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Broadcaster Paddy O’Connell hosts Company post-show Q & A with Patti LuPone, Rosalie Craig & Marianne Elliott

Paddy O'Connell
Paddy O'Connell

Paddy O’Connell

To celebrate last week’s successful release of the cast recording as well as two prestigious Critics’ Circle Awards for Marianne Elliott’s critically acclaimed production of Company, broadcaster Paddy O’Connell will be hosting a post-show Q and A at the Gielgud Theatre, with two of the show’s stars – Rosalie Craig, who plays the central role of Bobbie and Patti LuPone, who plays Joanne.  They will be joined by the Olivier and Tony award-winning director,Marianne Elliott who conceived and directed this extraordinary production, which has also received two Evening Standard Theatre Awards.  Company runs in the West End until 30 March 2019. 

Paddy O’Connell, who presents BBC Radio 4’s Sunday morning programme, Broadcasting House said:   ‘I’m so excited to have the opportunity to speak to these three glorious women, all at the top of their game.  This amazing and unique production of Company has been one of the theatre highlights of my year, and I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to ask  them questions about the show, their careers and throwing the floor open to the audience.’

 The Q & A is free to anyone who attends Company at the Gielgud Theatre on 11 February 2019.

The full cast of Company is: Rosalie Craig as Bobbie, Patti LuPone as Joanne, Mel Giedroyc as Sarah, Jonathan Bailey as Jamie, George Blagden as PJ, Ashley Campbell as Peter, Richard Fleeshman as Andy, Alex Gaumond as Paul, Richard Henders as David, Ben Lewis as Larry, Daisy Maywoodas Susan, Jennifer Saayeng as Jenny, Matthew Seadon-Young as Theo and Gavin Spokes as Harry.  Joining them are:  Michael Colbourne, Francesca Ellis, Ewan Gillies, Grant Neal and Jaimie Pruden.

 At Bobbie’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why she isn’t married; why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to have a family. The multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs include The Ladies who Lunch, Being Alive, Side by Side and You Could Drive a Person Crazy.

Rosalie Craig won the Evening Standard Theatre award for Best Musical Performance for her role as Bobbie in Company.  Her theatre credits include:  Jez Butterworth’s award-winning play, The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre Marianne Elliott’s production of The Light Princess, for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress in a Musical and was nominated for an Olivier Award, Rosalind in As You Like It, The Threepenny Opera and London Road– all for the National Theatre.  Other theatre includes: City of Angels for the Donmar, Lady Macduff in Macbeth for Manchester International Festival, directed by Kenneth Branagh, Sylvia in the musical Finding Neverland and the title role in Miss Julie at Chichester Festival Theatre.  Her film and TV credits include: London Road, Spooks, and Casanova.

Patti LuPone, who performed Don’t Cry for me Argentina at the Grammy’s last year returned to London to make her first appearance in a West End musical for over 25 years with this production of Company.  Her previous London theatre credits include originating the role of Fantine in Les Misérables, an Olivier-award winning role in The Cradle will Rock and creating the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.  Her numerous Broadway credits  include: originating the role of Eva Peron in Evita, Gypsy, Sweeney ToddAnything Goes, and Master Class.  Her many films include: HeistDriving Miss Daisy and Witness.  TV includes: American Horror Story, GleeUgly BettyWill & Grace (as herself), Frasier (1998 Emmy nomination) and Law & Order.  LuPone, who is a graduate of the first class of the Drama Division of New York’s Juilliard School and a founding member of John Houseman’s The Acting Company, is the author of the The New York Times bestseller Patti LuPone: A Memoir.

Marianne Elliott, Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in 2016 with producer Chris Harper, was awarded an OBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List for her services to theatre. Elliott is the first woman in Broadway history to win two Tony Awards for Best Director and her recent Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America received the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.  Angels in America at the National Theatre also received the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play. Marianne’s ground-breaking production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time received 7 Olivier Awards in London, including Best New Play and Best Director and 5 Tony Awards for its run on Broadway, including Best Play and Best Director and is currently running at the Picadilly Theatre.  Her production of Saint Joan earned her the Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play and Pillars of the Community earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.  War Horse, which she co-directed, and has been seen by over 7 million people world-wide, has now embarked on a new international tour for 2019/20.

Joining director Marianne Elliott on the creative team are:  choreographer Liam Steel,  musical supervisor and conductor Joel Fram, designer Bunny Christie, lighting designer Neil Austin, sound designer Ian Dickinson (for Autograph Sound), illusions designer Chris Fisher, orchestrator David Cullen, dance arranger Sam Davis and casting directors Alastair Coomer CDG and Charlotte Sutton CDG.

