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Stephen Schwartz Musical Receives European Premiere at Southwark Playhouse in 2017

The European Premiere of WORKING will open at Southwark Playhouse on 7 June 2017, with previews from 2 June, for a strictly limited season ending 8 July 2017.

From the book by Studs Terkel

Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, the creators of Godspell and Rags

With additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg

Songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartzand James Taylor

Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Ltd

Directed by Luke Sheppard

Choreographed by Fabian Aloise

Casting to be announced

 

Working The Musical

Working The Musical

WORKING is the extraordinary genre-defining musical from Grammy and Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz(Wicked, Godspell) based on Studs Terkel’s best-selling book of interviews with the American workforce: Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

 This highly original and universal portrait of the American workday is told from the perspective of those that the world so often overlooks – the schoolteacher, the housewife, the fireman and the waitress amongst many – whose daily grind and aspirations reflect the truths of the people that make up a nation.  WORKING employs a range of musical styles and genres from contributing composers, including five-time Grammy Award-winner James Taylor and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lin Manuel Miranda (Hamilton, In The Heights).

WORKING is being produced by up-and-coming theatre producers Jack Maple, Ramin Sabi & D.E.M. Productions.

CHECKOUT OUR THEATRE TICKETS – FESTIVE OFFER HERE 

Stephen Schwartz said of his new producers, “I am delighted that such a talented and distinguished theatre company will be presenting WORKING in London. I look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that the show is both entertaining and relevant to the contemporary British audience.”

Stephen Schwartz is best known for writing and composing the Tony, Olivier and Grammy Award-winning musical Wicked. Other shows for which he wrote music and lyrics include PippinThe Baker’s Wife and Children of Eden. In film, he collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney’s Enchanted, as well as the animated features Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and wrote the songs for the DreamWorks animated feature The Prince of Egypt.  Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards.  He received the 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony Award, for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent.

Luke Sheppard directed the Olivier Award-winning production of In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse), for which he was nominated for Best Director at the Whatsonstage Awards, Night Must Fall (UK Tour) Stig of the Dump (UK Tour), Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ (Curve, Leicester) and the forthcoming European premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher (Royal & Derngate, Northampton).  Luke is the Associate Director of Matilda (Stratford-Upon-Avon, West End, Broadway).

WORKING first opened on Broadway in 1978, under the direction of Stephen Schwartz, with a cast including Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton, Joe Mantegna, David Patrick Kelly and Rex Everhart. The show has since undergone several revisions, with additional songs by Lin Manuel Miranda being introduced in 2009. WORKING was last performed off-Broadway in December 2012, under the direction of Gordon Greenberg (Holiday InnGuys and Dolls, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris).

The new production at Southwark Playhouse will have choreography by Fabian Aloise. Fabian was most recently resident choreographer on Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, and Associate Choreographer on the Australian production. Prior to this, Fabian was Associate Choreographer to Arlene Phillips on We Will Rock You in Belgium, and Associate Choreographer to Ann Reinking for US and International tours of Fosse. He choreographed The 24 Hour Musical At The Old Vic for Kevin Spacey and Jamie Lloyd, and Off-West End productions of Bright Lights Big City and The Drowsy Chaperone. Fabian will be choreographing the upcoming UK National Tour of Our House.  Casting will be by Will Burton CDG. It is performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.

LISTINGS INFORMATION

2 June – 8 July

Southwark Playhouse

77-85 Newington Causeway

London SE1 6BD

Performance Times:

Monday – Friday 7.30pm

Saturday 3.00pm & 7.30pm

N.B Tuesday 4 July – Additional matinee at 3pm

Tickets: £25 and £20 concessions (from £14 during previews)

Box Office:  020 7407 0234

Website:  southwarkplayhouse.co.uk  / www.workingthemusical.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SouthwarkPlayhouse

Twitter: @swkplay

 

Disney’s The Lion King Announces Next Dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance for June 2017

Disney UK today announced that its production of THE LION KING will hold a dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance on Sunday 4 June 2017 at 1:30pm. This follows the success of previous such performances designed to make the show more accessible for those affected by autism. In line with the announcement they have released a short video here looking at how the Autism-Friendly Performance is created. Tickets are now on sale.

