GOSSIP: Is FINDING NEVERLAND flying into the Piccadilly Theatre?!

Now that JERSEY BOYS has announced closure in March 2016, we wonder if Peter Pan could be flying into the Piccadilly theatre? The Finding Neverland London website advertises “THE HIT BROADWAY MUSICAL WITH AN ORIGINAL SCORE BY GARY BARLOW IS COMING TO LONDON IN 2017!”

Could the production be transferring to Jersey Boys’ old home…?

FLYING NEVERLAND IS PLAYING TO SELL-OUT AUDIENCES ON BROADWAY!

Based on the Academy Award®-winning film of the same name, this breathtaking show follows playwright J.M. Barrie as he summons the courage to become the writer – and the man – he yearns to be. Barrie finds the inspiration he’s been missing when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her four young sons: Jack, George, Michael and Peter.
Delighted by the boys’ hilarious escapades, Barrie conjures the magical world of Neverland and writes a play unlike any the high-society London theatergoers have ever seen. It’s a tremendous risk, but as Barrie himself has discovered—
When you believe, you can fly.
Tony® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Hair) directs this innovative musical featuring an original score by noted composer Gary Barlow and Grammy® winner Eliot Kennedy, with a book by celebrated playwright James Graham and choreography by three-time Emmy® winner Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance,” Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium). Packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, FINDING NEVERLAND is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up. [From the Finding Neverland Broadway website.]
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CAST RECORDING OF THE WEEK 28/09/16

This week’s cast recording of the week is

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BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL – ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING

Set in the 1980s during the miners strike, a young boy from a struggling north eastern community is living with the hardships of the time, when he happens to come across a ballet class. Much to the disapproval of his father, the musical shows the incredible journey of how Billy Elliot decides to pursue his dreams and defy all odds.

TRACK LIST:

  1. The Stars Look Down – 7:31
  2. Shine – 6:09
  3. Grandma’s Song – 4:42
  4. Solidarity – 8:57
  5. Expressing Yourself – 5:15
  6. The Letter – 3:49
  7. Born To Boogie – 4:27
  8. Angry Dance – 3:51
  9. Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher – 3:27
  10. Deep Into The Ground – 3:37
  11. He Could Be A Star – 4:51
  12. Electricity – 5:55
  13. Once We Were Kings – 4:15
  14. The Letter (Reprise) – 2:54
  15. Finale – 5:35

CHARLIE: I think Billy Elliot is special because the story is so inspiring and relatable to most people. The show feels more intimate than most others so you connect with the characters more. The soundtrack is so touching and the talent from the cast is incredible…And I’ve seen it 40 times!

NATHAN: I’ve not seen Billy live yet. But I’ve listened to this cast recording multiple times, and seen the Billy Elliot LIVE DVD. Billy is such a special show to young dancers, especially boys, whom from a young age are taught that ballet is strictly for girls, and gay men. Billy breaks the gender norm and shows that no matter what, you should follow dreams. I can’t wait to see it on tour.

 

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PHOTOS: Meet The Cast of SCHOOL OF ROCK LONDON!

As School Of Rock London starts previews in less than a month, The Thespians are gonna bring you a look at the adults and kids to star in School Of Rock!

Let’s just say we’re excited to see it!

Charlie & Nathan xoxo

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S C H O O L   O F   R O C K  –  T H E   M U S I C A L

 

CAST LED BY DAVID FYNN AS DEWEY FINN WITH

FLORENCE ANDREWS, OLIVER JACKSON, PREEYA KALIDAS AND GARY TRAINOR

 

NATIONWIDE SEARCH FINDS THIRTY-NINE YOUNG ACTOR MUSICIANS

TO PERFORM IN DEWEY’S ROCK BAND

 

STUDENT RUSH EVERY WEDNESDAY WITH BEST SEATS FOR £10

 

WWW.SCHOOLOFROCKTHEMUSICAL.COM

   

On the 8th September 2016, Andrew Lloyd Webber announces David Fynn is to lead the London cast of School of Rock – The Musical as wannabe rock star Dewey Finn.  Lloyd Webber’s West End production will begin previews at the New London Theatre on 24 October 2016 with opening night on 14 November 2016, School of Rock – The Musical is initially booking to 12 February 2017.