Company is  produced by Elliott & Harper Productions, Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment, Jujamcyn Theaters, LD Entertainment, David Mirvish, Aged in Wood Productions/Ricardo F Hornos, Bob Boyett/Tom Miller, Bruno Wang Productions/Salman Al-Rashid, Across the Pond Theatricals/Trio Theatricals and Greek St Productions/Christopher Ketner.

 

2018 cast recording of Marianne Elliott’s musical of Company available for downloading from midnight tonight

2018 CAST RECORDING OF MARIANNE ELLIOTT'S MUSICAL OF COMPANY

WARNER CLASSICS and ELLIOTT & HARPER PRODUCTIONS announce the digital download and streaming release of COMPANY – 2018 London Cast Recording  – Friday, 12.01 am, 1st February 2019.

Marianne Elliott directs Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s legendary musical comedy about life, love and marriage, with performances at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre until 30th March 2019.  The critically acclaimed hit musical of 2018 begins at Bobbie’s (Rosalie Craig) 35th birthday party with all her friends wondering why she isn’t married, why she can’t find the right man and why she can’t settle down and have a family. The multi-award-winning musical comedy includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs, CompanyYou Could Drive a Person CrazyThe Ladies Who LunchSide by Side and Being Alive.

The winner of two Evening Standard Theatre Awards and two Critics Circle Awards, Marianne Elliott, in close collaboration with Stephen Sondheim, has re-invented Company for a 21st century audience with a female lead.

‘A sublime cocktail of an entertainment you’d be mad to miss.’ The Telegraph *****

‘It’s glorious.’ Evening Standard *****

This is more than a revival: it’s a remaking.’  The Observer *****

Marianne Elliott, said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that we are able to share our production of Company with audiences with this brand-new cast recording.  We had the absolute pleasure of having Stephen Sondheim in the studio making sure it is the very best it can be.  As we near the end of our run in the West End, it is a joy to have this permanent record of a show that has meant so much to all of us.’

Rosalie Craig who plays Bobbie, added: “I am so thrilled that this wonderful and very special production of Company has been recorded for everyone to listen to for years to come – to be the first ever female Bobbie on stage and for that to be captured on a cast recording is a huge honour.

COMPANY – 2018 London Cast Recording was recorded at RAK Studios in London, November 2018, with world-renowned producer Nigel Wright and conducted and co-produced by, award-winning, Joel Fram.

Starring alongside Rosalie Craig is an all-star cast including, Patti LuPone as Joanne, Mel Giedroyc as Sarah, Jonathan Bailey as Jamie, George Blagden as PJ, Ashley Campbell as Peter, Richard Fleeshman as Andy, Alex Gaumond as Paul, Richard Henders as David, Ben Lewis as Larry, Daisy Maywood as Susan, Jennifer Saayeng as Jenny, Matthew Seadon-Young as Theo and Gavin Spokes as Harry.

“I wanted to record this album from the moment I heard about Marianne Elliott’s vision for Bobbie’s gender role change and very current narrative coming to life in this new production.  There are so many favourite songs for Sondheim fans that take on new meaning and a wonderful freshness on this cast recording, and we’re very proud to be releasing it for the world to enjoy,” stated Kevin Gore, President of Arts Music for Warner Music Group.

COMPANY Track Listing

  1. Overture
  2. Company
  3. The Little Things You Do Together
  4. Sorry-Grateful
  5. You Could Drive A Person Crazy
  6. Have I Got A Guy For You
  7. Someone Is Waiting
  8. Another Hundred People
  9. Getting Married Today
  10. Marry Me A Little
  11. Entr’acte
  12. Side By Side By Side
  13. Poor Baby
  14. Tick Tock
  15. Barcelona
  16. Into Nightclub
  17. The Ladies Who Lunch
  18. Being Alive
  19. Curtain Call Music
  20. Exit Music

COMPANY – 2018 London Cast Recording is available across digital download and streaming accounts now. CD pre-orders will be available soon.

Winner of two Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Best Musical Performance and Best Director, and two Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical and Best Design, COMPANY runs until March 30th at the Gielgud Theatre. You can buy tickets from £25 HERE.

Carrie Reiner, Director of Fundraising at The Albert Kennedy Trust: ‘It’s fantastic to see so many West End productions embracing diversity both on stage and off.’

The Albert Kennedy Trust: Special Fundraising Performance, 12 Feb

Attention: There’s a special fundraising performance thing of COMPANY on Tuesday 12 February to raise funds for the literally amazing charity the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people. I decided it would be a good idea to have a chat with Carrie Reiner, Director of Fundraising at AKT, about Sondheim, their 2019 plans & more.

