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‘One Night Only’ with Come From Away creative team, producers and international cast

One Night Only

On Saturday 19th December at 7:30pm (GMT) SimG Productions and Musical Theatre Radio’s fourth ‘One Night Only’ Reunion event will reunite the writers and creatives from the International hit musical ‘Come From Away’, alongside actors who have appeared in productions across the globe.

Panel guests at this unique, virtual, interactive evening will include writers Irene Sankoff and David Hein, director Christopher Ashley, musical stager Kelly Devine, musical supervisor & arranger Ian Eisendrath, producer Sue Frost, Michael Rubinoff from Sheridan College and the Canadian Music Theatre Project, and international cast members; Jonathan Andrew Hume (West End), Caesar Samayoa (Broadway), Barbara Fulton (Toronto) and Christine Toy Johnson (North American Tour)

‘One Night Only’, hosted by director/producer Simon Greiff, is not a pre-recorded concert or streaming event, but a one-time live discussion experience – focusing on the writing and creating of an original musical and what it takes to bring a new show to the stage, and cast members will give an insight into what it’s like to perform in an award winning production, and the audience will be encouraged to submit questions for the guests. The event will finish with a post show virtual stage door mix and mingle.

‘Come From Away’ is a joyous new musical that shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives. As uneasiness turned into trust and music soared into the night, gratitude grew into friendships and their stories became a celebration of hope, humanity and unity.

Winner of 4 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical, Come From Away has taken the West End by storm. Playing to nightly standing ovations at London’s Phoenix Theatre, Come From Away also celebrated sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, across the USA, in Canada and in Australia. Awarded the Tony® for Best Direction of a Musical, Christopher Ashley’s production guides audiences through a colourful and spirited cast of characters, brought to life by Tony® and Grammy® nominated writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein.

All profits from the ‘One Night Only’ series are donated to Acting For Others who provide financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. So far ‘One Night Only’ has raised over £1000.00 for this important organisation.

‘One Night Only’ is taking the virtual theatrical experience to another level. Imagine a theatre space with tables so you and your friends can sit and talk. Fans of ‘Come From Away’ can jump from table to table meeting other lovers of musical theatre from around the world. Guests are subject to change, and if so, probably due to bad ‘WiFi connection’.

[Embed YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lxVsl02SrA&feature=youtu.be here]

#OneNightOnlyCFA

TICKETS: £11.50

DATE: Saturday 19th December 2020

TIMES: 7pm (doors open) 7:30pm – 9:30pm

BOX OFFICE: https://events.com/r/en_US/tickets/one-night-only-presents-come-from-away-798549

Rachel Tucker to join COME FROM AWAY cast on Broadway

Come From Away

It has been announced today that Rachel Tucker, who is leaving the four-time Olivier® Award-winning West End production of Come From Awaywill be joining the Tony® Award-winning Broadway production later this year.

Following an incredibly successful year in the West End, which has included receiving Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Olivier® and WhatsOnStage Awards, Rachel Tucker will be leaving the West End after her final performance on Saturday 8 February 2020. She will then go on to take over the roles of Beverley, Annette and others from Becky Gulsvig, at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, from Tuesday 3 March 2020.

Rachel Tucker’s Broadway debut came in March 2010 when she took over the role of Elphaba in Wicked, which she played for two and a half years at the Gershwin Theatre and then later reprised in 2015-2016. In between, she originated the principal character of Meg Dawson in Sting’s debut musical The Last Ship (Bank of America Theatre, Chicago/ Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway). She has toured venues in the UK and US with her own live performances and has released two solo albums.

This joyous musical tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

On 11 September 2001 the world stopped. On 12 September, their stories moved us all.

As previously announced, the new cast of Come From Away in the West End will start on Monday 10 February 2020, as the production enters into its second year at the Phoenix Theatre. The full company will include Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Tarinn Callender (Bob and others), James Doherty (Claude and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Mark Dugdale (Kevin T/Garth and others), Alice Fearn (Beverley/Annette and others) Kate Graham (Diane and others), and Alasdair Harvey (Nick/Doug and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J/Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others) and Cat Simmons (Hannah and others) with Chiara BarontiRicardo Castro, Stuart Hickey, Alexander McMorran, Sorelle Marsh, Micha Richardson, Jennifer Tierney and Matthew Whennell-Clark.

Under the Musical Direction of Alan Berry (Keyboard/Accordion/Harmonium), the band includes Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uilleann Pipes), Aoife Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Oli Briant (Electric, Acoustic and Nylon Guitars), Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Joey Grant (Electric Bass/Acoustic Bass), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitar/Mandolins/Bazouki) and Ian Whitehead (Drums/Percussion).

