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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.

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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

Company and tour announced for Leo Butler’s ALL YOU NEED IS LSD, a Told by an Idiot / Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-production

All You Need Is LSD
All You Need Is LSD

All You Need Is LSD

Joining Told by an Idiot’s Artistic Director Paul Hunter, Associate Idiot Stephen Harper co-directs All You Need Is LSD, his first directing role with the company. A co-production from Told by an Idiot and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the cast is Annie Fitzmaurice, Jack Hunter, Sophie Mercell and George Potts. The production premieres at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and tours to Liverpool, Bristol, Salford and Coventry.

All You Need is LSD is an exhilarating new comedy written by acclaimed playwright Leo Butler, after he accepted an invitation from former government drugs tsar Professor David Nutt to be a guinea pig in the world’s first LSD trials since the 1960s.

Part history, part wild fantasy, All You Need Is LSD playfully dissects a drugs debate that won’t go away and examines the freedom we have to make our own choices in life, and death. Exploring Professor Nutt’s infamous claims about the therapeutic benefits and supposed risks of ‘recreational’ drugs, Leo questions if the world still needs a ‘psychedelic revolution.’

Leo Butler, playwright: ‘This play takes inspiration from a lifetime of my experiences – from a misspent youth through to the responsibilities of fatherhood, and from being a guinea pig in medical trials to actually creating the play itself. I was delighted that The REP was as excited as me to find out what this play could be and, along with The REP, Told by an Idiot were the ideal fit in bringing it to life. I can’t wait to see it unfold on stage – the next step in an already extraordinary journey.’

Paul Hunter, Artistic Director, Told by an Idiot / co-director, All You Need Is LSD‘It is a joy to create All You Need Is LSD with such a great blend of experienced and fresh Idiots and to be working with The REP again – it feels like the perfect team to bring Leo’s unpredictable, absurd and trippy play to the stage. Stephen Harper has been associated with Told by an Idiot for many years and I am delighted he is joining me to co-direct, and that fellow Associate Idiot, Annie Fitzmaurice, also forms part of the company. Jack Hunter and Sophie Mercell, who were introduced to the company in January 2018 during Let Me Play The Lion Too – our recent improvisational experiment with emerging disabled and non-disabled performers. It is great to continue a relationship with them, to welcome George Potts for the first time.’

 Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director, Birmingham Repertory Theatre: ‘The drugs debate is one that won’t go away and All You Need Is LSD is a fascinating and poignant look at the issue that fits perfectly with our commitment to work that examines mental health. We’re thrilled to be working with Leo to develop his latest play following our collaboration with him earlier this year on Woyzeck and I’m also particularly delighted to be partnering with Told by an Idiot in bringing Leo’s exhilarating and original new comedy to life in Birmingham.’

 The production is designed by Sophia Clist with Lighting by Alex Boucher and Sound / Composition by Sophie Cotton. Beth Kapila is Assistant Director. Tessa Walker, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Associate Director is Creative Consultant.

LISTINGS DETAILS

Venue Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Dates 
4 – 13 October 2018 at 8pm (9 October at 7pm); + 11 and 13 October at 2:30pm
Tickets birmingham-rep.co.uk / 0121 236 4455 / From £10

 

Venue Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Dates 
16-20 October 2018 at 7.30pm + 20 October at 2pm
Tickets unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk / 0151 709 4988 / £12 – £16 (£10.50 concessions)

Venue Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
Dates 
1 – 3 November 2018 at 7.30pm; + 3 November at 2pm
Tickets tobaccofactorytheatres.com / 0117 902 0344 / from £12 (limited availability)

 

Venue The Lowry, Salford
Dates 
6 – 10 November 2018 at 8pm
Tickets thelowry.com / 0843 208 6000 / £12 (£10 concessions)

Venue Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Dates 
15 – 17 November 2018 at 7.45pm + 17 November at 2.30pm
Tickets belgrade.co.uk / 024 7655 3055 / £12-14.75 (£9-£12.75 concessions)

 

Complete casting announced for Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical Company directed by Marianne Elliott

Jonathan Bailey and Alex Gaumond (Alex Rumford)
Jonathan Bailey and Alex Gaumond (Alex Rumford)

Jonathan Bailey and Alex Gaumond (Alex Rumford)

The complete cast was announced today for Marianne Elliott’s highly anticipated new production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY which opens at the Gielgud Theatre from 26 September 2018.

JONATHAN BAILEY will play Jamie (originally written as the female character, Amy) and ALEX GAUMOND will play his devoted fiancée – Paul.

