Matilda announce tour cast

25 - Royal Shakespeare Companys Matilda The Musical. Credit Manuel Harlan

 

Today, the Royal Shakespeare Company announced the full adult casting for the first five venues of the Matilda The Musical 2018/19 UK and Ireland Tour, which includes a visit to Manchester’s Palace Theatre from Mon 18 September – Fri 24 November 2018.

Craige Els will reprise the role of Miss Trunchbull, having received rave reviews playing her in the West End for three years between 2014 and 2017. Craige will be joined by Carly Thoms as Miss Honey and Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood as well as former West End cast-mate Rebecca Thornhill as Mrs Wormwood.

The rest of the adult cast are Joe Atkinson, Peter Bindloss, Oliver Bingham, Emily Bull, Matthew Caputo, Samara Casteallo, Matt Gillett, Michelle Chantelle Hopewell, Sam Lathwood, Steffan Lloyd-Evans, Charlie Martin, Anu Ogunmefun, Taylor Walker, Adam Vaughan and Dawn Williams.

The tour of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s award-winning show will begin at Leicester Curve on 5 March 2018 before heading to Dublin, Sunderland, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester and Cardiff. Further dates will be announced in due course.

Tickets can be booked for Manchester dates here www.atgtickets.com/shows/matilda/palace-theatre-manchester/ Tuesday 18 September – Saturday 24 November 2018

The Wedding Singer

Wedding Singer

Based on Adam Sandler and Tim Herlihy’s monster hit movie The Wedding Singer arrives at Manchester’s Opera House full of hairspray and highlights for one week only.

Recreating the storyline familiar to film fans where loveable lead singer of wedding band ‘Simply Wed’ Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) gets jilted at the alter by brutal bride Linda (Hannah Jay-Allan) who decides wedding singing just isn’t cool enough for her rock chick ways. Waitress Julia (Cassie Compton) helps Robbie eventually see past his misery and realise perhaps he hasn’t sung his final wedding song just yet!

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The Wedding Singer bursts into life from the opening, full of high energy dance routines and powerful performances Chad Beguelin’s witty and sharp lyrics are an absolute joy. Chockfull of laugh out loud moments this production is cheeky, charming and full of sass! West End favourite Jon Robyns takes on the role of Robbie Hart and delivers it perfectly, his Somebody Kill Me had the audience howling with laughter, his woeful misery at being dumped reminding us all just how truly ridiculous love can be. His voice is smooth and strong and the chemistry between Robbie and Julia (Cassie Compton) is perfect. Former X Factor contestant Compton is sweet and soulful; her harmonies with Robyns are simply beautiful. The show also hosts another X Factor favourite, 2006 X Factor finalist Ray Quinn who is tremendous in the role of Glen, odious and arrogant Quinn steps into Glen’s 80’s loafers and braces with ease, sharp and snarling, looking like he’s just walked off the set of Wall Street with his slicked back hair and suitcase sized mobile phone.

Special mention must go to Ruth Madoc who plays Rosie, Robbie’s randy rapping Grandmother, Madoc is hilarious and looks like she’s having just as much fun performing as the audience are having watching the show. Her paring with George (Samuel Holmes) for Move That Thang is a scream. Holmes as George delivers witty one lines throughout the production and his specially written song for the Bar Mitzvah just has to be seen!

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Director and choreographer Nick Winston has delivered a real treat of a production, with some stand out scenes that deserve special mention, All About the Green which opens act two packs a punch with some slick choreography and dynamic staging whilst Single in contrast is stripped back and simple but enormously effective, as the males of the cast share their woes whilst gathered behind the bar displaying some clever and entertaining choreography.

The Wedding Singer is a high energy, action packed, feel-good production, with a strong cast and a highly memorable score, it’s an absolute riot of an evening. Grab your hair crimper; slap on your best blue eye shadow and hot foot it down to the Opera House to party like its 1985!

Tickets available here http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-wedding-singer/opera-house-manchester/

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Cilla – Open auditions!

Cilla

The search for the next big musical theatre star is on as producers of Cilla – The Musical confirm open auditons will begin around the country in May. The auditions will start in Liverpool before taking in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London in a bid to find their leading lady.

Producers are looking for a charismatic and talented actress with a great voice to portray the title role, starting in Cilla’s hometown of Liverpool.  The dates and locations for the auditions are as below:

Tuesday 2 May                               Liverpool Empire

Monday 8 May                               Edinburgh Playhouse

Tuesday 9 May                               Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre

Friday 12 May                                 London Dominion Theatre

 

Robert Willis (Executive Producer and Cilla’s son), said: “My Mum Ioved singing and performing ever since she was a young girl and she was determined to do what she loved. Having performed at the clubs around Liverpool, including the famous Cavern Club, she got her big break when Brian Epstein spotted her and signed her. It was the start of everything that was to follow. She was a natural born performer who lived to entertain her audience. We are hoping to find that person who also dreams big and has the talent to match but just needs the chance to show it. We can’t wait to meet you!”

