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Strike Up the Band!

Strike Up the Band!

Welcome to Strike Up the Band!, our snapshot of the shows the professional musical theatre scene has to offer now and over the next few months.

Why do we dare talk about the professional industry in a magazine aimed at the amateur sector? There are many reasons actually, and the three main ones are:

  • Professional productions represent the level we, as amateurs, aspire to.
  • These shows are the titles that will, one day, be available to amateurs.
  • As regular theatregoers, who doesn’t love a great night out at a show?

 

SCHOOL OF ROCK THE MUSICAL
Gillian Lynne Theatre, London WC2B 5PW
Until 1 March 2020
W: uk.schoolofrockthemusical.com | F: schoolofrockmusical | T: @schoolofrockuk
After a run of three years, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s worldwide hit musical will play its last performance at the Gillian Lynn Theatre (where it has played more than 1,400 times) on 1 March before embarking on a major UK tour next year.

 

 

SIX
Arts Theatre, London WC2H 7JB
Booking extended until January 2021
W: www.sixthemusical.com/london | F: sixthemusical | T: @sixthemusical
The musical that’s taking the world by storm has extended its West End run until 2021.
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived… is merely scratching the surface. Don’t miss the show that has come from nowhere!

 

 

Photo: Pamela Raith

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL
Savoy Theatre, London, WC2R 0ET
Until 23 May 2020
W: 9to5themusical.co.uk | F: 9to5TheMusicalUK | T: @9to5MusicalUK
Louise Redknapp and Brian Conley will return to play Violet Newstead and Franklin Hart Jnr. respectively in Dolly Parton’s hit musical. Redknapp will take over from Caroline Sheen on 10 Feb, with Conley coming in for David Hasselhoff from 2 March – with Sean Needham filling a stop-gap from 10 – 29 Feb. The pair will join Chelsea Halfpenny as Judy Bernly, Natalie McQueen as Doralee Rhodes and Bonnie Langford as Roz Keith.
Based on Patricia Resnick’s original screenplay and Parton’s iconic score, the London show opened last February and already has a touring counterpart travelling around the UK.
Set in a large corporate office, Doralee, Violet and Judy are three workmates, pushed to boiling
point by their sexist and egotistical boss.

 

 

Photo: Matthew Murphy

WAITRESS
The Adelphi Theatre, London WC2R 0NS
Until 4 July 2020
W: waitressthemusical.co.uk | F: waitresslondon | T: @WaitressLondon
The musical has welcomed Evelyn Hoskins to the role of Dawn while original London cast member Marisha Wallace has also returned to the West End production. The show’s writer, Sara Bareilles has also joined the West End cast as Jenna opposite Gavin Creel as Dr Pomatter.

 

 

 

 

 

LES MISÉRABLES
Sondheim Theatre, London W1D 6BA
Booking until 17th October 2020
W: www.lesmis.com/london | F: lesmisofficial | T: @lesmisofficial
Matt Lucas stepped in to play the role of Thénardier when Gerard Carey was unable to perform in the new production at the Sondheim Theatre. However, a back injury has meant Lucas himself is now unable to continue. Ian Hughes has now stepped in from the UK tour.

 

 

THE LION KING
Lyceum Theatre, London WC2E 7RQ
Booking until 12 February 2021
W: thelionking.co.uk | F: DisneyUK | T: @Disney_UK
After twenty landmark years in the West End (more than 7,500 performances), The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Based on the 1994 animated film, the musical has broken all records.

 

 

Photo: Matthew Murphy

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Noël Coward Theatre, London WC2N 4AU
Booking until 30 May 2020
W: www.dearevanhansen.com/london | F: DEHWestEnd | T: @DEHWestEnd
A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have. Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted: a chance to finally fit in. Both deeply personal and profoundly contemporary, this is a new musical about life and the way we live it.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Craig Sugden

COME FROM AWAY
Phoenix Theatre, London WC2H 0JP
Booking until 23 May 2020
W: www.comefromawaylondon.co.uk | F: ComeFromAwayUK | T: @ComeFromAwayUK
The award-winning musical enters its second year in the West End and will welcome new cast members from Monday, 10 February.
The true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers in Newfoundland during the wake of 9/11.

