For amateur theatre... in-print, online, community
YOUR NEWS – BROADWAY BOUNCING BACK… HOT ON THE WEST END’S HEELS

YOUR NEWS – BROADWAY BOUNCING BACK… HOT ON THE WEST END’S HEELS

By PAUL JOHNSON


Theatres in New York City (that’s Broadway to you and me) have been allowed to open since 19 May, although, in reality, most shows are expected to reopen in the autumn (or the Fall, as they say across the pond.)
Audience members are still being asked to keep a six-foot gap (metres need not apply for this role) from other patrons unless specific venues require to see proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result.
The U.S. is still playing catch-up with the UK’s advanced vaccination programme but, then again, the U.S. has seen a whopping 600,000 deaths and over 33million Covid infections within its population – with the state of New York being the fourth worst in the whole country.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has also announced plans to fully reopen the city on 1 July.

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

Right now there are no theatre shows on anywhere in the UK; we’re in lockdown! Both amateur and professional theatre companies cannot perform until 3 December, when lockdown officially comes to an end.
After that, numerous productions are being publicised, not least a number of pantomimes. But in addition to the great panto season there are also lots of musical shows on the cards – whether taking place for limited runs in the West End, other areas of London, national tours, concerts, live-streams or just released on a cast recording to buy or download… so let’s all hope lockdown isn’t extended!
So, as this second lockdown hasn’t officially ended yet, please do check on the show website before booking any tickets to see any of the following. But here is a selected snapshot of what the professional musical theatre industry has in store for us over the coming months.
By the way, Cameron Mackintosh is reopening the concert version of Les Mis from 5 Dec at the Sondheim Theatre but we’re yet to hear about Mary Poppins and Hamilton.

A Christmas Carol
The Dominion Theatre, London
7 Dec 2020 – 2 Jan 2021
W: www.dominiontheatre.com/christmas-carol
F & T: @LondonXmasCarol
I’m a Celebrity 2019 winner Jacqueline Jossa makes her West End debut in the role of Emily and Busted star, Matt Jay-Willis will play Bob Cratchit alongside Brian Conley, who takes on the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge in Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent’s festive show.
Lucie Jones, Sandra Marvin and Martyn Ellis also feature. London Musical Theatre Orchestra will accompany.
Note: this is a staged concert production.

BACK TO THE FUTURE THE MUSICAL
Adelphi Theatre, London
From 14 May – 26 Sep 2021 (current booking end)
W: www.backtothefuturemusical.com
F & T: BTTFmusical
The iconic story of Marty McFly will transfer to the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End following its out-of-town opening at Manchester Opera House in March, where it was enthusiastically received by critics and the public alike (mind you, it only played for 10 days!).
Stepping into Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s shoes are Roger Bart and Olly Dobson who will reprise the roles of ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively.
Also returning are Hugh Coles, Rosanna Hyland, Cedric Neal, Aidan Cutler and Courtney-Mae Briggs.
Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr Emmett Brown.
But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.

Forever Plaid
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Ldn.
16 Dec 2020 – 24 Jan 2021
W: upstairsatthegatehouse.com
F: UpstairsAtTheGatehouse | T: @GatehouseLondon
Francis, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky loved to sing. They all met in high school around 1956 when the friends dreamed of emulating their idols, The Four Aces, The Four Freshmen and The Crew Cuts. Rehearsing in the basement of Smudge’s family’s plumbing supply company, it was here they became Forever Plaid. As their sound developed, they sang at family gatherings, fundraisers and eventually graduated to supermarket openings and local hops…

Cinderella
Gillian Lynne Theatre, Ldn.
30 Apr 2021 – 13 Feb 2022 (currently)
W: andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com
F: ALWCinderella | T: @alwcinderella
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical comedy starring Carrie Hope Fletcher, is set to “completely reinvent the world’s best-loved fairy tale when it opens in London’s West End in spring 2021.” The brand-new score by the good Lord has lyrics by Oscar-nominated David Zippel, with a script from Killing Eve’s Emerald Fennell.
“Cinderella… like you’ve never seen her before.”

