Stott. Photo: Vincenzo Photography

First will be a revival of Ronald Harwood’s much loved play The Dresser. Starring Ken Stott and Reece Shearsmith, the play tells the heart-breaking story of an ageing actor-manager and his long-suffering dresser as they struggle to keep the show on the road against the backdrop of a down-at-heel regional theatre in wartime. First performed in 1980 in the West End and on Broadway, the play was in 1983 made into a multi award-winning film starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. This new production of The Dresser will play at The Duke of York’s Theatre previewing from 5th October with a press night on Wednesday 12th October following performances in Richmond, Brighton and Cheltenham.

In early 2017,  Griff Rhys Jones will return to the London stage to lead an ensemble cast in a revival of Molière’s classic play The Miser which has been newly adapted by Sean Foley and Phil Porter. Best known for his television work, Rhys Jones is making his return to the London stage after five years where he is widely recognised as one of the country’s great comedic performers. The Miser will be presented at Bath Theatre Royal and Richmond Theatre, prior to opening at the Garrick Theatre on Wednesday 1st March 2017, with an opening night on Monday 13th March 2017.

Sean Foley is an award-winning actor, writer and director. He co-founded The Right Size, creating over 10 original comedies for the theatre including the Olivier Award-winning and Tony-nominated production of The Play What I Wrote (Best Comedy 2002), Do You Come Here Often? (Best Entertainment 1999), and Ducktastic! (Albery Theatre – Best Entertainment nomination 2006). As director his work includes The PainkillerJeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense (Best New Comedy 2014), The Walworth Farce (The Olympia Theatre, Dublin), the multi Olivier-nominated The Ladykillers (Liverpool Everyman, Gielgud Theatre, UK Tour), A Mad World My Masters (Royal Shakespeare Company & Barbican), What The Butler Saw (Vaudeville Theatre), The Painkiller (The Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Arturo Brachetti – Change (Garrick – Best Entertainment nomination 2010) , The Critic/The Real Inspector Hound (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Armstrong and Miller Show Live UK Tour and I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium). Foley’s first film Mindhorn will be released this autumn.

Mark Goucher has previously collaborated with Sean Foley on the hugely successful production of Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense which played in the West End and on tour and is currently under option for a Broadway season.

The Dresser is to be co-produced with Mark Rubinstein Ltd and Jonathan Church Productions in the first production for Church’s new company after leaving Chichester Festival Theatre.

The Miser will be produced with long term producing partner Mark Rubinstein Ltd.

Bush Theatre announces playwrights for This Place We Know

The Bush Theatre today announced a number of ways it will demonstrate the theatre’s commitment to nurturing new writing at all levels, from emerging artists to established artists seeking to try something new.

The Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

This Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

Its September production This Place We Know will stage six new, specially commissioned plays by April de Angelis, Kenny Emson, Nancy Harris, Sabrina Mahfouz, Barney Norris and Gbolahan Obisesan, in various venues along on and around the Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush. More details of This Place We Know will be announced in the coming weeks.

In June 2016, the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group (EWG) will enter its second year with a new intake of six writers. Last year’s EWG consisted of Josh Azouz, Lily Bevan, Sevan Greene, Nabihah Islam, Gemma Rogers and Sophie Wu. Of those writers, two are currently under commission to the Bush, two more are on attachment to the theatre, and the remaining two continue to receive artistic support on new work. The new intake of writers for 2016 is: Tristan Bernays, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, Kamal Kaan, Jessica Sian, A.C Smith and Camilla Whitehall.

The EWG is an opportunity for the Bush Theatre to develop relationships with new playwrights encountered through its unsolicited submissions process and further afield – all of whom are at early stages in their careers. It aims to support writers over a sustained period of time and help encourage work on a new full length play.

The Bush receives, reads and considers for production more than a thousand unsolicited scripts each year, in four-month Unsolicited Submissions Windows. The first window of 2016 will open on 1 June and close on 30 September 2016.