Stephen Sondheim and Marianne Elliott have been working closely together on the script and have re-imagined these two characters as a gay couple for the very first time.  Director Marianne Elliott said: I could not be more thrilled that Stephen Sondheim agreed to turn Amy into Jamie. I hope it makes this production feel very, very now.  We are keeping the existing dialogue, and not changing the famous scene in which the character gets cold feet about their impending marriage and sings the iconic “I’m not getting married today.’  The characters of Jamie and Paul feel like a lot of the contemporary gay male friends I know.’

Jonathan Bailey’s recent television work includes: Broadchurch, WIA, Chewing Gum and Doctor Who.  His theatre credits includeThe York Realist, King Lear with Ian McKellen for the Chichester Festival Theatre, American Psycho at the Almeida and Othello at the National Theatre.  His films credits include The Mercy, Christ the Lord, Testament of Youth and St Trinians.

Alex Gaumond’s West End musical credits include Miss Trunchbull in the RSC’s Matilda, We Will Rock You, and Legally Blonde – The Musical.  Other theatre credits include ENO’s Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson, Taming of the Shrew at the Globe,Caroline or Change at the Chichester Festival Theatre and A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic.  His films include The Hustle andHampstead.

Also announced today is DAISY MAYWOOD as Susan.  Daisy’s theatre credits include The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk at Wilton’s Music Hall and on tour, Promises Promises at Southwark Playhouse, Wonder.Land  and Carrie Cracknell’s Medea for the National Theatre and A Chorus Line at the London Palladium.  She also appeared in Rufus Norris’ film London Road.

The complete cast for 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 Nealand 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, 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 continues to tour internationally. 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 is on its second UK tour.

Joining director Marianne Elliott on the creative team for Company are:  choreographer Liam Steel, designer, musical supervisor and conductor Joel FramBunny 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 ProductionsCatherine 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.

Richard Fleeshman & George Blagden amongst new cast members announced for Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Musical Company

COMPANY
COMPANY

COMPANY

Further casting was announced today (Friday 29 June 2018) for Marianne Elliott’s highly anticipated new production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY which previews from 26 September 2018.  Cast already announced are: Rosalie Craig in the central role of Bobbie, Broadway star Patti LuPone as Joanne and Mel Giedroyc as Sarah.

Announced today are the actors playing Bobbie’s three boyfriends: RICHARD FLEESHMAN as Andy, GEORGE BLAGDEN as PJ and MATTHEW SEADON-YOUNG as Theo. All three characters have been re-gendered for this new production, which includes their classic song You Could Drive a Person Crazy. Stephen Sondheim has renamed the roles. Andy was originally April, PJ was originally Marta and Theo was Kathy.

Also announced today are: GAVIN SPOKES as Harry, who is married to Sarah (Mel Giedroyc), RICHARD HENDERS andJENNIFER SAAYENG playing David and Jenny, ASHLEY CAMPBELL as Peter and BEN LEWIS playing opposite Patti LuPoneas Joanne’s husband Larry.

Richard Fleeshman is currently starring in the UK and Ireland tour of Sting’s new musical, The Last Ship.  His many other credits include: the lead role of Sam Wheat in Ghost the Musical on Broadway and in the West End, Legally Blonde the Musical, Guys and DollsDamsel in Distress and UrineTown: The Musical.  His television work includes Call the Midwife, the lead role in the six part BBC series,  All the Small Things, and Craig in Coronation Street.

George Blagden, is currently playing the lead role of Louis XIV in Versailles on BBC TV and playing Damis in Tartuffe at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.  His other theatre work includes Jamie Lloyd’s The Pitchfork Disney at Shoreditch Town Hall andPlatinum at Hampstead Theatre.  He played Grantaire in the film version of Les Miserables and other TV work includes Black Mirror: Hang the DJ (Netflix) and Athelstan in The Vikings.

Matthew Seadon-Young recently appeared in Sondheim’s Assassins at the Gate Theatre in Dublin.  His other stage work includes: Big FishBeautiful in the West End, Sweeney Todd for English National Opera and UrineTown: The Musical.  He also appeared in the feature film, Pride.

Gavin Spokes starred in James Graham’s play Quiz in the West End and at Chichester Festival Theatre.  His other theatre work includes: Against at the Almeida Theatre, Carousel for English National Opera, he received an Olivier-award nomination for his role as Nicely Nicely in Guys and Dolls in the West End, 1984 at the Almeida and in the West End, Francis Henshall in the National Theatre production of One Man, Two Guvnors and Oliver Hardy in Laurel and Hardy at the Watermill.  His TV credits include: Man Down and Utopia for Channel 4.

