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From Box Office to Bon Jovi – Actress who dramatically saved the day now permanent member of Knights Of The Rose cast

Jennifer Caldwell
Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell – the actress working on the box office who dramatically saved the day by stepping into a major role in West End Show, Knights of the Rose, to save a major charity performance – now permanent member of the cast.

Actress Jennifer Caldwell, was working on the box office at the Arts Theatre West End  when the show’s Producer asked for her help. Due to an unfortunate bout of cast illness, they needed to fill a major role in the production as the understudy was already covering another actor.

Jennifer agreed to help and by 7pm she was on stage playing the role of Emily. She took to the stage as if she had been in the cast from the start, and spectacularly came to the rescue to ensure that that night’s performance – a special gala charity to raise money for DEBRA the national charity that supports individuals and families affected by Epidermolysis Bullosa – went ahead.

After Jennifer saved the day, the evening went on to raise £15,000 for the charity.

Astounded by how quickly she learnt the songs and dance routines, the Producers of Knights of the Rose have now asked Jennifer to step in to a permanent role as a swing for the remainder of the run.

No stranger to the stage, Jennifer graduated from London School of Musical Theatre and her theatre credits include Cover Sophie/Ali in Mamma Mia! (West End – Prince of Wales & Novello Theatre), Cover/Played Fiona in Shrek the Musical (UK Tour) and Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet (UK and Indian Tour).

Jennifer says: “Joining the company of Knights of the Rose has been quite a whirlwind. I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with such a talented, supportive and welcoming group of people”

Knights Of The Rose is a classic rock musical featuring the ultimate playlist including legendary ballads and timeless anthems from Bon Jovi, Muse, Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler, No Doubt and many more.

Knights of the Rose runs until the 26th August at the Arts Theatre

For more information on the show visit http://knightsoftherose.co.uk/

For bookings visit https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/

 

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Olivier Awards 2018: A blow-by-blow account

It may not have seemed like it, but 2017 was actually a record year for London’s theatre industry with 246 productions, 15,000,000 million tickets sold, 99 new plays, 13 new musicals and 45 dance and opera productions.

Thanks to a combination of blazing new musicals (An American in Paris, Girl From The North Country & Hamilton) and outstanding new plays (Ink, Killology & The Revlon Girl) it’s a great time for British theatre.

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The Olivier Awards were broadcast live from The Royal Albert Hall on Magic FM, which was quite funny because the unsuspecting public heard the host Catherine Tate, swear multiple times. It didn’t go well. The ‘highlights’ were broadcast into a condensed 90-minute slot on ITV1 at 10.20pm. Tate was the host who promised us a safe pair of hands but delivered us nothing really.

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Catherine Tate

Most of Tate’s presenting carried a frisson of shambles – it was also incredibly clumsy, with an ill-judged quip about the Time’s Up movement and a joke about sexual harassment. She forgot to wear her Time’s Up badge too. Hm.

Unsurprisingly, the ratings averaged just under 600,000 TV viewers (down 40% on the 1 million people who tuned in in 2017 when the ceremony was scheduled in the prime-time slot between 8-9pm.) This does need sorting out; broadcast the ceremony live and hire a decent host.  Cheers!

Anyway, hip hop musical Hamilton opened the show and swept the board, winning seven of the thirteen awards it was nominated for, including best actor in a musical, best new musical and outstanding achievement in music. The Ferryman duly won best new play, best director for Sam Mendes and best actress for Laura Donnelly. The National Theatre clinched five trophies including best musical revival for Follies and best revival for Angels in America.

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The cast of Hamilton

Bryan Cranston won best actor for his role in Network (Andrew Garfield was robbed). Denise Gough won best actress for her sublime performance in Angels in America. James Graham won the award for best new comedy for Labour of Love, which was good news.

More amazingly still is the fact that the Bob Dylan musical Girl From The North Country (which felt like mastery on stage) won two awards. Sheila Atim (best supporting actress in a musical) and Shirley Henderson (best actress in a musical).

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Girl From The North County’s Sheila Atim

There were two rather lovely, but similar, tap performances from the cast of Young Frankenstein and 42nd Street in the first half. Lots of glitz and glitter too.

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The cast of Young Frankenstein

The fiasco, however, was the In Memoriam segment, where Michael Sheen introduced the segment, thanking those included “and many others who aren’t… for your contribution to our stages.” Unfortunately, they left out Sir Peter Hall. Which was pretty stupid but what can you do. Hall was the creator of the Royal Shakespeare Company and built up the National Theatre and died in September last year.

I lost the thread of what was going on and before I knew it American musical theatre legend Chita Rivera popped up, marking the 60th anniversary of the London opening of West Side Story. She seemed happy to be there so that was good.

“We are hugely sorry for the oversight of leaving Sir Peter Hall out of our In Memoriam,” said the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) in a statement this morning. Good grief.

David Lan was awarded a special award in recognition of his work leading the Young Vic for the past 18 years, before retiring earlier this year. He gave a rousing and genuinely political speech. It felt like the show should probably have just ended there. It didn’t though.