 

Based on the iconic hit movie and with a rocking new score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock – The Musical follows slacker and wannabe rock star Dewey Finn turn a class of straight-A students into an ear popping, riff scorching, all conquering rock band!  Dewey poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet, and when he discovers his fifth graders’ musical talents, he enlists his class to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. As Dewey falls for the beautiful headmistress, can he and his students keep this special assignment secret as they learn to fully embrace the power of rock?

 

Comedy star David Fynn will star as Dewey Finn, the role made famous by Jack Black in the film.  His television credits include The Inbetweeners, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, a series regular in Pete vs Life for Channel 4 and Undateable for NBC/Comedy Central.  On stage he has appeared at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and at the Donmar Warehouse in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.  He is joined by Florence Andrews as Rosalie Mullins, Oliver Jackson as Ned Schneebly and Preeya Kalidas as Patty Di Marco.

The ‘grown up’ cast is completed by Gary Trainor as the alternate Dewey with ensemble members Jonathan Bourne, Nadeem Crowe, Michelle Francis, Rosanna Hyland, Cassandra McCowan, Joel Montague, Andy Rees, Cameron Sharp, Tasha Sheridan, Andrew Spillett and Lucy Vandi and swings, Charlotte Bradford, Jason Denton, Cellen Chugg Jones andAlfie Parker.

 

Andrew Lloyd Webber said:   “I’m delighted to be bringing School of Rock – The Musical to the West End this October, following what has been a hugely exhilarating experience creating and opening the show on Broadway, where we’ll soon celebrate our first birthday.  As many people know I’m passionate about children engaging with music from an early age, and to that end I cannot wait for UK audiences to see the remarkably talented group of young actor musicians we have found for our production.  They’re currently blowing the roof off our rehearsal rooms working with our wonderful cast of grown ups led by the hilarious David Fynn.”

Based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same title, School of Rock features music from the movie, as well as new music written byAndrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes.  School of Rock – The Musical is directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume designs by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick Potter, music supervision by John Rigby with Matt Smith as musical director.

Best seats for £10.00 will be available every Wednesday evening an hour before curtain to purchase as part of the School of Rock – The Musical Student Rush scheme.  These tickets will only be available in person from the New London Theatre Box Office.

 

The nationwide search to find the three teams of thirteen young performers took place earlier this year.  The role of Zack will be alternated by Tom Abisgold, twelve years old from Chester, Toby Lee, eleven years old from Warwickshire and Jake Slack, twelve years old from Buckinghamshire.  The role of Freddy will be alternated by Bailey Cassell, eleven years old from London, Jude Harper-Wrobel, ten years old from Hertfordshire and Noah Key, twelve years old from Shropshire.  Giles Carden, twelve years old from Surrey, Oscar Francisco, twelve years old from Coventry and James Lawson, twelve years old from London will alternate the role of Lawrence.  Selma Hansen, eleven years old, Lois Jenkins eleven years and Sophia Pettit thirteen years old, all from London, will alternate the role of Katie.  Isabelle Methven, twelve years old from Hertfordshire, Lucy Simmonds, eleven years old from Hampshire and Eva Trodd, eleven years old from Kent, will alternate the role of Summer.  Madeleine Haynes, twelve years old, Leah Levman, ten years old and Natasha Raphael, ten years old, all from London, will alternate the role of Marcy.  Alternating the role of Shonelle are Jaydah Bell-Ricketts, eleven years old from London, Shoshana Ezequiel, twelve years old from London and Amelia Poggenpoel, eleven years old from Liverpool.  Alternating the role of Sophie are Lola Moxom, eleven years old from Kent, Mia Roberts, eleven years old from London and Grace Schneider, eleven years old from London.  Alternating the role of Tomika are Nicole Dube, twelve years old from Essex, Amma Ris, eleven years old from London and Adithi Sujith, nine years old from London.  Jobe Hart, ten years old from London, Joshua Vaughan, ten years old from Birmingham and Logan Walmsley, eleven years old from London will alternate the role of Billy.  Presley Charman, nine years old from London, Lucas Chow, twelve years old from London and Ben Dawson, twelve years old from Hampshire will alternate the role of Mason. The role of James will be alternated by Bradley Bissett, twelve years old from Kent, Denzel Eboji, twelve years old from London and Sonny Kirby, twelve years old from London. The role of Matthew will be alternated by Zac Dowlatshahi, ten years old from London, Harry Egerton, eleven years old from the Birmingham and Jacob Swann, eleven years old from London.