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT
Dominion Theatre, London. | 11 Feb 2021 – 4 Sep 2021 (current booking end)
W: www.theprinceofegyptmusical.com | F & T: @PrinceOfEgyptUK
The London cast recording is now avaliable from Ghostlight Records as the actual production prepares to reopen in February …pending UK Government advice relating to COVID-19 (as with all of these shows).
It’s the biblical story of Moses, found as a baby in a basket floating on the Nile River.
The show follows him through 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.
The production (and cast recording) includes the hit song, When You Believe, which was a global hit for Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

Anything Goes
Barbican Theatre, London. | 8 May 2021 – 22 Aug 2021
W: AnythingGoesMusical.co.uk | F: AnythingGoesUK | T: @AnythingGUK
Cole Porter’s multi-award-winning musical – so popular with amateur theatre companies all over the country – will star award winner, Megan Mullally (Will & Grace), in her West End musical debut as Reno Sweeney, and Tony, Olivier & BAFTA Award winner, Robert Lindsay, as Moonface Martin.
Based on P.G. Wodehouse’s classic tale, this new production will be directed and choreographed by three-time Tony Award Winner, Kathleen Marshall. All-time favourite tunes include I Get a Kick Out of You, Anything Goes, You’re the Top and It’s De-Lovely.

SHOUT! the Mod Musical
Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London.
10 Mar 2021 – 18 Apr 2021
W: upstairsatthegatehouse.com | F & T: @ShoutMusicalUK
Journey back to the liberating days of 1960s’ London and explore the infectious anthems that made household names of stars such as Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Lulu and Shirley Bassey.
The show tracks the lives of five women as they “come of age in this psychedelic, eye-popping, fun-filled musical comedy which will make you want to throw your head back and Shout!” A real feel good jukebox musical. Iconic numbers include: You’re My World, Son of a Preacher Man, I Only Wanna be with You, Those Were the Days, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, Downtown, Goldfinger, These Boots are Made for Walking and, of course, Shout.

JERSEY BOYS
Trafalgar Theatre, London. | 14 Apr 2021 – 31 May 2021
W: www.jerseyboyslondon.com | F: JerseyBoysLondon | T: @JerseyBoysUK
The Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning smash hit musical returns to London’s West End, opening at the new multi-million pound reinstated Trafalgar Theatre, with a new, larger auditorium and stage (formerly known as Trafalgar Studios).
The story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons includes a multitude of hits: Sherry, Walk Like A Man, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and Working My Way Back to You, are a mere snippet.

CINDERELLA: A SOCIALLY DISTANCED BALL
The Turbine Theatre, London. | 3 – 23 Dec 2020
W: www.theturbinetheatre.com | F & T: @TurbineTheatre
The Turbine Theatre’s first-ever adult pantomime has been co-written by Jodie Prenger and Neil Hurst and stars Oscar Conlon-Morrey, Rufus Hound, Debbie Kurup, Scott Paige, Sean Parkins and Daisy Wood Davis.
The marketing push says: “Prepare to have your Christmas socks blown off with this all-star cast, celebrating theatre at its naughtiest. Glittery anti-bac will be at hand, and we promise to get home before midnight.” Sounds like fun?
Just heed the warning that also sits at the bottom of the PR editorial: “Please note: This is not for the faint hearted or those easily offended by smut.” Well, I wonder what they can possibly mean?

Beauty and the Beast
Touring the UK & Ireland from 25 May 2021
W: www.beautyandthebeastmusical.co.uk
F: beautyandthebeastthemusical | T: BeautyMusical
With this new production from Disney Theatrical Productions we are promised “Spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology to fuse with the classic story.” The shoe reunites the original Broadway creative team that brought us the iconic songs: Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast. In 2021 the show will visit Leicester, Dublin, Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh – with more venues still to be announced.

THE OSMONDS: A New Musical
Touring the UK & Ireland from 28 Aug 2021
W: theosmondsmusical.co.uk
F: theosmondsmusical | T: @OsmondsMusical
It was only a matter of time! This new show will receive its world premiere at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre next August. With a story written by Jay Osmond, this production “tells the true story of the five brothers from Utah who were pushed into the spotlight as children and went on to create smash hits, decade after decade.”
Charting their star residency on The Andy Williams Show from ’62 to ’69, to pop stars and ‘Osmondmania’ from 1971 to 1975, to the arrival of The Donny & Marie Show from ’76 to ’79, recording chart-topping albums and selling out vast arena concerts – until one bad decision cost them everything.

Rocky Horror Show
Touring the UK from 1 Mar 2021
W: www.rockyhorror.co.uk | F: rockyhorrorshow | T: @rockyhorroruk
“Since it first opened in London in June 1973 at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show has become the world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical, having been performed worldwide for over forty-five years in more than thirty countries and translated into twenty languages. This critically-acclaimed production is now back by huge public demand.”
That says it really. While we await casting, iconic songs include: Sweet Transvestite, Science Fiction/Double Feature, Dammit Janet and, of course, The Time-Warp.