 

 

Photo: Manuel Harlan

THE BOY IN THE DRESS
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB
Until 8 March 2020
W: www.rsc.org.uk/the-boy-in-the-dress-musical | F: thersc | T: @thersc
The best-selling first novel by David Walliams features sixteen original compositions by Robbie Williams and Guy Chambers. The show opened at the RSC to five-star reviews at the end of November and may give Matilda a run for its money – is a West End transfer on the cards?
The heart-warming comedy tells the story of star striker and fashion-lover Dennis. Directed by Gregory Doran and adapted by Mark Ravenhill.

 

 

 

 

THE WEDDING SINGER
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, Wembley HA9 0SP
Until 1 March 2020
W: www.troubadourtheatres.com/wembley-park/whats-on/the-wedding-singer | TroubadourWPark | T: @troubadourWPark
Strictly dancer, Kevin Clifton, has teamed up with Rhiannon Chesterman again since the pair performed together in the recent UK tour of Rock of Ages for this month-long run in West London.

 

 

 

Photo: Pamela Raith

RAGS THE MUSICAL
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
Until 8 February 2020
W: www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/rags-the-musical | F: ParkTheatreLondon | T: @ParkTheatre
There are only days left to see this show before it closes. The musical transferred from Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre at the start of Jan and features music & lyrics by Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz. Fresh from Ellis Island, a mother and her son search for a new life and a sense of home in America as the 20th Century beckons.

 

 

Photo: Richard Davenport

CURTAINS: THE MUSICAL COMEDY
Touring now until 11th April 2020
W: curtainsmusical.com | F: CurtainsMusicalUK | T: @MusicalCurtains
From creators of Cabaret and Chicago (Kander & Ebb) this Tony award-winning backstage murder mystery musical stars another ex-cover star, Jason Manford – who is making a big name for himself in musical theatre.
The stand-up comedian plays Frank Cioffi who is tasked with solving an onstage murder… lucky he’s a big community theatre performer himself.

 

 

Photo: Johan Persson

THE RED SHOES
Touring now until 6th June 2020
W: new-adventures.net/the-red-shoes | F: MBNewAdventures | T: @new_adventures
Matthew Bourne’s triumphant adaptation of the legendary film has won two Olivier Awards and dazzled audiences across the UK and USA. It’s a tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion. Music comes from Bernard Herrmann.

 

 

Photo: Mark Yeoman

THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Touring now until 18th April 2020
W: www.kenwright.com/portfolio/sound-of-music | F: soundofmusicGB | T: @soundofmusicGB
Another Bill Kenwright production, and an all-time favourite from Rodgers & Hammerstein. The musical masterpiece tells the true story of the Von Trapp family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich.

 

 

BE MORE CHILL
The Other Palace, London SW1E 5JA
12 February – 3 May 2020
W: www.bemorechillmusical.com/london | F: BeMoreChillMusical | T: @bemorechill
The atypical love story of a boy, a girl… and the supercomputer inside the boy’s head guiding him every step of the way. The boy is desperately trying to fit in. The girl’s longing to be noticed. And the supercomputer just wants to take over the world.
The hit Broadway musical bursts with addictively catchy songs.

 

 

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
Dominion Theatre, London W1T 7AQ
5 February – 12 September 2020
W: www.ThePrinceOfEgyptMusical.com | F: PrinceOfEgyptUK | T: @PrinceOfEgyptUK
“Journey through the wonders of Ancient Egypt as two young men, raised together as brothers in a kingdom of privilege, find themselves suddenly divided by a secret past. One must rule as Pharaoh, the other must rise up and free his true people; both face a destiny that will change history forever.”

