“Why would you see it more than once? Isn’t it the same?” How many of us stagey people have heard this one before? Well, we fucking love it so leave us alone! At least we know that every theatre experience is unique and we create memories with every one of them. I thought I’d share… Continue reading Shows I’ve Seen The Most
Layton Williams and Shane Ritchie join Rebecca McKinnis in the new cast through May 4, 2019. Correct me if I’m wrong but there seems to be only two original British musicals in the West End right now…both filled with Queens! And one of them is still playing to sold-out energised crowds at the Apollo Theatre.… Continue reading Review: Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Sugar. Butter. Casting. So one of my dreams for next year has come true with the exciting news of Waitress being just around the corner, beginning at the Adelphi Theatre in February 2019. So for fun – strictly fun – I know people get ancy about these sorts of things, but this is just for fun, nothing serious or offensive – I thought I’d share my perfect casting for the first UK production of this beautiful show. I’m sure we are getting a cast announcement just around the corner anyways, but…
Joe – Bruce Montague
Bruce is currently playing Abner Dillon (in 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane) which is a small, but very funny role and Montague brings something great and memorable to it. He looks the part of Joe and would be able to pull off that cheeky humour while also bringing heart to it.
Cal – Delroy Atkinson
I most recently saw Atkinson in Sylvia at the Old Vic and he was hilarious which made me think what a great Cal he would be. He fits the role and would make a great paring with my Becky I have selected. Also, the West End needs more BAME representation, which I have done with this cast without realising.
Earl – Jon Robyns
For the douche-boyfriend role I went with Robyns who I always enjoy on-stage. And again, I picture him in the role so vividly. He can play pretty much everything so I’m sure it wouldn’t take much for me to hate him for a change.
Ogie – Daniel Buckley
Buckley is hysterical and steals every scene he’s in currently, playing Ferris in Eugenius! at The Other Palace. He can sure as hell sing it and has a great presence and charm about him which would be perfect for Ogie – audiences would root for him so easily.
Dawn – Asmeret Ghebermichael
Asmeret is incredible. Currently as Lorrell in Dreamgirls at the Savoy, she never fails to blow me away with her comic timing and vocal ability. I am wishing for her to play the lovable Dawn, I think she would bring so much flexibility to the role which has possibly not been done before.
Becky – Marisha Wallace
For this role, you need a voice and a half. And Marisha, currently Effie in Dreamgirls alongside Asmeret, would be a dream. Her version of “I Didn’t Plan It” would blow the Adelphi roof off every night. She would always give it sass and attitude, and bounce off Delroy so easily. Perfect casting if I do say so myself!
Dr. Pomatter – Sam Palladio
This was a hard one because having seen the OG Drew Gheling on Broadway I can’t imagine anyone else being as good as him, so all the leading men of the West End went through my head until I thought of this curve-ball. First, if you have not watched Nashville then you need to straight away because it’s the best TV show ever. But anyway.. if you don’t know him, Sam was a lead in that show and is an amazing singer-songwriter in his own right. He is also a very powerful and charismatic actor. So he can basically do anything. Business-wise (ugh) he might bring in a few more bums-on-seats, but I really chose him because I think he would be amazing in this role and it’s a crime he hasn’t done any theatre yet! And what better a role to make his West End debut with!
Jenna – Rebecca Trehearn
So many choices I can’t even begin. I understand this is quite a sensitive subject at the moment just because they are casting right now, and everyone wants it. But as I said, I mean nothing by this, just doing it, ‘cus. But in a selfish way, fuck me Rebecca’s voice singing this score would be to die for. This woman is one of my all-time favourite actresses and singers. The way she emotionally approaches material and her incredibly rich, unique tone suits what this show is looking for down to a T. Her “She Used to Be Mine” would be so emotional I might internally combust. Please Theatre Gods, make it happen!
Like many others I am still holding out for West End productions of the likes of Newsies and Next to Normal (like, c’mon already), so I thought I would delve back into an ideal world in which the show matters and the celebrity doesn’t bring in the cash, what a simpler world that would be. Anyways… Continue reading West End Shows We Need in 2019
So this was probably the hardest list to compile, which is why I’ve been pondering it for so long, but each of these writers have managed to make me laugh, cry and just about feel every emotion possible with their incredible work.
And before you say, I realise I have no women in this list which isn’t intention before anyone starts getting all internet-crazy on me, there just isn’t a woman in my top 6, that’s all. But come to think of it, they’re aren’t a hell of a lot of female composers out there producing on a commercial scale – we really do need to change that!
6. Stephen Sondheim
I don’t think any list would be without this extraordinary man. His brain must be so interesting, whatever is going on in their, I want some. From Sweeney Todd to Into the Woods, all of his works educate you, impress you, as well as sound incredible. I love the fact that he prefers ‘actors who can sing, not singers who can act’ – that’s a real poignant idea that shows us Sondheim knows what real theatre should be. A recent discovery of his I found was Follies when I saw it last year and this song still takes my breath away.
5. Tim Minchin
Again, another guy who must have the most fascinating brain. How Minchin manages to write the most varied array of songs as well as musicals such as Matilda and Groundhog Day with such ease is worthy of every highest praise. This example “Cont” is a perfect example of how people behave in life, which is what Minchin does best, taps into your phyci, making you think and feel for the human condition.
4. Lin-Manuel Miranda
No wonder this guy has shot to fame as he has. Lin writes unlike anyone else, the way he bends lyrics and tuneful melodies together to create something you can tap your feet to, but as the same time, leave something worth saying. Before Hamilton though, he wrote one of my all-time favourites, In the Heights; I love the power of “Inutil” and how it tells you so much in such a short time.