The multi award-winning musical continues sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada, in Australia and on a 60-city North American Tour. It has recently been announced that a tour of China will commence in Shanghai from May 2020, and a feature film adaptation is in the works.

Come From Away features a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and is directed by Christopher Ashley, with musical staging by Kelly Devine, music supervision and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair design by David Brian Brown, orchestrations by August Eriksmoen and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG.

In addition to winning 4 Olivier Awards (London) including “Best New Musical”, Come From Away has scooped multiple awards all across North America:  the Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Musical”, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding New Broadway Musical”, 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding Musical”, 4 Helen Hayes Awards (Washington DC) including “Outstanding Production of a Musical”, 4 Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 4 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including “Excellence in Production of a Musical”, 6 San Diego Critics Circle Awards including “Outstanding New Musical”, 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards including “Best New Musical”, 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including “Outstanding New Musical/Opera” and “Outstanding Production”, and the 2017 Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Toronto).

Come From Away was originally co-produced in 2015 by La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and presented in 2016 by Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC and Mirvish Productions at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada, all in partnership with Junkyard Dog Productions. Come From Away (NAMT Festival 2013) was originally developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project, Michael Rubinoff Producer, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and was further developed at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, in East Haddam CT. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle WA also provided development support.

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

COME FROM AWAY West End new cast announced

Come From Away
Come From Away Cast

Front row l-r: Stuart Hickey, Mark Dugdale , Tarinn Callender
Back row l-r: Ricardo Castro, Micha Richardson, Matthew Whennell-Clark, Alice Fearn (Beverley/Annette and others), Kate Graham (Diane and others), James Doherty (Claude and others), Sorelle Marsh, Alasdair Harvey (Nick/Doug and others)
Photographer credit: Craig Sugden

As the Olivier Award-winning “Best New Musical” Come From Away enters its second year in the West End,  it welcomes new cast members from Monday 10 February 2020. This joyous musical tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

On 11 September 2001 the world stopped. On 12 September, their stories moved us all.

The multi award-winning musical continues sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada, in Australia and on a 60-city North American Tour. It has recently been announced that a tour of China will commence in Shanghai from May 2020, and a feature film adaptation is in the works.

The new cast of Come From Away in the West End will include Tarinn Callender (Bob and others), James Doherty (Claude and others), Alice Fearn (Beverley/Annette and others) Kate Graham (Diane and others), and Alasdair Harvey (Nick/Doug and others), with Ricardo Castro, Stuart Hickey, Sorelle Marsh, Micha Richardson and Matthew Whennell-Clark.

They join Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Mark Dugdale (taking over the roles of Kevin T/Garth and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J/Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), Cat Simmons (Hannah and others) and Chiara BarontiAlexander McMorran and Jennifer Tierney.

Under the Musical Direction of Alan Berry (Keyboard/Accordion/Harmonium), the band includes Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uilleann Pipes), Aoife Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Oli Briant (Electric, Acoustic and Nylon Guitars), Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Joey Grant (Electric Bass/Acoustic Bass), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitar/Mandolins/Bazouki) and Ian Whitehead (Drums/Percussion).

Come From Away features a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and is directed by Christopher Ashley, with musical staging by Kelly Devine, music supervision and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair design by David Brian Brown, orchestrations by August Eriksmoen, and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG.

In addition to winning 4 Olivier Awards (London) including “Best New Musical”, Come From Away has scooped multiple awards all across North America:  the Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Musical”, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding New Broadway Musical”, 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding Musical”, 4 Helen Hayes Awards (Washington DC) including “Outstanding Production of a Musical”, 4 Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 4 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including “Excellence in Production of a Musical”, 6 San Diego Critics Circle Awards including “Outstanding New Musical”, 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards including “Best New Musical”, 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including “Outstanding New Musical/Opera” and “Outstanding Production”, and the 2017 Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Toronto).

Come From Away was originally co-produced in 2015 by La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and presented in 2016 by Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC and Mirvish Productions at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada, all in partnership with Junkyard Dog Productions. Come From Away (NAMT Festival 2013) was originally developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project, Michael Rubinoff Producer, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and was further developed at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, in East Haddam CT. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle WA also provided development support.

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

LISTINGS

COME FROM AWAY

Website | Twitter | Facebook  | Instagram

Phoenix Theatre
Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JP

Performance schedule

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm

Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm

Box office details

Website www.ComeFromAwayLondon.co.uk
Telephone 0844 871 7615
Prices from £15

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Top 5 Shows Of 2019 (according to me)

Top 5 Shows

To get a sense of how many great shows played UK theatres in 2019, look at some of the outstanding productions that didn’t make my top 5.

