Cast announced for Small Island as rehearsals begin

Small Island

Casting for the revival of the critically acclaimed production Small Island is announced today as the company begin rehearsals. Adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s prize-winning novel and directed by Rufus Norris, the production will open on 24 February in the Olivier theatre.  

Small Island brings to life the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK. Following the intricately connected stories of Hortense, newly arrived in London, landlady Queenie and servicemen Gilbert and Bernard, hope and humanity meet stubborn reality in their epic revival. 

The role of Hortense will be played by Leonie Elliott, Bernard will be performed by Martin Hutson, Queenie by Mirren Mack and Leemore Marrett Jr is Gilbert.  

The company also includes Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Chereen Buckley, Cavan Clarke, Adam Ewan, David Fielder, Amy Forrest, Andrew Frame, Stephanie Jacob, Sandra James-Young, CJ Johnson, Rebecca Lee, Rachel Lumberg, Alicia McKenzie, Daniel Norford, Tom Page, David Webber, Marcel White, and Flo Wilson.   

The role of Little Michael will be performed by Asad-Shareef Muhammad, Theo-Oliver Townsend and Nasri Thompson and the role of Little Hortense by Ta’lia Harvey, Hosanna-Reine Grimwade and Renee Hart.  

Set and costume design by Katrina Lindsay, projection design by Jon Driscoll and associate projection designer Gino Ricardo Green, lighting design by Paul Anderson, composer and rehearsal music direction by Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, sound design by Ian Dickinson for Autograph, sound associate Jonas Roebuck, movement direction by Coral Messam and fight direction by Kate Waters. Associate Director Denzel Wesley-Sanderson with casting by Isabella Odoffin CDG. 

Birmingham Rep announces Tom Hiddleston’s triumphant return to The Play What I Wrote

Tom Hiddleston

Artistic Director of The Rep and director of this 20th Anniversary Production, Sean Foley is delighted to announce that Tom Hiddleston is set to reprise his acclaimed appearance as the special guest star in the critically acclaimed production of The Play What I Wrote at Theatre Royal, Bath, the first venue on the show’s recently announced national tour. Both performances will be filmed for transmission on the BBC later in 2022. The transmission date will be announced in due course. 

Hiddleston first appeared in the show in Birmingham for the opening performance on 6 December and the production received universally glowing reviews.

“One of the most delightful stage comedy shows of the 21st century – you’ll laugh your head off.” The Telegraph
 

“An avalanche of laughs. Laughing so long and so loudly felt as energising and cleansing as going to the gym” The Guardian

When The Play What I Wrote opened in London’s West End, originally directed by Kenneth Branagh, every single review was a rave, every show a sell-out and it won every major theatre award. The Sunday Times called it “a triumph” and The Observer said “audiences weep with laughter”. Now a brand new production directed by REP Artistic Director Sean Foley and co-written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and, of course, Eddie Braben is bringing sunshine to Birmingham this Christmas.  

‘Thom’ has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. ‘Dennis’, on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Thom’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Dennis needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Thom wrote…

With a mystery guest star at every performance, The Play What I Wrote is once again proving a massive hit with audiences and critics alike.

“Pure comic sunshine” The Daily Mail

Previous mystery guest stars have included Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Nigel Havers, Jerry Hall, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn French and Sting. 

“To Kill a Mockingbird” to move to the Belasco Theatre

To Kill a Mockingbird

Producer Barry Diller announced today that To Kill a Mockingbird, the most successful American play in Broadway history, will conclude the current leg of its history-making, record-shattering run at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre on Sunday and will reopen one block east at the Belasco Theatre on Wednesday, June 1, giving To Kill a Mockingbird an unrestricted run in its new home. Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Greg Kinnear will resume his performances as ‘Atticus Finch’ on June 1.

To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Bartlett Sher, will begin performances in London’s West End at the Gielgud Theatre on March 10, 2022, starring Rafe Spall, and will then launch its coast-to-coast National Tour on March 27, 2022, at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY, followed by the official tour opening on April 5, 2022 at the Citizens Bank Opera House in Boston, MA, starring Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, all before reopening at the Belasco.

Executive Producer Orin Wolf commented, “It has been an extraordinary experience to watch every member of this company bring ‘Mockingbird’ back to life at the Shubert.  While it is sad to go dark even for a short time, it is an honor to help this magnificent production continue its historic run in the Belasco Theatre and I look forward to its bright future as we kick off in June.” 