 

 

Photo: Francis Loney

Sasha Regan’s All-male H.M.S. PINAFORE
Touring from 15 April – 24 June 2020
W: www.rdww.co.uk/hms-pinafore | F: allmalehmspinafore | T: @allmalehms
The team that brought the All-Male The Pirates of Penzance to Wilton’s Music Hall re-imagine G&S’s acclaimed comic opera. Set on a World War II ship, the captain’s daughter has fallen for a lower-class sailor… but what lies in store for the lass and her hearty seafarer?

 

 

Photo: Dale Wightman

FRIENDSICAL
Touring from 20 February – 11 July 2020
W: Friendsical.com | F: Friendsical | T: @Friendsical
The 2019 Edinburgh Festival hit is the original and unique parody musical inspired by the gang in Friends, the iconic TV show. The musical opened to a rapturous response from audiences, becoming one of the top ten best-selling shows of 2019’s festival. However, when Sardines reviewed the show at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, our reviewer only gave it two stars!

 

 

Photo: Johan Persson

ON YOUR FEET! The story of EMILIO & GLORIA ESTEFAN
Touring now until 13th June 2020
W: www.onyourfeetmusical.co.uk | F: OnYourFeetUK | T: @OnYourFeetUK
The inspiring true love story of Emilio and Gloria and charts their journey from its origins in Cuba, onto the streets of Miami and finally to international superstardom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CABARET
Touring now until 25th April 2020
W: www.kenwright.com/portfolio/cabaret | F: BKLProductions | T: @bkl_productions
John Partridge and Kara Lily Hayworth are reportedly bringing the best-ever version of Bill Kenwright’s established production to the stage, as Emcee and Sally Bowles respectively. Anita Harris also stars as Fraulein Schneider in one of Kander & Ebb’s most-loved musicals.

 

 

Photo: Andrew Ross

SWAN LAKE | FIRST STEPS: SWAN LAKE | SWAN LAKE DREAMS
SWAN LAKE – Now touring until 4 April 2020
FIRST STEPS: SWAN LAKE – Now touring until 3 April 2020
SWAN LAKE DREAMS – Now touring until 31 March 2020
W: www.brb.org.uk | F: bhamroyalballet | T: @brb
Ballet’s greatest love story returns in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s lavish production. This romantic fable of ill-fated passion, powerfully illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s legendary score played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, has bewitched audiences for generations.

 

 

 

 

Photo: Oliver Rosser

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL
Piccadilly Theatre, London W1D 7DY
Performances from 13 February 2020
W: PrettyWomanTheMusical.com | F: prettywomanuk | T: @prettywomanuk
Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance supply the music to the Broadway hit which, in the West End, will star Aimie Atkinson as Vivian Ward, Danny Mac as Edward Lewis, Rachael Wooding as Kit De Luca, Bob Harms as Happy Man/Mr Thompson, Neil McDermott as Philip Stuckey and Mark Holden as James Morse.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Joseph Sinclair

OPERA UNDONE: TOSCA & LA BOHEME
Trafalgar Studios 2, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
5 February – 7 March 2020
W: trafalgar-studios.com/shows/opera-undone | F: TrafStudios | T: @TrafStudios
The Olivier Award-nominated producers of the 2017 smash-hit La bohème, announce the full cast for the Puccini double-bill, Opera Undone: Tosca & La bohème. The production will run at Trafalgar Studios 2 from 5 February to 7 March 2020. Adam Spreadbury-Maher, Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre, will also direct the production, with musical direction from David Eaton.

 

 

 

 

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
Touring from 10 March – 4 July 2020
W: milliondollarquartetlive.co.uk | F: MillionDollarUK | T: @MillionDQuartet
Back by popular demand following huge success on Broadway and the West End, this is the Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the famous recording session that brought together rock‘n’roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Peter Duncan stars as Sun Records’ Sam Phillips.