The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress

From the RSC’s Robbie Williams powered The Boy in the Dress (brilliantly adapted from David Walliams’ book), the first actor-musician staging of Kiss Me, Kate at Watermill Theatre in Newbury, Ian McKellen’s herculean 80 date one man evening of autobiography that was a love letter to theatre, a reinvigorated West Side Story at Manchester’s Royal Exchange and, of course, Chichester Festival Theatre’s dazzling Oklahoma!

There was a dizzying array of delights on offer.

Let’s get the bad out the way, shall we?

Waitress. Oh Waitress…

Based on Adrienne Shelly’s film and scored by Sara Bareilles, the New York hit arrived in London in a flat, laboured, commercially driven production. It lingered on and on and on with haphazard marketing, repellent casting & the worst set in town.

Joe Sugg in Waitress

Joe Sugg in Waitress ( i can’t)

States of denial vary, obviously. But casting vlogger Joe Sugg and Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts was a desperate attempt to keep the doors open that made me shudder.

A move which was either an act of open warfare on its own audiences or a demonstration of supreme charity towards superior broadway imports peppered across town.

Elsewhere, Sean Foley’s musical staging of The Man in The White Suit featured Stephen Mangan and Kara Tointon. Both performers were trapped in “what the hell’s going on” territory, and up against some hum-drum stage effects, while Sue Johnston phoned it in as a washer-woman.

The Man in the White Suit

The Man in the White Suit ( hellish)

Bizarre and ghastly, it left audiences in theatre hell and closed 6 weeks early.

Best we can say about The Man In The White Suit is at least it was brief.

I don’t think I have the energy to give Big – The Musical an autopsy – suffice to say it was totally terrible.

Anyway, my top 5 shows of 2019:

1. Life of Pi 

If I were picking a theatre of the year, it would undoubtedly be Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi

With one compelling show after another in Guys and Dolls, Reasons To Stay Alive and then this remarkable reimagining of Yann Martel’s book. Everything was stunningly brought to life in a production of theatrical genius, cunningly adapted for the stage by Lolita Chakrabarti.

The puppetry was terrific and the stage design by Tim Hatley was gorgeous. The entire cast, led by Hiran Abeysekera were remarkable by any standards.

In case you missed this five-star spectacle, fear not; Crucible Theatre’s acclaimed production will come to the London stage next year.

The Wyndham’s’ auditorium will be reconfigured for the first time in order to accommodate the production, with seating levels altered and the stage extended out into the stalls. Unmissable.

Come from Away

Come from Away ( very good)

2. Come From Away

This feel-good musical comes straight from the heart and it is solid gold, winning the best new musical Olivier award, as well as best sound design and outstanding achievement in music.

Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s folksy show tells the tale of 7,000 stranded air passengers amid the chaos of 9/11 and the small town  that took them in.

A uniformly excellent cast captivate audiences for 100 storming minutes: you’ll laugh, tap your foot, cry happy tears, and leave feeling good about civilisation. A must see.

3. Death of a Salesman 

Originally staged at the Young Vic and transferring to the west end in the autumn, a beautiful piece of theatre which was and there are no two ways about this, amazing.

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman ( stunning)

Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke probably nailed some Olivier Award nominations with their outstanding and dusted down performances as Willy and Linda Loman too.

Arthur Miller’s timeless play – staged with clear-eyed precision by Marianne Elliott & Miranda Cromwell – was something special, while Wendell Pierce delivered a shattering portrait of a man adrift.

Dream team Elliott and Cromwell carved something new and utterly contemporary out of an old play, with the dislocating quality of a dream.

Broadway beckons, surely.

4. Standing at The Sky’s Edge

An astonishing musical, with new and old songs by pop star Richard Hawley and a snappy book by Chris Bush, possessed the rarest things in modern British musicals, a beginning, a middle, an end, and a sense of humour.

Standing at the Sky's Edge

Standing at the Sky’s Edge

The portrayal of high-rise communities in the iconic concrete housing estate could hardly be bettered. Sky’s Edge delicately told the story of three very different families through generations in the 1960s, 80s, and 2000s on Sheffield’s most notorious estate.

What moved me and others to tears, in this across-the decades wonder, also offerered one of the richest and most profound audience experiences of the year. Robert Hastie’s heartfelt production delighted in being visceral. Ben Stone’s concrete multi-level design both stunningly simple and enchanting; it all added up to something greater than the sum of its parts.

It was damn near perfect. I hope it has another life.

5.  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 

Look, 2019 marked 50 years since the original Joseph concept album was released. This summer, the eccentric show was back at the London Palladium.

Laurence Connor directed a cast including Sheridan Smith and Jason Donovan, who brought  charisma to a gleeful revival – but neither could match the professional debut of Arts Ed graduate Jac Yarrow. This was a shimmering summer pantomime.

