Visit London Blog » theatre royal drury lane Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Theatre News: Charlie, Wind in the Willows, Stephen Ward and From Here To Eternity Thu, 11 Jul 2013 09:00:56 +0000 Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryFirstly, sad news that A Chorus Line is closing early on 31 August. But with every early curtain comes news of an extension, and fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be pleased to hear that the Sam Mendes-directed show is now booking at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane until 31 May 2014.

This week, I’ve got news of two hit shows returning to the London stage: firstly, the Royal Opera House’s family-friendly production of The Wind in the Willows will play at the Duchess Theatre this Christmas. This perennial favourite has received three revivals since its first appearance and played more than 100 performances in the capital. Secondly, Lolita Chakrabarti’s Olivier Award-nominated play Red Velvet will return to the Tricycle Theatre as part of its forthcoming new season, with Adrian Lester reprising his role as Ira Aldridge.

Finally three very different new London shows have been announced: a farce, a musical, and a pantomime. Take your pick from Antony Sher playing Sigmund Freud in Terry Johnson’s farce Hysteria at the Hampstead Theatre this September; the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Stephen Ward at the Aldwych Theatre from early December; or the ever-brilliant Hackney Empire panto team’s production of Puss in Boots from November.

Owain Arthur. Photo by Hugo GlendinningLondon Theatre Cast News

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Five New West End Musicals to Look Forward To in 2013 Wed, 26 Dec 2012 11:00:42 +0000 This year has been an exciting one for top West End musicals. From Top Hat to Kiss Me, Kate, with the brilliant Sweeney Todd, and The Bodyguard, not to mention Viva Forever, there have been some fantastic musicals on offer.

Here are just some of the great shows we have to look forward to next year:

A Chorus Line1. A Chorus Line, London Palladium from 2 Feb
Back in the West End for the first time since the 70s, the award-winning A Chorus Line comes to London’s Palladium in February, starring John Partridge and Scarlett Strallen as Zach and Cassie, with Leigh Zimmerman playing Sheila and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt playing Diana. Altogether now: “One… singular sensation, every little step she takes…”

2. The Book of Mormon, Prince of Wales Theatre from 26 Feb
Another multi-award winning show, The Book of Mormon is the first of two Broadway imports to hit the West End in 2013. This first will make its UK premiere at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, it’s the story of two teenage Mormon missionaries trying to convert a Ugandan village. As it contains explicit language, this is a show for over 18s only: time will tell whether UK audiences love it as much as their US counterparts.

3. Once, Phoenix Theatre from 16 Mar
This year’s Tony Award for Best New Musical went to Once; and from March we can see it on our side of the pond at the Phoenix Theatre. Based on the 2006 Irish musical film of the same name, Once features an ensemble cast of actor/musicians and tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant and their shared love of music.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane from 18 May
Hot on the heels of Matilda comes a new Roald Dahl-based musical. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features a host of musical stars including music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a book by the award-winning playwright David Greig and choreography by Peter Darling, the chap behind both Billy Elliot and Matilda. It’s directed by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, and stars Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka, and plays at the wonderful Theatre Royal Drury Lane from May. Sounds like a perfect recipe for success…

5. The Sound of Music, Open Air Theatre from 25 Jul
Finally for musicals in 2013, I’m really excited about a new production of The Sound of Music at the Open Air Theatre. Opening in July, this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is sure to be a real treat: the past few musicals from the Open Air Theatre have been amazing, including three winners of the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

If you prefer your shows without all that lovely singing and dancing, check out my tips for the top London plays coming in 2013.

What musicals are you looking forward to seeing in 2013? Let us know in the comments below.

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Thursday Theatre News: Dreamboats and Petticoats, The Almeida, SCD and Some Very Exciting Cast News Thu, 11 Oct 2012 17:02:07 +0000 Good news for Dreamboats and Petticoats fans! The show is swinging back into London’s West End later this month for a limited run at Wyndham’s Theatre. If, like my parents, you’re smitten by this 1960s-set musical, you can book tickets here for another dose of Bobby, Norman and Sue’s story, from 16 October until 19 January.

In other news, Michael Attenborough has announced he’ll step down as Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre in spring next year. Attenborough has been at the venue for 11 years, producing an eclectic programme from Shakespearean classics to new writing, including 32 premieres all tackling critical issues of our times. His tenure has also seen four Almeida Festivals and he established the Almeida Projects, a creative programme dedicated to involving young people with the theatre. I wonder who his replacement will be…

Dance news now, and anyone into Strictly Come Dancing will be as excited as I am to hear two of its stars are headed to the West End. Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff will star in a new production of dance extravaganza Burn The Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre from March next year. I can’t wait.