 

 

Photo: Johan Perrson

EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE
Touring from 8 February – 16 August 2020 as well as the Apollo Theatre West End production
W: www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk | F: JamieMusical | T: @jamiemusical
The upcoming tour of the smash-hit West End show will include Layton Williams who currently stars as Jamie in the West End as well as Shane Richie who played Hugo/Loco Channelle at the Apollo Theatre. They are joined by Shobna Gulati as Ray and George Sampson as Dean.
Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.
With catchy songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and book and lyrics by writer Tom MacRae, this funny, fabulous, feel-good, musical sensation has been wowing audiences and critics alike. Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

Photo: Simon Annand

NUTCRACKER!
Touring from 16th November – 6 December 2020
then… Sadler’s Wells: 8 Dec 2020 – 24 Jan 2021
W: www.new-adventures.net | F: MBNewAdventures | T: @New_Adventures
The sweetest of all Matthew Bourne’s treats returns with family-sized helpings of his trademark wit, pathos and magical fantasy.

 

 

Photo: Specular

BAT OUT OF HELL – THE MUSICAL
Touring from 10th Sep 2020 – 2 Jan 2021
W: www.BatOutOfHellMusical.com | F: BatTheMusical | T: @BatTheMusical
Featuring Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s greatest hits, this show wowed critics and public alike when it played at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre in 17-19.

 

 

BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL
Touring from 2nd June – 28 November 2020
W: www.selladoor.com/shows/whats-on/bring-it-on | F: selladoortheatre | T: @sell_a_door
Inspired by the film of the same name, the musical takes you on a high-flying, energy-fuelled journey which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness – wrapped up in explosive choreography and tricks.
Music & lyrics are co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Tom Kitt, music, and Amanda Green, lyrics).

 

 

CINDERELLA
Gillian Lynne Theatre, London WC2B 5PW
Opening in September 2020
W: www.andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com | F: ALWCinderella | T: @alwcinderella
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s highly anticipated new musical will be a complete reinvention of the classic fairytale, and is based on an original idea by Emerald Fennell, the Emmy Award-nominated lead scriptwriter of the second season of international smash hit Killing Eve, with a brand new score from the legendary composer.

 

 

Photo: Alastair Muir

DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE
Touring from 14th July – 3 October 2020
W: www.dirtydancingontour.com | F: ddonstage | T: @DDOnStage
A renewed version of the show will bring eager audiences the iconic story of Baby and Johnny, featuring the hit songs: Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? and the heart stopping (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, returns to the stage, following two blockbuster West End runs, four hit UK tours, and multiple sensational international productions.

 

 

 

Photo: Matt Crockett

DREAMGIRLS
Touring from 12th September 2020 – 2 January 2021
W: Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk | F: DreamgirlsMusicalUK | T: @Dreamgirls_UK
Featuring the classic songs And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, Listen and One Night Only, this sensational, multi-award-winning new production had its critically acclaimed West End Premiere in December 2016 at London’s Savoy Theatre, thirty-five years on from opening on Broadway. Join Effie, Lorrell and Deena as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the realities of show business.

 

 

HELLO, DOLLY!
Adelphi Theatre, 409-412 Strand, London WC2R 0NS
Performances from 11 August 2020
W: www.HelloDollyLDN.com | F: HelloDollyLDN | T: @HelloDollyLDN
Jerry Herman’s unforgettable score includes: Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Before the Parade Passes By, It Only Takes a Moment and Hello, Dolly!
Imelda Staunton stars alongside Andy Nyman and Jenna Russell. Dominic Cooke will direct.

 

 

 

MONSOON WEDDING
Leeds Playhouse: 22nd June – 11 July 2020
Roundhouse (London): 17 July – 29 August 2020
W: MonsoonWeddingmusical.co.uk | F: Monsoonmusical | T: @Monsoonmusical
Nearly twenty years after the multi-award-winning film became one of the most successful international movies of all time and introducing a worldwide audience to Indian culture through the joy of the rom-com, the story of finding love against the odds returns as a new musical.