Joseph at the Palladium

Joseph at the Palladium

At its centre, Yarrow elevated Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s silly musical to new heights; it was almost as if he was born to sing Close Every Door on that Palladium stage. I didn’t always know what was happening, but it didn’t matter – everyone left with a smile on their face after an entertaining and vibrant 100 minutes.

Brava!

And that brings our list to a close. Not great news for 9 to 5 The Musical, but pretty good news for theatre’s best people.

The end.

COME FROM AWAY further extends in the West End

As hit musical Come From Away celebrates its 300th performance and 300,000th visitor in the UK, the Olivier Award-winning “Best New Musical” announces that it will further extend its hugely successful run in the West End until 23 May 2020.

This joyous musical tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

On 11 September 2001 the world stopped. On 12 September, their stories moved us all.

To honour the kindness and stewardship shown by the people of Newfoundland, the London company of Come From Away has announced a partnership with homeless charity Centrepoint. The partnership will include a gala performance on 7 November as well as members of the Come From Away team joining the Centrepoint ‘sleep-out’ on 21 November, to raise awareness and vital funds for the charity’s good work.

To sign up and join the team sleeping-out on 21 November, visit: www.sleepout.org.uk    
To donate to the fundraising page, please visit: www.justgiving.com/campaign/sleepout-come-from-away

The multi award-winning musical continues sold-out, record-breaking engagements on Broadway, in Canada, in Australia and on a 60-city North American Tour. It has recently been announced that a tour of China will commence in Shanghai from May 2020, and a feature film adaptation is in the works.

The cast of Come From Away in the West End includes Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Nathanael Campbell (Bob and others), Clive Carter (Claude and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Robert Hands (Nick, Doug and others), Helen Hobson (Diane and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J, Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo (Janice and others), David Thaxton (Kevin T, Garth and others), Cat Simmons (Hannah and others) and Rachel Tucker (Beverley, Annette and others) with Chiara BarontiMark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kirsty Malpass, Tania MathurinAlexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney.

Under the Musical Direction of Alan Berry (Keyboard/Accordion/Harmonium), the band includes Matt Bashford (Whistles/Irish Flute/Uilleann Pipes), Aoife Ní Bhriain (Fiddle), Oli Briant (Electric, Acoustic and Nylon Guitars), Ray Fean (Bodhrán/Percussion), Joey Grant (Electric Bass/Acoustic Bass), Justin Quinn (Acoustic Guitar/Mandolins/Bazouki) and Ian Whitehead (Drums/Percussion).

Come From Away features a book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and is directed by Christopher Ashley, with musical staging by Kelly Devine, music supervision and arrangements by Ian Eisendrath, scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Gareth Owen, hair design by David Brian Brown, orchestrations by August Eriksmoen, and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG and Natalie Gallacher CDG.

In addition to winning 4 Olivier Awards (London) including “Best New Musical”, Come From Away has scooped multiple awards all across North America:  the Tony Award for “Best Direction of a Musical”, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding New Broadway Musical”, 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including “Outstanding Musical”, 4 Helen Hayes Awards (Washington DC) including “Outstanding Production of a Musical”, 4 Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 4 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards (Seattle) including “Excellence in Production of a Musical”, 6 San Diego Critics Circle Awards including “Outstanding New Musical”, 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards including “Best New Musical”, 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including “Outstanding New Musical/Opera” and “Outstanding Production”, and the 2017 Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award (Toronto).

Come From Away was originally co-produced in 2015 by La Jolla Playhouse and Seattle Repertory Theatre, and presented in 2016 by Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC and Mirvish Productions at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada, all in partnership with Junkyard Dog Productions. Come From Away (NAMT Festival 2013) was originally developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project, Michael Rubinoff Producer, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, and was further developed at Goodspeed Musicals’ Festival of New Artists, in East Haddam CT. The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle WA also provided development support.

Come From Away is produced in the UK by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away was co-produced with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s National Theatre.

LISTINGS

COME FROM AWAY

Website | Twitter | Facebook  | Instagram

Phoenix Theatre
Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0JP

Performance schedule

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm

Christmas 2019 performance schedule

Monday 23 December: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tuesday 24 December: No performance
Wednesday 25 December: No performance
Thursday 26 December: 7.30pm
Friday 27 December: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Saturday 28 December: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 29 December: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Monday 30 December: No performance
Tuesday 31 December: 2.30pm
Wednesday 1 January: 7.30pm
Thursday 2 January: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Friday 3 January: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Saturday 4 January: 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 5 January: No performance

Box office details

Website www.ComeFromAwayLondon.co.uk
Telephone 0844 871 7615
Prices from £15

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The Olivier Awards. It’s not all that.