There was then a special performance celebrating 50 years of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, featuring Jason Donovan, Linzi Hateley and Lee Mead. The anti-climax of a performance had just enough star quality to hide the song’s distinct lack of brilliance.

You (the audience) have been amazing. I have been adequate for my price range,” said Tate closing the ceremony. Indeed.

Actually, theatre is often at its best when it takes you by surprise and other than Tracie Bennett (her victory lap performance of I’m Still Here is worth watching on ITV Player) not winning anything for her performance in Follies, this year had a pungent whiff of inevitable to it all. Shame really.

FULL LIST FOR THE OLIVIER AWARDS 2018 WITH MASTERCARD

AMERICAN AIRLINES BEST NEW PLAY

The Ferryman at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre and Gielgud Theatre

BEST NEW COMEDY

Labour Of Love at Noël Coward Theatre

BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION

Flight Pattern by Crystal Pite for The Royal Ballet at Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE

Francesca Velicu for her performance in English National Ballet’s production of Pina Bausch’s Le Sacre Du Printemps at Sadler’s Wells

BEST ENTERTAINMENT AND FAMILY

Dick Whittington at London Palladium

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Vicki Mortimer for Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

DELTA LIVE AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN

Nevin Steinberg for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Bertie Carvel for Ink at Almeida Theatre and Duke of York’s Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Denise Gough for Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AFFILIATE THEATRE

Killology at Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, a co-production with Sherman Theatre Cardiff

BLUE-I THEATRE TECHNOLOGY AWARD FOR BEST SET DESIGN

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions for An American In Paris at Dominion Theatre

WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

Howell Binkley for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST ACTOR

Bryan Cranston for Network at National Theatre – Lyttelton

BEST ACTRESS

Laura Donnelly for The Ferryman at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre and Gielgud Theatre

BEST DIRECTOR

Sam Mendes for The Ferryman at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre and Gielgud Theatre

BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION

Semiramide at Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA

Joyce DiDonato and Daniela Barcellona for their performances in Semiramide at Royal Opera House

BEST REVIVAL

Angels In America at National Theatre – Lyttelton

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC

Hamilton – Composer-Lyricist: Lin-Manuel Miranda; Orchestrator: Alex Lacamoire at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER

Andy Blankenbuehler for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

MAGIC RADIO BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

Follies at National Theatre – Olivier

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Michael Jibson for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Sheila Atim for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic and the Noël Coward Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Shirley Henderson for Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic and the Noël Coward Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Giles Terera for Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL

Hamilton at Victoria Palace Theatre

SPECIAL AWARD

David Lan

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Competition: win a pair of tickets to The Grinnning Man

Well, it’s that time of the year when I like to run a competition and, as luck would have it, The Grinning Man’s ‘people’ have chucked a pair of tickets my way in order to draw attention to the fact that it’s a) still on and b) worth watching. 

See the source image

In order to stand a chance of winning tweet (@mrcarlwoodward) me 3 reasons why you deserve to win.

Closing date is Monday 12 March at 3pm.

Good luck!

The Grinning Man runs at Trafalgar Studios until 17 April

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Open letter: It’s time to put an end to the toxic West End PR culture.

Dear all,
Long story short, it’s time to put an end to the toxic West End PR culture.
There are times in life when you have to say, “do you know what, let’s not put up with idiocy anymore.” The Daily Mail’s Richard Littlejohn piece arguing that two dads are not ‘the new normal’ crossed the line. Freedom of speech isn’t a passport to spout hatred and bigotry.

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For too long PR and The Daily Mail have had a toxic relationship with ‘scoops’ being handed over to their ‘Entertainment Reporter’ Baz Bamigboye. London theatre PRs extend Baz preferential treatment — when they owe equal attention to all media.

But the more you find out about theatre, and the more you find out about the way theatre works, don’t you find yourself realising that nothing, not even Baz’s scoops, really happen by accident?

The Daily Telegraph Chief Theatre Critic, Dominic Cavendish summed it up recently with this Tweet. 

Arts journalism and arts journalists deserve better. What are we, the theatre-consuming community, to take from all this? Well we can simply say that enough is enough.

I call on the following Press Managers / Publicists to restore the Arts PR business in the interests of preserving the sense of an inclusive, free and fair press and in recognition of transparent arts journalism.

NT Press Office

RSC Press Office

The Almeida Theatre

Emma Holland PR

Target Live

Jo Allan PR

Kate Morley PR

Cornershop PR

Draper Conway

Royal Court Theatre

Kevin Wilson PR

Premier PR  

Amanda Malpass PR

I will be updating this blog in 7 days time – I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Carl Woodward 

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Interview with the cat from ‘The Lieutenant of Inishmore’

Michael Grandage will direct The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh.

The PR campaign kicked off this week with bold artwork, which features Aidan Turner in a vest – holding a cat. The star of the show is undoubtedly the unassuming cat whose bloody paws hint at the pitch-black comedy within McDonagh’s play.