Before the Broadway shutdown in March 2020, To Kill a Mockingbird continuously played to standing-room-only houses. Since performances began on Thursday, November 1, 2018, the production had not played to an empty seat, with capacity remaining over 100% for every performance. On February 26, 2020, the cast of To Kill a Mockingbird gave a history-making performance of the play at Madison Square Garden, for 18,000 New York City school kids. This was the largest single performance of a theatrical work in the history of world theater. In 2019, to culminate National “Theatre In Our Schools” month, Mr. Sorkin, Mr. Sher, and members of the Broadway cast of To Kill a Mockingbird took the play to Washington, D.C. for an unprecedented special presentation at the Library of Congress, in partnership with the Educational Theatre Association. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the special guest, opening the event alongside Dr. Carla Diane Hayden, Librarian of Congress (the first woman in our nation’s history to hold the coveted position).  The production reopened on Broadway on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, with original stars Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger returning to their original roles.  Greg Kinnear succeeded Mr. Daniels in the role of Atticus Finch on Wednesday, January 5.

Set in Alabama in 1934, Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence centers on one of the most venerated characters in American literature, the small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, played byKinnear. The cast of characters includes Atticus’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker, Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, and a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley.

Tickets for To Kill a Mockingbird are now available via Telecharge at 212 239 6200, and on Telecharge.com.

National Youth Theatre announce free audition workshops around the UK

National Youth Theatre

The National Youth Theatre (NYT) has announced Audition Open Days around the UK – a free workshop giving young people audition advice and introducing them to the NYT ethos and the world of theatre making. National Youth Theatre Audition Open Days will be available across the country including Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Northampton and Southampton, as well as online and at NYT’s Creative Production House in London. All Open Days can be found here.

National Youth Theatre auditions advice from NYT Patron and Alumnus Matt Smith:
“Pick a speech that you like, work as hard as you can and try your absolute best, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you don’t get in this year there’s always next year. It’s a great company and if you work hard, apply yourself and bring the right spirit, it’s a place where you can really learn and develop and a company that will nurture you.”

The Open Day workshop explores self-taping for auditions, ideal for those who have not experienced self-taping before or who want to further explore their approach. Following the workshop there will be a Q&A where participants can learn from National Youth Theatre Associate Artists and Ambassadors about upcoming opportunities and what to expect as a National Youth Theatre Member.

National Youth Theatre Auditions Open Days are ideal for young people aged 13-25 who are interested in taking part in auditions to join the charity in 2022.  Successful auditionees can go on to appear in high-profile NYT productions, which in 2021 included shows at London Fashion Week, COP26 and leading theatres in London and around the UK. This year’s auditions take place online via the National Youth Theatre Hub. You can sign up for the Hub Subscription here for just £2-a-month and free bursary places are available. Over 5,500 young people have subscribed to the NYT Hub since it was launched in November 2020 in response to the pandemic. 

The Hub gives subscribers access to over 24 online interactive workshops and talks a-year with industry leaders and NYT alumni. Recent guests have included NYT Patron Ian McKellenDaisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù (Gangs of London) and Emma Rice (Wise Children). Subscribers can also access online resources including a self-tape masterclass with alumnus and Patron Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, Die Another Day), a writing workshop with playwright and screenwriter James Graham (QuizLabour of Love) and a directing workshop with Prasanna Puwanarajah (Ballywalter). On top of this, the scheme includes the opportunity to audition to become an Acting member, to interview to become a Backstage Member and the chance to take part in Creative Leadership training with no extra cost. The Hub platform allows subscribers to connect with a nationwide network of young creatives, access community courses and events and unlock discounts for masterclasses and merchandise. Hundreds of young people around the UK auditioning at their schools also gain access to NYT’s Hub. Young people aged 11-26 can subscribe to the NYT Hub, with 14-25-year-olds eligible to audition or interview for acting or backstage membership.

National Youth Theatre’s (NYT) recently completed a major redevelopment of the north London home with architecture practice DSDHA, transforming the building’s visibility and accessibility from the street and doubling its capacity for professional studio space. Conceived as a national ‘Creative Production House’ for young people, the work will allow the NYT to deliver on its ‘open door’ policy and vastly expand its existing track record of enriching the local community and beyond by providing cultural and social value, as well as enabling the charity’s long-term sustainability. The work also introduces a 250-seat Workshop Theatre to the building for the first time, enabling NYT to  welcome audiences from the local community and beyond. Images of the new headquarters can be downloaded here.