Finally, the National Theatre’s current sell-out show, This House is moving. After a critically acclaimed opening at the National Theatre’s Cottesloe space this week, I’ve been told that This House will move to the larger Olivier stage next year. James Graham’s acclaimed 1970s House of Commons-set play continues its run at the Cottesloe until 1 December; it will transfer to the Olivier in February. Casting is yet to be confirmed.

London Theatre Cast News

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Thursday Theatre News: RSC, Omid Djalili, Shrek and The Globe’s West End Transfer Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:00:30 +0000 Firstly, news of one of my favourite theatre company’s coming to the West End this year. The ever-brilliant Royal Shakespeare Company are bringing David Edgar’s Written on the Heart to the Duchess Theatre for a strictly limited run, opening on Shakespeare’s birthday: 23 April.

RSC veterans Oliver Ford Davies and Stephen Boxer will star in the drama, which marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. Edgar’s play tells the story of two men translating the word of God into English: for one, it means death at the stake, for the other, it could bring an archbishop’s mitre.

Another exciting piece of transfer news this week: Mark Rylance’s Shakespeare’s Globe productions Richard III and Twelfth Night (the latter starring Stephen Fry) are moving to the Apollo Theatre in the West End from 2 November. It’s a long time to wait, but I think tickets are going to sell fast, so be quick if you want to see these shows!

An earlier play for your calendars is What The Butler Saw, also announced this week. Comic Omid Djalili, who you might’ve seen in Oliver at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane a couple of years’ ago, will lead the cast of this new production. What The Butler Saw is a comedy of twists, coincidences and sharp one-liners, by Joe Orton, and will play at the Vaudeville Theatre from 4 May to 25 August.

Fans of The Inbetweeners should look out for Blake Harrison (Neil from the show) making his West End debut in Rob Hayes’s Step 9 (Of 12) at the Trafalgar Studios, also in May. Step 9 (Of 12) sees Harrison playing Keith, a drug and alcohol addict, apologising for his past. But as his earlier actions are assessed, it becomes clear they have shocking repercussions for the present.

Finally, Shrek The Musical has announced a new “school night” performance schedule: starting Wednesday night shows at the more kid-friendly time of 7pm. The team have also introduced a new family ticket package for Wednesday and Thursday evening performances with prices starting at £99, making it more affordable for families to see the hit show.

And on 16 May, Shrek will play a special, relaxed performance for children with special needs: tickets are free for the kids, and just £5 for adults. This one-off show is presented by theatre educational charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects. For more info on the work they do, check out their website.

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Thursday Theatre News: Oliver! New Musicals, Frankenstein, and the Return of the Rat Pack Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:53:07 +0000

Smash-hit show Oliver! may only have a couple of months left in the West End (it closes on 8 January), but that hasn’t stopped a couple of familiar faces making a return to the show. Griff Rhys Jones will return to play Fagin this December for a five-week run, while Jodie Prenger will play Nancy for one last time on 13 November. Jodie will stand in for current Nancy, Kerry Ellis, when Kerry takes to the Royal Albert Hall stage for the Festival Of Remembrance concert. When Oliver!’s gone from Theatre Royal Drury Lane, it’s all about green monsters as Shrek arrives in May.

More exciting casting news about this week: Benedict Cumberbatch (that’s Sherlock to you and me) and sexy Jonny Lee Miller have been announced as Dr Frankenstein and the monster he creates in the National Theatre’s upcoming production. “Which is which?!” I hear you cry. Turns out they’re going to be alternating parts each night! Sounds like I’m going to have to book to see more than one show when it comes to Danny Boyle’s National Theatre debut. Excited? I can’t wait.

If you’re a fan of new musicals, then Waterloo East Theatre is the place for you this Christmas. The new venue is producing two musical premiers this festive season. Choose between:

  • Striking 12: a musical retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Little Match Girl with a score that fuses jazz, rock and show tunes. It’s composed by the American “theatrical power trio” GrooveLily
  • Pinkalicious The Musical: aimed at children aged nine and younger, it’s the story of Pinkalicious, a girl who can’t stop eating pink cupcakes, despite warnings from her parents

Finally, for this week, a heads-up for Rat Pack fans. Christmas With The Rat Pack – Live From Las Vegas comes to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for just two performances this Christmas; a matinee and an evening show on 19 December. Book now!

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