Get the latest theatre news from our blogger West End Wilma…
Hope you all had a wonderful festive time over Christmas and New Year. I spent most of it with family and friends, drinking copious amounts of champagne and wine (although that’s not much different to day to day life for me!)
The West End and theatre in general have been very quiet for the last few weeks, with things winding down and then back up again. I’m happy to say the last few days have started to pick up again and the theatre news is flooding back in!
Excitingly, the full cast have been announced for the UK tour of one of my favourite musicals, Chicago, which opens at the New Theatre Oxford on 12 February 2016. As previously announced, Emmerdale/Corrie actress Hayley Tamaddon will lead the cast as Roxie Hart, the cold blooded killer who murders her lover when he tries to walk out on her and then tries to convince her husband to help get her out of jail free. John Partridge (most famously known for his role in Eastenders but currently stirring up a storm in the Celebrity Big Brother house) will play Billy Flynn and ex-prison warden turned X Factor winner Sam Bailey will play the countess of the clink, Mamma Morton.
Joining the previously announced cast above will be Sophie Carmen-Jones as Roxie’s rival in-mate Velma Kelly, Neil Ditt as Roxie’s sappy husband Amos and A.D. Richardson as the singing journalist Mary Sunshine. For full cast details (including ensemble) click here.
The Book of Mormon are having a change around of their London cast members from 1 February 2016. KJ Hippensteel will play the lead role of Elder Price and Brian Sears will continue in the role of Elder Cunningham.
They will be joined by Asmeret Ghebremichael as Nabulungi, Stephen Ashfield as Elder McKinley (continuing in the role he originated for the West End production), with Delroy Atkinson, Richard Lloyd-King and Dean Maynard. Get full cast details (including ensemble).
Avenue Q writer, Robert Lopez, just happened to spot South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone in the audience of Avenue Q one night in 2003. He confessed after the show to them that their film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut had been a big influence on him when creating the show. Funnily enough, Trey and Matt had only been to watch Avenue Q because their producer thought they would enjoy it! The trio then decided to join forces to create a new musical which is now known as The Book of Mormon! Eight years later, in 2011 the show opened on Broadway and in February 2013 it finally hit the West End.
Other news this week:
Bend It Like Beckham The Musical recently extended booking at the Phoenix Theatre to 5 March 2016 when the show will then play its final performance at the end of the cast’s year-long contract. The producers are currently finalising both national and international touring offers including a tour of India visiting multiple stadia (or stadiums).
Nearly thirty years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, the world’s hardest working soul band will be touring the UK. Direct from a record-breaking residency at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End, the smash hit musical will begin a seven month tour on 12 October 2016 at Dublin Bord Gáis Theatre.
The National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse, begins a major tour of the UK on 15 September 2017 at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, where it will run until 14 October 2017. War Horse, which has been seen by over seven million people worldwide, completes its record-breaking eight year London run at the New London Theatre on 12 March 2016.
That’s all my news for this week. Later today I’m photographing a hot young model to promote my new line of #STAGEY T-shirts which are on sale now at westendwilma.com. I’ll be sure to share the pictures with you next week! I’ll also be live on Soho Radio this Friday between 9-10am playing some of my favourite musical theatre tunes so listen out for that if you’re around.