The charity’s alumni includes some of the world’s most celebrated theatrical and performing talent including Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Daniel Day Lewis, Andrea Riseborough, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Ed Sheeran, Colin Firth, Regé-Jean Page, Derek Jacobi, Zawe Ashton, Hugh Bonneville, Lennie James, Matt Lucas, David Harewood and Orlando Bloom. NYT’s Backstage alumni include award-winning talent working globally at leading theatres and stadiums and include fashion designer Gareth Pugh, Olympic Ceremony Technical Director Piers Shepperd, former Unicorn Theatre Artistic Director Purni Morell, lighting designer Howard Harrison and designer Rob Howell. It also includes cultural leaders Rob Hastie (Artistic Director Sheffield Theatres), Lynette Linton (Artistic Director Bush Theatre), Gbolahan Obisesan (Artistic Director Brixton House), Laurie Sansom (Artistic Director Northern Broadsides), Bryony Shanahan (Artistic Director Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester), Michelle Terry (Artistic Director Globe Theatre) and Matthew Warchus (Artistic Director Old Vic Theatre).

LISTINGS
National Youth Theatre Audition Open Days
Book
 here

Mayflower Studios, Southampton
Saturday 22nd January 2022

HOME, Manchester
Saturday 29th January, 2022

Mac, Birmingham
Sunday 30th January, 2022

Royal & Derngate, Northampton   
Saturday 19 February 2022

Cardiff , Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Saturday 26 February

Online, Zoom
Saturday 26 February

NYT Creative Production House, London
Saturday 5th March, 2022

Belfast
DATE and Venue TBC

Bristol
Date and Venue TBC

Glasgow        
DATE and Venue TBC

Leeds
DATE and Venue TBC

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Normal has walked the plank & theatre is in flux

January 2022

As we await the known unknowns of Omicron, one’s sanity becomes an object of speculation among one’s acquaintances. 

I am fed up. Jaded. Exhausted. None of this is normal. Normal has walked the plank.

Life of Pi

I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read this, precisely who I am and where I am and what is on my mind.

Alas, The Music Venue Trust, which represents grassroots music venues around the country, has warned of combined losses of £22 million by the end of January – effectively undermining “the entire ecosystem that is the bedrock of a £5 billion world-leading music industry”.

Crisis management, particularly in a health emergency, demands leadership that’s firm, fast, decisive and calm. This government have failed us.

More than 150,000 people in the UK have now died within 28 days of a positive Covid test since the pandemic began 22 months ago. Every one of those 150,000 lives lost leaves its own story, and grief, behind. 

Unfortunately, hopes of building a fairer society and improving the lot of key workers are being trumped by a wish to return to normal.

The winter has been a disaster for hospitality and entertainment venues. Christmas – the time that institutions rely on for 40% of their annual income – was a wash out for the second year on the trot for most UK theatres. Omicron and Plan B turmoil emptied our auditoriums as audiences stayed home and creative teams self-isolated.

The industry continues to face insurmountable challenges. 

Nightclubs are shut in Wales
, with limits on hospitality, sports events and who people can meet.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, the government has ordered capacities for seated indoor performances are cut to 200 and social distancing is back for at least three weeks.

In the past month, theatre producer Sonia Friedman has cancelled more than 158 shows and lost more than £4 million because of the continued uncertainty. “We are seeing drops in our box office of 25 and 50 per cent. There’s fear, despair and confusion all round,” she said in an interview with the Sunday Times. “The government think we are OK but we are not.” 

Still, in ‘normal times’ live events are estimated to be worth £70 billion a year, yet the Culture Recovery Fund largely failed to reach freelancers, who do the work. The government continues to stand by. 

Pride and Prejudice* (sort of*

Last week, critic Dominic Maxwell presented a vital summary of the state of play, with producer of Pride and Prejudice* (Sort of*) David Pugh stating: “I don’t know how long we can keep going. Some people are giving the impression that everything is fine. It really isn’t. It’s beyond serious.” The production will close in London next month and hopefully tour.

Meanwhile, in the same article, artistic director of the National Theatre, Rufus Norris admitted that the institution will have to dip into reserves after the covid-cursed musical Hex was cancelled multiple times and will end the current run without a press night. “We are recognising that it is going to be grim over the next couple of weeks. But we will do whatever we can to keep open.” Norris says. 

In London’s West End Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye states that the lack of a robust central, unified voice of information is leaving audiences and the industry beleaguered and baffled. “The West End has a body, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), that’s supposed to represent theatre owners and producers. But it has been hopeless at communicating the changes that are affecting show schedules daily basis…” he says. “Come on, people, get organised! You’ve had two years. Productions are on a precipice. Thousands of jobs are on the line.”

