5 New Musicals for 2015

Gypsy

Every year starts with a bang in Theatreland. A whole raft of productions announce their impending arrival in London’s West End and 2015 is no different.

So, on with the show!

Bend it Like Beckham

Gurinda Chadha’s story of an Indian girl whose traditional Indian upbringing is turned upside when a football talent scout spots her potential. The musical promises to have the same balance of East meets West, West scores a goal but East equalises in the dying seconds, with a score that is part London musical and part bollywood bonanza (sort of like Jai Ho in football boots) with the Bhangra sound added to Howard Goodall’s score by BritBhang (is that a thing?) star Kuljit Bhamra

Bend it Like Beckham opens at the Phoenix Theatre London in May 2015

Beautiful – the Carole King musical

So many shows in London come with the tag “the soundtrack to a generation” Jersey Boys, Sunny Afternoon, Rock of Ages, Thriller Live, so why not add another one!

Beautiful is a lovely story too about a lovely and talented lady. Songs include You’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin, The Locomotion, You’ve Got a Friend, You Make Me Feel (like a natural Woman) Up on the Roof, Take Good Care of My Baby, I Feel The earth Move… if you are that generation, then this is your sound track!

It is a mssive hit on Broadway and there should be no doubt that when it comes to the Aldwych Theatre from 10th February 2015

Gypsy

Gypsy

The Chichester Festival Theatre is on a bit of a run. Every year the West End seems fortunate to welcome yet more productions from this hotbed of creativity and 2015 is no different with their critically-acclaimed production Gypsy, starring Imelda Staunton arriving at the Savoy Theatre in March.

Stephen Sondheim’s musical, about Gypsy Rose Lee and what happens to her touring family when the popularity of their vaudeville act and the very future of vaudeville itself, is threatened by the racy new Burlesque acts sweeping the country, is sure to be one of the season’s highlights.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

A latino vibe soundtrack has been added to the film’s crazy plot for Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne to negotiate whilst trying to deal with taxi drivers, terrorists and other affairs of the heart in the brand new musical.

The show has actually already started but as Christmas and New year rather got in the way of the usual fanfare and hulabaloo that tends to  accompany a West End opening I thought it worth a mention now.

It runs at the Playhouse until May.

Motown The Musical

Another Broadway import will grace the stage of the Dominion Theatre either at the end of 2015 or early 2016. Motown – The Musical is the story of the record label that created the soundtrack to a generation… hang on a moment: haven’t we heard that before?

Of course it features Motown classics such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” but it is the story behind the hits, of a record label taking on the odds to create the soundtrack that changed, not only American music but America itself, that makes this musical such compelling viewing!

Tickets are not yet on sale but we will keep you informed.

Theatre Highlights in London this Christmas

saraHi theatre-goers

Only five weeks to go until Christmas folks… that’s a scary thought isn’t it?

Have you paid any attention to what theatre show you are going to see over the festive season? What will be your theatre highlight in London this Christmas?

nicole in catsWhen I was growing up our big family Christmas treat was always to see the latest West End hit and probably the first musical I saw was the 1972 version of Jesus Christ Superstar, then there was Barnum, Blondel, Evita, Chess, Starlight Express and Cats to name but a few.

I’m very excited that Cats is coming back into the West End. It opens on 6th December and goes througt h to early February, so don’t delay book today! I already have and now very much looking forward to seeing global superstar Nicole Scherzinger in the role of Grizabella. I know it will bring back such great memories for me.

sunny-afternoon 320x240If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will know that I’m off to see Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter theatre tonight. After a sell-out run at the Hampstead theatre earlier in the year, it has now transfered to the West End and before it even opened extended its booking period not once, but twice. That can only be a good sign, right? Just in case you don’t recognise the musical’s name as a song title, Sunny Afternoon tells the story of the rise to fame of London based group The Kinks who had a shed load of hits during the 1960s & 70s including Waterloo Sunset, Dead End Street, You Really Got Me, Lolo, Days, Apeman and of course thier sensational No 1 song Sunny Afternoon.

jones-and-chambers 350x260Then next month I’m off to see White Christmas on Boxing Day which will be a fantastic way to round off the Christmas festivities. All those memorable songs, the feel-good factor, people dancing in red & white santa suits… oh, it’s making me go all tingley inside just thinking about it. Stars Aled Jones and Tom Chambers will, I’m sure, give a rousing performance of White Christmas that will bring a tear to everyone’s eye.

So, it’s Cats for me, but what musical brings back childhood memories for you? I’d love to hear from you.

