Visit London Blog » legally blonde Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Legally Blonde, American Idiot, The Wizard of Oz and Jodie Prenger Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:39:50 +0000 This week’s theatre news has been coming in twos: two shows leaving London; two extending; two award ceremonies; and two fantastic bits of cast news…

Firstly, sad news for a musical lover like me. Legally Blonde and Crazy for You are both leaving London in the near future. After three years at the Savoy Theatre, Legally Blonde will close on 7 April. And Crazy For You, which was booking until 28 July, is now going to tap dance off into the sunset on 17 March. If you love musicals, you’ll love these shows, so book your tickets now before it’s too late!

Next up, two shows that have extended their London runs. Green Day’s award-winning rock musical American Idiot is running for an extra week at the Hammersmith Apollo in December this year, due to an overwhelming demand for tickets. And The Leisure Society has also extended its run in London by a week: the cause for such high interest in this toxic comedy is surely the casting of model Agyness Deyn (alongside the lovely Ed Stoppard!)

It’s awards season in Theatreland, and the first of the bunch have already been given out. Congratulations to the National Theatre which scooped more than half the Critics Circle awards on offer, including gongs for Frankenstein (and its stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller) and One Man, Two Guvnors. Other awards went to Sheridan Smith for her performances in Flare Path and Mike Leigh, for his direction for Grief. And there’s more awards coming: this week, it was announced that the Olivier Awards will be taking place in the Royal Opera House on 15 April: if you want to watch the action as it unfolds (with Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball hosting!), you can, as there’ll be a live stream of the ceremony on a big screen in Covent Garden. (Or you can listen on Radio 2; or watch on the BBC’s Red Button.)

London Cast News:

More next week.

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Thursday Theatre News: Ladykillers, the New Bush, Casting Updates and Extensions Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:15:21 +0000

Firstly, news that the classic Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers has been adapted for the stage by the writer behind hit TV comedies Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, and will be coming to the Gielgud Theatre in November. The cast sounds fantastic: Peter Capaldi from the Thick of It will play Professor Marcus (the Alec Guinness role from the film). And he’ll be backed up by a gang played by James Fleet (Hugo from the Vicar of Dibley), comic Ben Miller, Stephen Wight and everyone’s favourite pantomime dame, Clive Rowe. The quintet is joined by multi-Olivier Award-winner Marcia Warren as Mrs Wilberforce.

Next, I’m thrilled to hear both War Horse and Billy Elliot: The Musical are extending: War Horse to October 2012, and Billy to December 2012. Congratulations to both these incredible shows.

And so to casting news:

  • Another member of the Rock of Ages line-up was announced this week: Shane Ward from The X-Factor is to play the disillusioned rock bad boy Stacee Jaxx when Rock Of Ages opens at the Shaftesbury theatre in September
  • Supermodel Christie Brinkley is going to be the latest star to take on the role of Roxy Hart in Chicago. She’ll be donning the fishnets from 11 July to 6 August.
  • Carley Stenson, who’s currently playing Margot in Legally Blonde will step up later this summer and play the lead role of college sweetheart Elle Woods. Carley starts on 11 July; Any Dream Will Do-winner Lee Mead will be Stenson’s leading man as he’s joining the cast from 20 June.

Finally, the Bush Theatre has announced the show that will welcome audiences to its new home. Sixty Six Books is an epic celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Sixty-six playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from 12 different countries will create a response to each of the 66 books in the Kings James Bible. The impressive list of contributors includes Jeanette Winterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Billy Bragg, Neil LaBute and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Artistic Director Josie Rourke is working with a team of directors to present three hour, six hour and two 24 hour epic performances, with every room, corner and cupboard(!) of the new venue put to use.

You can read more about the Bush’s future plans here on the Official London Theatre website.

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Thursday Theatre News: Lee Mead, Smash!, Almeida Theatre and Yes Prime Minister Thu, 17 Mar 2011 18:00:08 +0000

Omigod! Lee Mead is joining the cast of Legally Blonde from mid-June.

The winner of TV talent show Any Dream Will Do will replace original cast member Alex Gaumond in the role of Emmett Forest.

Since winning Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead has starred in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (from 2007 to 2009) and more recently, as Fiyero in long-running musical Wicked. The announcement comes in a big week for Legally Blonde The Musical: the show won three awards at the Oliviers on Sunday.

It’s also great news for his wife, Denise van Outen, who’s currently playing in the same show. Can anyone give us any other husband and wife couples from West End musical casts? Tell us in the comments below, please!