Indeed, Julian Bird, the current chief executive of the SOLT and U.K. Theatre, has acknowledged his own gathering irrelevance by announcing he will step down from the position, effective May 2022.

Hex

Bird, who has been with the organisations since 2010, said: “It had always been my intention to think about moving on around the 10th anniversary of my time in the role, which would have been in November 2020. As with so much, the pandemic intervened in that.” 

Well, quite. 

Off West End, emerging work and young talent is once again under serious threat. Also last week, as you might have seen, The Vault Festival, an annual London fringe event was cancelled for the third year in a row. 

The Vaults is an essential part of the theatre ecology – roughly six hundred shows, featuring over 2,500 performances over several months – and is often a calling card for young, underrepresented, and diverse artists. The other benefits of appearing at the festival are incalculable. 

The official statement reads: “We have to make brave and proactive decisions to prioritise and protect the mental health, wellbeing and safety of our staff, artists, and audiences. We work with a lot of vulnerable people, for whom participating in the festival is no longer viable in light of the ongoing developments.”

The VAULT Festival sign above one of the underground venues

Nevertheless, the generosity and offers of advice to those affected from some sections of the theatre community have been nothing short of inspiring. More please, folks.

I have been buoyed by scenes of understudies, swings and covers saving the day – and everyone who has kept theatre going against all odds in recent weeks. Pandemic heroes.

Anyway, let us hope that new medicines and stronger vaccines are reasons for real optimism. Spring will come around and *there is a chance that* 2022 will be the year we live alongside the virus – a hope for an industry so savaged by lockdowns and government abandon. 

If you or your show have been affected by anything mentioned in this blog, need advice or help do not hesitate to contact me: mrcarlwoodward@gmail.com

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Cabaret, review: the show of a lifetime


Stunningly designed by Tom Scutt, London’s Playhouse Theatre is transformed into the Kit Kat Club – and Eddie Redmayne is its emcee – for this jaw dropping – expensive (the lowest price in the top two ticket price bands is £120)- production.

Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley in ‘Cabaret’
(Marc Brenner)

In this grand, in the round space, these Kander and Ebb songs recall, rather strangely, the toughest emotional moments of opera, and powerfully re-render them.

The devil is in the detail.

I don’t think I have ever seen a more demented Emcee. I fell headfirst into Redmayne’s shape-shifting approach here. There was a strange menace to his otherworldly appearance, standing alone, facial features altered by extraordinary makeup.

In his party hat and Bowie attire, Redmayne resembles some kind of pale, alien clown being. Staking the stalls and swinging from the circle – you can’t take your eyes off the Oscar winner. His crumpled physicality is a marvel. 

Like a first-rate evil clown, he twists his impish body and tongue around the slippery role. He also has a beautiful singing voice.

Eddie Redmayne as Emcee / Marc Brenner

This A list casting might have triggered a frenzy, but make no mistake, this is director Rebecca Frecknall’s production — and it’s a radical reinvention with real political intent. Each possibility is laid out with complete clarity and assessed.

Her Cabaret is one of the most visually and atmospherically expressionistic productions I’ve ever seen, of anything, ever. The creative team’s theatrical ambitions are astute and dense.

Mind you, supporting cast (including an outstanding Anna Jane Casey as Fraulein Kost) may have big names to lean on but they make it look effortless; everyone is on magisterial form.

With Liza Minnelli erased from memory and Fosse’s iconic choreography stripped from this production, the audience are forced to confront the dark heart of the material. Julia Cheng’s twitchy choreography sweeps over the stage in waves. The gender-fluid ensemble frequently make you gasp. 

Omari Douglas and Jessie Buckley / Marc Brenner

Sardonic, seductive, uniquely done. This Cabaret is an distinctive, shattering, deeply humane evening. It is also genuinely cathartic, in the great, transcendent tradition of classic tragedy.

In a superb piece of acting, Jessie Buckley plays an anti-Sally Bowles; her subdued rock star approach to ‘Maybe This Time’ reduces the audience to hushed awe. But her voice rings out clear and she in total command.

Buckley gives her character a bewitching vulnerable finish that makes Sally both more life-size and broken than she’s ever been before. Her nervous breakdown performance of title song ‘Cabaret’ is distressing to watch.

