Visit London Blog » thriller live http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 London Theatre News: Benedict Cumberbatch, National Theatre and Old Vic seasons, Alexandra Burke, Thriller Live, The Commitments, Olivier Awards http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/04/london-theatre-news-benedict-cumberbatch-national-theatre-and-old-vic-seasons-alexandra-burke-thriller-live-the-commitments-olivier-awards/#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:15:43 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38276

There’ve been rumblings about it for months, but we finally know for sure that Sherlock and The Hobbit star Benedict Cumberbatch will get all Shakespearean and give London his Hamlet. The production, which already looks to be one of 2015’s highlights, will play at the Barbican.

I know we’re barely three months into 2014 and already we’re looking forward to next year, but Cumberbatch fans aren’t the only people getting excited about 2015.

The National Theatre has looked that far ahead and announced a season including new plays by David Hare, Tom Stoppard and Richard Bean alongside an adaptation of Treasure Island and Helen McCrory starring in Medea.

Hit musicals Thriller Live and The Commitments have also cast their eyes that way and announced extensions to their popular runs taking them into 2015.

Kevin Spacey’s not thinking quite that far in advance. The Artistic Director of the Old Vic has only announced plans until the end of 2014. He’ll be taking to the stage in May to play ground-breaking lawyer Clarence Darrow in a one-man show, followed by a modern take on The Crucible and Kristin Scott Thomas starring in Greek tragedy Electra.

At the Adelphi Theatre, one British music mega star will replace another as X Factor winner Alexandra Burke takes over from soul sensation Beverley Knight as The Bodyguard’s Rachel Marron from 2 June. By all accounts Knight has made a big impression since making her stage debut in the Whitney Houston musical; let’s hope Burke can do the same.

Just one more thing, if you’re wondering what to do on the evening of 13 April, the answer is watch the Olivier Awards with MasterCard. The show’s fantastic performances have been announced and include all the nominated Best New Musical and Audience Award shows, Broadway star Bernadette Peters and ABBA’s Benny and Björn joining the cast of Mamma Mia! to celebrate the show’s 15th birthday. Tune in to ITV from 22:15 to see all the best bits.

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I’m With the Band: Top 10 London Attractions for Musicians http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/03/im-with-the-band-top-10-london-attractions-for-musicians/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:00:36 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=34272

London has long been a magnet for the world’s most famous singers and bands – and it’s produced a fair few itself, from Queen to Amy Winehouse. So the city is full of great attractions where musicians and lovers of music can learn about their idols, buy classic records and even record a tune. Here are 10 of the best:

Abbey Road
The iconic Beatles album cover picturing the famous four walking over a zebra crossing on London’s Abbey Road has inspired endless copies and parodies. The nearby Abbey Road Studios are not open to the public (unless you’ve booked a recording session), but they do have a live web cam online so why tell your friends back home to look out for you doing the famous walk?

Jersey Boys
Even if you’re not familiar with the name Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, you’ll know their songs: Bye Bye Baby (Baby Goodbye), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Beggin’, December 1963 (better known as Oh What A Night)… the list goes on. So Jersey Boys, the Olivier Award-winning musical about the band, is a must for all music fans – even if you think you’re not into musicals! Other great musicals to check out include Thriller – Live (Michael Jackson) and We Will Rock You (Queen).

British Music Experience
Roll back the years at the British Music Experience (located inside The O2) and explore amazing outfits, instruments, videos, photos and other memorabilia from the past and present of British popular music. Look out for John Lennon’s glasses, Ziggy Stardust’s 1970s number outfit and ‘Ginger Spice’ Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress. Plus you can show your best moves in the Dance The Decades booth, record a track in the Gibson Interactive Studio and transport yourself to some of the biggest concerts of the past 60 years in The Finale.

Open Mic Night at The Spice of Life
Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Jamie Cullum have all performed at The Spice of Life in Soho. And you can too if you pop along to its Open Mic Night, held every Monday. Make use of the in-house piano and PA, or bring along your own instrument. The music kicks off at 7pm, but performers should sign up at 6.30pm to be sure of getting a spot.

Denmark Street
Denmark Street, near Leicester Square, is known as London’s Tin Pan Alley. Both sides of the small street are lined with music shops, including Wunjo Guitars (selling new, used and vintage guitars), Vintage & Rare Guitars and Sax.co.uk. Stick around into the evening to enjoy live music at the intimate 12 Bar Club or Alleycat Bar Club, located below Regent Sounds Studio – where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album.

Rock and Roll London Walk
If you love to be regaled by tales of rockstar exploits, book a spot on the fascinating, two-hour-long Rock and Roll London Walk. You’ll visit the famous Marquee Club, pop into the pub where Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton once jammed, discover the location of the Sex Pistols’ world debut, and much more. No need to book, just turn up at Tottenham Court Road station (Exit 3) any Friday at 2pm.

Honest Jon’s Records
Arguably the most legendary of London’s independent record stores, Honest Jon’s is the retail arm of the acclaimed record label of the same name. Specialising in reggae, jazz and soul, Honest Jon’s has enjoyed a colourful, rollercoaster existence since its birth in 1974 and is still considered to be one of London’s best record shops by those in the know.