The partnership with Elliott & Harper’s COMPANY is great. How did it come about?
Jonathan Bailey has supported AKT for awhile.  He has gotten to know our work and young people over that last couple of years and he wanted to help promote AKT’s work in a broader way.  Elliott & Harper were very supportive of the idea of a  Benefit Performance and helped to us to create a great evening for our supporters.

Have you noticed how rates of LGBTQ+ homelessness vary region to region?
As you might imagine, large population centres see the highest rates of LGBTQ+ homelessness. With service centres in Newcastle, Manchester and London, The Albert Kennedy Trust supports a large number of young people in those large cities – particularly London. We provided intensive levels of support to over 500 young people through our three service centres last year.  Also, over 1,300 young people accessed digital services from AKT. 34% came from London, and 24% from the South East.

Company

Company

 What is AKT’s biggest priority for 2019 – considering that 1/4 (24 per cent) of LGBTQ+ young people are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness and what with Brexit etc, etc.
Our biggest priority must be the wellbeing of vulnerable young LGBTQ+ people and ensuring they have access to the support and opportunities they deserve. The impact of homelessness on LGBTQ+ young people’s health, wellbeing, safety and life chances (education, employment) is often much greater than their peers. We believe the key issues facing LGBTQ+ youth at risk of homelessness are a lack of understanding amongst mainstream service providers who are just not equipped to deal with LGBTQ+-specific issues and in particular those of the trans community. Young LGBTQ+ people are often trapped in poor quality, possibly abusive accommodation and/or have low-paid jobs and can’t save up for a deposit. Welfare reform has also greatly impacted on LGBTQ+ people – in particular access to housing benefit.

What role can West End theatre play in society?
It’s a great platform to inform, educate, as well as entertain;  and also to see that diversity reflected in the subject matter.

What do you enjoy doing that has nothing to do with your career?
I am approaching a significant birthday so I’ve convinced myself that a regular gym routine is fun – even early in the morning.  I also enjoy travel, theatre and spending time with my family and dog.

COMPANY feels like a natural show for you to collaborate with – what can audiences expect from attending this Benefit performance? 
Company has been one of Sondheim’s best known and loved musicals.  But, the gender switch of roles in this production – and in particular the addition of a same-sex couple preparing to be married – make it something special.    Plus Patti LuPone’s return to the West End should not be missed by any lover of musical theatre.  The cast have really gotten behind our work and the evening’s performance in particular.  We have two prices of tickets available and the top tier provides a special drinks party with the cast.  They are really looking forward to sharing the evening with our supporters. Check out their brilliant videos on our social media channels.

What are the biggest challenges that AKT face in 2019 – and more broadly – charities in general?
In our 30th Anniversary year, our work continues to evolve.  Young people needing our help now come from increasingly diverse communities so our work has adapted to fit the need present.  We know that there are young LGBT people facing homelessness outside of our the physical bases so we must find ways to grow our digital services, and our research shows that the problem is on the rise as young people from more diverse communities choose to come out at younger ages than  past generations.   We also face competition from other charities, and with the post-Brexit economy looming ever nearer we may see some of our corporate and individual support lessen over the next few years.

What other exciting things does The Albert Kennedy Trust have in store in 2019?
2019 will see AKT mark it’s 30th anniversary, and we’ll be celebrating that throughout the year with special events in Newcastle, London, and our hometown of Manchester. We can’t give the details yet, but we’re currently working on a film and exhibition marking our anniversary. Our National Youth Conference and Gala Dinner will also be bigger and better than ever this year. Also, keep an eye out for our brand new brand identity in 2019!

Is there anything that you’d like to add?
If you are looking for a night out and want to avoid the Valentine’s Day hype, please do book tickets for this special evening.  It will be an evening to remember and it won’t be repeated!

,

Top 5 Shows of 2018 – (the hype is real)

Top 5 shows of 2018 by Carl Woodward

All these shows are 10/10s.

It has been quite a year for theatre.

But first I thought it would only be polite to look back at some brilliantly shit moments.

Chicago returned with Cuba Gooding Jr as Billy Flynn, which was not ideal. Crumbling shows do these things, of course, in the hope of charming the audience into thinking the show still has legs. Love Island’s Caroline Flack was eventually parachuted in as Roxie Hart – reportedly pipping Cheryl Cole to the part. I know.

Elsewhere, the show most likely to drive business into the assisted suicide sector of Switzerland’s economy: Foxfinder. The West End production of Dawn King’s dystopian play – last seen at the tiny Finborough in 2005 – was a crushing disappointment. A starry affair, though, featuring Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) and Heida Reed (Poldark).

 FoxFinder

FoxFinder

However, it closed 2 months early after reportedly playing to an average audience of 40 people. Oh dear. I was enraged at the stupidity of the production.