Her voice is full of charm and hurt, an elemental howl that appears to affect the fabric of time. Towards the end, she roars with unruly splendour. 

Omari Douglas plays Cliff / Marc Brenner

But Omari Douglas! Holy smoke, what an actor! It would be easy to forget he is up on stage amidst the pandemonium and moments of rising fascism. But keep looking up, because occasionally there will be a scene he is in, and Douglas will be up there on the stage, apparently doing not much more than speak. Douglas gently presents the bisexual American novelist, Clifford Bradshaw.

As it is, the fact this triumphant production has been achieved 20 months into an ongoing medical emergency is nothing short of miraculous. 

Kind of amazing, I came out stunned into submission, admiring the musical more than ever: the accustomed world had shifted.

Cabaret is at the Playhouse theatre, London, until 1 October 2022.

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Guest Blog – iampro: “The Online Drama School”

Online Drama School

In the age of Covid-19, there is comfort in knowing that you can still access interactive drama classes and theatre online.  

What is an online drama school?

An online drama school is one that runs classes virtually, usually in the form of live tutorials, performances, or pre-recorded masterclasses. An online training environment can be beneficial as it gives aspiring actors and actresses the chance to practice and hone their skills from the comfort of home, at their very own pace. 

Although the concept of an online drama school may seem foreign for many, it is something that is increasingly becoming popular. With many having got to grips with all things digital over the past couple of years, bringing drama online is a natural step forward.

Benefits of an online drama school 

With the performing arts industry under increased pressure, now more than ever we must ensure that everyone, whatever their financial circumstances, has access to a rich and stimulating cultural education. Online drama schools can help bridge the gap between those wanting to learn how to perform and those struggling with the practicality of getting to a performance studio in the current climate. 

Many parts of the arts industry are becoming increasingly digitalised. Aspiring actors are finding that remote castings are now the norm and many drama schools that went online during the pandemic are still offering virtual lessons. An online drama school gives its attendees the opportunity to meet and engage with others who they may have never otherwise had the chance to meet in person (due to them living further away, or even in another country). With no geographical restrictions, online classes make it easier to share ideas with and connect with new people. 

For many, the flexibility of online drama classes is the most appealing thing. They give you the opportunity to establish a disciplined routine where it becomes easier to attend classes. Students are not held back by things out of their control such as travel or unexpected restrictions caused by Covid-19, such as another lockdown. 

Another benefit to online drama school is that you can learn entirely at your own pace. Practising when you want to, on your own terms, is something that is both satisfying and rewarding. It gives the aspiring actor or actress autonomy over their own personal development. 

Where can I find an online drama school? 

Many drama schools offer a handful of online courses nowadays. It is a very convenient choice for those who may find it difficult to make it to the studio or theatre on a regular basis. Online drama school iampro, founded by actress Charlie Brooks, is helping to make acting and performing more accessible for all. Led by industry specialists, iampro helps aspiring actors and actresses to develop critical skills and increase confidence.

This online drama school offers a range of on-demand short courses, weekly live classes, and celebrity masterclasses. In addition to this, there are industry opportunities, such as the monthly ‘get seen’ event, and regular Q&As with professionals. These interactive classes are social and encourage group discussion and networking. It is important to have a collaborative community for an online school as it encourages students to connect outside of the workshops and classes, and develop their skills even further. 

The future of drama schools

There is undoubtedly a future for online drama schools and performance classes. Digital opportunities make it easier and more accessible for talented individuals to begin acting and ultimately realise their potential – this is something that should be celebrated. 

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Lancaster Playwriting Award winner announced

Joseph Irwin

A ‘spiky and tender’ story about relationships has earned a writer from Liverpool the Lancaster Playwriting Prize 2022, it was announced today (December 6).

Joseph Irwin
Joseph Irwin

Winner Joseph Irwin, who was selected from 30 entries to win the award, will now have a rehearsed reading of his debut play Mama in early 2022, a cash prize of £1,500, and professional mentoring.

The shifting remit of the competition, now in its third year, makes it unique and is run in partnership by the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University and The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster.

“I’ve been in a state of utter disbelief since I heard and I feel very honoured,” says Joseph. “I was just so happy that someone was going to read my play, I didn’t think I’d actually win.

“I’m really grateful to Dukes, Lancaster University, the judges and the sponsors for the opportunity and I just hope they continue to support up-and-coming writers who just want to get their work out there.”

The 2022 award, which aims to support and showcase emerging writers in the North West of England, was this year open to any writer identifying as LGBTQAI+.