Wembley Arena
Every musician dreams of shouting “Hello Wembley!” to a sea of screaming fans – and many have done it, including Madonna, David Bowie and Prince. Check out Visit London’s music section for listings of gigs taking place every night across London at venues including Wembley Arena.

Music Gallery at Horniman Museum
See, hear and play instruments from around the world at Horniman Museum – from a 3,500-year-old pair of Egyptian bone clappers to a retro synth. Make time to visit ongoing exhibition The Art of Harmony, exploring Western classical music traditions, as well as the Hands-On Base, where you can give the instruments a go. Other London music museums to check out are The Royal Academy of Music Museum and The Royal College of Music’s Museum of Instruments.

Hard Rock Cafe
Today there are Hard Rock Cafes all around the world, but the London branch is where it all began in 1971. The walls of the restaurant – and the vault below – are lined with memorabilia, including the first piece donated to the cafe: Eric Clapton’s Lead II Fender. You may even spot the odd rock star popping in for a burger, according to the cafe – or witness one of the occasional jamming sessions. And if you don’t, you’ll still get a great meal out of it.

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London Theatre News: Billy Elliot, Thriller, A Pulitzer Prize for Drama and London Cast News http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/london-theatre-news-billy-elliot-thriller-pulitzer-prizes-and-cast-news/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/04/london-theatre-news-billy-elliot-thriller-pulitzer-prizes-and-cast-news/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 10:00:02 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=32677 Billy ElliotBilly Elliot welcomed its four millionth audience member to the Victoria Palace Theatre this week. Sharon Hick, who watched the show with her friend Jane Horsewood and daughters Amy and Meagan Horsewood, celebrated on the stage with cast members Killian Donnelly and Deka Walmsley. The lucky theatregoers were presented with a weekend stay in London and goody bags for the children before being taken backstage to meet the cast.

Hick said, “Jane and I had been discussing taking Amy and Meagan to see their first West End show, and we thought Billy Elliot would be perfect. It is a real testimony to how magical this show is that so many people have been through the doors to see it.”

Elsewhere in the West End, Thriller – Live has been celebrating its success with a booking extension: you can now see the musical based on the songs of Michael Jackson at the Lyric Theatre until March 2014.

Dsgraced at the Bush TheatreAhead of the forthcoming Olivier Awards, there’s been another win for London theatre. Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which opens at the Bush Theatre next month, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Akhtar’s first ever stage play, Disgraced charts the story of a successful corporate lawyer who is about to land the promotion of his life. But, as the play progresses, it’s clear that this success has come at a price. Talking about his win, Akhtar said, “It’s tough to put it into words what an honour and privilege it is to receive this award. I think I might be dreaming.”

Finally, two transfers have been announced this week. The Two’s Company production of London Wall, a play about an office manager and his unsolicited advances towards his new teenage typist transfers to the St James Theatre from 7 May. And fast-paced new comedy The Play That Goes Wrong transfers to the Trafalgar Studios from 30 April. It’s presented by Mischief Theatre, a company specialising in comedy writing.

London Theatre Cast News

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Thursday Theatre News: Pop Goes The Musical, Hampstead Downstairs and the Open Air Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/thursday-theatre-news-pop-goes-the-musical-hampstead-downstairs-and-the-open-air-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/thursday-theatre-news-pop-goes-the-musical-hampstead-downstairs-and-the-open-air-theatre/#comments Thu, 16 Aug 2012 17:00:04 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=28616

A new charity initiative was launched this week that sees pop stars taking to the West End stage for special encores. Pop Goes The Musical raises money for Children in Need by offering special £80 tickets for fab West End shows, which are then followed by special performances by pop stars.

Tickets can be purchased exclusively at www.lastminute.com/pudsey and include a top price seat, signed programme, Pudsey bear toy, complementary drink and access to a VIP after show reception hosted by the famous bear himself.

Hampstead Downstairs has announced its autumn season this week. Three plays, Brain, Blue Sky and Ignorance will be produced by the theatre; both Brain and Ignorance are new shows, the first by writer Rona Munro; the second by Steve Waters. The space was created for new writers to showcase their work, so if you’re a fan of seeing and feeding back on new theatre, book now.

If you’re looking ahead to theatre production in London for the summer 2013, I’ve got some great news from the Open Air Theatre. Their summer season will contain a production of Harper Lee’s American classic To Kill A Mockingbird alongside the much-loved musical The Sound Of Music. Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mockingbird will play from 16 May to 15 June. And the Von Trapp family will be encouraging you to Climb Every Mountain and consider your Favourite Things from 25 July to 7 September. These are just two of the four shows on offer at the venue next summer.

London Theatre Casting News:

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London Video of the Week: Pass on the Football, Catch a Show Instead! http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/06/london-video-of-the-week-pass-on-the-football-watch-a-show-instead/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/06/london-video-of-the-week-pass-on-the-football-watch-a-show-instead/#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:00:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=26910

Here’s a great video of some of London theatre’s top names messing around with a football.