 

 

 

MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING THE MUSICAL
Touring from 19th September – 5 December 2020
W: www.bestfriendsweddingmusical.com | F: mbfwmusical | T: @mbfwmusical
The show will star Alexandra Burke as Julianne Potter in the musical based on the wickedly funny film of the same name. Featuring songs from Burt Bacharach & Hal David including I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, Walk on By, I Say A Little Prayer, What’s New Pussycat.

 

 

STRICTLY BALLROOM
Adelphi Theatre, 409-412 Strand, London WC2R 0NS
Touring from 26 Sep 2020 – 26 Jun 2021
W: strictlyballroomtour.co.uk | F: strictlyballroomtouruk | T: @sbtourUK
Craig Revel Horwood will fittingly direct the show based on the award-winning, global film phenomenon, Strictly Ballroom that inspired the world to dance.
Songs include Love is in the Air, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps and Time After Time.

 

 

IN THE HEIGHTS (FILM)
Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReHJImvkZUo | F: warnerbrosuk | T: @WarnerBrosUK
In The Heights will be released nationwide in August by Warner Bros. Pictures. The creator of Hamilton and the director of Crazy Rich Asians invite you to the event of the summer, where the streets are made of music and little dreams become big… In the Heights.
Starring Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, the film is based on the musical stage play which wowed Londoners in 2015.

 

 

 

 

Photo: Kevin Cummins

SUNNY AFTERNOON
Touring from 7 August – 5 December 2020
W: www.sunnyafternoonthemusical.com | F: sunnyafternoonthemusical | T: @kinksmusical
The multi Olivier Award-winning hit musical tells the story of the early life of Ray Davies and the rise to stardom of The Kinks, who exploded on to the 60s music scene with a raw, energetic new sound that rocked a nation. The Kinks’ best-loved songs, include You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, All Day and All of the Night and Lola.

 

 

IN CONCERT: LUCIE JONES LIVE AT THE ADELPHI

Sunday, 16 February 2020, 7pm
W: lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/lucie-jones-live-at-the-adelphi | F: LWTheatres | T: @luciejones1, @AdamBlanshayPro, @LMTOrch
The live February show will be recorded and released as a live album, available in Spring 2020, with specific release details to follow.
It is also announced that joining Lucie on stage will be guest artists, fellow Welsh musical star John Owen Jones and her Waitress co-star Marisha Wallace.
Lucie said: “The Adelphi has become so special to me while playing Jenna over the past year. Being able to step out onto that stage just as Lucie is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and recording the show for a live album is the icing on the cake – or pie! I’m so excited to share the evening with everyone, with a twenty-two-piece orchestra playing some of our favourite tunes, plus a few stories from me and a couple of incredible guests. I know I’ll be reliving the night through the album for the rest of my life!”
Lucie Jones Live at the Adelphi will be a celebration of all that Lucie has achieved to date across her multi-platform career, and will be accompanied by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra.
The show will be packed with old classics and modern hits, and will feature stories from Lucie’s remarkable career.

The Review – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Trinity Drama Productions)

The Review – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Trinity Drama Productions)

Production: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Author/s: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lyrics by Tim Rice
Society/company: Trinity Drama Productions
Director: Chris Chambers
Choreography: Amy Nicolls
Designer: Tara Usher
Performance date: 6th December 2019
Venue: Trinity Concert Hall, Trinity School, Shirley Park, Croydon, Surrey CR9 7AT
Reviewer: Paul Johnson

As a policy, we don’t star-rate non-professional productions but, if we did, I would have to give this school production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s timeless musical, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat a maximum five stars!

Before we all get carried away, such a full house score wouldn’t be given for the most flawless and professional performance in this musical’s history (I’m sure Bill Kenwright’s professional touring production and last summer’s big-budget, sell-out run at the Palladium would have something to say about that) – although there are a number of high-end elements to this show. But for sheer bravery, team spirit, ambition, enjoyment, audience reception, commitment, attitude and downright entertainment, I cannot fault Trinity Drama Productions’ latest show in the London suburb of Croydon.