And I’ve another piece of casting news, this time from the Menier Chocolate Factory. Their new musial, Smash! will now be starring West Wing star Richard Schiff instead of Kerry Shale, who has withdrawn from the show for personal reasons. Schiff joins Laurence Olivier Award winner Tom Conti in Jack Rosenthal’s rarely performed comedy.

In other theatre news this week, British writer Stephen Poliakoff is returning to theatre after 12 years, with a new play at the Almeida Theatre in the autumn. Poliakoff has written more for screen than stage in recent years, but returns with drama My City in September. Other news from the Almeida includes Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Pretty, coming to the theatre from November. If you’re a Neil LaBute fan, and you can’t wait for this, check out In A Forest, Dark And Deep currently showing at the Vaudeville.

Finally, last year’s hit production of Yes, Prime Minister is back! You can catch the pun-filled political powerplay at the Apollo Theatre from 6 July until 17 September. British PM Jim Hacker and Cabinet Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby will be played Richard McCabe and Simon Williams, who are currently starring in the touring production.

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Legally Blonde and After The Dance Triumph at the Laurence Olivier Awards Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:30:25 +0000 Hit West End Musical Legally Blonde won three gongs last night at the Laurence Olivier Awards, UK theatreland’s “Oscars”.

Star of the show Sheridan Smith won Best Actress in a Musical, and co-star Jill Halfpenny took the prize for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. The show also won the Best New Musical award.

The National Theatre’s revival of Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance took four awards, including Best Revival, Best Actress for Nancy Carroll and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the ever-excellent Adrian Scarborough.

These two shows were the biggest winners at the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, held last night at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

Other prizes went to Roger Allam for playing Falstaff in Henry IV at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Best Actor), David Thaxton for Passion at the Donmar Warehouse (Best Actor in a Musical) and Howard Davies: best director for The White Guard at the National.

Clybourne Park, which is currently playing at Wyndham’s Theatre won Best New Play, and the Entertainment Award went to The Railway Children at Waterloo Station (which is, happily, coming back to London in a few months’ time).

The BBC Radio 2 Audience Award went to We Will Rock You.

Sadler’s Wells’ production Babel won two dance awards, including Best New Dance Production. One of the biggest shocks of the night was the Best New Opera Award, given to La Boheme by OperaUpClose, which started life in the 35-seat Cock Tavern pub theatre in North-West London, and beat much grander-scale shows at the Royal Opera House, London Coliseum and Young Vic.

Finally, Best Musical Revival went to Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods, staged by the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

At the ceremony’s climax, Sondheim received a special prize in recognition of his contribution to theatre.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh described the composer and lyricist as a “true legend”, paying tribute to his “unique theatrical muscle”.

“His sense of theatrical adventure knows no bounds, his subjects… have shown us all no subjects are taboo,” Sir Cameron said.

Read more about the Oliviers here. Do you agree with the judges’ decisions? Let us know in the comments below.

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Our Best Bits: The VL Team’s Highlights of 2010 Fri, 31 Dec 2010 15:00:34 +0000 What a year it’s been! Here we share our highlights of 2010 in London:

Two West End shows that really stood out for me this year were Jerusalem and All My Sons, both at the Apollo Theatre. There were moments of pure theatrical magic in both that’ll stay with me for a long time. I feel privileged to have seen such talented actors as Mark Rylance, Zoe Wanamaker and David Suchet live on the London stage. I feel similarly lucky to have seen both Henry IVs at the Globe, back-to-back. Yes, I had a sore bum, but for me, it was another unmissable production. For musicals, Legally Blonde was the best of 2010. But the highlight of my year was the day I went on stage in the West End as an extra in An Inspector Calls. I certainly won’t forget that in a long time!

The fabulous Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A was a real treat and a definite highlight for me in 2010 as it celebrated the life and style of an actress, princess and icon through her film costumes and royal outfits.  I also enjoyed the gorgeous Sex & The City Afternoon Tea at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill as the stiletto shaped chocolates and flirtinis were delicious and so cute.  Finally, learning yoga at triyoga in Soho has been a wonderful challenge and extremely rewarding this year.

Circus-themed events have been big this year. I think my favourite was Psy by The 7 Fingers at Peacock Theatre. It combined amazing acrobatics with energetic music and choreography to create a modern, exciting feel. It made me want to run away and join the circus!

London seems to get more exciting and adventurous every year. I will remember the wonderfully diverse musical experiences I was lucky enough to have: Carmen at The Royal Opera House, remembering Michael Jackson at Thriller Live and the talented Jetson at The 100 Club – an epic music venue that sadly may be closing. I look forward to what 2011 has to offer!

I had fabulous fancy dress nights out at White Mischief, The Chap Olympiad and SS Atlantica.  I was also a big fan of the colourful Elephant Parade over the summer. My most recent highlight was ice-skating at Hampton Court Palace – magical!

2010 has been an excellent year for stylish textile exhibitions. The Very Sanderson and the Horrockses Fashions exhibitions at the Fashion and Textile Museum were both highlights. The winner was, of course, the magnificent Quilts 1700 – 2010 exhibition at the V&A which contained so many tiny scraps of fabric, all crafted into beautiful quilts. I spotted top quilter and textile designer Kaffe Fasset looking round the exhibition during my visit, which added to the fun!

Being lucky enough to watch the World Cup from the top of BT Tower, although I have to say although it was good game the views were more inspiring.  Watching a dance performance as part of Electric Hotel in the middle of Kings Cross and touring top London restaurants as part of the Gourmet Odyssey at the London Restaurant Festival.

I thoroughly enjoyed Design for Living at the Old Vic – it was my first time at the theatre and seeing a Noel Coward play and I will seek out both again. My favourite gig was Alice Cooper at the Roundhouse – what a showman! I saw the The 39 Steps twice, which speaks for itself, and I attended three different outdoor cinemas in London – I’m hoping this trend continues in 2011. Finally, my favourite history lesson and a bit of a hidden gem is the Brunel Museum & Thames Tunnel Tour in Rotherhithe.

What are your 2010 highlights?

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Five New West End Musicals to Look Forward to in 2011 Tue, 28 Dec 2010 10:00:34 +0000

2010 was a fantastic year for West End musicals. As well as the huge girly hit Legally Blonde, there was a fascinating phantom sequel in Love Never Dies, an incredible tour de force performance in End of the Rainbow, and a gorgeous little chamber musical at the Duchess called Love Story.

We’ve recently bid farewell to Sister Act and Avenue Q, and in the coming weeks Oliver!, Flashdance, The Railway Children and Fela! will close, creating space for some more incredible musicals in 2011.

Here’s five that I’m really looking forward to:

  • Million Dollar Quartet, from 8 Feb
    A Tony Award-winning show transfers to the West End in February, bringing the story of the night Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis performed together, making rock and roll history.
  • Betty Blue Eyes, from 19 March
    Perfect timing: a new musical about organising a Royal Wedding during a recession! Alan Bennett’s fantastic film, A Private Function, is woven into a very British musical, all about a pig called Betty.
  • Wizard of Oz, from 27 Apr
    You’ve watched the BBC show Over The Rainbow, now it’s time to see the show! Danielle Hope stars as Dorothy, with Michael Crawford as the Wizard in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest blockbuster.
  • Shrek The Musical, from 6 May
    Amanda Holden, Richard Blackwood, Nigel Lindsay and Nigel Harman look like a fab British cast to bring this witty Broadway hit to the West End. I can’t wait.
  • Ghost The Musical, from 22 June
    Based on the hit film, and starring Sharon D Clarke and Richard Fleeshman with music by Dave “Eurythmics” Stewart; I think this might be the big hit of 2011.

What are you looking forward to seeing in 2011? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thursday Theatre News: James Corden, Denise Van Outen, Ruthie Henshall & the RSC Thu, 02 Sep 2010 18:14:42 +0000 You probably know him best as from BBC TV show Gavin & Stacey, but actor James Corden first won acclaim as part of The History Boys at the National Theatre, back in 2004. And James is now returning to the theatre, lead by the same director Nicholas Hytner, in The Servant To Two Masters, from May next year.

And I have news of another TV star returning to London’s theatre this week: Denise Van Outen is joining the cast of Legally Blonde from 25 October. New mum Denise is replacing Jill Halfpenny in the role of Paulette. She’s starting alongside former Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson and talent show graduate Siobhan Dillon who are also newcomers to the girly musical; Sheridan Smith has recently announced she’s continuing in the role of Elle Woods until at least 9 January. I couldn’t be happier!

Finally for cast news this week, Olivier Award-winning actress Ruthie Henshall is going to be starring in Blithe Spirit at the Apollo theatre next spring. She joins an already star-studded cast including Alison Steadman, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst.

And looking even further ahead, I’ve got long-range news from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Get your 2011 diaries ready for these dates: the RSC is premiering three new plays at the Hampstead Theatre from April to June next year, as part of A Season of World Premieres:

  • Playwright Rona Munro opens the season on 16 April with Little Eagles, directed by Roxana Silbert
  • Followed by former Lyric Hammersmith Artistic Director David Farr’s piece Silence from 12 May
  • Finally, American playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney, (who wrote In The Red And Brown Water and The Brothers Size), presents his new play American Trade from 2 June

Edward Hall, Hampstead theatre’s Artistic Director, said, “I am delighted to be creating A Season Of World Premieres with the RSC and to be working so closely with Roxana Silbert on what will be a very exciting programme of new work at Hampstead theatre. Six pieces of major new work over a 10-week period… cause for celebration indeed.” I certainly think so.

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Thursday Theatre News: Legally Blonde, Bedlam, Oscar Wilde, and More Kids Week Thu, 29 Jul 2010 17:22:54 +0000 First of all, I’m thrilled to tell you the original London cast of Legally Blonde are releasing a recording of the musical. Yes, you have to wait until 16 August, but just imagine how much fun it’s going to be singing along to Sheridan, Duncan, Jill et al once it’s out!

Secondly, there’s a lot of excitement in my household over the news that Complicite’s A Disappearing Number is coming back to London. Book now to see the production’s original cast at the Novello Theatre for a limited run between 10 and 25 September.

Casting news this week includes

And finally for this week, Kids Week is going to have to rethink its name, following a hugely successful promotion in 2010. The project, which offers one free child’s ticket (aged 5 to 16) with every full paying adult for a whole load of London’s most popular shows, has now extended into a THIRD week. It’ll now run from 13 August to 3 September. Apparantly, they’ve sold more than 40,000 tickets for performances during its original fortnight (13 to 27 August) since booking opened on 13 July. Incredible!

More information about Kids Week, including travel, accommodation and restaurants, can be found at

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Sheridan Smith Launches Big Dance at London Palladium Thu, 01 Jul 2010 15:45:59 +0000

Big Dance, a London-wide celebration of dance, launched today at the London Palladium.

Legally Blonde star Sheridan Smith and Jerry Mitchell, choreographer of Hairspray and Legally Blonde, took to the stage for a special performance of Hairspray number You Can’t Stop The Beat.

An audience of hundreds of school children joined in with the routine from their seats.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Camilla Dallerup also made an appearance, as did the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who treated us to a Bollywood dance demonstration.

“London is the greatest dance, musical and cultural city on Earth,” said the Mayor. “Get down on it and strut your funky stuff in Big Dance 2010.”

Big Dance runs from 3 to 11 July 2010, with flagship event The Big World Dance on 10 July.

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Thursday Theatre News: The Wizard of Oz, Legally Blonde, The Railway Children and Michael Sheen as Hamlet Thu, 13 May 2010 18:00:22 +0000

It’s been a wonderful week for London theatre news.

First, tickets went on sale for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wizard of Oz, opening at the London Palladium next year. Have you got yours yet? Book them here!

Then I learnt that Richard Fleeshman is to join Legally Blonde The Musical next month. The former Corrie star (remember Craig Harris?) and winner of ITV’s Soapstar Superstar will replace Duncan James as the sleazy Warner Huntington III, from 16 June.

Also, news about that Railway Children show being staged in Waterloo Station this summer. Caroline Harker and Marshall Lancaster will lead the cast in the London show: Marshall (who you’ll recognise from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes) reprises the role of Mr Perks after playing the character for York Theatre Royal; and Caroline is going to play Mother.

But I think the most exciting theatre announcement today is that Michael Sheen is going to play Hamlet at the Young Vic next year. Michael Sheen is an amazing actor, who’s played many famous names like Tony Blair, David Frost and Brian Clough on screen. This is sure to be an amazing opportunity to see him on the London stage. And he’ll be directed by Ian Rickson, who was responsible for directing Jez Butterworth’s hit play, Jerusalem. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel more than a little bit tingly and jittery about this news… Sounds like it’ll be amazing.

Finally, do you often find your enjoyment of the theatre is disturbed by other audience members? Do rustling sweet wrappers, persistent coughs and people who whisper during a performance really put you off? Then the One-On-One Festival at BAC might be a solution to your problems! Running from 6 to 18 July, this is the UK’s first major international festival of what’s described as

“an increasingly popular genre of work that takes place between one artist and one audience member at a time”.

Intimate doesn’t even come close to describing it! Find out more at

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