3. Jason Robert Brown
Likewise, Brown is so skilled in telling a whole story in a single song, as well as in full musical form (“The Last Five Years” is a true masterpiece!) I love Brown’s approach to telling stories, the intricacies and underrated melodies that capture, much like Sondheim, the state and emotion of what makes us human. “Someone to Fall Back On” is a perfect example of a stand-alone, relatable and beautiful song that tells a whole story.
2. Scott Alan
If you’re unfamiliar with Alan’s work, then get on it! The shear true emotion with which Scott writes is unparalleled. I have have the pleasure of seeing him perform a few times in concerts and only then do you see that all his work comes from a very personal place, but out of that darkness always comes something truly remarkable. “Anything Worth Holding Onto” will break you (sorry ’bout that!)
1. Frank Wildhorn
Wildhorn’s writing is big and bold – he writes for people with vocals that can shatter a building basically. Some of my all-time favourite scores are his, from Jekyll and Hyde, to Bonnie and Clyde, to Wonderland – musical perfection that I could listen to on repeat. There is something about the way he composes, there is a rhythm to it and when you’ve got a 11-O’Clock belting number, you know you’ve got it! “Vienna” is a stand-alone song that Wildhorn wrote for ex-wife Linda Eder (my favourite vocalist!). The emotion, clarity and incredible orchestrations just blow me away.
So clearly I’m not in the fantasy football league game and all that, so this is my stagey version of that I guess. So when you’ve seen the same show as many times as I have you come to discover the beauty of live performance, in that every actor and actresses are different in their… Continue reading Dream Casting: Wicked in the West End
As 2017 comes to a close I thought I would look back at this incredible year of theatre. I’ve seen so much this year it was so difficult to whittle it down to just 10 experiences, so first, some honourable mentions, these included seeing what the hype was about at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; multiple visits including the first preview and closing night of The Toxic Avenger; The Color Purple in Concert at Cadogan Hall; Bonnie and Clyde Work-in-progress & The Wild Party (both The Other Palace); seeing Beautiful a few times in its closing months (ending with closing night); and seeing two productions at my favourite venue Regent’s Park Open Air – On the Town and Jesus Christ Superstar.
*Also note I have excluded the many concerts of performers I have seen, just sticking with solely theatre-related shows/events otherwise the list would go on and on!
10. West End Live 2017
The free outdoor concert event showcasing each show and performer of the West End over one weekend. The event closed with this powerful performance from John Owen Jones, Nathan Amzi, Marisha Wallace and Trevor Dion Nicholas. Incredible to be a part of!
9. Panto Returns to the London Palladium
Book-ending my 2017 was Cinderella (January) and Dick Whittington (December) at the London Palladium. Both showcased star casts, spectacle, musical and classic panto. And I have never laughed so much in my life than I have watching Julian Clary in both!
8. Cast change/Matt Henry’s Final performance of Kinky Boots
An incredible evening from start to finish. You could tell the whole audience had such a love for this show and cast and everyone went full out for the last one. Matt Henry received what felt like close to a 5-minute standing ovation after “Hold Me In Your Heart,” and that’s something I won’t forget in a hurry!
7. The first UK performance of Hamilton
This musical is astonishing in every sense, while I feel it’s not as good as creator Lin Miranda’s other big musical In the Heights, it certainly is worth the hype. And to be a part of the very first audience of something that has already created a legacy, reformed how musical theatre is done and that will run for years was pretty unbelievable!
6. Half a Sixpence (all three times)
I wish I had since the show more than three times because it was perfect and did not deserve to close. While I enjoyed it the first time without him, rising star Charlie Stemp really elevated the show and gave such an inventive and fresh lead performance. A truly beautiful show with amazing show-stopping numbers (will forever be blown away by “Pick Out a Simple Tune”) that definitely contributed to making my year!
5. 42nd Street (again, and again, and again)
The best show on the West End right now! I’ve seen it four times this year and I’m not stopping there. My heart feels like it’s jumping out at every moment. With just the Overture and opening scene you are blown away. This cast, this ensemble, this choreography, this music makes one of the best experiences you will have…well…in general!
4. Dreamgirls (all 8 times I guess!)
Along with Wicked, this is the show I have since the most this year and overall in my 10 years of theatre watching. It is so impressive, the vocals and the music take your breath away. I was lucky enough in November to be at cast change Saturday (final show for Amber) and Monday (Marisha’s lead debut), but to be honest, every time seeing this show feels like a special occasion because every time, everyone goes all out!
3. Wicked cast changes
As ever, what I look forward to every year is a cast change at Wicked, just so happens we had two this year with limited return runs for powerhouses Rachel Tucker and Willemijn Verkaik, and the end of contract for the exceptional 10th Anniversary company. Emotions and vocal goals were at the forefront this year and I loved every minute. Not to mention, this was all followed by my all-time favourite Elphaba Alice Fearn becoming lead! Get in!
2. In the Heights Closing Night
Going back to the very first week of the year, when before London gained Hamilton, it lost In the Heights. This was a night that I will remember forever: half a dozen standing-ovations, an incredible final performance of one of my top 5 shows, and a speech from the main man Lin at the end of it all. It was simply everything!
1. The Girls (in general)
I feel like I go on about this show a lot on my blog but for good reason. My top 3 shows move around a little depending on how I’m feeling and this show has felt like it ought to be in the number 1 spot after this year. I was lucky to see the show 6 times (although I wish it was more) and it is honestly the most fun and equally heartbreaking experience I’ve had – something about how the show is done connects very emotionally with me, and the final 2 performances in particular were arguably the best theatre experience I’ve had in my life! It was not given long enough in the West End…still, I can’t wait for the tour in 2018!