Richard Henders’ National Theatre credits include The Beaux Stratagem, The White Guard and Trevor Nunn’s productions ofAnything Goes, Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Cherry Orchard, and John Caird’s production of Candide.  His TV work includes Warren in KingdomThe Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Foyle’s War.

Jennifer Saayeng’s recent theatre credits include: Caroline or Change at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Ragtime at the Charing Cross Theatre, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and City of Angels at the Donmar Theatre, The Etienne Sisters at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Her TV work includes Vera, Eastenders and Emerald City.

Ashley Campbell recently played Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live from Vegas at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. His other theatre credits include Sunny Afternoon in the West End, The Color Purple at the Menier Factory, Five Guys Named Moe at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and he recently completed a season at the RSC in Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth, The Roverand Two Noble Kinsmen.   He features in the 2017 film: Mamma Mia: Here we Go Again! with Cher.

Ben Lewis is currently appearing as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End.  His many other credits include: Annie Get your Gun at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Forbidden Broadway at the Vaudeville Theatre,Side by Side by Sondheim at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, A Little Night Music for Opera Australia, Monty Python’s Spamalot andPriscilla, Queen of the Desert.  Ben played the Phantom the filmed version of Love Never Dies.

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, 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 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List 2018 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 Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor (Andrew Garfield) and Best Featured Actor (Nathan Lane).  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. It continues to tour internationally. 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 is on its second UK tour.

Joining Marianne Elliott on the creative team for Company are:  musical supervisor and conductor Joel Fram, choreographer Liam Steel, 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.  Further casting will be announced shortly.

The producers for Company at the Gielgud Theatre are: Elliott & Harper ProductionsCatherine 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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So I went along to the launch of Company

On reading the phrase ‘An invitation to the official launch of Elliott & Harper’s revival of Company at Joe Allen with director Marianne Elliott & cast members Rosalie Craig, Broadway legend Patti LuPone and Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyctogether in one sentence you know you’re in for quite a treat.

I mean, it’s not every day you get the opportunity to join 87 other strangers over breakfast with ‘critically acclaimed’ musical theatre people and Mel, is it?

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Photo by John Nguyen

So, with some degree of excitement I made my way to Jo Allen, and here are some things I noted.

To kick things off, David Benedict, Sondheim’s official biographer hosted an alright discussion with Rosalie Craig who will play the re-gendered lead role of Bobbi, Patti LuPone plays Joanne & Mel Giedroyc takes on the role of Sarah. All four ladies were on top form. Somebody’s phone went off during this bit and LuPone criticised Uma Thurman for her questionable turn in The Parisian Woman on Broadway.

The launch included an exclusive first performance of Being Alive by Rosalie Craig. And what she did was great. Slick, cool and laid-back, As well as the song being amazing on its own merits, Being Alive (aka one of the 1000 greatest songs of all time) sounded bloody good live from a female perspective and the crowd reacted quite positively to it, i.e. they clapped like loons.

Modern technology permitted me to catch the moment with a twitter vid (is that what we call it?) and I’ve placed it below these words. I even put on a shiny filter to create an ‘intimate’ feel. You’re welcome.

The next thing I knew, I found myself with various members of the press at a round table interview with Marianne Elliott and Mel Giedroyc. I took the opportunity to ask them how they feel about Stephen Sondheim originally stating that, with Company, he wanted a show “where the audience would sit for two hours screaming their heads off with laughter, and then go home and not be able to sleep.”

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Ladies Who Launch etc —  L to R LuPone, Craig, Elliott & Giedroyc. 

“Oh God… It is a very funny piece. But I suppose ultimately it is a serious subject,” Elliott says. “Look at the news recently about the pay gap between genders that revealed men are paid more than women, which is unbelievable. The reason for it is that women are not in managerial positions; they are staying at home, they are looking after kids or thinking about going part-time or starting a family. I know a lot of women in that situation – I was in a similar situation myself. It is a very serious issue for women in their mid-30’s because they probably know that if they want to have a family then the clock is ticking.”

What does Mel think? “I love the idea of an audience laughing a lot throughout a show. But I don’t like the idea of them not sleeping – they must laugh and then sleep,” Giedroyc says simply. “But not in the theatre! They must laugh until they are so tired that they go home and then they sleep.” Righty ho.

Company is shaping up to be one of the theatrical highlights of 2018. Well done all.

There were various pastries and refreshments and that was that.

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Company will run at the Gielgud Theatre from September 26 to December 22.