The Lion King

The Lion King

Disney’s THE LION KING staged the West End’s first dedicated Autism-Friendly Performance in April 2013, working closely with The National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for autistic people and their families. THE LION KING has now staged three such performances in London and one in Edinburgh during the show’s UK tour.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. More than 1 in 100 people are on the autism spectrum, including an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. Although everyone on the autism spectrum is different, people may be under or oversensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours, which can make everyday life extremely challenging. They can also find social situations and unexpected changes a challenge, which can sometimes lead to extreme levels of anxiety.

Understandably, a visit to a musical on the scale of THE LION KING in London’s busiest theatre could prove an overwhelming experience for a significant number of people in the UK who are autistic.

These dedicated Autism-Friendly Performances of THE LION KING include modifications to the booking process, performance and the theatre environment, including:

  • The theatre’s foyer includes designated quiet and activity areas; staffed by experts in autism throughout the performance should anyone need to leave their seats
  • Slight adjustments are made to the performance itself, including the reduction of jarring sounds or strobe lighting that face the audience
  • The cast of THE LION KING along with Lyceum Theatre box office and front of house staff have been given training to understand the needs of an audience made up of adults and children who are autistic
  • A specific website has been set up for this performance, linking to a dedicated booking page. The website includes a downloadable ‘visual story’ to help people with autism understand the process of a visit to the theatre, thus aiding their comprehension of the experience and reducing anxiety by explaining each step from arriving in the foyer to the final curtain call

Audience members can find out more information and purchase tickets at www.lionkingautismfriendly.co.uk.  Tickets are sold at a specially reduced rate and can be selected on a virtual map of the auditorium.

Disney’s award-winning musical THE LION KING is now in its 18th triumphant year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Since the UK premiere in London on Tuesday 19th October 1999, THE LION KING has entertained over 13 million theatregoers and remains the West End’s best-selling stage production. It is currently the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.Tickets are currently on sale until 30th April 2017 for individuals and 1st October 2017 for groups.

Julie Taymor’s internationally-celebrated stage adaptation of Disney’s beloved animated film premiered on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by more than 85 million people across six continents. Nine productions are running concurrently around the globe. In addition to the record-breaking productions in London and New York, The Lion King can currently be seen in Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo, Mexico City, Shanghai, Scheveningen and on tour across North America.

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THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MUSICAL GYPSY IS AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AND DVD 28TH NOVEMBER 2016

Guess what: 2015’s GYPSY is out to stream and on DVD soon.
It’s a really, really brilliant musical on film.
This film does not just feature one of the greatest musical theatre performances of all time, it features THE greatest musical theatre performance of all times. Imelda etc etc and so on.
Gypsy DVD Cover Image

Gypsy DVD Cover Image

Awarded with an Olivier Award® for her role as Momma Rose, Imelda Staunton (Maleficent, The Harry Potter Series) gives “the performance of her career” in Jonathan Kent’s dazzling revival. Lara Pulver (Edge of Tomorrow, Spooks), reprises her “stunning” role as Louise and they are joined by Peter Davison (Law and Order: UK) as Herb, in this gloriously entertaining musical fable that features show stopping choreography from Stephen Mear.

Gypsy is based on memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, a famous striptease artist back in 1957, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with “the ultimate show business mother”. It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.

Featuring the classic songs “Let Me Entertain You,” “Rose’s Turn” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne, this moving and scintillating production of Gypsy was the first to be seen in London for 40 years.

Let there be no doubt about this: ‘GYPSY’ is, as all musical theatre should be, simultaneously absolutely astounding and absolutely majestic.

Don’t believe me? Just watch this EXCLUSIVE clip.

Coming soon: Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win a copy of GYPSY on DVD!