Olivier Awards 2019
Jason Manford

Jason Manford

THERE are many good reasons why The Olivier Awards with Mastercard are theatre’s biggest night.

Central to most of them are the performances by actors from your favourite west end shows having the time of their lives and at the height of their theatre powers, who demand the attention of the audience.

The cast of The Lion King performed. Why? Who cares really.

Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment without ruining it by asking too many questions. Here, Come From Away, The Inheritance, and Company triumphed. Each took away four prizes at the ceremony, hosted by Jason Manford. Manford fronted the occasion once before, in 2017.

Let’s never speak of Catherine Tate.

Miraculously, Manford did a good enough job. On a purely technical level, it was going well until he bungled a musical number with Janie Dee and plugged Kander & Ebb musical Curtains, which he is starring in. It broke up the show’s momentum badly, in fact.

Anyway, Company picked up awards for best supporting actor and actress, best musical revival and best set design. A brilliant and brave Sondheim reinvention that deserved all the awards.

Kyle Soller - The Inheritance

Kyle Soller – The Inheritance

The Inheritance, though, my favourite show of 2018 and a marvel of a play that dealt with the bitter legacy of the AIDS epidemic, won best new play, as well as awards for best actor and director, and lighting design.

As luck would have it, during the interval I made my way down to the Arena bar and bumped into critic Ann Treneman. We had a glass of Chardonnay. Out the corner of my eye I saw Company producer Chris Harper and director Marianne Elliott. This was the first show that I really followed religiously from Launch to Opening Night, to Benefit Performance, to closing week. It was emotional, readers.

I was thrilled that Flesh and Bone won and equally elated that Monica Dolan, picked up her first ever Olivier Award, winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in All About Eve. Also, Sally Cookson won ‘Best Entertainment and Family’ for A Monster Calls. Proving ‘The Palladium Panto’ isn’t invincible.

Elsewhere, choreographer and director Sir Matthew Bourne was presented with a Special Award by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, (no Charlie) in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to dance.

But that’s just about your lot, though, as the rest of the occasion moved with all the unpredictable thrill and dynamism of a tax return.

Would I go again?

No.

It was far too long. I was hot in a tux; thank goodness for the Vodka Martini down the road at the Baglioni Hotel.

But if you’re a theatre lover, it was solid enough Sunday night entertainment.

Also, nice of Tom Hiddleston to show up.

If anyone summed it up best, however, it was Company Production Manager Igor, collecting on behalf of Bunny Christie (Best Set Design): “It was this or Countryfile.”

#OlivierAwards

FULL LIST OF OLIVIER AWARDS 2019 WITH MASTERCARD WINNERS

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Jonathan Bailey for Company at Gielgud Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Patti LuPone for Company at Gielgud Theatre

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC
Come From Away – Book, Music and Lyrics: David Hein and Irene Sankoff; Music
Supervisor, Arrangements: Ian Eisendrath; Orchestrations: August Eriksmoen; Musical
Director/UK Music Supervisor: Alan Berry; and the band of Come From Away at Phoenix
Theatre

BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
Blkdog by Botis Seva at Sadler’s Wells

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Akram Khan for his performance in Xenos at Sadler’s Wells

BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY
A Monster Calls at The Old Vic

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER
Kelly Devine for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL
Company at Gielgud Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Sharon D. Clarke for Caroline, Or Change at Playhouse Theatre

CUNARD BEST REVIVAL
Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York's Theatre

BEST NEW COMEDY
Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE
Flesh And Bone at Soho Theatre

WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Jon Clark for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

ROYAL ALBERT HALL AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN
Gareth Owen for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Catherine Zuber for The King And I at The London Palladium

BLUE-I THEATRE TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN
Bunny Christie for Company at Gielgud Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Chris Walley for The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noël Coward Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Monica Dolan for All About Eve at Noël Coward Theatre

BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION
Katya Kabanova at Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA
The ensemble of Porgy And Bess at London Coliseum

BEST ACTOR
Kyle Soller for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

BEST ACTRESS
Patsy Ferran for Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

SIR PETER HALL AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY
The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL
Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

SOCIETY OF LONDON THEATRE SPECIAL AWARD

Sir Matthew Bourne

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Rachel Tucker: ‘Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart.’

‘My favourite start to my working day and I’m only allowed one of them – is a triple shot americano,’ grins Rachel Tucker.

I follow her lead and order one for myself at the Pret on Shaftesbury Avenue – just off Cambridge Circus where we meet.

It’s a joy interviewing Tucker; a unique combination of quirkiness and elegance.

She found fame on the BBC tv talent series I’d Do Anything ten years ago and has since starred in The Last Ship alongside Sting, blown our minds as Elphaba in Wicked, in London and on Broadway, released solo albums and more.