Bush Theatre Artistic Director Madani Younis says:

From our unsolicited submissions through to the work produced on our stage, we are proud to champion, develop and produce the work of diverse writers. By inviting playwrights to our Emerging Writers’ Group, drawn from unsolicited script submissions and the work we see around the UK, we are more committed than ever to creating bespoke and meaningful opportunities for the brightest and best new writing talent.”

The submission window is open to playwrights from the UK and Republic of Ireland who have a full-length play that can be considered for production at the Bush Theatre. Once submitted, each play will be read by a dedicated team of readers, made up of theatre professionals and led by the Bush Theatre’s Associate Dramaturg. Plays can be submitted via the Bush Theatre website at www.bushtheatre.co.uk/submissions where more information is also available.

For the second year, the Bush Theatre will collaborate with Playwrights of New York (PoNY) to offer a new play commission and month-long residency to a US-based playwright. The residency includes artistic and dramaturgical support, accommodation, research and development of an original idea as well as collaboration and engagement with British theatre artists and the creative life of the Bush Theatre. 2013 PoNY fellow Kimber Lee was the first PoNY Resident at the Bush in 2014-15. Following the Residency, Lee is currently under commission to the Bush for a new play.

The Original London Cast Album for Kyle Riabko’s CLOSE TO YOU: BACHARACH REIMAGINED is released

Kyle has done something truly unique. It’s brilliant. It’s a very fresh take on my music and a huge tribute to me.”
– Burt Bacharach

WHATS IT ALL ABOUT, , Music - Burt Bacharach, Musical Arrangements - Kyle Riabko, Directed -Steven Hoggett, Lighting Designer - Tim Lutkin, Menier Chocolate Factory, London, UK, Credit: Johan Persson/

WHATS IT ALL ABOUT, , Music – Burt Bacharach, Musical Arrangements – Kyle Riabko, Directed -Steven Hoggett, Lighting Designer – Tim Lutkin, Menier Chocolate Factory, London, UK, Credit: Johan Persson

Ghostlight Records will release The Original London Cast Recording of KYLE RIABKO’s Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined in digital formats on Friday 24 June, with two-disc physical copies online and in stores from Friday 1 July. Seen in New York and London, the show revitalises the catalogue of the iconic American composer for a new generation with Riabko’s visionary interpretations. The album also features special bonus tracks of Kyle’s never-before-heard original demos, which formed the basis for the project. The 28-page booklet includes a note from Riabko, liner notes, production and studio photography and opening night photos of Bacharach with the cast. Videos of the West End production’s trailer and the album’s recording session are available on YouTube. Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined is produced and arranged by Kyle Riabko with David Lane Seltzer of Entertainment 360 serving as executive producer.

Starting on Friday 3 June, customers that pre-order the album will immediately receive the two tracks “Close to You” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart / This Guy’s In Love with You.” Please visit www.sh-k-boom.com/close-to-you-bacharach-reimagined.

Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined is The Original London Cast Recording of the hit West End show which began Off Broadway, transferred to London’s Menier Chocolate Factory before making its West End Premiere at the Criterion Theatre in October 2015, breaking box office records with the biggest advance in the venue’s history. Featuring musician Kyle Riabko’s brilliant take on the genre-spanning catalogue of Burt Bacharach, with lyrics by Hal David and others, this critically acclaimed production was directed by Olivier Award-winning Steven Hoggett. The recording features over 30 hits as performed by Riabko and the other multi-talented young singers and musicians who made up the cast of this celebrated show. The album showcases beautifully-reimagined versions of classics such as “Alfie,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Walk On By,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” “The Look of Love,” “What’s New Pussycat?”, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me,” “A House Is Not A Home,” and the enduring title track.

In London, Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined was hailed “ferociously clever” in The Daily Mail’s five star review, “an exhilaratingly fresh new spin” by The Independent, “highly imaginative” by The Daily Telegraph and “the hippest and hottest musical night in town” by The Stage. When the show originally opened in New York, Entertainment Weekly raved that “Riabko is the wonderfully appealing star. It’s completely swoon-worthy and super-groovy.” New York Magazine called the show “a stunning new musical. It’s a revelation and it’s fantastic.” According to The Washington Post, “the fun, youthful vibe of this show brings a new flavor to Bacharach’s timeless classics.”

Burt Bacharach appeared at the show’s opening night in the West End, and said, “This is star musicianship. Kyle is a beautiful singer and one hell of a guitar player. This is truly a gift. It’s a love letter to me.”

KYLE RIABKO is a singer, guitarist, composer and actor who grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Before starring on Broadway in both Spring Awakening and Hair, Kyle released a full-length album of original music on Columbia/Aware Records and spent his teen years appearing as an opening act for a wide range of artists including: B.B. King, James Brown, John Mayer, Keb’ Mo’, Buddy Guy, Jason Mraz and Maroon 5, among others.

After appearing in various film and television roles, Kyle created and starred in an earlier incarnation of the show at New York Theatre Workshop and The Menier Chocolate Factory under the title What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined. The production received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Revue, an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and four Lucille Lortel Award nominations, including ones for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for Kyle.

The album features Kyle Riabko (vocals, guitars, keyboards, ukulele), Daniel Bailen (vocals, electric bass, upright bass, cello, guitar), Greg Coulson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Anastacia McCleskey (vocals), Stephanie McKeon (vocals), Renato Paris (vocals, keyboards) and James Williams (percussion).

Theatre 2016: Group therapy for decision makers.

BON Culture did a great job with THEATRE 2016, getting everyone together on one platform, by everyone I mean everyone who matters except of course the creative lot -theatre artists, theatre makers etc. Wondering if this is some kind of hegemony being created where those who know how to run the business of entertainment – CXOs, CFOs, directors, administrators came together to share notes on how they could run the business of theatre better. Business dictating terms for an industry that has creativity at its core, can only mean more commercialisation and less creative freedom and experimentation.

Theatre in 2016 is ‘quite something’. BON Culture decided to organise a two-day conference: THEATRE 2016. Billed as an industry-wide gathering and dubbed the largest ever of its kind. Were organisers trying to get too many quarts into pint pots? In an ideal world everybody would have participated away from a heavily-sponsored platform and elite pricing structure, but we don’t live in an ideal world. The truth, as is the way with these sorts of things, is slightly different.

The conference took place in The Piccadilly Theatre, London where wheelchair access is only available on the Royal Circle level. It was an auspicious start. By turns thought-provoking, startling and fascinating.  The level of institutional discrimination, both passive ‘Oh I didn’t realise’ and active ‘too much money to convert’ in the arts remains an ongoing scandal – as does gender, race, sexual choice awareness and representation. So, it’s quite significant that after all these years we’re finally having an industry wide gathering, isn’t it?

Kicking off the afternoon mini conferences, everything seemed to click for me in the How Can Theatre Play A More Prominent Role In Key Issues Of National and International Debate? Lizzie Crump from the WHAT NEXT? spoke eloquently about lobbying politicians and how they, as a global movement, set out to contest spending cuts, make the case for public funding of the arts. This offered a captivating exposé of the often Kafkaesque mechanisms of arts subsidy, and the creative approaches that are a fact of life for every arts organisation today. Old financial models and guaranteed support from Arts Council England (ACE) and Local Authorities have been thrown off-balance. Organisations relationships with funders are imperilled and the argument that the theatre industry as a whole makes a net profit for the UK falls regularly on deaf ears. So where does that leave the artists– and indeed the audiences of tomorrow – when it comes to community or participatory opportunities, where often the work we see on vast stages is the tip of the iceberg? Glancing over the delegate list, just five (there were over five hundred attendees) people directly work in creative learning or participation. I was not at all surprised, but found it nevertheless truly shocking.

One of Theatre 2016’s aims were to give leading figures and arts fraternity the chance to hear and discuss the opportunities and threats facing the theatre industry, which is great because they’re the ones who can do. But you wonder where the future artistic directors, chief executives and producers of 2026 will come from if artists and practitioners working with communities somehow fall out of the equation, because those who break through without an education, access, and opportunities to have input into decisions are still few and far between. It’s very nice for playwright and academic Dan Rebellato to be the Keynote Speaker, but where’s the next Dan Rebellato coming from? To endure and flourish, the public arts sector needs to be more of an open space for community expression.