It’s a fun reminder that, despite the European Championships kicking off later today, there’s lots of other forms of entertainment available in London, particularly if you’re not a footie fan! There’s some pretty impressive skills on show in the video above. Who else thinks David Suchet’s stunning header could be a timely lesson for Andy Carroll?

For more info on all London’s current and forthcoming theatre shows, check out visitlondon.com/events/theatre

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Our Best Bits: The VL Team’s Highlights of 2010 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/12/our-best-bits-the-vl-teams-highlights-for-2010/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/12/our-best-bits-the-vl-teams-highlights-for-2010/#comments Fri, 31 Dec 2010 15:00:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=18299 What a year it’s been! Here we share our highlights of 2010 in London:

Zoe:
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!

Aly:
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.

Hannah:
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!

Milly:
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!

Jenny:
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!

Lettice:
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!

Madelene:
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.

Claire:
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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Remembering Michael Jackson at Thriller Live in London http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/remembering-michael-jackson-at-thriller-live-in-london/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/remembering-michael-jackson-at-thriller-live-in-london/#comments Wed, 21 Jul 2010 15:02:11 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=12130

There has never been a better time to go and see the musical Thriller Live at The Lyric Theatre in London. With the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death still fresh in our minds, this show is a wonderful way to celebrate his life and music.

Thriller takes you on a journey through all the major phases of Jackson’s musical life. There is not much of a narrative to follow, instead the show focuses on squeezing in as much singing and dancing as possible, performing popular hit after hit.

Thriller also gives an insight into Michael Jackson’s childhood and his early career in his family band The Jackson 5. The talented Mitchell Zhangazha is breathtaking as young Michael, with a voice and moves that rival the adult performers on stage.

The dancers are fantastically exuberant, and perform in almost every number but the star of the show is Jovanny Pichardo Almonte who takes on the part of the main Michael dancer. It is evident Almonte has studied Jackson’s dance and performance style for many years. Both his look and his movements seem almost identical to that of MJ himself.

If you have a favourite Jackson number, it is sure to be part of this epic show, all mine were! A trip to Thriller Live is a truly wonderful way to remember the King of Pop.

Thriller Live is on at London’s Lyric Theatre until 12 Sep. Book your Thriller tickets here.

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Another Busy Week at The Met Bar http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/04/another-busy-week-at-the-met-bar/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/04/another-busy-week-at-the-met-bar/#comments Thu, 08 Apr 2010 09:13:34 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=7931 The lovely Jamie Holloway has moved onto pastures new. He will be much-missed by the whole Met Bar team. As the Met Bar’s new Membership, PR & Events Executive I have quite a legacy to fulfill. I’m excited about taking over the reins and keeping all of you up to date on the amazing events (and other notable stuff) happening at London’s premier members bar.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Jo and myself hosting talented music maestros and their aficionados. Ben Forster performed classic melodies and upbeat hits with his angelic vocals and ex-Oasis star Andy Bell rocked the Met Bar’s decks in his formidable style.

For those of you that have never had the pleasure of meeting Andy or seeing him DJ, you totally missed out on Thursday. I was expecting to meet a moody Northern lad, but I was pleasantly surprised by his amicable demeanour and laidback style. His eclectic set gave nothing away about his rock star roots, as he spun tracks ranging from 80′s pop to reggae.  And much to everyone’s delight, the hits kept flowing from the masterfully controlled Met Bar decks all night.

The instantly lovable and insanely talented Ben Forster was the flavour of Wednesday evening. His powerful, soulful, melodic tones filled the Met Bar and it’s adoring crowd with sounds that make the hairs on your neck stand up.

Ben is a bit of a West End legend, he has starred in the Michael Jackson-inspired phenomenon Thriller – Live and the classic musical Grease. He also hosts the live and unplugged institution that is Have You Met which, if you haven’t had the pleasure to see, is a feast of new and established vocal talent.

Next Wednesday we have the launch of mine and Jodie Harsh’s new monthly night, Hotel Hotel. More info coming very soon…

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1 Million Michael Jackson Alternatives http://blog.visitlondon.com/2009/07/1-million-michael-jackson-alternatives/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2009/07/1-million-michael-jackson-alternatives/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2009 09:38:56 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=917 Michael JacksonThe capacity of  The O2 arena is said to be around 20,000. Michael Jackson had sold out 50 concerts. By my calculations that leaves well over 1 million people looking for an alternative night out.

I was originally booked for the opening night of July 8th, which was rescheduled to last night – July 13th

I was saddened by Jackson’s death but was not moved to pay homage at The O2 or indeed to book for Thriller Live at The Lyric Theatre. I wont be paying for the souvenir ticket or any of the merchandise now on sale for the biggest non-gig of the century.

Instead I took the rare opportunity to have a night at home with my family. When my sons went to bed I treated myself to an evening of listening to some of my favourite music. The song that touched me most was “Dive” by Show of Hands. It made me feel so sad that I went and gave my sons an extra kiss goodnight.

Perhaps I owe Michael Jackson a vote of thanks for allowing me the time to reflect on what really matters in life.  I wonder how other fans will spend their free night?

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