Grease The Musical
Touring the UK & Ireland from 22 Jan 2021
W: greasethemusicalontour.com
F: GreaseUkTour | T: @greaseuktour
Whatever your personal views are, this celebrated musical literally has legendary status. Labelled on the website as “The world’s best-loved musical”, to those of us who were just teenagers when John Travolta and Olivia Newton John virtually filled the entire top-10 at the end of the ’70s, this musical is full of nostalgia… and what’s more… the stage show is arguably better.
Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Hopelessly Devoted to You and You’re the One That I Want… the list goes on and on. Looking at the other shows on this spread, this production is in good company. Directed by Nikolai Foster, Peter Andre stars as Teen Angel (at certain venues).
Highly recommended.

ROCK OF AGES
Touring the UK & Ireland from 8 May 2021
W: www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk
F: rockofagesthemusical | T: rockofagesuk
This is avery silly LA love story, lavished with over twenty-five classic rock anthems superbly played by the onstage band. The website asks us to “Lose yourself in a city and a time where the dreams are as big as the hair, and yes, they can come true!”
The musical comedy features the songs: We Built This City, The Final Countdown, Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight this Feeling and I Want To Know What Love Is… among others.

Ferris & Milnes – Christmas Cracker!
>>> CONCERTS <<< Riverside Studios, London
12 & 13 Dec 2020
W: www.ferrisandmilnes.com | F & T: ferrisandmilnes
Dominic Ferris and Martin Milnes, will bring their festive extravaganza to audiences who can “expect the unexpected” before Christmas.
Described as “the most exciting musical theatre double act to be discovered in years” (West End Frame), the pair are a unique combination. Dominic is a pianist extraordinaire; Martin has ‘two voices’. Together they combine comedy, music and vocals in a dynamic cocktail of explosive Broadway glamour and fun!
Social distancing measures will be in operation at Riverside Studios, with audiences being seated in households and will be required to wear a face covering throughout.

 

Monday Night at the Apollo
Apollo Theatre, London >>> CONCERTS <<<
11 & 25 Jan and 8 Feb 2021
W: www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/monday-night-at-the-apollo
F: NimaxTheatresLondon | T: @NimaxTheatres
This is a brand-new concert series taking place in front of a socially distanced audience at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.
The ‘intimate evening’ of conversation and song will see some of the West End’s best-known performers sing an eclectic mix of music from their favourite genres. Performers will share their most cherished memories and experiences from their careers, alongside performances of music which is personal to them, in a relaxed and informal theatrical celebration.
The full line-up for the first concert will be Rosalie Craig, Arthur Darvil, Hadley Fraser, Lucie Jones and Cedric Neal.

Hair the Musical (in Concert)
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton: 14-15 Jan ’21 & London Palladium, London: 16 Jan ’21
W: www.theturbinetheatre.com | www.mayflower.org.uk
F: TurbineTheatre, mayflowertheatre | T: @TurbineTheatre, @mayflower
Following a sell-out run as part of The Turbine on the Jetty season, Hair The Musical (In Concert) is directed by Arlene Phillips and will feature Aimie Atkinson, Matt Croke, Lucie Jones, Luke Bayer, Jordan Luke Gage, Grace Mouat, Nicole Raquel Dennis and Layton Williams.

REUNITED (STREAMED CONCERT SERIES)
COVID-secure London venues – streamed on 3, 10, 17 and 21 Dec 2020
W: thespie.com/news/reunited-series-concerts-announced | F: thespie | T: @thespie
Four filmed concerts to bring together some of the UK’s top musical theatre artists.

FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS CAST ALBUM
Released on 3 Dec 2020
W: www.dresscircle.london/flowers-for-mrs-harris-original-cast-recording-13136-p.asp
F: chichesterfestivaltheatre | T: chichesterft
The cast album of the hugely acclaimed musical, recorded by the Chichester Festival Theatre company, will be released on 3 December. With a book by Rachel Wagstaff and music and lyrics by Richard Taylor, the show captures the glowing humanity of the novel by Paul Gallico on which it is based.
This is the story of Ada Harris, a charlady in post-war London whose drab life of dusting and scrubbing is transformed when she glimpses a Christian Dior dress in one of her client’s wardrobes and sets her heart on going to Paris to buy one for herself.