The new production which is a heart-warming musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed ITV mini-series based on the early life of Cilla Black, by BAFTA award winner, Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomena, From The Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs) will open in her hometown at the Liverpool Empire from Thursday 7 – 16 September before embarking on a nationwide tour. The musical score will be the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, alongside a backdrop of the legendary “Liverpool Sound” including the Beatles’ Twist and Shout, and American influences like California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas and many more.

Cilla – The Musical is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, alongside Executive Producer Robert Willis.

TOUR DATES

 

Liverpool Empire Theatre                                                                                        atgtickets.com/Liverpool

7 – 16 September                                                                                                         0844 871 3017

 

Edinburgh Playhouse                                                                                               atgtickets.com/Edinburgh

19 – 23 September                                                                                                       0844 871 3014

 

Milton Keynes Theatre                                                                                            atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

26 – 30 September                                                                                                       0844 871 7627

 

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                                                                      mayflower.org.uk

3 – 7 October                                                                                                                  023 8071 1811

 

New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham                                                           atgtickets.com/birmingham

10 – 14 October                                                                                                            0844 871 3011

 

Blackpool, Opera House                                                                                               wgbpl.co.uk

17 – 21 October                                                                                                             0844 856 1111

 

New Theatre, Cardiff                                                                                                 newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

31 October – 4 November                                                                                          029 2087 8889

 

New Wimbledon Theatre                                                                                        atgtickets.com/Wimbledon

7 – 11 November                                                                                                          0844 871 7646

 

Regent Theatre, Stoke                                                                                                   atgtickets.com/stoke

14 – 18 November                                                                                                       0844 871 7649

 

Palace Theatre, Manchester                                                                                  atgtickets.com/Manchester

21 – 25 November                                                                                                       0844 871 3019

 

Bradford, Alahambra Theatre                                                        

bradford-theatres.co.uk

28 November – 2 December                                                                                     01274 432 000

 

More tour dates to be confirmed soon.

 

Visit cillathemusical.com for all the latest tour and audition information

Twitter: @CILLAMUSICAL

 

Preview – Bat Out Of Hell- The Musical

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Exactly one month to the day Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical will be all revved up and ready to take to the stage at the Manchester Opera House for the first night of an impressive seven week run of what is set to become one of the biggest musical theatre events of the year.

Originally called Neverland, and based on a futuristic version of Peter Pan which writer Jim Steinman originally work-shopped in 1974, Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has been many years in the planning. Set against the backdrop of a post-cataclysmic city adrift from the mainland we meet Strat (Andrew Polec) the forever young leader of The Lost who has fallen for Raven (Christina Bennington), who has been locked away in the palace towers by her Father Falco (Rob Fowler), the oppressive ruler of Obsidian. The show takes us on an adventure of romance, rebellion and rock ‘n’ roll and features many of the monster hits we all know and love including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

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We were lucky enough to be treated to a preview from the rehearsal rooms and boy is Manchester in for a treat! The large cast are absolutely full of energy and sounded incredible, Polec led the charge as we were given a taste of what to expect when the show premieres at the Opera House on 17th February. Directed by award-winning theatre and opera director Jay Scheib, Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is no doubt set to become a theatrical triumph , vibrant, sassy and full of attitude, the cast delivered each song with passion and were brimming with energy and the self-assured confidence you’d wish for from any rock star. The cutting edge and dynamic choreography of Emma Portner compliments the soundtrack perfectly and adds even more attitude to already explosive performances.

Sitting down with director Jay Scheib and producers David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl, and Tony Smith we heard more about the work that has gone into bringing this production together and the commitment they each have to ensuring the dream of seeing Bat Out Of Hell turned into a musical becomes not just a reality but an exciting and vibrant theatrical experience. Discussing the appeal and longevity of the music Scheib said, “You can have one perspective on the songs as a teenager and that perspective can shift as you move into different stages of your life, some songs get old where these songs just get different and their meaning changes, so they are always relevant”. David Sonenberg noted also that “Steinman first wrote the song titles then challenged himself to write a song that lived up to the title, he is a brilliant lyricist, just amazing at writing melodies”.