It wasn’t the only fiasco of the year, though, ‘cos I was also pretty distressed by Eugenius! Ben Adams and Chris Wilkin’s joyless 80’s musical returned to the Other Palace and looked all set to transfer to the Ambassador’s Theatre.

Sadly, for them, a key investor pulled out. I don’t think a show has ever made me want to eat my own teeth with despair, either. The less said about it the better.

Oh, and cult off-Broadway show Heathers transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. A horror of a show featuring Carrie Hope Fletcher. ‘The hype is real’ set a new low for witless PR. Note: Heathers was, in fact, beyond criticism.

Off-stage oddity was abundant, The Tricycle in Kilburn rebranded as Kiln Theatre. In one of the most pointless protests of all time. You want to know the location of this outrage, though, simply take a closer look at the people branding placards; they had the Brexit look about them.

But what a terrific year it has been for great theatre.

So, my Top 5 shows of 2018.

  1. Fun Home at the Young Vic, was a radical triumph. The Tony-Award winning musical based on Alison Bechdel’s 2006 striking graphic novel memoir was all about growing up gay. But, if anything, it was all about the poignantly beautiful inspired lesbian protagonist and the complicated relationship with her closeted gay father. This was an unconventional 100-minute show set in a funeral home but full of life and bristling with ambition. Enchanting stuff.

A sensational Jenna Russell added majestic authority to an all-too-relatable, everyday drama. Russell invoked absolute magic. I sobbed. As did most around me.

Caroline, or Change

Caroline, Or Change

  1. Caroline, Or Change was exhilarating and distinct. Sharon D Clarke made mincemeat as Caroline, a black maid in Tony Kushner’s sprawling civil rights musical. Clarke’s vocals conveyed wilful submissiveness with tenderness, giving the production an incredible, stark atmosphere. Everything about it had a cohesiveness that only the greatest shows possess. Michael Longhust directed everything with exhilarating originality.

The glorious show stared life in Chichester – enjoyed a sell-out acclaimed run at Hampstead Theatre and is running at Playhouse Theatre until April 2019.

Go. See. It.

  1. Company is stylish, charismatic and an unselfconsciously incisive gender-switch Sondheim for the 21st Century. Elliott & Harper riotously rode the zeitgeist with this one. Bobby became Bobbie – a singleton facing her 35th birthday alone and Rosalie Craig embodied the role to classy perfection, which was a relief.

This slick and stylish amazingness also includes two of the best musical theatre performances of 2018 in the shape of Patti LuPone and Jonathan Bailey belting out 5-star, show-stopping excellence every night. Marianne Elliott’s excellent production reinvented Stephen Sondheim for today. A thrilling interrogation of a half-century old musical that deserves all the awards. Bunny Christie’s luminescent set is certainly the best thing on Shaftesbury Avenue.

Company was 2018’s most thrilling and sophisticated musical comedy.

  1. The Producers at the Royal Exchange was very, very funny and beautifully executed. I.e. unmissable theatre. Performed in the round, drawing the audience in, Raz Shaw’s brilliant revival of Mel Brooks’ musical felt horribly pertinent to the present. Timing, chemistry, acting and singing: all note-perfect.

Not for the first time, Manchester set the standard for world class theatre. Alistair David’s choreography was seriously good, too. A side-splitting and hilarious piece of work. Truly.

Anyway, at this point you’re probably wondering what the best show of 2018 is going to be.

Well:

  1. The Inheritance is probably the funniest play you’ll see about AIDS. Matthew Lopez’s two-part masterpiece manages to make you weep with laughter one moment and move you to tears the next. A brilliant rare theatre trick indeed.
The Inheritance

The Inheritance

 This is the play of the year, by the writer of the year, from the producer of the decade (Sonia Friedman), and if the beauty of The Inheritance doesn’t hit you round the head when you see it you might as well pack up and go home because it’s over. Don’t talk to me.

You can be hard pressed to find performances rarely so inspired, defined and compatible with the dozen exceptionally gifted performers. Stephen Daldry’s life-affirming production takes an unflinching look at what makes us tick, success, failure, love and heartbreak.

This is sublime 7-hour play that uniquely explores the lives of gay New Yorkers a generation on from the AIDS crisis, whilst also being a striking love letter to EM Forster and Howards End.

To call The Inheritance a once-in-a-lifetime piece of theatre perfection would be 100% accurate. Hey, even retired critic Michael Coveney liked it and he hates everything and everyone. *thumbs up emoji*

Broadway beckons, no doubt.