Now Tucker is starring in Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s folksy musical Come From Away. She believes that the core of the story is ‘looking out for one another, doing what is right’ and ‘like a medicine for the soul.’ The show tells the tale of 7,000 stranded air passengers amid the chaos of 9/11 and the tiny town in Newfoundland that took them in.

In a 12-strong ensemble, Tucker plays Beverley Bass – the first female captain for American Airlines. Through slick staging and manoeuvring the show recreates a plane full of passengers using limited props; including a rubber cod, a mop and rearranged chairs. Come From Away’s greatest triumph is to set complex lyrics drawn from tragic circumstances to a show about the citizens of Gander during 9/11, where all domestic flights were grounded across the US following a terrorist attack.

The show opened in January in Dublin ahead of its West End transfer and is in great shape. ‘They knew what they were doing – they knew the process in Dublin was the start of the maturity point of the show,’ she says. ‘Dublin was so helpful to find the groove and learn the moves. It takes time to embed it in our body and our minds and souls. It’s taken me 3 months to learn how to sing ‘Me and The Sky’ like that! Our rehearsal process was very intense – we had to get the chair choreography into our brains – at first, we didn’t feel very artistic doing it. But there is a method to the madness – and they’d been through it a few times before in previous productions. The pressure was immense, though.’

It makes sense, then, that Come from Away recently received nine nominations for the 2019 Olivier awards, and Tucker has been nominated in the best actress in a supporting role in a musical category. Up against her, in a ridiculously strong category, are Patti LuPone for Company; Ruthie Ann Miles for The King and I; and the six ‘queens’ for their turn as Henry VIII’s wives.

Where was she when she found out? ‘Do you know what?’ she says. ‘I was in my bed, at home alone and watching Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Netflix series on my laptop and my phone went berserk,’ Tucker smiles.

‘Honestly, Carl, just receiving this nomination, I feel like I’ve accomplished something that I’ve always dreamed about. This – for where I’m at in my life, in my career and alongside my ambitions – I could cry now thinking about it.’

We discuss the recent controversy surrounding Seyi Omooba, the performer who said that homosexuality was not ‘right’ in a Facebook post and is no longer part of the upcoming Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of The Color Purple.

‘Oh dear’, Tucker begins.

‘If you have strong opinions that might offend other people – keep them to yourself,’ she says. ‘Go home and tell your mum or your church. It’s up to you if you have those beliefs and you choose to do a job that represents the exact opposite. I’m really not sure how you reconcile that morally… Especially in this climate – it’s a tricky playing field and in the arts, which is a place that presents itself as inclusive and liberal. It’s really unfortunate that this has happened.’

At one point, we talk about west end ticket prices. ‘When I look out to the audience every night it is a sea of white Caucasian, middle class human beings. I wish I could change it,’ she begins. ‘It upsets me that it is always a sea of white faces and that it’s not shifted any further, especially for our show,’ Tucker affirms.

She doesn’t mind being asked about the challenges of childcare and being a working parent. This topic is nothing new yet the attitudes toward parenting are slowly changing. ‘Listen, I don’t love people getting on their high horse – the young woman who does my hair at the Phoenix Theatre is thinking about starting a family – or when to- and often asks me how I managed and manage it,’ she says. ‘It’s hard. But if my experience can help somebody then that’s amazing. Therefore, talking about childcare, for me, is essential. My husband in fact, does more of the childcare – so personally it isn’t restricted to being a woman thing.’

So, what could theatre do to support parents and carers? ‘Childcare is not cheap,’ she says. ‘But what if there was something like West End Day Care during the two show days and Equity paid half and we paid half? A scheme to help men and women to mind their kids so that we can do our shows. I’d love that to happen!’

Who inspires her? ‘Shoshana Bean,’ she replies. ‘She is incredible – I listen to her album on the way in and out of work every day. Her passion for the industry and for giving back is so incredible. Plus, she’s generous. Shoshana really is a one-woman band and I admire that. Someone who went from a regular Broadway performer to establishing herself as a household name. She is the biggest inspiration right this second to me,’ she smiles.

Tucker hopes that we all get behind Come From Away. She adores the show, adding that she believes that she has ‘the privilege of telling this story night after night – a true story – I know how much of an inspiration this story is to so many and what this means to our audiences –I hold that very close to my heart. I love it.’

She ends by reiterating that this new musical really is for everyone. ‘I promise that Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart. It is a reminder that there is still goodness and kindness within us all.’

‘You will leave with a full heart and you will want to speak to your neighbour and you will want to be a better person,’ Tucker insists.

What a woman.

Come From Away is at Phoenix theatre, London, until March 2020.