Together at Christmas
Out now
W: www.ballandboe.com
F: MichaelBallOfficial, alfieboe | T: mrmichaelball, AlfieBoe
It states on the pair’s website: “They are back! And just in time for the festive season!” You can’t say fairer than that.
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe will no doubt make up for the 2020 lockdowns with a guaranteed payday on the back of this Christmas album, and who can blame them.
They’ve even publicised a live tour (not until Nov/Dec 2021) to celebrate the release of the album… although in twelve months we’ll probably be talking about the release of ‘Together Again at Christmas’. All we need now is an ITV special featuring all the tunes on the CD.

Mary Poppins – Cast Recording
Out now
W: marypoppins.lnk.to/2020LiveCastRecording | www.Marypoppinsonstage.co.uk
F & T: @MaryPoppins
The West End production of Mary Poppins is still closed due to Covid and the associated Government restrictions, so this new CD/download will go some way to keeping fans happy.
The show returned to its original home in the Prince Edward Theatre in October 2019 and, as you might expect, is full of Disney’s glitz, glamour and star-quality.

 

Les Misérables – The Staged Concert
Out now
W: lesmiserables.lnk.to/TheStagedConcert | www.Lesmis.com
F & T: @lesmisofficial
Recorded live at the Gielgud Theatre last year with an all-star cast including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas, Rob Houchen, Bradley Jaden, Katy Secombe, Shan Ako and Lily Kerhoas, plus a sixty-five piece orchestra. The legendary score includes I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Stars, Bring Him Home, Do You Hear the People Sing?, One Day More, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, Master of the House.
The show is still closed for now.

New Plays, Books & Musicals

Our regular up-to-date selection of recently published books as well as new or re-released plays and musicals, many of which are now available for amateur performance.
Some licensors are now offering special online-performance arrangements, so please get in touch with the appropriate company to find out more.

CONCORD THEATRICALS
E: licensing@concordtheatricals.co.uk
E: customerservices@concordtheatricals.co.uk
W: www.concordtheatricals.co.uk
F: ConcordShows | T: @ConcordUKShows

SAMUEL FRENCH:

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Eamonn O’Dwyer, Helen Watts

Full Length Musical, Drama; F8, M10; 19th Century; 978 0 573 11683 4; £9.99 paperback

England, 1820: The isolated town of Sleepy Hollow is disrupted by the arrival of a new schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, who challenges the town’s superstitions with science, reason and fact. The locals instantly mistrust him; but Katrina van Fleet, heiress to Sleepy Hollow’s rich land is charmed by his intellect and passion. But Ichabod is mistaken: as behind each one of the villagers’ tales lies a dark and bloody truth. As the spirits of the Hollow Wood grow restless, and as the hooves of the Headless Horseman thunder ever nearer, Katrina is forced to make a choice that will change the fate of Sleepy Hollow forever.
Based on Washington Irving’s infamous short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a powerful and atmospheric musical by Helen Watts and Eamonn O’Dwyer. It is a story of community; a story of faith, of blood and belief; a story that asks the simple question: what happens when good people make bad choices?

The Lovely Bones by Bryony Lavery, Alice Sebold

Full Length Drama; 978 0 573 11686 5; £9.99 paperback

This title is not currently available for performance. To be informed as soon as it becomes available in the future, please submit a license application.
Susie Salmon is just like any other young girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead. Now she can only observe while her family manage their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them…
Alice Sebold’s novel is a unique coming-of-age tale that captured the hearts of readers throughout the world. Award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery has adapted it for this unforgettable play about life after loss.

Mustard by Eva O’Connor

Full Length Drama; F1; 978 0 573 13221 6; £9.99 paperback

When E meets the man of her dreams, a professional cyclist, love hits her in the pubic bone like a train. For a brief period she is high on life – he’s the answer to her crippling loneliness, her self-harm issues, her non-existent career. But when the cyclist cheats on her and ends the relationship E plummets into a black hole of heartbreak. She turns to her only friend – mustard.
Winner! 2019 Fringe First Award.

 

Spun by Rabiah Hussain

Full Length Drama; F2; 978 0 573 13245 2; £9.99 paperback

Safa and Aisha have been best friends for years. They used to bunk off school, revise for exams together and even went to the same university.
But now they’re forging different paths for the first time: Safa to work in the City, and Aisha to teach in Newham. When London is attacked one day in July, Safa and Aisha feel the whole world spinning. As extremes from all sides take hold of the city, can their friendship survive the upheaval?
Spun is the exhilarating debut play from Rabiah Hussain. Seen through the eyes of two British Pakistani Muslim girls from East London, this funny and moving drama unravels the makings of a friendship, microaggressions in the city, and the challenge of keeping rooted through unstable times.

 

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN:

The King and I by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Margaret Landon, Jerome Robbins

Full Length Musical; F3, M4, 2 Boys; 19th Century; The King’s Palace in Bangkok; Classic Broadway, operetta

It is 1862 in Siam when an English widow, Anna Leonowens, and her young son arrive at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, having been summoned by the King to serve as tutor to his many children and wives. The King is largely considered to be a “barbarian” by those in the West, and he seeks Anna’s assistance in changing his image, if not his ways. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King grow to understand and respect one another in a truly unique love story.

 

Oklahoma! by Lynn Riggs, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Agnes de Mille

Full Length Musical; F4, M6; 1900 – 1910, Wild West; Indian Territory; Classic Broadway, country/western

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration remains, in many ways, their most innovative, setting the standards and rules of modern musical theatre. In a Western territory just after the turn of the 20th Century, a high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides a colourful background for Curly, a charming cowboy, and Laurey, a feisty farm girl, to play out their love story. Their romantic journey, as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road, contrasts with the comic exploits of brazen Ado Annie and hapless Will Parker in a musical adventure embracing hope, determination and the promise of a new land.

The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, Maria Augusta Trapp

Full Length Musical; F7, M4, 5 Girls, 2 Boys; 1940s / WWII, 1930s; Austria, 1938, pre-occupation; Classic Broadway

The final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein was destined to become the world’s most beloved musical. Featuring a trove of cherished songs, including ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain,’ ‘My Favorite Things,’ ‘Do Re Mi,’ ‘Sixteeen Going on Seventeen’ and the title number, The Sound of Music won the hearts of audiences worldwide, earning five Tony Awards and five Oscars. The inspirational story, based on the memoir of Maria Augusta Trapp, follows an ebullient postulate who serves as governess to the seven children of the imperious Captain Von Trapp, bringing music and joy to the household. But as the forces of Nazism take hold of Austria, Maria and the entire Von Trapp family must make a moral decision.

South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Joshua Logan, James A. Michener

Full Length Musical; F3, M7, 1 Girl, 1 Boy; 1940s / WWII; Two Pacific islands; Classic Broadway

Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with a mature French planter, Emile. Nellie learns that the mother of his children was an island native and, unable to turn her back on the prejudices with which she was raised, refuses Emile’s proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, the strapping Lt. Joe Cable denies himself the fulfillment of a future with an innocent Tonkinese girl with whom he’s fallen in love out of the same fears that haunt Nellie. When Emile is recruited to accompany Joe on a dangerous mission that claims Joe’s life, Nellie realises that life is too short not to seize her own chance for happiness, thus confronting and conquering her prejudices.

 

TAMS-WITMARK:

An American in Paris by Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin, Craig Lucas

Full Length Musical; F4, M5; 1940s / WWII; Paris, 1945; Classic Broadway

Set in the French capital in the wake of World War II, An American in Paris tells the romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl, and an indomitable European city – each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of international conflict. Inspired by the Academy-Award winning 1951 film, the new stage musical features a ravishing score by George and Ira Gershwin and a fresh, sophisticated book by Tony nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Craig Lucas.
The show’s timeless musical numbers include ‘I Got Rhythm,’ ‘’S’Wonderful,’ ‘But Not For Me,’ ‘The Man I Love,’ ‘Shall We Dance?’ and ‘(I’ll Build A) Stairway To Paradise.’

A Chorus Line by Marvin Hamlisch, James Kirkwood, Michael Bennett, Nicholas Dante, Edward Kleban

Full Length Musical; F9, M10; 1970s; A Broadway theatre, 1975; Pop/Rock, Contemporary Broadway

A Chorus Line is a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition. Exploring the inner lives and bittersweet ambitions of professional Broadway performers, the show features one powerhouse number after another. Memorable musical numbers include ‘What I Did for Love,’ ‘One,’ ‘I Can Do That,’ ‘At the Ballet,’ ‘The Music and the Mirror,’ and ‘I Hope I Get It.’ A brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance, and compellingly authentic drama, A Chorus Line was instantly recognised as a classic.