Sara

30/10/14 Winter in the West End

Hi Theatre-goers

Well, for some of you it’s half term week with the kids around and wanting to “do stuff”. I’m in the same position and one of our holiday highlights was to see the production of The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre, London. Now I wouldn’t call this a family friendly fun filled couple of hours of theatre, but both my children are in there teens and enjoy a good ghost story plus it tied in nicely with the impending Halloween! Suffice to say that even on my 4th outing to see the play it was still just as spine-tinglingly brilliant as the first time.

Next month I have tickets to see Sunny Afternoon the Kinks inspired musical which, whilst still in previews, extended its run not once but twice and is now booking through to May 2015. Under the astute direction of Edward Hall (son of Sir Peter) – who also brought us the acclaimed Chariots of Fire two years ago – it is bound to be nominated many times when the award seasons comes around early next year.

Then on Boxing Day I’m going to keep the season’s festivities alive with a trip to see White Christmas starring one of my childhood idos Aled Jones and also Tom Chambers (Top Hat) who take over the roles made famous by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in the 1954 film of the same name.

Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella

Photo : Uli Weber

And finally, in February I will see Cats 33 years after first watching it in the West End. Then the tragic Grisabella was played by Elaine Paige who gave a searing performance of Memory which left the whole audience in tears, this time around former Pussycat Doll and X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger (pictured left) will don the furry coat and no doubt leave us as a lump of emotional jelly with her rendition.

And, looking way, way ahead to the summer I am very excited by the announcement of the new Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre season which culminates in a production of Lord of the Flies – this is definitely one “biro” onto the calendar. I cannot wait…

So, what’s on your theatrical calendar in the coming months?

Sara

21/10/14 Made in Dagenham

Hi Theatre-goers

made-dagenham-gemma 340x285There’s a new musical in town and its called Made in Dagenham.

Now, I really enjoyed the 2010 film of the same name starring Sally Hawkins in the lead role of Rita O’Grady who famously campaigned for equal pay rights for the female work force at the Ford car plant in Dagenham in 1968.

 

The film has now been adapted by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) for the stage with music and lyrics supplied by David Arnold (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace) and Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer : The Opera) respectively.

The musical version stars former Bond girl Gemma Arterton who recently showed off her muscles as crossbow-wealding Gretel in Hollywood blockbuster Hansel and Gretel : Witch Hunters. She was also in the marvelous British bitter-sweet comedy Song for Marilyn with Terrence Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave (if you’ve not seen this film yet  – make it number 1 on your to do list this coming weekend)

From what I’ve read on the show’s official website, it appears the paying public are thoroughly enjoying what they are seeing with many tweets consisting of the words “amazing”, “hilarious” and “brilliant” so I should be in for a real treat when I see it.

 

Have a great week

Sara

7/10/14 Tennis Stars in London

Hi Theatre & Event-goers

It’s that exciting time of year again when the world’s elite mens tennis players are vying for a place in the top 8 of the Emirates ATP Race to London rankings in order to play at the ATP World Tour Finals next month

ATP World Tour Finals 2014.

It’s no surprise that Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already qualified for the ATP World Tour Finals which take place at London’s O2 Arena between 9th – 16th November. But what of the contenders to fill in the other 5 spaces … and more importantly, why haven’t I mentioned Britain’s Andy Murray yet? Doesn’t he ALWAYS qualify you might be asking? Isn’t it a given?

Well, Murray hasn’t qualified yet – although last week following his win in Shenzhen (his first title since winning Wimbledon in 2013) and his semi-final appearance at the China Open he has moved up 2 places in the rankings to number 9. In fact he’s only 200 points behind 6th placed Tomas Berdych and if he does well this week in Shanghai (a tournament he’s won twice before) and again in Paris at the end of October he could well leap-frog over several players possibly ending up ranked as high as 5.

However, what ever the outcome of Murray’s next 2 tournaments, the ATP World Tour Finals are a brilliant opportunity for any tennis fan to watch outstanding players in the mens game which this year could include Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishakori, David Ferrer, US Open Champion Marin Cilic and “next big thing” Grigor Dimitrov. And of course, the doubles offer the unbeatable Bryan brothers who are back to defend their title this year.

So, we all wait with baited breath to see just who will fill in the top spots…

Have a great week

Sara

6/11/14 : So, now we know who’s going to be at the O2 Arena next week…

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray (yes, he made it!), Tomas Berdych, Milos Roanic and Marin Cilic. Rafael Nadal has pulled out due to undergoing surgery.

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