#WeAllComeFromAway

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The Olivier Awards 2019: Who I Want To Win and Who Will Win

SO, musicals Company and Come from Away lead the 2019 Olivier Award nominations, both receiving nine nominations, which is absolutely ideal. 

If you haven’t seen Marianne Elliott’s gender-switched revival of Company or the exuberant 9/11 musical Come From Away yet – please do because I no longer wish to speak to anyone who hasn’t watched them at least once. 

Company

Company

It’s another storming year for Sonia Friedman, who has received a total of fifteen nominations across three productions for Summer & SmokeAll About Eve The InheritanceMatthew Lopez’s The Inheritance nabbed eight of those nominations.

The expression theatrical gold doesn’t begin to do justice to Lopez’s 2-part, seven-hour play about young gay New Yorkers. It’s a genuine masterpiece that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as The Ferryman or Chimerica

The Inheritance 

The Inheritance

Rather surprisingly, four productions from Daniel Evans’ inaugural season as artistic director at Chichester Festival Theatre (King Lear ft. Sir Ian McKellenQuiz byJames GrahamCaroline, Or Change starring Sharon D. Clarke & Pressure by David Haig) have received eight nominations between them. (these shows had west end transfer written all over them). 

Other talking points are the hit show Six, a sassy new musical based on Henry VIII’s wives, receiving five nominations. This includes a joint nomination for all six of the queens in a best actress in a supporting role in a musical category. 

SIX 

SIX

Look, I am a sucker for the plucky underdog but let’s not kid ourselves here.

I’m delighted that Young Vic’s musical based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home has been recognised but furious that Jenna Russell has been snubbed.

Fortunately, stars of stage and screen will light up the Royal Albert Hall as Vanessa Redgrave, Ian McKellen, Eileen Atkins, Gillian Anderson and David Suchet are among those nominated.

Anyway, from the nominees I have picked my deserving winners, and I’ve also taken a guess at who might actually win.

Note: Only Fools and Horses: The Musical & Heathers were overlooked.

FULL LIST OF NOMINATIONS FOR OLIVIER AWARDS 2019 WITH MASTERCARD

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Jonathan Bailey for Company at Gielgud Theatre

Clive Carter for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Richard Fleeshman for Company at Gielgud Theatre

Robert Hands for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Who I want to win: Jonathan Bailey

Who I think will win: Jonathan Bailey

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Patti LuPone for Company at Gielgud Theatre

Ruthie Ann Miles for The King And I at The London Palladium

“The Queens” – Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed and Jarneia Richard-Noel – for Six at Arts Theatre

Rachel Tucker for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Who I want to win: Rachel Tucker 

Who I think will win: Patti LuPone (don’t @ me)

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC

Come From Away – Book, Music and Lyrics: David Hein and Irene Sankoff; Music Supervisor, Arrangements: Ian Eisendrath; Orchestrations: August Eriksmoen; Musical Director/UK Music Supervisor: Alan Berry; and the band of Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Fun Home – Composer: Jeanine Tesori; Lyricist/Bookwriter: Lisa Kron at Young Vic

The Inheritance – Composer: Paul Englishby at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

A Monster Calls – Original music composed by Benji Bower and performed live by Benji with Will Bower (The Bower Brothers) at The Old Vic

Six – Original score, orchestrations and vocal arrangements: Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss, Tom Curran and Joe Beighton at Arts Theatre

Who I want to win: Fun Home 

Who I think will win: The Inheritance

 

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

Kelly Devine for Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Christopher Gattelli based on original choreography by Jerome Robbins for The King And I at The London Palladium

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille for Six at Arts Theatre

Liam Steel for Company at Gielgud Theatre

Who I want to win: Kelly Devine for Come From Away 

Who I think will win: Liam Steel for Company 

Come From Away 

Come From Away

MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

Caroline, Or Change at Playhouse Theatre

Company at Gielgud Theatre

The King And I at The London Palladium

Who I want to win: Company

Who I think will win: Company

 

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Marc Antolin for Little Shop Of Horrors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre

Zubin Varla for Fun Home at Young Vic

Ken Watanabe for The King And I at The London Palladium

 Who I want to win: Zubin Varla for Fun Home

Who I think will win: Ken Watanabe for The King And I

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Sharon D. Clarke for Caroline, Or Change at Playhouse Theatre

Rosalie Craig for Company at Gielgud Theatre

Kelli O’Hara for The King And I at The London Palladium

Adrienne Warren for Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre

 Who I want to win: Sharon D. Clarke

Who I think will win: Sharon D. Clarke

 

CUNARD BEST REVIVAL

King Lear at Duke of York’s Theatre

The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noël Coward Theatre

The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre

Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

 Who I want to win: Summer And Smoke

Who I think will win: Summer and Smoke

 