Jane Asher, Haydn Oakley, Zoë Rainey, David Seadon-Young and Ashley Day join Broadway stars Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris

Full casting is announced for Christopher Wheeldon’s stunning reinvention of the Oscar® winning film (that starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron). An American in Paris features the sublime music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a new book by Craig Lucas. Directly following celebrated engagements in Paris and New York, this critically acclaimed and multi award-winning new musical bursts into life in the West End from Saturday 4 March 2017 with the official opening night on Tuesday 21 March 2017 at the Dominion Theatre.

Cast of An American in Paris

Cast of An American in Paris

Joining the previously announced award-winning Broadway stars Robert Fairchild (as Jerry Mulligan) and Leanne Cope (as Lise Dassin) will be Haydn Oakley as Henri Baurel, Zoë Rainey as Milo Davenport, David Seadon-Young as Adam Hochberg and Jane Asher as Madame BaurelAshley Day will be the alternate Jerry Mulligan (and will assume the role from Monday 19 June 2017).

The company also features Julian Forsyth and Ashley Andrews, Sophie Apollonia, Zoe Arshamian, Sarah Bakker, James Barton, Alicia Beck, Chrissy Brooke, James Butcher, Jonathan Caguioa, Jennifer Davison, Katie Deacon, Rebecca Fennelly, Sebastian Goffin, Alyn Hawke, Nicky Henshall, Genevieve Heron, Amy Hollins, Frankie Jenna, Justin-Lee Jones, Robin Kent, Kristen McGarrity, Julia J. Nagle, Daniela Norman, Aaron Smyth, Todd Talbot, Max Westwell, Jack Wilcox, Carrie Willis, Stuart Winter and Liam Wrate.

In an extraordinary career spanning more than six decades, Jane Asher (Madame Baurel) has been a successful and popular actor, writer, businesswoman and charity ambassador. As a child actor, she appeared in many films and television series including her debut in 1952 in Mandy with Phyllis Calvert. She went on to star in Alfie with Michael Caine; Deep End (BAFTA nomination, ‘Best Supporting Actress’); Henry VIII and His Six WivesBrideshead RevisitedA Voyage Round My Father with Laurence Olivier (BAFTA nomination, ‘Best Actress’); The MistressWish Me Luck; the re-make of CrossroadsDeath at a Funeral; ‘Lady Byrne’ in Holby City and Dancing on the Edge. She made her West End stage debut in 1960 (in Will You Walk a Little Faster) and has subsequently played leading roles at the Royal Court, National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Edinburgh Festival and on Broadway. Her many notable London stage performances include Festen (with Tom Hardy and Jonny Lee Miller); Blithe Spirit (with Joanna Lumley and Marcia Warren); the stage premiere of Whose Life Is It Anyway? (with Tom Conti) and several Alan Ayckbourn plays, including Henceforward opposite Ian McKellen.

Haydn Oakley (Henri Baurel) recently played ‘Artie Green’ in Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close at the London Coliseum. His other credits include the original casts of The Book of Mormon and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in the West End and Passion at the Donmar Warehouse.

Zoë Rainey (Milo Davenport) has most recently been part of the acclaimed Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre, appearing in Romeo and JulietThe Winter’s Tale and Harlequinade. She also previously starred as ‘Nessarose’ in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre).

David Seadon-Young (Adam Hochberg) recently played ‘Carl Bruner’ in Ghost The Musical (UK Tour and Australian Tour). His other recent credits include A Damsel in Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory) and ‘Sky’ in Mamma Mia! (International Tour).

Ashley Day (Alternate Jerry Mulligan) was in the original London cast of The Book of Mormon (playing ‘Elder Price’ on numerous occasions). His other credits include ‘Curly’ in Oklahoma! (UK Tour),‘Dream Gabey’ in Leonard Bernstein’s On The Town (ENO),‘Troy Bolton’ in High School Musical (UK Tour) and the original London casts of Mary PoppinsThe Wizard of Oz and the Michael Grandage production of Evita.

The new musical An American in Paris premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it became the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. A major North American tour begins in October 2016.

An American in Paris features many of George and Ira Gershwin’s most iconic songs including I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, and They Can’t Take That Away from Me, together with George Gershwin’s sweeping compositions including ‘Concerto in F’ and ‘An American in Paris’.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…

  “A perfect integration of dance, romance and classic Gershwin”
 The New York Times

An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by the internationally renowned, British-born Christopher Wheeldon. An Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet, Wheeldon received an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours ‘for services to promoting the interests and reputation of British classical and theatrical dance worldwide’. He is the recipient of a Tony® Award and two Olivier Awards. The set and costumes are designed by the multi Tony® Award-winning West End and Broadway designer Bob Crowley (The Audience; Mary Poppins and Christopher Wheeldon’s productions of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale) with projections by the celebrated British designers 59 Productions (War Horse; London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony).

“Not since ‘West Side Story’ has dance been used to such overwhelming effect on stage”
The Wall Street Journal

With music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a new book by Craig Lucas, the new musical An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, with set and costumes designs by Bob Crowley; lighting by Natasha Katz; sound by Jon Weston and projection designs by 59 Productions. The musical score is adapted, arranged and supervised by Rob Fisher with orchestrations by Christopher Austin; dance arrangements by Sam Davis; musical supervision by Todd Ellison; and additional orchestrations by Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott.

An American in Paris is produced in London by Stuart OkenVan KaplanRoy FurmanMichael McCabe and Joshua Andrews.

Robert Fairchild is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity.

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (Review)

The Mayflower

So, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang…

review1

The stage version of the iconic 1968 British film is not awful. The much-loved songs by Sherman Brothers and the sensational sets coupled with stunning special effects make for an entertaining experience. Oh, and there is a flying car.

The whole thing is efficiently directed by James Brining, Simon Higlett’s design evokes the charming spirit of the original film and some of the acting is good.  Special mention must go to the Simon Wainwright’s innovative video designs, that graphically recreate the high seas escape.

review2

The wheels start to come off once frankly terrible Michelle Collins and Phillip Jupitus appear as Baron and Baroness Bomburst. Their relentless jokes and hammy performances strain for a laugh. The biggest frustration is the pace. However, just revving up seems to take 50 minutes and when it does it sounds like a volcanic eruption. It goes on a bit. The sluggish first act drags along at a peristaltic pace before we finally get to see the car fly.

The final result is a musical that has all the motorised competence one expects of a show but very little feeling. The best performance comes from Jason Manford. It is Manford as Caractacus Potts, who provides the show with what it mostly lacks: heart and soul. There is, however, laughter to be had from Vulgarian spies Sam Harrison as Boris and Scott Page as Goran. Their physical comedy is well timed and genuinely entertaining. The biggest disappointment for me was Martin Kemp as the not-so sinister Childcatcher. His performance is top-to-bottom rubbish in terms of characterisation and villainy.?

The second act is a fiasco; a sloppy samba section and a reprise that runs like a Ford KA and corners like a Robin Reliant. The car flying is quite something but I was left feeling uninspired by Manford sauntering in and out of the vehicle as if he’d driven a milkfloat, yet this spirited production rarely takes itself too seriously.

review3

Movie-musicals are not usually a good idea. Let’s hope and pray we come across again someday a new musical based on an original idea. It’s probably somewhere approaching fun. The five year old in front of me seemed to be enjoying himself. Not great, not awful. Good at times in fact. I admire Chitty’s temperament. Maybe we could all learn from Chitty. Overall I’d give it a cautious thumbs-up.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang runs until Sunday February 21. Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or visit mayflower.org.uk

Seussical (18 and 19 July)

seussical

We did it!

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Some feedback…

“Thank you very much for such an amazing production of Seussical! We were all so impressed, the kids did an amazing job, so thanks to you, Ryan and Rob for all your time and effort. You did a brilliant job! image

“Now that I have had time to just think about the show, I wanted to repeat my
congratulations. It is no small feat to get such a level of consistent high standard
from one pre 16 age group, but from a cast covering such an age range it
was pretty amazing. I loved the fact that the ‘little people’ showed the same
level of stage discipline as the older ones.”

“It is so good to see the Young Theatre Royal going from strength to strength. We are sure this is important not just for the Theatre but for the City and, of course, the young people themselves.”

“There is a large groundswell of opinion that we are very lucky that our children can be a part of your productions.”

Onwards