Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act returns for 5 performances

Whoopi Goldberg, who withdraw from Sister Act five days early on August 27 after her mother suffered a severe stroke, will return in October to complete his role as Mother Superior. She will present a show on Friday, October 22, two performances Saturday, October 23 and two shows, Monday, October 25, 2010.

Based on the smash-hit movie, Sister Act features a brand new score by 8 time Oscar winner Alan Menken whose credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and most recently the hit movie Enchanted.

Sister Act is a divine new musical comedy which will raise the roof at the London Palladium from June 2009.

Buy tickets for Sister Act at London Palladium Theatre!

Whoopi Goldberg Joins Cast of Sister Act the Musical for 3 Weeks!

Whoopi Goldberg will join the cast of the hit musical comedy SISTER ACT this summer to play the role of Mother Superior in an exclusive 23 show season from 10 – 31 August. No stranger to stages around the world, this will be
Whoopi’s West End debut.

With singing and dancing nuns, sinister gangsters and a fabulous disco score this acclaimed musical has all the
ingredients for a perfect night out and is raising the roof at the world famous London Palladium!

Based on the smash-hit movie, Sister Act features a brand new score by 8 time Oscar winner Alan Menken whose credits include Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and most recently the hit movie Enchanted.

Book Tickets for Sister Act The Musical!

Pamela Anderson to join Chicago The Musical

There has been rumoured that Pamela Denise Anderson will be joining the London West End cast of Chicago very soon. She has already performed the Genie in one of the London show called Aladdin. Pamela Anderson, Paul O’Grady and Brian Blessed lead the cast of classic pantomime Aladdin.

Pamela Denise Anderson is a Canadian actress. She is a famous glamour model, actress, producer, author, activist, and former showgirl, known for her roles on the television series Home Improvement, Baywatch, and V.I.P.

She was chosen as a Playmate of the Month for Playboy magazine in February 1990. For a time, she was known as Pamela Anderson Lee (or Pamela Lee) after marrying Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. She holds both United States and Canadian citizenship.

Chicago, one of the most phenomenal musicals of our times. Creators John Kander, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse never back off from their bold, yet sinister, promise. Eleven years on Chicago still remains ‘the hottest show in town’.

The kiss-and-tell story of chorus girl Roxie who kills her lover; Velma Kelly, the glamorous double-murderer and Billy Flynn, the slick and manipulative lawyer keeping them from death row while promising to make them stars, has all the topicality of our celebrity-seeking times. It also provides some of the most sensational roles in all musical theatre.

Be razzled and dazzled by Chicago: a true Broadway and West End classic.

Book Tickets for Chicago the Musical!

Over the Rainbow winner and the nation’s Dorothy is Danielle Hope!

The Over the Rainbow Finale is on BBC One tonight, 22/5/2010.  I’m sure Andrew Lloyd Webber, the panel, audience, and two final contestants are excited to see who will be Dorothy.  Who will it be – Sophie or Danielle?
 
Sophie Evans (17) – Wales:
Sophie has been singing as long as she has been speaking.  She gets her singing ability from her mother.  Her family is very supportive.
 
Danielle Hope (18) – Greater Manchester:
Danielle, a full-time student, recently quit her part time job to focus on her studies and to pursue her dream of becoming an entertainer/performer.  Her family, while realistic about the entertainment business, they are very supportive.
 
They both are pretty and talented.  When singing ‘Over the Rainbow’, amazingly they each made it their own with beautiful renditions sounding very different.  The judges feel they owned the song.  The Dorothys also performed a song of their choice.  Both did an excellent job though Danielle’s performance of Mambo Italiano was livelier than Sophie’s choice of song (again though – both well done).
 
The winner will be recording Over the Rainbow as a single for charity available for download after midnight tonight.
 
Though the night is all about Dorothy, Toto deserves an honourable mention – Dave or ‘Dangerous Dave’ is Toto.
 
Just announced — The winner and the nation’s Dorothy is Danielle Hope!
 
Lloyd Webber is pleased with the result and said that the public has never been wrong yet.  Well done to all the contestants and best of luck to Danielle!

Book Tickets for The Wizard of Oz Musical

West End Premiere of FLASHDANCE – The Musical

Sparks will fly this year as the West End Premiere of FLASHDANCE – The Musical explodes onto the stage at the Shaftesbury Theatre from 24th Sep 2010 until 26 Feb 2011.

Set in Pittsburgh USA, FLASHDANCE tells the story of 18 year old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, whose dream is to obtain a place at the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) FLASHDANCE is an unmistakably unique musical about holding onto your dreams and love against all the odds. The show features an iconic score including the smash hit ‘Maniac’, along with ‘Manhunt’, ‘Gloria’ and the Academy Award winning title track ‘Flashdance – What a Feeling’ as well as 10 original songs created for the musical.

Full of pulsating, raw energy and with breathtaking choreography by Arlene Phillips (Strictly Come Dancing, Grease, Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever), FLASHDANCE – The Musical promises to be the theatrical event of the year – so take your passion and make it happen!

Book Tickets for Flashdance The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre!

Hairspray at the Shaftesbury closing early after a terrific two and half years in West End

The West End musical, Hairspray, is to close on 28 March 2010 following a successful two and half year run.

The feel-good musical is based on a John Waters film and is about a plus-sized girl, Tracy Turnblad, who sets out to prove that dancing is for everyone (it’s simply in her soul) and also wants to win the affection of the local heartthrob.  It levels the playing ground between all people – showing no matter our color or size, we’re all important.

It opened in London in October 2007 with Michael Ball playing larger-than-life mum Edna Turnblad.  The chemistry between the actors explodes off the stage and infects you with good feelings and laughter.

It has played over 1,000 performances to more than one million theatregoers, meanwhile grossing over £50 million and becoming the longest running show at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 40 years.  Bravo Hairspray!

Hairspray won four Laurence Olivier Awards in 2008: Best Actor in a Musical (Michael Ball), Best Actress in a Musical (Leanne Jones), Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Tracie Bennett) and Best New Musical.  It’s easy to understand why if you’ve seen the show.

Chief executive Bill Taylor of producer Stage Entertainment UK said: “After two and a half wonderful years, many awards and hundreds of thousands of happy Hairspray audience members we have decided to bring the production to a close at the Shaftsbury Theatre on Sunday March 28 prior to a UK tour.”

“Every show, even a big, glorious hit show like this one, has a natural life and for now it’s time for Hairspray to leave London.

“We open a huge national tour in March, featuring some familiar faces, meaning fans of the show, old and new, everywhere will still get the chance to enjoy the Hairspray experience.”

The production will star Brian Conley as Edna Turnblad, Micky Dolenz as Wilbur Turnblad and Chloe Hart as Tracy Turnblad in the final weeks of its production.

Hairspray is produced in the West End by Stage Entertainment with Margo Lion, The Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group and New Line Cinema in association with others from the Broadway producing team.

Following the West End closure, Hairspray will embark on a UK tour – the first to open at the Wales Millennium Centre on March 30, 2010, before visiting Glasgow, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth, Liverpool, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Birmingham, Bradford and Edinburgh.

Book Tickets for Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre!

A new cast for Hairspray has been announced

The producers of HAIRSPRAY are delighted to announce that PHILL JUPITUS, BELINDA CARLISLE and SHARON D CLARKE will all be joining the cast from Monday 26 October, with Sunday performances beginning on Sunday 8 November.

PHILL JUPITUS will star as larger than life heroine Edna Turnblad. Phill is a comedian, broadcaster, writer and actor who has appeared on British television & radio and the stage for over 20 years. He is probably best known as being a regular team captain on the hit BBC2 show Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

BELINDA CARLISLE will play the glamourous white supremacist Velma von Tussle. Belinda is a Grammy Award nominated singer and actress. Her solo career was hugely successful with global hits including Circle In The Sand, Leave A Light On For Me, I Get Weak and the international number one Heaven Is A Place On Earth.

SHARON D CLARKE joins the show as celebrity DJ Motormouth Maybelle – owner of Baltimore’s biggest set of lungs! Oliver Award nominated Sharon is a prolific West End, television and radio star and recording artist. Her stage credits include Chicago, We Will Rock You, The Lion King, Rent and Guys and Dolls. On television she has most recently appeared as Dr Lolo Griffin in Holby City and as a judge on hit BBC show Last Choir Standing.

From 8 November 2009, Hairspray will be performing on Sundays at 3pm!

Book Tickets for Hairspray for Shaftesbury Theatre

Hairspray Review: A Toe-tapping Night at the Shaftesbury!

The Shaftesbury Theatre is currently home to Hairspray. It is the perfect spot for a perfect show! The classic, Roman decor is beautiful, the seats very comfortable and the theatre laid out well. The Stalls area was easy to move around in and the number of aisles was perfect to help people get to their seats. There were crystal chandeliers, angels, Roman figures, lions, cherubs… all of great detail. There was even beautiful scenic wall paintings above the box seats. Speaking of boxes, there are 8 boxes that seem to have a good view as they protrude out instead of being flush with the wall. People sitting there seemed to be sitting comfortably and enjoying themselves. The lights and speakers were placed strategically so that they didn’t really stand out or take away from the beauty of the theatre. I would comment that the bars need an extra person or two at intermission. The line-ups were atrocious and after waiting for almost the whole intermission, I got to the counter to be told they didn’t have any bottled water and I had to go to another bar. Other than that… staff seemed friendly / polite, the theatre seemed clean / well-maintained.

I’m afraid I have a new favorite! Sorry Mamma Mia (which has moved to a very close second now). The ‘Welcome’ greeting at the beginning of the shows always help set the mood, it seems. Reminding people that it was Baltimore 1962 before the time of mobiles and hoping we could return to that time, i.e.: turn your mobile off. I enjoyed the movie so figured I would enjoy the theatre version, however, I wasn’t prepared for enjoying it more than the movie or enjoying it more than other favorite theatre shows.

Right from the first note, it was just energy, laughter, and toe-tapping songs. From the first song, ‘Good morning Baltimore’… it just didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop moving involuntarily… either tapping my toes, bobbing my head or dancing in my seat. The audience, myself included seemed so into the show. You felt like you were in the audience of ‘The Corny Collins Show’ or engrossed in the lives of some real people. I loved being part of their lives, so to speak. The family bond of the Turnblads was something so nice to see in an age where family sometimes appears to take a back seat. Adam Price was ‘priceless’ as Wilbur Turnblad. Brian Conley was unbelievably believable as Edna Turnblad. It’s sometimes weird watching a man play a woman’s role but it really wouldn’t be the same otherwise in this instant. Welcome to the show, Brian! Good job! I adored Chloe Hart, who as Tracy Turnblad wanted to make you want to abolish segregation and to follow your dreams. She has a great voice and can really hit those notes. You couldn’t help but root for her… wanting her to obtain her dreams including getting the love of her life, Link Larkin played by Liam Tamne. Speaking of hitting those notes, Link did a pretty good job himself! The dancing of all the cast was excellent but most noticeable was that of Seaweed played by Adrian Hansel. He really had the moves! Motormouth Maybelle (Sandra Marvin) is a great singer and stand-out personality.

It’s not just a fun, happy, energetic show… it has meaning, too. It was a reminder that everyone isn’t equal… that people who look different are treated different… maybe not as much as in 1962 but still so. In particular… ‘big, blond and beautiful’ women and people who are not white get the shaft but that changes with the determination of one young lady and the encouragement of Edna, Wilbur, Motormouth, Link, Seaweed, and best friend Penny Pingleton (played by Verity Rushworth)! Go, Tracy! There were scenes when you could feel the oppression and sympathize and also cheer when ‘colored’ people decided to rise above the oppression and take their rightful place in society even with a start like integrating on a TV show.

Of course, Hairspray, isn’t just the title of the show… it does involve Hairspray and boy, they must go through tons of it. I read that 175 hand-made wigs are used in this production and cast go through 80 cans of hairspray a week.

I enjoyed the ‘I can hear the bells’ song, almost got caught up and clapped with the kids at the Patterson Park High School Sophomore Spring Hair Hop, and couldn’t help but laugh when Edna’s voice got really DEEP like when she says, ‘Excuse Me’ when talking to snooty Velma Von Tussle played by Liz Robertson.

The whole show was absolutely fantastic… no question about it. There is not one part that was ‘so-so’ or where you might be bored. One scene in particular though just had me laughing so hard… it was the ‘You’re Timeless to Me’ scene with Edna and Wilbur Turnblad. I didn’t notice until after I got home but my eyeliner had extended outward with nice black streaks as the tears filled my eyes from laughter and I tried to wipe the tears away. It was also touching… a love song between a husband and wife who obviously loved each other no matter what the other looked like or acted like. They were perfect as they are which is how spouses should feel about their other half. Even Brian and Adam had a hard time with the scene as the crowd roared with laughter and cheered with wild abandonment. The cast must have such a fun time with this show.

‘You can’t stop the beat!’ It will live on. I was so impressed with the energetic and brilliant performances of the cast. This is a show I would go see again. It leaves you wanting more. The audience didn’t want to leave at the end and waited for the performers to come out again. Bravo, Hairspray, bravo! If you want a ‘feel good’ time… go see Hairspray today!

by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)

[Rating:5.0/5]

Book Tickets for Hairspray the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre!

Susan McFadden and Aoife Mulholland to join Legally Blonde The Musical

Susan McFadden, winner of ITV1’s Grease is the Word and Aoife Mulholland, finalist on BBC 1’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, are to join Sheridan Smith, Duncan James and Alex Gaumond in Jerry Mitchell’s Legally Blonde The Musical which will preview at the Savoy Theatre from 5 December. Final principal casting will be announced shortly.

Currently booking until 23 May 2010, Legally Blonde The Musical will now play Sunday performances, adding to the growing number of West End shows who are including Sundays in their performance schedules. See listings information on page 3 for new performance schedule.

Legally Blonde The Musical opened on Broadway in 2007 where it received seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk Award nominations as well as winning an Outer Critics’ Circle Award. Currently playing to packed houses on a two year tour of the United States where the production has already recouped, Legally Blonde The Musical has recently been awarded the 2009 Touring Broadway Awards for Best New Musical and Best Direction.

There will be five press preview performances on Thursday 7 January at 7.30pm, Friday 8 January at 7.30pm, Saturday 9 January at 2.30pm and 7.30pm and Tuesday 12 January at 7.30pm, with reviews embargoed until Thursday 14 January 2010. The Gala night will be Wednesday 13 January at 7.30pm.

Susan McFadden will play Elle’s best friend and sorority sister, Serena. McFadden played Sandy in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre after winning the opportunity, beating thousands of hopefuls on ITV1’s reality show Grease is the Word. She is currently playing Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on tour in the UK. McFadden has played the title roles in Cinderella at the Theatre Royal Wakefield and the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin and Annie at the Olympia Theatre Dublin. Her other Dublin Theatre credits include Jack and the Beanstalk, Singin’ in the Rain and Dance of
Desire. She has been seen on television in Relative Strangers and Bachelors Walk, both on RTE.

Aoife Mulholland will play Brooke, who Elle defends in her first court case. Mulholland trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and she was a finalist on the BBC’s hugely popular reality show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? She has most recently played Roxie Hart in Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre. Previously Mulholland played Maria in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium as well as performing in Chess in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall and Dance of Desire at the Black Box, Ireland. Her television credits include Jam the
Musical, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? When Joseph Met Maria, Malicious Intent and Foreign Exchange.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winning Jerry Mitchell Legally Blonde The Musical has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke.

College sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods (Sheridan Smith) doesn’t take no for an answer. So when her boyfriend Warner (Duncan James) dumps her for someone serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books, and heads for Harvard Law! Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

The cast includes Emma Bateman (Stenographer), Dan Burton (Padamadan, Nikos), Darren Carnall (Kiki), Chris Ellis-Stanton(Grandmaster Chad, Dewey, Kyle), Alex Gaumond (Emmett Forrest), Nadine Higgin (Judge, Saleswoman), Ibinabo Jack (Pilar), Duncan James (Warner Huntington III), Caroline Keiff (Vivienne Kensington), Amy Lennox (Margot), Andy Mace (Dad, Winthrop, Reporter), Susan McFadden (Serena), Sorelle Marsh (Courtney, Mom, Whitney), Suzie McAdam (Enid), Matthew McKenna (Aaron), Sean Mulligan (Pforzheimer), Aoife Mulholland
(Brooke), Roxanne Palmer (Kate, Chutney), Sergio Priftis (Carlos), Sheridan Smith (Elle Woods), Tamara Wall (District Attorney) and Ed White (Lowell). They are joined by Jane McMurtrie, Sherrie Pennington, Lucy Miller, Fabian Aloise and Francis Haugen as swings.

In 2001 Amanda Brown’s novel Legally Blonde was made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon, produced by MGM and directed by Robert Luketic.

Legally Blonde The Musical is produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G. Bartner, Ambassador Theatre Group, Jamie Hendry Productions and Act Productions.

Book Tickets for Legally Blonde The Musical!

Hairspray the Musical – New Cast and Sunday Shows!

HAIRSPRAY, the smash hit musical comedy, is now playing in London’s West End. With standing ovations every night and unanimous critical acclaim, the show has broken box office records at the Shaftesbury Theatre! This ‘feel great show’ (Guardian), has recently been awarded Best Musical in the Olivier Awards 2008, the Critics Circle Awards 2008, the What’s on Stage Theatregoers Choice Awards 2008 and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2007.

NEW CAST in HAIRSPRAY!

In a career spanning three decades Brian Conley has appeared in award-winning West End musicals and sitcoms, presented his own chat shows, recorded three albums and completed a number of sell-out tours of the UK, and is now dazzling as big, blonde and beautiful Edna Turnblad!

Chlöe Hart has just completed her training at the Guildford School of Acting on the BA Musical Theatre course, and is making her professional and West End debut as Tracy Turnblad!

Liam Tamne trained at Laine Theatre Arts and was in the West End production of Wicked. Liam is now Hairspray’s heart-throb Link Larkin.

Big Hair, Big Heart, Big Hit! You will laugh, you will scream, you might even shed a tear or two Daily Telegraph.
 

A feel-good romantic comedy – pulsating with musical excitement  Evening Standard.

Introducing new SUNDAY MATINEES!

From 8 November 2009, Hairspray will be performing on Sundays at 3pm! And as a special subscribers SUNDAY offer, book for one of our first 2 Sundays and get a programme signed by the Hairspray cast… for free! Call the box office and quote ‘Subscriber Sundays offer’.

Great dinner & show packages from £28.50