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

Shows that have made it to Carl’s  list of  top 10:

 

Nominations announced for 19th Annual Whatsonstage Awards

19TH ANNUAL WHATSONSTAGE AWARDS
  • Hamilton leads the musical categories with 12 nominations, Company follows with 9 nominations
  • The Inheritance leads the straight play awards with 7 nominations, with The Lieutenant Of Inishmore close behind with 6 nominations

Le Gateau Chocolat today announced the nominations for the 19th annual WhatsOnStage Awards via WhatsOnStage’s social channels, the only major theatre prize-giving decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves. The announcement of the nominations marks the opening of the final voting stage (until 31 January), with winners announced at the annual Awards Concert held on 3 March 2019 at The Prince of Wales Theatre.

WhatsOnStage’s Chief Operating Officer Sita McIntosh said today, “2018 has proved an incredible year for new writing – for both musicals and plays, providing some of the strongest competition we have seen in recent years across the nominations. The calibre of work populating not just the subsidised sector, but also commercial houses across the UK, shows a shift in audience appetite for new, challenging and diverse work, and it’s thrilling to see. The WhatsOnStage Awards unashamedly celebrate the best and most popular of UK theatre; shows that our readers pay to see and vote for in their droves.”

Hamilton continues to dominate awards season, leading the way with 12 nominations including Best Actor in a Musical nominations for Jamael Westman and Giles Terera who previously went head to head for the Olivier Award, with Terera winning; Best Actress in a Musical for Rachelle Ann Go; Best Supporting Actor in a Musical nominations for Cleve September and Jason Pennycooke; and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical nominations for Christine Allado and Rachel John, as well as nominations for Best New Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Lighting Design. Also performing strongly across the musical categories is Marianne Elliott’s gender swap production of Sondheim’s Company with 9 nominations, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors with 7 nominations, and Heathers the Musical and Six with six nominations each.

In the straight play categories, Stephen Daldry’s world première production of Matthew Lopez’s epic two-part masterpiece The Inheritance lead the field with 7 nominations. In addition to Best New Play, Best Director and Best Show Poster, the production dominates in the acting categories with stage veteran Vanessa Redgrave nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Andrew Burnap and Paul Hilton for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, and Kyle Soller for the Best Actor in a Play category. Soller faces stiff competition from Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore (one of an impressive six nominations for Michael Grandage’s major revival of Martin McDonagh’s play), Arinzé Kene for Misty, Colin Morgan for Translations, and previous WhatsOnStage Award winner Mark Gatiss for The Madness of George III. Both Translations and The Madness of George III secured 5 nominations apiece.

Best Actress in a Play sees Carey Mulligan (Boys and Girls), Charlie Murphy (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Katherine Parkinson (Home, I’m Darling), Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke) and Sophie Okonedo (Antony and Cleopatra) vie for top honours; whilst for Best Actress in a Musical, Rachelle Ann Go faces Adrienne Warren (Tina the Musical), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Heathers the Musical), Laura Baldwin (Eugenius!) and Rosalie Craig (Company); and in Best Actor in a Musical Westman and Terera are up against Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Tina the Musical), Jamie Muscato (Heathers the Musical) and Rob Houchen (Eugenius!).

Vying with Hamilton for Best New Musical are Eugenius!, Heathers the Musical, Tina the Musical and Six; with Best New Play, between Dust, Girls and Boys, The Inheritance, The Jungle and Misty. The strongly nominated The Madness of George III features both in Best Play Revival against Summer and Smoke, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Translations and The York Realist; and also in Best Regional Production alongside Death of a Salesman, Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual, Romeo and Juliet and Spring Awakening.

Best Off-West End Production is a tight fought contest between DustEugenius!MistyThe Rink and Six; with Best West End Show, between fan favourites Bat Out of Hell Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables and Wicked.

Now in their 19th year, the WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theatre awards decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves. Voting opens on 5 December, closing on 31 January 2019, ahead of the winners being announced at the Awards concert on 3 March 2019 at Prince of Wales Theatre.

Tickets are available via www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk from £20.00.

awards.whatsonstage.com

Twitter @WhatsOnStage #WOSAwards

Instagram @WhatsOnStage

THE NOMINATIONS IN FULL:

Best Actor in a Play sponsored  by Radisson Blu Edwardian

Aidan Turner, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Arinzé Kene, Misty

Colin Morgan, Translations

Kyle Soller, The Inheritance

Mark Gatiss, The Madness of George III

Best Actress in a Play

Carey Mulligan, Girls & Boys

Charlie Murphy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Katherine Parkinson, Home, I’m Darling

Patsy Ferran, Summer and Smoke

Sophie Okonedo, Antony and Cleopatra

Best Actor in a Musical sponsored by The Umbrella Rooms

Giles Terera, Hamilton

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Tina the Musical

Jamael Westman, Hamilton

Jamie Muscato, Heathers the Musical

Rob Houchen, Eugenius!

Best Actress in a Musical sponsored by Café de Paris

Adrienne Warren, Tina the Musical

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Heathers the Musical

Laura Baldwin, Eugenius!

Rachelle Ann Go, Hamilton

Rosalie Craig, Company

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Adetomiwa Edun, Translations

Adrian Scarborough, The Madness of George III

Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance

Chris Walley, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Best Supporting Actress in a Play sponsored by Tonic Theatre

Debra Gillett, The Madness of George III

Michelle Fairley, Julius Caesar

Michelle Fox, Translations

Sian Thomas, Home, I’m Darling

Vanessa Redgrave, The Inheritance

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Cleve September, Hamilton

Daniel Buckley, Eugenius!

Jason Pennycooke, Hamilton

Jonathan Bailey, Company

Richard Fleeshman, Company

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical sponsored by Newman Displays

Christine Allado, Hamilton

Jodie Steele, Heathers

Patti LuPone, Company

Rachel John, Hamilton

Vicky Vox, Little Shop of Horrors

Best New Play sponsored by JHI Marketing

Dust

Girls & Boys

The Inheritance

The Jungle

Misty

Best New Musical sponsored by The Hospital Club

Eugenius!

Heathers

Hamilton

Tina the Musical

Six

 

 

Best Play Revival

Summer and Smoke

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

The Madness of George III

Translations

The York Realist

 

Best Musical Revival sponsored by R&H Theatricals

Chess

Company

The King & I

Little Shop of Horrors

Me and My Girl

 

Best Direction

Andy Fickman, Heathers

Marianne Elliott, Company

Michael Grandage, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six

Drew McOnie, Strictly Ballroom

Liam Steel, Company

Lizzi Gee, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Costume Design

Catherine Martin, Strictly Ballroom

Catherine Zuber, The King & I

Gabriella Slade, Six

Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Tom Scutt, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Set Design

Bunny Christie, Company

Es Devlin, Girls & Boys

Miriam Buether, The Jungle

Rae Smith, Translations

Tom Scutt, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Lighting Design sponsored by White Light

Ben Cracknell, Heathers

Howard Hudson, Little Shop of Horrors

Howell Binkley, Hamilton

Neil Austin, Company

Tim Deiling, Six

 

 

Best Video Design sponsored by PRG XL Video

Daniel Denton, Misty

Dick Straker, A Monster Calls

Luke Halls, The Lehman Trilogy

Nina Dunn, The Assassination of Katie Hopkins

Terry Scruby, Chess

 

Best Off-West End Production sponsored by Les Misérables

Dust

Eugenius!

Misty

The Rink

Six the Musical

 

Best Regional Production sponsored by MTI Europe

Death of a Salesman

The Madness of George III

Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual

Romeo and Juliet

Spring Awakening

Best Original Cast Recording

Bat Out of Hell

Come From Away

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

The Grinning Man

Six

Best Show Poster

The Inheritance

The Jungle

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Little Shop of Horrors

Tina the Musical

Best West End Show sponsored by Joe Allen

Bat Out of Hell

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

Kinky Boots

Les Misérables

Wicked

COMPANY is exciting, fresh and relevant

Further proof, if it were needed, there’s not a single theatre format that can’t be improved by the presence of Marianne Elliott. See: Angels in America / War Horse / Curious IncidentElliott & Harper’s gender-switch reinvention of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy COMPANY, will go down in West End folklore.

Knocked flat by this wonderful musical, I saw stars at the interval, five of them.

People are trying to work out why COMPANY is proving so insanely popular. Theories have ranged from Patti LuPone’s scene-stealing, Mel Giedroyc’s playful comic bravado, to Richard Fleeshman in tiny blue pants, without considering a more obvious possibility. All of the above.

The musical – ambitious book by George Furth, skilful music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim – is all about marriage and single life. But fifty years on from its Broadway debut – Elliot’s entertaining gender-switch reinvention enables a forensic and meaningful account of the pressures on modern women and female agency. Everything builds to an intriguing investigation of commitment, sexual desire and modern relationships.

Deeply brilliant Rosalie Craig absolutely nails the hardest role of reinventing Bobbie: a thirty-five-year-old, New York singleton. Craig’s performance is an unqualified success. Truly. She displays all the quick-fire shrewd observations to perfection and, like all great performers, can melt your heart in a flash. And she’s tailored in her vocal powers to the size of the Gieguld Theatre and the ascending glories of her two solo first act belters: ‘Someone Is Waiting’ and ‘Marry Me A Little.’

Patti LuPone – a Broadway legend of undiminished vitality and comic charm – plays cynical friend Joanne with mega-star sass. LuPone’s entrance at ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ is full of smack and billion-dollar relish. Her performance is out and out astounding and her jaded but larger-than-life persona is truly delicious. A dazzle to watch.

Patti LuPone

Patti LuPone

Elsewhere, Bunny Christie’s chic set is sensational. Lit in it in blue and red neon shades and Alice in Wonderland inspired, it all looks sleek. It’s all the more hypnotising, because clever casting and pure stagecraft is combined with an ability to tug at the heartstrings. This only serves as a reminder of what a great and distinctively talented team is behind this.

In a uniformly strong cast, Richard Fleeshman is hilarious (‘Barcelona’ = joyful) playing chiselled, nice-but-dim flight attendant Andy and Gavin Spokes delivers stirring pathos as Harry – when he sings ‘Sorry Grateful’ I burst into tears, it was kind of shattering. I love theatre that makes me burst into tears. As arrogant hipster PJ, George Blagden is alluring when he sings ‘Another Hundred People’, against a backdrop of two bleak carriages of commuters amid break-out moments of gorgeous movement. Moments later he is wheeled off on a park bench. Fun.

Liam Steel’s choreography is full of precision and shimmer – especially the storming Vaudevillian party game bat-shit craziness of ‘Side by Side’ – the full cast perform this with military precision and it is 100% excellent.

One of the things the show does very, very well – and often with a wry comic touch – is magic. Actual magic; the illusions, by magician Chris Fisher, are executed cunningly, drawing on sleight of hand – it is utterly theatrical. At one point, the female cleric (divine Daisy Maywood), pops up from the floor in a pink neon box, vanishes behind a door, moments later disappears into a fridge.

In ‘Getting Married Today’, originally a bride-to-be (Amy) delivers a nerve-jangling ode to second thoughts and is here invigorated by one frantic half of gay couple Jonathan Bailey. He is the twitchy gay groom Jamie (embodying monotone hysteria). Bailey’s lines are spat out at machine-gun momentum and with bullseye precision – this whole sequence is ingenious and it nearly stops the show.

Marianne Elliott’s superlatively reworked COMPANY never once lets the pace drop. And the results are vibrant; go, just go.

COMPANY is at the Gieguld Theatre until March 30 2019.

Click here to book your tickets for Company

Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical Company extends season to 30 March 2019

Company

Following critical acclaim across the board, Marianne Elliott’s new production of Company – with Rosalie Craig in the central role of Bobbie and also starring Patti LuPone, Mel Giedroyc and Jonathan Bailey – has announced it is to extend booking through to 30 March 2019.

 Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage opened last night at the Gielgud Theatre in the presence of a star-studded audience, including Emma Thompson, Graham Norton and Andrew Garfield. Today the production announced that a further 100,000 tickets are to be released.

The cast of Company is: Rosalie Craig as Bobbie, Patti LuPone as Joanne, Mel Giedroyc as Sarah, Jonathan Bailey as Jamie, George Blagden as PJ, Ashley Campbell as Peter, Richard Fleeshman as Andy, Alex Gaumond as Paul, Richard Henders as David, Ben Lewis as Larry, Daisy Maywood as Susan, Jennifer Saayeng as Jenny, Matthew Seadon-Young as Theo and Gavin Spokes as Harry.  Joining them are:  Michael Colbourne, Francesca Ellis, Ewan Gillies, Grant Neal and Jaimie Pruden.

 At Bobbie’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why she isn’t married; why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to have a family. The multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs include The Ladies who Lunch, Being Alive, Side by Side and You Could Drive a Person Crazy.

 Marianne Elliott, Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in 2016 with producer Chris Harper, was awarded an OBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List for her services to theatre. Elliott is the first woman in Broadway history to win two Tony Awards for Best Director and her recent Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America received the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.  Angels in America at the National Theatre also received the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play. Marianne’s ground-breaking production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time received 7 Olivier Awards in London, including Best New Play and Best Director and 5 Tony Awards for its run on Broadway, including Best Play and Best Director and will soon return to the West End for a run at the Picadilly Theatre.  Her production of Saint Joan earned her the Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play and Pillars of the Community earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.  War Horse, which she co-directed, and has been seen by over 7 million people world-wide, and will be making a return to the National Theatre later this year.

Joining director Marianne Elliott on the creative team are:  choreographer Liam Steel, designer, musical supervisor and conductor Joel Fram, designer,  Bunny Christie, lighting designer Neil Austin, sound designer Ian Dickinson (for Autograph Sound), illusions designer Chris Fisher, orchestrator David Cullen, dance arranger Sam Davis and casting directors Alastair Coomer CDG and Charlotte Sutton CDG.

The producers for Company at the Gielgud Theatre are: Elliott & Harper Productions, Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment, Jujamcyn Theaters, LD Entertainment, David Mirvish, Aged in Wood Productions/Ricardo Hornos, Bob Boyett/Tom Miller, Bruno Wang Productions/Salman Al-Rashid, Across the Pond Theatricals/ Trio Theatricals and Greek Street Productions/Christopher Ketner.

 

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Interview with COMPANY Musical Supervisor Joel Fram

Joel Fram Photo by Helen Maybanks
Joel Fram Photo by Helen Maybanks

Joel Fram Photo by Helen Maybanks

Joel Fram is an international music arranger and conductor. He has worked extensively in the West End and on Broadway. He also happens to oversee the Musical Theatre Writing Workshop at the National Theatre.

I thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with Joel during tech week as he has literally the most important job. He’s making COMPANY happen. “I am one of many people making COMPANY happen,” he says with a laugh. “My job is to look after the music department and make sure we are taking good care of Mr. Sondheim’s score.”

Fram knows what he is talking about. He conducted WickedScandalousSweet Smell of SuccessThe Music Man,and Cats on Broadway and his West End productions include the London premiere of Wicked (starring Idina Menzel).

Company

Company

In many ways, Fram is the ideal ambassador for the new West End production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’smusical Company. Exuberant, concise and full of life. “To be in the room with this amazing cast and our fantastic orchestra, singing through this iconic score – what a thrill,” he says.

Joel is working alongside Marianne Elliot on the upcoming gender-swap production of COMPANY. Elliott changed the character – originally a mid-thirties singleton Bobby – from male to female, Bobbi. Sondheim gave his blessing to proceedings, as well as sanctioning minor revisions to the script.

Being Musical Supervisor on COMPANY must be a career high right? “It has been a career highlight to work with Marianne, the great Stephen SondheimDavid Cullen – all people I’ve admired for many years,” he says. “Steve is courteous and supportive. When Marianne and I were in his living room, pitching this idea for the show, we were making a big ask – switching the gender of a leading character in a very famous, ground-breaking musical.”

Where does he go from here? “I’m not sure what’s next – but for now, I just want to live in this very special moment”, Fram reasons.

Today, though, COMPANY is where his heart is. “COMPANY is the product of great minds, and it seems that this piece was and is very personal to all of its original creators. But as we worked through our concept, it became clear that Steve has a real affection and respect for Marianne and her work. He was willing to take a gamble – and he’s been incredibly generous and supportive every step of the way.”

As for there being three productions by Elliott running in London simultaneously from November with Curious Incidentplaying a limited run at the Picaddilly Theatre, Company at the Gielgud, and her production of War Horse returning to the National Theatre; Fram is thrilled. “I just became aware of that yesterday,” he says. “It’s a notable feat in itself, but it also has a lot to say about a long-overdue re-balancing of women’s roles in the theatre.”

“Marianne is such a thoughtful and inspiring director,” he beams.

 “We are in the hands of a wildly inventive thinker, someone who investigates every single word of text. She won’t settle for anything less than the truth, and I think that is what makes her work so successful, moving and enduring. Marianne works so carefully on the scenes – but she also puts her eye on the songs in the same way, investigating both music and lyrics in terms of dramatic structure,” says Fram.

COMPANY boasts a top-notch cast and creative team. What can we expect from them? “Rosalie Craig brings such warmth and humanity to the role, and Patti LuPone is a remarkable Joanne – to name just two.”

“Conducting actors of this calibre is an honour. Songs are dramatic journeys, little one-act plays; there are some actors you help lead through that journey and some who show you the way – Marianne has made sure we are all telling the same story together,” he says. “Also, I have the most amazing orchestra in the West End.”

What does he enjoy doing that has nothing to do with his career? He laughs. “I am an avid baker – you could say obsessed – so imagine having Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc in the cast! I mean, I can barely breathe when she walks in the room,” says Fram.

“Anyway, throughout rehearsals, however late or tired I was when I got home, I made sure I baked – every single day. Let’s just say I’ve heard that I have some big fans in the company – well, ­fans of my biscuits, at any rate. And I take requests.”

I ask him to choose between musicals Gypsy or Follies. “Oh God. That is a very tough question.” Pause.

“I don’t think there could be a life without either… I would say the best way to answer is: ‘Waiting Around for the Girls Upstairs’ and ‘If Momma Was Married.’ So, both.”

Company runs at the Gielgud Theatre from 26 September to 22 December 2018.

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First Look: Rehearsal Images: Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical COMPANY directed by Marianne Elliott