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It’s clear to see why Andrew Polec was given the lead role; the minute the music starts he is transformed into Strat, totally focussed and committed to delivering a performance Meatloaf himself would be proud of, if there is such a thing as having ‘it’ then Polec has got ‘it’ in bucket loads. It’s clear to see why the producers knew so quickly when Polec arrived at the open casting in the United States that he was “Born to play the part”, his casting in the role couldn’t be more perfect, Tony Smith states “You have to have an incredible voice for these songs, he’s not blown away by the scale of these songs, he’s amazing” Beautifully complimenting Polec’s strutting and rebellious Strat is Christina Bennington as Raven, she has the most beautiful voice and a wide-eyed innocence that’s just waiting to be corrupted by some serious rock ‘n’ roll, Bennington describes Raven’s meeting with Strat as a meeting of minds, “…she craves the love of her parents but feels suffocated by it, once she meets Strat she feels there’s the chance of a whole new kind of freedom but, she has an internal battle as she is torn between the love of her parents and her love for Strat”.

There is some real star quality involved in this new musical, the heartfelt delivery of new song What Part of My Body Hurts the Most by Rob Folwer and Sharon Sexton gave me goosebumps, emotional and touching the quality of the writing is so good it would be right at home on any of the Bat Out Of Hell albums. Fowler describes the songs as “…totally relatable, they tell the story for you, they’re full of honesty, even the new songs feel so familiar” a true sign of excellent writing. Likewise Danielle Steers and Dom Hartly- Harris give a powerful, emotionally charged performance of Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad that left me desperate to see more. Manchester audiences may also recognise Andrew Patrick-Walker, most recently seen in Hair at Hope Mill Theatre, Andrew is thrilled to be returning to Manchester with such an exciting and ground-breaking show.

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There is some serious weight behind this production, the sets and costumes promise to be spectacular with the building of the set beginning at the Opera House almost 6 weeks before opening night it is a show of enormous scale. Following our discussions with the cast and creatives it is obvious that this show is going to be nothing short of epic, the care taken to ensure this production is of the highest standard is clear to see, the opportunity to get to know Bat Out Of Hell as a theatrical piece is going to be an absolute joy, roll on February!

Tickets are available now via http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/bat-out-of-hell/opera-house-manchester/

http://www.batoutofhellmusical.com

17 February – 29 April 2017

Opera House, Manchester

Performances: Mon-Sat at 7.30pm, Thurs & Sat at 2.30pm (no matinee on Sat 18 February)

Tickets: from £17.50

La Bohème Preview

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Renowned Opera producer Ellen Kent returns to Manchester’s Opera House this month with Puccini’s beloved and one of the most popular classic operatic stories ever told, La Bohème.

Puccini’s masterpiece, with its soaring melodies and emotionally stirring orchestration is based on Henri Murger’s novel Scenes de la vie de Boheme, it includes many  unforgettable arias  including the beautiful ‘Your Tiny  Hand  is Frozen’, ‘They Call Me Mimi’ and ‘Musetta’s Waltz’.

Set in Paris, La Bohème tells the tale of ill-fated lovers Mimi and penniless writer Rodolfo. Mimi and Rodolfo instantly connect but Mimi’s flirty behaviour leads Rodolfo to call time on their love, wracked with guilt and pining for his sweetheart he soon returns to his lover but of course this being an opera there’s a sprinkling of tragedy to deal with along the way.

Ellen Kent’s La Bohème will be traditionally staged featuring stunning sets and beautiful costumes. The set will reflect the Bohemian art of the Parisian period and included in the show will be the additional treats of a live brass band, wintry snow effects and even Musetta’s dog which will make an entrance.

Said producer Ellen Kent: “The scene when Mimi and Rodolfo meet and she sings They Call Me Mimi always makes me cry. It’s a lovely piece of music. I try to do opera that the audience can emotionally connect with, not just on a musical level but with the personal drama happening on the stage.”

French soprano Olga Perrier together with the international soprano Ecaterina Danu are returning to star in this production as Muzetta and Mimi respectively. The international tenors Giorgio Meladze and Vitalii Liskovetskiy are also returning after they have previously enjoyed huge success performing in the UK.

Sung in Italian with English subtitles, La Bohème really makes Opera accessible for all, entertaining, poignant and playful, La Bohème is the ideal introduction for newcomers looking to explore what Opera has to offer as well as being a treat for the established Opera lovers amongst us.

Book now at www.atgtickets.com/Manchester or by calling the box office on 0844 871 3018.

La Bohème – Opera House, Manchester

Saturday 12th November 2016

Perf Times: 7.30pm

0844 871 3018* http://www.atgtickets.com/manchester *

*Booking/transaction fee applies

Ghost – The Musical

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Based on Bruce Joel Rubin’s 1990 smash hit film starring screen legends Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, and following the original musical interpretation which premiered at Manchester’s Opera House back in 2011, Bill Kenwright brings his new production of Ghost the Musical to the Palace Theatre.

With music by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, and lyrics from Grammy Award winner Glen Ballard (whose previous credits include Alanis Morrissette’s album Jagged Little Pill) Ghost tells the story of young, loved up New Yorkers Sam (Andy Moss) and Molly (Sarah Harding). Sam is tragically murdered in the street in a robbery gone wrong, which we soon learn was organised by his close friend and work colleague Carl (Sam Ferriday). As Sam takes his last breaths he soon realises he has become stuck between two worlds, ripped away from his love too soon he realises she too is in danger and he must find a way to connect and protect her. This connection comes in the form of Oda Mae Brown (Jacqui Dubois) so called psychic and spiritual healer, or more accurately fraudster and dodgy dealer.

Harding has come under heavy criticism for her performance in the role, most notably in the opening stops on the tour, but I’m happy to say Manchester’s audience welcomed her with open arms and she gave a touching and enjoyable performance. At times her acting was a little breathy but there is no denying she has a sweet and soulful voice and the chemistry between her and Andy Moss was moving. Fair play to her for getting up on stage night after night when even the most confident of us would be hiding under a blanket eating a vat of ice cream if we’d had even half of the criticism she’s received. She has clearly worked hard to improve her performance and is determined to silence her critics.

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Andy Moss makes for a very likeable and playful Sam making his death seem all the more tragic, his commitment to protecting Molly from danger is moving and his interactions with Oda Mae (Jacqui Dubois) are brilliant. Moss portrays Sam’s highs prior to his death with warmth and excels when the lows of the afterlife take hold. Dubois was born to play Oda Mae Brown, if ever they remake the film she should be first in line at the auditions, outrageous, hilarious and full of sass, she shines in this production and her fun interactions with both Sam and Molly are a joy to watch.

With a strong supporting cast including a fine performance from Sam’s sly former friend Carl (Sam Ferriday) Ghost is a highly entertaining show, with beautiful music and some clever effects you’ll laugh, quite possibly cry and definitely come away from the production wishing you’d kept up with those pottery classes!

On at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 29th October, tickets available here!

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/ghost-the-musical/palace-theatre-manchester/

Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show

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Heading into the Opera House on a cold Monday night surrounded by burly boys in stockings and suspenders and gorgeous girls in teeny tiny French maid’s outfits can only mean one thing; the fabulous Rocky Horror Show is back in town!

An unbelievable 43 years old now, Rocky Horror shows no signs of ageing as this bright, bold and brilliant production burst into life. There is a buzz in the air from the many audience members dressed up for the occasion and the cheers and whoops begin as soon as the curtain rises. If you don’t know the story…(Really?! Where have you been!) then here’s a brief overview; conservative kid Brad (Richard Meek) and his straight-laced fiancé Janet (Hayley Flaherty) are on their way to visit their old science teacher Dr Scott (Paul Cattermole). Their car breaks down on a dark windy road in the middle of nowhere; the only thing in sight is a creepy looking castle, of course they decide to knock on the door and ask for help, and so the fun begins as we meet Frank-N-Furter and his debauched gaggle of a gang.

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Taking on the part of Narrator is Charlie Condou, well known for his recent role in Corrie, Charlie makes for a witty and cheeky narrator, he gives as good as he gets with the notoriously quick audience heckling and is immediately likeable with his relaxed and fun approach to telling the tale. Before you know it you’re up on your feet doing the Time Warp much to the delight of the audience and screaming with pleasure as Frank-N-Furter (Liam Tamne) makes his entrance. Tamne makes for a delicious Frank, sassy, strutting and completely debauched, exactly as he should be!

Director Christopher Luscombe has done a fine job of making this production an absolute must-see, the whole cast are exceptional. Both Hayley Flaherty (Janet) and Richard Meek (Brad) are superb, their transformation from prim and proper to debauched and dirty is fabulous. Paul Cattermole takes on two roles Eddie and Dr Scott and does a fine job with each. Special mention also must go to Kristian Lavercombe Riff Raff, Kay Murphy Magenta and the brilliant Sophi Linder-Lee Columbia flirty and frivolous, complementing our leads perfectly.

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Added to the superb cast, the creative team have delivered a visually stunning show, costumer designer Sue Blame has kept things traditional which is exactly what the audience want to see, whilst set designer Hugh Durrant wraps the stage in a giant celluloid movie reel perfectly lit by Nick Richings tremendous lightening design.

The show is sharp and without doubt the most fun you can have on a Monday night in Manchester, fun, filthy and totally fabulous! On at the Opera House until Monday, tickets available here!

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-rocky-horror-show-2/opera-house-manchester/