                                                                                                                                                   

School of Rock –The Musical received its world premiere at the Winter Garden Theatre in November last year where it continues its smash hit run.  Having broken house records, the production subsequently garnered 20 Broadway theatre awards nominations including four at the 2016 Tony Awards – Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.   The Broadway production has now been seen by over ½ million people and is currently booking to 28 May 2017.  A national Company will launch a US Tour in the Autumn of 2017, playing coast-to-coast engagements across America.

 

Alongside the Broadway production Andrew Lloyd Webberlaunched a nationwide release of the rights for schools and youth groups to create their own productions of School of Rock – The Musical using the exact same score as the Broadway show.  Here in the UK, plans are well advanced to replicate that success ensuring that schools, colleges and youth groups can look forward to being able to license School of Rock – The Musical.

Produced by Paramount Pictures, the 2003 hit film School of Rockwas directed by Richard Linklater and starred Jack Black in a career-defining performance.

School of Rock — The Musical is produced in the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group & Access Industries with Madeleine Lloyd Webber as Executive Producer.

DISCOVERING WAITRESS: What’s Inside

In April 2016, Waitress The Musical opened on Broadway. It features music by Sarah Barreiles, and is based on the 2007 film Waitress. 

When Waitress was announced to open, my facebook feed was full of movie and musica fans alike, all saying how amazing the show will be. I wasn’t too sure on what Waitress was going to be. All that I knew was that it’s about a waitress who finds herself knocked up. I had to discover more.

The first step of discovering Waitress was to listen to the Original Broadway Cast recording.

The first track on the album is What’s Inside which is a lovely ballad style song, and builds upon three words: Sugar, Butter, Flour. This songs first shows our heroine Jenna; a brilliant pie chef, in the kitchen. Jenna is stuck in an abusive relationship with Earl, a hillbilly ex-rocker. Jenna is in a daydream, inventing a pie when her boss, Cal, interrupts her dreaming and encourages her to start work. The next song, Opening Up, demonstrates Jenna and her colleagues and friends, Dawn Rising and Becky, at work at Joe’s Pie Shop. I’m not gonna go over every song in Waitress, but I’ll cover the important events. In the next song, The Negative, Jenna takes a pregnancy test and finds out she’s pregnant. The next important song is Never Getting Rid Of Me, in which Dawn’s old date, Ogie (short for Oglahoma), proclaims his love to Dawn at the Pie Shop, to her dismay, but she soon falls in love with his awkward charm. The next song that you should know about is Bad Idea, in which Jenna decides to have an affair with her doctor, Doctor Pomatter. In the song You Matter To Me, Doctor Pomatter tells Jenna that he cares about her, even if Earl doesn’t. Everything Changes is Jenna’s realisation that she loves her baby, who she has named Lulu, and her, Baby Lulu, Dawn and Becky, go home. In the final song is Opening Up (Finale), Jenna has inherited the Pie Shop, and everything’s happy! Sugar, butter, flour! It’s a gorgeous cast recording, and although it’s very hard to pick up on the story, it really gives you a good feel for Sara Bareilles’ gorgeous score.

The second step of discovering Waitress is to actually watch the show. Now, I live in the UK so seeing it live isn’t a possibility (unless…!), so I resorted to many stagey’s worst nightmare…bootlegs.

Now, I do not condone bootleg recordings of shows. But, like many, I appreciate that they are huge life (and money) savers for people who, like myself, live in a country where the show isn’t playing and/or can’t afford to see the show. Kind of like…educational purposes. So I found the Waitress bootleg and gave it a watch.

First of all; the staging is absolutely gorgeous. The use of the ensemble members was genius! Their timing was so spot on; I couldn’t believe it. The cast take Diane Paulus’ direction and make magic with it. Jessie Mueller is absolutely perfect for Jenna, who was played by Keri Russell in the movie. Kimiko Glenn – who plays Dawn, is amazing at playing the socially awkward character. The whole show was perfect.

The set, the cast, the direction, the music, the all of it, was absolutely perfect!

I have no words for Waitress, other than go and see it!

WAITRESS IS BOOKING UNTIL JUNE 2017

Nathan xoxo

Why “Fun Home” Is One Of The Best Musicals To Date

BEWARE – THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS TO “FUN HOME” 

TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDE 

Fun Home, the 2015 Tony winning best musical, is based on the 2006 graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, which in turn is based on her life. It opened Off-Broadway in September 2013, and transferred to Broadway in March 2015. It closes today, September 10th 2016. While many mourn (including myself), it still goes underrated and slightly unknown in the theatre community if you’re outside of the US. Sure, worldwide, many stageys say they’ve heard of Fun Home, but how many can say they know Fun Home? I can. Fun Home pretty much changed a huge part of me. Although at first apprehensive to listen to it, I finally gave in and now I listen to it whenever i’m on the train (I don’t know why, but apparently it’s my favourite train cast recording, alongside Dogfight). It can easily be compared to Jonathan Larson’s Rent, both in the case that they started a new generation of theatre goers.

Fun Home is set within three stages of Alison’s life, when she was a young girl around the age of 9, when she went to college, and in the present, looking back onto her life. It explores her relationship with her family, in particular her father, Bruce, as well as her coming to terms with her sexuality. Unbeknownst to her, he is also coming to terms with his sexuality, as he explores it with many men, including some of his high school students, revealed by Helen Bechdel, his wife in the song “Days And Days”

And boys – my god, some of them underage!

Alison explores her sexuality with her college lover, Joan. Joan accompanies Alison back to her family manor during spring break. Everyone gets along well, and Bruce takes Alison on a drive, with one of the most gorgeous songs in the score, “Telephone Wire”.

We also get a glimpse of young(est) Alison discovering feelings she’s never felt when she sees a delivery woman, with one of the best musical theatre songs of the decade, Ring Of Keys. Ring Of Keys was performed on the Tony Awards, and it’s such a gorgeous song. So simple but insanely well written, we can really tell how Young Alison feels.

Bruce can’t seem to live with himself, and eventually steps in front of a truck on the highway, killing himself. Alison never truly knows if he wanted to kill himself, or if it was an accident. She does come to the concluding that he did commit suicide, even though she doesn’t truly know. This is explored deeper in the book, which, by the way, is a masterpiece.  I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Now back onto the musical.

Considering the short time this show ran for, it has inspired a generation of young LGBT people to come to terms with their sexuality. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a musical, and, while it can be very sad, it has its happier moments. It’s a very accurate representation of a dysfunctional family. It shows the letters sent between Bruce and Medium Alison at college. It shows the falling apart relationship between Helen and Bruce. It shows the relationship between Young Alison and her brothers, John and Christian. It shows Joan and Alison’s relationship slowly develop, with their first sexual experience in the number “Changing My Major”.

I’m gay, which means I’m not like him!

It shows Bruce and the children working their family business, the funeral home, which they appropriately nickname “Fun Home”.

It’s such a raw and realistic musical – and while I compared it to Rent, which is, at times, realistic, it’s nowhere near as real. Its simple orchestrations really set the tone very well. It’s not trying to ham it up, it’s not meant to be a comedy. Or a rock opera, or anything it’s not. It’s a family musical, but a new kind of family musical. And while there are other musicals that deal with sexuality quite well, (Rent, Kinky Boots, The Rocky Horror Show) they can’t come close to the awesome work of Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s beautiful book and score.

And that, in my opinion, is why Fun Home is one of the best musicals to date.

Nathan xoxo

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Caption… Michael Cerveris and Sydney Lucas in the opening number.

Fun HomeCircle in the Square Theatre

Caption…Judy Kuhn, Oscar Williams, Zell Steele Morrow, Sydney Lucas and Michael Cerveris in “Welcome To Our House On Maple Avenue”