Each playwright entered anonymously, meaning all scripts were judged on their own merit by impartial readers, with no knowledge of the writer’s background or previous experience.  Furthermore, every entrant receives feedback on their script.

 The five shortlisted plays were: 

  • Senses of Responsibility by Lekhani Chirwa, Manchester 
  • Souvenir by Matt Gurr, Cumbria  
  • Great Wars by Laura Homer, Manchester  
  • Mama by Joseph Irwin, Liverpool 
  • Other People’s Gravy by Alex Joynes, Bolton 

Creative Communities Manager at the Dukes Carl Woodward said: “These 5 LGBTQAI+ writers have shared their bold stories with us, the plays are diverse in subject matter, size and style. It is now more important than ever to celebrate their stories.” 

This year’s judges were Lancaster University alumna and prize funder and actor Lucy Briers, Lancaster University’s Dr Tajinder Singh Hayer, Director of the Dukes Karen O’Neill and writer Ben Weatherill.

Judges’ comments:

Lucy Briers: “The panel unanimously chose ‘Mama’ as the winning entry for the LPP 2021. For me, I was immediately engaged with the characters of George, his Sri Lankan born mother Shahana, his white British born father Peter and his old school friend Stephen. ‘Mama’ delicately explores the Sri Lankan immigrant experience, George’s sexuality and the eternal mother/son/father relationship. It’s funny, heart-warming and tough all at the same time. The sign of a good play is being disappointed when you turn the last page. I felt this keenly, and thought about this complicated and heart strong family for days afterwards. A worthy winner and I wish the play and Joe a great future.”

Karen O’Neill: “This is a thoughtful and charming story about the contrast of relationships and their impact on our sense of self. Full of humour and heart these are characters that are new to the stage with a vibrant new perspective. It is a challenging and exciting piece of theatre.”

Ben Weatherill: “”Joe’s writing is painfully true, grounded and incredibly funny. The world of the play is conjured with careful detail, the lead character of George and his family are unforgettable, and this is a story we haven’t seen on stage before. Big hearted and punchy writing set in Blackpool.”

Dr Tajinder Singh Hayer: “’What strikes me about Mama is how it manages to be both spiky and tender in such a deft manner. There will be moments when characters are cutting each other to the quick (often with very dark humour), but then there will be moments of unexpected gentleness and vulnerability. The central character of George is an actor’s gift, but he never just becomes a vehicle for grandstanding; you just can’t take your eyes off him.”

Anything Goes stars attend Chiswick Cinema screening

Anything Goes World Premiere, Chiswick Cinema
Anything Goes World Premiere, Chiswick Cinema
Robert Lindsay

Trafalgar Entertainment welcomed acting royalty to The Chiswick Cinema yesterday (28 November) as Simon Callow hosted a special Q&A with Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot ahead of the cinema screening of the major ★★★★★ production of Anything Goes.

There’s another chance to see Anything Goes on the big screen nationwide on 1 December.

Filmed live at the Barbican in London, our new 5-star production of the classic musical comedy features an all-star cast led by renowned Broadway royalty Sutton Foster as Reno Sweeney, alongside Robert Lindsay (My Family), Felicity Kendal (The Good Life) and Gary Wilmot (Chicago). A heart-warming romance with spectacular dance routines and some of theatre’s most memorable songs, Anything Goes is ‘a joyously shipshape revival’ (★★★★★ The Observer).

www.anythinggoesmusicalcinema.com

Broadway Companies come together to celebrate Stephen Sondheim

Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson
Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson
Broadway Tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Photo by Jenny Anderson

Today, hundreds of members of the Broadway community and casts of Broadway shows came together to celebrate and honor the life of the late Stephen Sondheim. Gathered on the iconic red steps in Duffy Square, participants sang “Sunday” from Sondheim’s celebrated work, Sunday in the Park with George. They included Lin-Manuel MirandaCelia Keenan-BolgerSara BareillesRaúl EsparzaStephen SchwartzLaura BenantiBrian Stokes MitchellJosh GrobanErich BergenLonny PriceJim WaltonTom KittReeve CarneyEva NoblezadaMarc ShaimanLauren PattenKathryn GallagherAbby MuellerJudy KuhnBrandon UranowitzAdam Chanler-BeratTavi GevinsonErin DavieBryan Clark Tyrell, and many more.

This event was co-presented by the Broadway League, the Times Square Alliance, and Playbill. The participants were conducted by Michael J. Moritz. Produced by Erich Bergen.