The school is extremely lucky to have two pivotal members of staff; Director, and Head of Drama, (Mr) Chris Chambers, and the show’s MD, Head of Academic Music, (Mr) Richard Holdsworth. Through this inspired pairing you can see exactly why everything that happens onstage – well, happens. For a start, the high-quality musical production – which takes place every two years – sells out every time. This enables the production to hire its lighting equipment from professional specialists, White Light, as well as sound equipment (radio-mics etc.) from Orbital. After that it’s down to the pupils to get their hands dirty, including a couple of Year Seven boys (aged 11) to fit the principals with their microphones, plus another young pupil, Amir Shivdasani, brilliantly live-cueing the multiple vocal levels (putting many other productions I’ve seen to shame). But that’s not all… of the eighteen-piece orchestra, a whopping sixteen are pupils too. Together, under Mr Holdsworth’s baton, they make an expert and well-balanced accompaniment to the fifty-odd stage performances.

 

Chris Chambers, who also runs a professional adult theatre company, has done wonders to bring the show to life and his infectious positive attitude is not in doubt. Trinity is mixed-gender in its sixth form, and the decision to feature a two-girl ‘Narrator’ works well, especially for such a tricky role. Elsewhere, performances are mixed in quality but, as the second of two Josephs, Lucas Pinto, has firmly stamped his credentials on the title role. Lucas is handed the part from Tom Willmer after Joseph’s brothers sell him to a group of passing Egyptians. Pinto’s stand-alone number, Close Every Door, is well-delivered and equally well-received.

For sheer nerve Will Gao Hardy arguably takes the show’s top prize as Elvis-impersonator, Pharaoh the King as one of the big highlights of act II (and arguably the entire show). Such is his level of confidence, he even has the bravado to ‘come down into the audience’ mid-performance and woo certain members of the on-looking crowd. If he’s this good at such a young age, we can only hope Gao Hardy wants to go all the way.

In such a young a large company it’s a statistical certainty that one or two will end up in the West End. In addition to some very bright futures for one or two members of the orchestra, I predict that the faultless Elaine Jones (Narrator), as well as the aforementioned Lucas Pinto and Will Gao Hardy could carve healthy futures for themselves onstage should they wish to do so. I’ll even add one of the non-principals to this trio; Dance Captain Stephanie Joubanian shows a great deal of natural ability and should be very proud of her performance too – another big part of the show’s success.

Amateur theatre is absolutely the cornerstone of this country’s performing arts and it’s at this age that people first catch the performing (or backstage, sound, lighting) bug. And long may it continue!

Read this and other reviews at www.sardinesmagazine.co.uk

No.1 at 80! (Your News)

No.1 at 80! (Your News)

By Paul Johnson

One of amateur theatre’s biggest supporters, Sir Ian McKellen, has topped The Stage 100 2020 power list for his extraordinary nationwide tour, raising the profile of UK local theatres and more than £4 million towards arts projects across the country.

Ian McKellen, who came 24th in the 2019 list, has been propelled to the top of The Stage 100 after embarking on one of the most extraordinary undertakings of an already extraordinary career.
Sir Ian McKellen is the first actor ever to top the list!

His one-man show, Ian McKellen On Stage, saw the actor traverse the whole of the UK with an 80-date tour to celebrate his 80th birthday. The tour and subsequent West End run raised more than £4 million for theatres across the UK and theatre charities. All box office fees were kept by the host theatres, with McKellen giving his own time for free and encouraging them to spend that money on specific projects.

Sir Ian told us, “It’s been a joyful year taking my show to eighty-seven theatres up and down the country and meeting audiences of all ages, who relish live theatre as much as I do. All profits have stayed with the local theatres and finally, at the Harold Pinter Theatre, we’ve contributed to national theatre charities, from the National Youth Theatre to Denville Hall, where old colleagues end their days. I thank The Stage for putting me at the top of their list for 2020, an honour I share with the brilliant production team from ATG.”