BEST NEW COMEDY

Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

Nine Night at National Theatre – Dorfman and Trafalgar Studios 1

Quiz at Noël Coward Theatre

 Who I want to win: Nine Night

Who I think will win: Nine Night

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE

Moe Bar-El for his performance in Every Day I Make Greatness Happen at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs

Flesh And Bone at Soho Theatre

Jonathan Hyde for his performance in Gently Down The Stream at Park Theatre

The Phlebotomist at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs

Athena Stevens for Schism at Park Theatre

 Who I want to win: Flesh and Bone

Who I think will win: Jonathan Hyde 

 

WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Neil Austin for Company

Howell Binkley for Come From Away

Jon Clark for The Inheritance

Lee Curran for Summer And Smoke

 Who I want to win: Jon Clarke for The Inheritance

Who I think will win: Neil Austin for Company

 

ROYAL ALBERT HALL AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN

Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid for The Inheritance

Mike Beer for A Monster Calls

Carolyn Downing for Summer And Smoke

Gareth Owen for Come From Away

Nick Powell for The Lehman Trilogy

Who I want to win: Mike Beer for A Monster Calls (this was glorious!)

Who I think will win: Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid for The Inheritance

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Fly Davis for Caroline, Or Change at Playhouse Theatre

Anna Fleischle for Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

Gabriella Slade for Six at Arts Theatre

Catherine Zuber for The King And I at The London Palladium

Who I want to win: Catherine Zuber for The King And I

Who I think will win: Anna Fleischle for Home, I’m Darling

 

BLUE-I THEATRE TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN

Bunny Christie for Company

Bob Crowley for The Inheritance

Es Devlin for The Lehman Trilogy

Anna Fleischle for Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman

Who I want to win: Bunny Christie for Company

Who I think will win: Bunny Christie for Company

 

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Keir Charles for Quiz at Noël Coward Theatre

Adam Gillen for Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios 1

Adrian Lukis for The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre

Malcolm Sinclair for Pressure at Ambassadors Theatre

Chris Walley for The Lieutenant Of Inishmore at Noël Coward Theatre

 

Who I want to win: Malcolm Sinclair for Pressure at Ambassadors Theatre

Who I think will win: Chris Walley for The Lieutenant Of Inishmore

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Susan Brown for Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre

Monica Dolan for All About Eve at Noël Coward Theatre

Cecilia Noble for Nine Night at National Theatre – Dorfman and Trafalgar Studios 1

Vanessa Redgrave for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

Olivier Awards

Olivier Awards

Who I want to win: Monica Dolan for All About Eve (Dolan is excellent)

Who I think will win: Vanessa Redgrave for The Inheritance (Hmm)

 Monica and Gillian in All About Eve

Monica and Gillian in All About Eve

BEST ACTOR

Adam Godley, Ben Miles and Simon Russell Beale for The Lehman Trilogy at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Arinzé Kene for Misty at Trafalgar Studios 1

Ian McKellen for King Lear at Duke of York’s Theatre

Kyle Soller for The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

David Suchet for The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre

Who I want to win: Kyle Soller for The Inheritance OR Arinzé Kene for Misty

Who I think will win: Ian McKellen for King Lear

 

BEST ACTRESS

Gillian Anderson for All About Eve at Noël Coward Theatre

Eileen Atkins for The Height Of The Storm at Wyndham’s Theatre

Patsy Ferran for Summer And Smoke at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

Sophie Okonedo for Antony And Cleopatra at National Theatre – Olivier

Katherine Parkinson for Home, I’m Darling at National Theatre – Dorfman and Duke of York’s Theatre

Who I want to win: Patsy Ferran for Summer And Smoke

Who I think will win: Patsy Ferran for Summer And Smoke

 

SIR PETER HALL AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Christopher Ashley for Come From Away

Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance

Marianne Elliott for Company

Rebecca Frecknall for Summer And Smoke

Sam Mendes for The Lehman Trilogy 

Who I want to win: Marianne Elliott for Company

Who I think will win: Stephen Daldry for The Inheritance

 

AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY

The Inheritance at Young Vic and Noël Coward Theatre

The Lehman Trilogy at National Theatre – Lyttelton

Misty at Trafalgar Studios 1

Sweat at Donmar Warehouse

Who I want to win: The Inheritance

Who I think will win: The Inheritance

 

MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL

Come From Away at Phoenix Theatre

Fun Home at Young Vic

Six at Arts Theatre

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Aldwych Theatre

 Who I want to win: Come From Away

Who I think will win: Six at Arts Theatre 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

Bookmark this page and come back on the night to see how I did, but be quick because I’m definitely going to come back and change all my predictions so that it looks like I knew what I was talking about.

 Cheers!

The Olivier Awards take place on April 7 at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford.