Hope Mill Theatre announces 2018 season!

TOYBOY DIARIES - Copy

Award-winning Hope Mill Theatre and resident producer Aria Entertainment today announce their much anticipated 2018 season, with three bold, exciting and ambitious in-house productions.

The converted mill in Ancoats currently hosting the European premiere of Little Women enjoyed a landmark 2017 season which saw 5* critically acclaimed productions and London transfers for Yank! and Hair with Pippin following in early 2018 will begin the season with the world premiere of new British musical The ToyBoy Diaries (on sale today).

This new musical comedy which runs from 18 January to 10 February 2018 charts the hilarious and sometimes heart-breaking sagas of mid-life dating. When twice-divorced Lily inadvertently finds herself under a much younger man, it opens the door to a wild new world of inappropriate relationships. From Tom the Tender to Sam the Submissive, via Paul the Policeman, Hat Trick Patrick and Matt the Monstrous (with Old Willy and Philandering Phil mixed in along the way) Lily finally finds Ben the Bountiful.

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Spring Awakening will run from 19 March to 3 May 2018. A production hailed as “one of the great musicals of the last decade” (New York Times) and the winner of eight Tony and four Olivier Awards, Spring Awakening follows a group of teenagers in late-19th-century Germany navigating the struggles and virtues of blossoming youth, with an electrifying fusion of morality, sexuality and a Grammy award-winning rock score. This landmark musical will be presented in an intimate and bold new production helmed by director Luke Sheppard (In The Heights, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole).

Third show to be announced is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic classic Aspects of Love which will run from 5 July to 4 August 2018. Featuring the iconic “Love Changes Everything” Aspects of Love tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their artistic companions, against a background of 1940’s France and Italy.

The hugely successful partnership between Joseph Houston and William Whelton, the co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre and producer Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment is further testament to their commitment to make Hope Mill Theatre the home of new musicals and revivals in the north and beyond with two more yet-to-be announced productions in Autumn/Winter.

Hope Mill Theatre Exterior Shot

William Whelton and Joseph Houston, co-founders of Hope Mill Theatre said: “We wanted to make sure our third season was even more ambitious and we feel we have managed to achieve that with the world premiere of the new British musical The ToyBoy Diaries, an exciting revival of Spring Awakening with an Olivier Award-winning creative team and our first staging of an Andrew Lloyd Webber classic – Aspects of love. Once again we have proved the power of regional theatre and continue to spearhead Hope Mill Theatre as a leading player in new musical staging, musical premieres and exciting revivals.”

Katy Lipson, of Aria Entertainment, who has just seen her production of The Addams Family transfer to Singapore stated “I have enjoyed working with the theatre on taking our shows to new commercial levels in London and am extremely delighted to announce the first three shows of our 2018 season, it is an honour to share this diverse selection of work with you. We hope to continue to champion the genre and bring in audiences from far and wide.”

Further information can be found here

@Hopemilltheatr1

@ToyBoyDiaries

 

Pippin

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First premiered on Broadway an incredible 45 years ago, Katy Lipson, Guy James and Hope Mill Theatre’s revival of Tony award winning Pippin shows no signs of age and is as magical and enchanting as we hoped it would be.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, Pippin tells the tale of a young man in search of something to believe in, a path to follow, ultimately, he is in search of himself. Loosely based on ‘Pepin’ the son of 8th Century King Charlemange, Pippin sets about trying out life and all it has to offer via different careers and different directions in order to find his corner of the sky. Maeve Black’s stunning Victorian Vaudeville setting paired with stunning lighting design from Aaron J. Dootson allows the players to truly tell this tale in the most theatrical and immersive of ways, making Pippin a remarkably bold and striking production.

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Pippin’s search and the different paths it leads him down illustrates clearly that with all its craziness and drama the world is indeed a stage, as the players perform and indulge Pippin his desires, we realise everything we see is an act. Leading player Genevieve Nicole is a wholly commanding presence, she steers and controls her fellow players who perform beautifully on her instruction, she shines in the role and bursts with sass and dangerous charisma as she steers Pippin through his search for fulfilment.

Jonathan Carlton is brilliantly cast as Pippin, he perfectly portrays the young Prince’s naivety and frustrations, the development in his character is wonderful to see as each experience leaves its mark and changes his outlook on life. Carlton’s delivery of Corner Of The Sky is especially beautiful, full of emotion and wonderfully displays the hopelesness he feels with his inability to fit in and understand his path in life.

The whole ensemble are superb, hardworking and utterly captivating. Director Jonathan O’Boyle has created a tight and incredibly slick team who are entirely in sync with each other. William Whelton’s choreography is sharp and precise and really adds to the beauty of this special piece while musical director Zach Flis delivers the sublime score to perfection.

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High praise must also go to Mari Barclay who plays both Fastrada and Berthe, her characterisation is exceptional, with brilliant comic timing and larger than life delivery she excels in both roles and also as a member of the superb ensemble.

The quality and delivery of Pippin is top class, the pairing of Katy Lipson and Hope Mill Theatre is a true gift to Manchester. Engaging, captivating and entirely magical, Pippin convincingly worked its magic and enchanted completely. A real gem of a show delivered with real style and sass.

On at Hope Mill Theatre until 23rd September tickets£20, concessions £18 available via the following link http://www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk/whats-on/

Pippin

The Addams Family preview

Credit: Matt Martin

The Addams Family, photo credit for images: Matt Martin

They’re creepy, kooky, and all together ooky and are heading to the Lowry for two weeks of fiendish fun this August. From the writers of multi-award winning Jersey Boys with music and lyrics from Tony Award nominated Andrew Lippa, The Addams Family are in for a shock when they realise Wednesday Addams (Carrie Hope Fletcher), the ultimate moody teenager, has grown up and has a truly shocking secret that only her Father Gomez (Cameron Blakely) knows; she’s fallen in love with a normal boy! So begins a riotous evening of spooktacular fun as the Addams’ host a dinner for Wednesday’s normal boyfriend and her ever so conservative parents.

We caught up with Carrie Hope Fletcher who plays Wednesday and Les Dennis who plays Uncle Fester ahead of their arrival in Salford to hear all about the witty and wicked show critics are describing as ‘gloriously ghoulish!’

credit: Matt Martin

Les Dennis as Uncle Fester

While both actors are hugely experienced in all aspects of entertainment with Les starting his career back in 1971 at the tender age of 17 on the iconic Opportunity Knocks and Carrie treading the boards in the West End as a child actor in Les Mis, Mary Poppins and Chitty the both know exactly how best to develop their characters and put their stamp on this production. Les explained how he wanted to bring his own Fester to the production, “I wanted him to be childlike and have a sense of fun, in the breakdown it said a tenor voice and also a vaudevillian so I knew straight away he had musical roots”

Carrie is a huge fan of the movies, in particular Christina Ricci, describing the challenges in taking on such an iconic role Carrie said; “It’s difficult to take on board bits of a character you really loved and think can’t be lost because they’re so iconic while trying to make it yours at the same time. When I was in Les Mis playing Eponine, Trevor Jordan said to me ‘The character has got to find you as much as you have got to find the character’ which is something that has always stayed with me”.

credit: Matt Martin

Oliver Ormson as Lucas and Carrie Hope Fletcher as Wednesday.

Les too is a huge fan of the family telling us, “As soon as my agent said they wanted me to read for Fester I said, absolutely! I’ve grown up with the series, then watched the films with my kids recently as they wanted to know more about the Addams Family, but I really wanted to try and bring my own Fester, I love playing him, he’s such fun and he’s the one character who gets to talk to the audience and of course he champions the love affair”.

Both Les and Carrie are clearly having a huge amount of fun touring with this weird and wonderful production which sees the famous cartoon creations of Charles Addams turned into a musical comedy. Carrie describes working on the show as an absolute scream, stating she has never seen a cast as in love with a show as this one; “We have as much fun back stage as we do on stage, it’s just as crazy” Les added, “If you’re anywhere with Cameron Blackley (Gomez) it’s going to be fun and can’t be anything but crazy, he is just life and soul!” Carrie added “On stage he is absolutely brilliant as Gomez and backstage he is basically Gomez without the Spanish accent! It’s such a wonderful company, the cast, the crew, everyone just has so much fun and I think that comes across on stage too, we all hang out together, we all get on so well and we are just having the best time”

credit: Matt Martin

Cameron Blakley as Gomez and Samantha Womack as Morticia.

We asked Les and Carrie which were their favourite numbers in the show, Les particularly loves Happy Sad which Gomez sings, “I think any Dad that has a young daughter and has that heartbreak of her growing up and losing her that song will literally have them in tears, it’s a beautiful song”, Carrie picked a line out that she really loves singing “In Crazier Than You, there is a line I love singing, ‘I’m gonna cut you with my love and with my knife’ for me it just sums up Wednesday completely, loving and terrifying all at the same time”.

The Addams Family opens at The Lowry on 29th August and runs until 9th September, book now for this fabulous family treat, tickets are available via www.theaddamsfamily.co.uk/tourdate/the-lowry-salford/