I caught up with cat earlier this week to find out how his involvement came about.

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Hello cat! How are you?

Fine, thank you.

How did you come to be on the The Lieutenant of Inishmore publicity material?

Right place, right time! I was on a night out with friends at The Ivy Club and after a few drinks I needed to pee, so went to the bathroom and bumped into Cameron Mackintosh who said he was looking for a cat for his latest venture with Michael Grandage. The rest is history. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call saying I was going to be part of the production.

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Aidan Turner

Why do actors pose like Aidan Turner has in your recent publicity shot? Is it because their talent isn’t apparent?

Ha! I think it comes from all those years of rejection. When one becomes a household name such as Aidan their ego can become inflated. I tend to keep myself to myself most of the time… I don’t think Aidan even realised I was a huge Poldark fan but he was very humble. I hope he keeps his shirt on during rehearsals.

Did you have any concerns about appearing in your winter coat?

I may be a bit chunkier than the average feline but I’m proud of how I look. And when you consider what I might have been wearing instead — a pair of boots for instance — I think it’s turned out fine.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is arriving after *another* James Graham play. Have you seen Quiz?

I saw QUIZ at Chichester… I think it’s a good play. I guess after the huge success of Labour of Love, James is in a really different place to where he was before — Ink was such a sophisticated play too, though, know what I mean? It pushed Graham to the theatre a-list and Quiz feels a bit like *another* crossover into the mainstream. I guess James’ profile and the momentum of his amazing 2017 will make it a massive hit anyway, but I’m kind of glad this is the last James Graham play on St. Martin’s Lane for a while. I’d really like to see an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in there. Perhaps Aspects of Love?

The full, all-Irish cast of The Lieutenant of Inishmore was announced earlier this week. Press night should be a laugh.

Yes, my agent called to tell me the news; I think it is a real top-notch cast. I am quite nervous at the prospect of starring in Aidan Turner’s West End debut.

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Aidan Turner and cat

Will you have stunt-double puppets for the gorier elements of the play?

No. I do all my own stunts.

So, what do you make of Aidan Turner swapping Poldark for a serious play?

I think it’s great. I don’t know him very well — that photo was the first time we met, and he didn’t say much to me — think he’s a great talent. Can you imagine the calibre of the projects and collaborators he’s been offered post-Poldark?

When you say he didn’t say much to you, what do you mean?

Well he didn’t say anything to me to be honest. He just stroked me occasionally.

Maybe he has allergies.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

Well Nick Hytner has been in touch, I might do a few adverts. But while I’ve enjoyed my brush with fame I think I’ll just keep a low profile. I’ll probably travel a bit.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore  runs at the Noël Coward Theatre from 4 July until 8 September with previews from 23 June.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 1 OF COMMIT NO NUISANCE a new theatre podcast by Mark Shenton and Carl Woodward

Shows discussed in Episode 1: The Band, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Girl From the North Country, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (at Brentwood Leisure Centre) Witness For The Prosecution & Pal Joey.

Theatre podcast by Mark Shenton & Carl Woodward

Commit No Nuisance

Commit No Nuisance

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Five key shows opening in London in the next four months 

Here are five important shows opening in London between now and the middle of November. (Please note that I am open to doing regional shows and Fringe shows but thought it would be fun to start with the ‘big ones’ – just humour me for the time being)

Jesus Christ Superstar (11 August)

Tyrone Huntley and Declan Bennett both have a natural luminescence so intense that it would shine bright in a Vantablack theatre dungeon. This revival is perfectly at home at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock musical could raise the Titanic from the sea bed. Enjoy!

Five Guys Named Moe (29 August)

How do you think this will do?

It doesn’t exactly feel as if the world of theatre is ‘battening down the hatches’ in anticipation of an unstoppable Clarke Peters musical tsunami. At the same time: you can’t go wrong with a bit of Clarke Peters. (Unless you happen to be the person who designed the poster, who ‘went wrong’ on an epic scale.) Anyway, the cast are extremely talented and it’s on at this new pop-up theatre in Marble Arch. So, ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, etc.

Footloose (12 September)

At this point we are so far into ‘will this do’ territory that you might as well watch the 1987 film.  It’s always difficult to say that a movie musical is entirely pointless, especially when there are audiences enduring it on tour around the country. However, this show, literally a frame-by-frame recreation of the movie, does make you wonder

The Toxic Avenger – (28 September) 

This show is a JOY. Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s cult rock musical lands at the Arts Theatre following a storming month-long run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Watch and learn, lesser theatre entities. This is how you do it.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – (6 November)

This show is a really exciting thing, isn’t it? The new musical by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae premiered at Sheffield Crucible last year and transfers to the Apollo Theatre. John McCrea is brilliant, and ‘Everybody’s Talking’ is a super-smart musical. If you enjoy it, buy the concept album.  

N.B. There are two plays (‘Ink’ and ‘Labour of Love’) by up-and-coming scribe James Graham opening this Autumn in St Martin’s Lane, apparently.