Editor of The Stage Alistair Smith added: “It is hard to imagine another performer who could have pulled off such a feat, nor one who would have even thought of trying to. The tour was more than a celebration of Ian McKellen’s illustrious career, it was a love letter to theatre itself, and more specifically to local theatre. It was also an act of supreme generosity – the money he has raised will leave a very tangible legacy. While the argument of whether McKellen is the greatest actor of his generation is a moot point, it seems inarguable that his devotion to theatre – especially outside London – is unparalleled. Certainly, he has done more for theatre around the UK in 2019 than anyone else. We are very lucky to have him.”

Other figures featured in The Stage 100 2020 include Sonia Friedman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh – all of whom have held the top spot in previous years.
Maggie Smith (no.50) also makes the list thanks to her first stage performance in more than a decade, while pantomime star Julian Clary (51) is featured for the first time thanks to his headlining performances at the London Palladium.

The tour started a year ago at The Space, McKellen’s local arts centre on London’s Isle of Dogs on 25 January, and finished at the Orkney Theatre in Kirkwall on 28 August, more than 700 miles away. McKellen then added on a not-insignificant 80-date West End run at the Harold Pinter Theatre, which finished on 5 January 2020.

By the end of the tour and West End run, more than £4 million had been raised to help fund theatre charities and projects ranging from improved seating at the Albert Halls in Bolton (near where McKellen grew up) to supporting a three-week run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream designed for children on the autistic spectrum, produced by Flute Theatre and staged at London’s Bridge Theatre.

Ian McKellen On Stage featured the actor delivering speeches from some of the Shakespearean roles he has played on stage, complemented with other parts he has made famous (from Gandalf to Widow Twankey!) and some more off-beat personal selections (a recitation of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins). All this was interspersed with anecdotes about his life in the theatre and his experience as an activist for gay rights.

Other recent stage performances by Ian McKellen have included King Lear (2018), No Man’s Land (2016), The Syndicate (2011), Waiting for Godot (2009), The Seagull (2007), King Lear (2007).

The Stage 100 reflects the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts industry. It is considered from the point of view of The Stage as a trade publication and so focuses on theatre both as a business and an art form. Inclusion and ranking is weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months, but also takes into account continuous achievement.

High risers in this year’s list include: Cyrano de Bergerac and Pinter at the Pinter director Jamie Lloyd (no.9 – up 23 places); Sharon D Clarke (19 – up 58), following her critically acclaimed performances in Death of a Salesman and Caroline, or Change; and Emilia producer Eleanor Lloyd (35 – up 47 places).

THE STAGE 100 – 2020… full list:

01. Ian McKellen, actor
02. Sonia Friedman, producer
03. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Really Useful Group/LW Theatres
04. Cameron Mackintosh, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd/Delfont Mackintosh Ltd
05. Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger, National Theatre
06. Mark Cornell, Michael Lynas, Adam Kenwright and Adam Speers, ATG
07. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, Nimax Theatres
08. Michael Harrison, producer
09. Jamie Lloyd, director
10. Rupert Goold, Denise Wood and Rebecca Frecknell, Almeida Theatre, London
11. Vicky Featherstone and Lucy Davies, Royal Court Theatre, London
12. Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper, Elliott and Harper Productions
13. Sarah Frankcom, Royal Exchange Manchester / LAMDA
14. Nick Starr and Nicholas Hytner, London Theatre Company / Bridge Theatre
15. Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, Trafalgar Entertainment Group
16. Robert Hastie and Dan Bates, Sheffield Theatres
17. Matthew Bourne and Robert Noble, New Adventures
18. David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree, Selladoor Worldwide
19. Sharon D Clarke, actor
20. Kwame Kwei-Armah and Despina Tsatsas, Young Vic, London
21. Leonard Blavatnik and Danny Cohen, Access Entertainment
22. Kenny Wax, producer
23. Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon and Erica Whyman, Royal Shakespeare Company
24. Matthew Warchus and Kate Varah, Old Vic Theatre, London
25. Robert Icke, director
26. Edward Snape and Marilyn Eardley, Fiery Angel
27. Thomas Schumacher, Disney Theatricals
28. Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells
29. Timothy Sheader and William Village, Regent’s Park Open Air
30. Alex Beard, Oliver Mears, Kevin O’Hare and Antonio Pappano, Royal Opera House
31. Indhu Rubasingham and Daisy Heath, Kiln Theatre, London
32. Tom Morris and Charlotte Geeves, Bristol Old Vic
33. Michael Grandage, Michael Grandage Company
34. Bill Kenwright, producer
35. Eleanor Lloyd, producer
36. Michael Longhurst and Henny Finch, Donmar Warehouse
37. Caro Newling and Sam Mendes, Neal Street Productions
38. Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields and Henry Lewis, Mischief Theatre
39. Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis, Nick Salmon, Playful Productions
40. David Byrne, New Diorama, London
41. Rachel O’Riordan and Sian Alexander, Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
42. Nick Thomas, Qdos Entertainment
43. David Greig and Mike Griffiths, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
44. Nadia Fall and Eleanor Lang, Theatre Royal Stratford East
45. Nicholas Serota and Darren Henley, Arts Council England
46. Adam Penford and Stephanie Sirr, Nottingham Playhouse
47. Caryl Churchill, playwright
48. Lynette Linton and Lauren Clancy, Bush Theatre, London
49. Kate McGrath, Fuel
50. Maggie Smith, actor
51. Julian Clary, actor
52. Alan Lane, Slung Low
53. David Ian, David Ian Productions
54. Michelle Terry and Neil Constable, Shakespeare’s Globe, London
55. Andrew Miller, disability champion
56. Nikolai Foster and Chris Stafford, Leicester Curve
57. Fiona Allan, Birmingham Hippodrome
58. Emma Rice, Wise Children
59. James Dacre and Jo Gordon, Northampton Royal and Derngate
60. David Babani, Menier Chocolate Factory
61. Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre
62. Tamara Harvey and Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd
63. James Brining and Robin Hawkes, Leeds Playhouse
64. Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne, Chichester Festival Theatre
65. Stuart Murphy, English National Opera
66. Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins
67. Jenny Sealey, Graeae Theatre Company
68. Maureen Beattie, Equity
69. Emma Gladstone, Dance Umbrella
70. Julian Bird, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre
71. Laura Wade, playwright
72. Lorne Campbell and Kate Denby, Northern Stage
73. Jamie Wilson, Jamie Wilson Productions
74. Tristan Baker and Olly Royds, Troubadour Theatres
75. Lolita Chakrabarti, playwright and actor
76. Simeilia Hodge Dallaway, Artistic Directors of the Future
77. Simon Friend, Simon Friend Entertainment
78. Sam Hodges, Nuffield Southampton Theatres
79. Joseph Smith and John Brant, Smith and Brant Theatricals
80. Anna Hermann and Róisín McBrinn, Clean Break
81. Julie Spencer, Arts Ed
82. Matthew Xia and Andrew Smaje, Actors Touring Company
83. Ellen McDougall and Lise Bell, Gate Theatre, London
84. Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, Hartshorn Hook
85. Tom Scutt, designer
86. Tarek Iskander and Rebecca Holt, Battersea Arts Centre, London
87. Paule Constable, lighting designer
88. Bunny Christie, designer
89. Joseph Houston, William Whelton and Katy Lipson, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
90. Daniel York Loh, campaigner, actor and writer
91. Douglas Rintoul and Mathew Russell, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
92. Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, Underbelly
93. David Mumeni, Open Door
94. Steven Kavuma, campaigner and director
95. Justin Audibert and Anneliese Davidsen, Unicorn Theatre
96. Elizabeth Newman and Kris Bryce, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
97. Chris Sonnex, Bunker Theatre, London
98. Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov, Parents & Carers in Performing Arts
99. Chris Symons, BH Live
100. Jasmine Lee Jones, playwright

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