Louise Jeffreys

Louise Jeffreys. Photo: Camilla Greenwell

During the Meeting Ethical and Reputational Challenges panel discussion at The Arts Theatre London, The Barbican Centre director of arts Louise Jeffreys explained that the venue “failed audiences” when it cancelled a performance in 2014 following protests. The Barbican cancelled performances of Exhibit B which involved living tableaux invoking ‘human zoos’ of the 19th century, following allegations of racism. Numerous parties lobbied it to be dropped from the season and it was cancelled on police recommendation.

Jeffreys said: “The scale of the complaints took us by surprise… We offended those who thought the production was racist and those who thought we prevented freedom of speech when we made the decision on advice from the police to cancel the show.”

She went on to state that she believed that an attitude of solidarity was necessary in handling such circumstances. “I believe we’re too quiet about speaking out about other organisations when they’re presenting risk-taking work. If we’re complacent individually, we put everyone at risk.”

There are clear parallels with The Barbican’s predicament and Theatre 2016 unintentionally excluding the very people at the grass roots of this industry. In the world of reputation management, taking ownership of a debacle is a key strategy — and the earlier you do it, the greater the chance of minimising further grief. Director of BON Culture, David Brownlee reflecting on Theatre 2016 said: “We’re delighted with all the positive feedback we’ve had to date from delegates, contributors and sponsors. We learnt a huge amount this year that should mean that any future event is even better and more accessible. We’re keen to hear feedback from everyone who came and suggestions from those who couldn’t make it.”

In other words: we did our best, we’re trying to sort it out, and we’re listening.

In other words: there’s hope for us all.

West End First as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Launches Mobile Day Seats

For the first time in the West End, audiences can now access coveted Day Seats online, in a new collaboration between the award-winning show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the mobile ticketing app TodayTix.
Traditionally only available in person at the theatre box office, Day Seats have long been a favourite way to see hit shows at low prices. Now audiences can buy top tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for £25 on the day of performance via the TodayTix app.

The cast of Charlie and the Chocolate factory Photography by Matt Crockett

The cast of Charlie and the Chocolate factory Photography by Matt Crockett

Titled ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Rush’, the programme launches today and offers £25 tickets across all evening performances. To access these tickets, customers simply share the programme on social media via the TodayTix app to unlock the exclusive allocation. Tickets will be released every morning at 10am and can be purchased on a first-come-first-served basis.
Caro Newling, one of the producers of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, said: “Since opening Charlie in June 2013, we’ve developed ticketing initiatives to match the demands of a total audience of more than 2 million people. This initiative with TodayTix offers another great opportunity to channel further access to day seats, adding to an already vibrant “doors audience” which regularly reaches into the hundreds over a busy weekend at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.”
Merritt Baer, CEO and co-founder of TodayTix commented: “We’re thrilled to be launching our first West End Rush programme with the superb Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a spectacular home-grown musical, and are incredibly excited to help our customers attend theatre more often through exclusive access to the best prices.”
Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has quickly become one of the West End’s most popular and successful stage musicals, and recently celebrated its 1250th performance as well as winning a London Lifestyle Award for Theatre Show of the Year, as voted for by readers of the London Evening Standard. It also won two Olivier awards in April 2014 and has broken records at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where it opened in June 2013. It is currently taking bookings until 7 January 2017.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is directed by Sam Mendes. Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the wonder of the original story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years is brought to life with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by award-winning playwright and adaptor David Greig, set and costume designs by Mark Thompson and choreography by Peter Darling.
The Official Cast Recording album is available on Sony Records, on CD and download.
This world premiere musical is produced by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Langley Park Productions.
www.CharlieandtheChocolateFactory.com
Box Office: 0844 858 8877
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, WC2B 5JF
Booking until 7 January 2017