 

Hello, Dolly! by Michael Stewart, Jerry Herman, Thornton Wilder

Full Length Musical; F5, M4; 1900 – 1910; Yonkers, New York and New York City; Classic Broadway

This musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s hit play The Matchmaker bursts with humor, romance, energetic dance, and some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history. The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, turn-of-the-century matchmaker and “woman who arranges things,” are certain to thrill and entertain audiences again and again.
The show’s unforgettable songs include ‘Put On Your Sunday Clothes,’ ‘Ribbons Down My Back,’ ‘Before the Parade Passes By,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!,’ ‘Elegance,’ and ‘It Only Takes a Moment.’

 

The Wizard of Oz (RSC 1987) by L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Herbert Stothart, Peter Howard, Larry Wilcox, John Kane

Full Length Musical; F3, M5, 16 M/F; 1930s; The Gale farmhouse in Kansas and various locations in the Land of Oz; Classic Broadway

Follow the yellow brick road in this delightful stage adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved tale, featuring the iconic musical score from the MGM film. The timeless tale, in which young Dorothy Gale travels from Kansas over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz, continues to thrill audiences worldwide.
There are two full-length versions of The Wizard of Oz: MUNY and RSC. Both include the songs ‘Over The Rainbow,’ ‘Munchkinland (Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead),’ ‘If I Only Had A Brain/A Heart/The Nerve,’ ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard (Follow The Yellow Brick Road),’ ‘The Jitterbug,’ and ‘The Merry Old Land of Oz.’ The MUNY version also has ‘Evening Star.’ The RSC version also includes ‘Poppies (Optimistic Voices)’ and ‘If I Were King Of The Forest.’
This RSC version is a more faithful adaptation of the film. A more technically complex production, it recreates the dialogue and structure of the MGM classic nearly scene for scene, though it is adapted for live stage performance. The RSC version’s musical material also provides more work for the SATB chorus and small vocal ensembles.
The MUNY Version is more theatrically conservative, employing its stage, actors, singers, dancers, and musicians in traditional ways. Using L. Frank Baum’s book – and not the MGM film – as its inspiration, this version employs story and songs as elements of a classic stage musical, adding a bit more humor to the witch and her cronies. The MUNY version does not include Toto, but instead adds new characters, including: Farmhand Joe, Gloria of Oz, Lord Growlie, Tibia (the witch’s skeletal assistant), two comical neighboring witches, and the Royal Army of Oz.

 

MUSICALS FOR YOUNG PERFORMERS:

42nd Street (Young Performers’ Edition) by Harry Warren, Al Dubin, Michael Stewart, Mark Bramble, Bradford Ropes

Short Musical (60 mins); F7, M6; 1930s; New York City and Philadelphia; Classic Broadway

This Young Performers’ Edition is a one-hour adaptation of 42nd Street, specially tailored for elementary and middle school-aged actors. The materials have been prepared to help your school or organisation mount the best possible production and to give your young cast and crew an exciting and rewarding experience.
Come along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway! 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square and the magic of show biz with wit, humor and pizzazz. At the height of the Great Depression, aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer comes to the big city from Allentown, PA, and soon lands her first big job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. But just before opening night, the leading lady breaks her ankle. Will Peggy be able to step in and become a star? The score is chock-full of Broadway standards, including ‘You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,’ ‘Dames,’ ‘We’re In the Money,’ ‘Lullaby of Broadway,’ ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo’ and ‘Forty-Second Street.’

Anything Goes (Young Performers’ Edition) by Cole Porter, P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, Timothy Crouse, John Weidman

Short Musical (60 mins); F3, M4; 1930s; The S.S. American, a luxury liner sailing from New York to London; Classic Broadway

This Young Performers’ Edition is a one-hour adaptation of Anything Goes, specially tailored for school-aged actors. The materials have been prepared to help your school or organisation mount the best possible production and to give your young cast and crew an exciting and rewarding experience.
Anything Goes is a wacky shipboard farce featuring romance, intrigue, colourful characters and a glorious score from Cole Porter. Highlights include: ‘You’re The Top,’ ‘It’s De-Lovely,’ ‘Friendship,’ ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You,’ ‘Blow, Gabriel, Blow,’ and the title number.

Bye Bye Birdie (Young Performers’ Edition) by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams

Short Musical (60 mins); F6, M6, 6 F/M; 1950s; New York City and Sweet Apple, Ohio; Classic Broadway, Pop/Rock

This Young Performers’ Edition is a one-hour adaptation of Bye Bye Birdie, specially tailored for school-aged actors. The materials have been prepared to help your school or organization mount the best possible production and to give your young cast and crew an exciting and rewarding experience.
A loving musical send-up of the early 1960s, small-town America, teenagers, and rock & roll, Bye Bye Birdie remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. Teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie has been drafted, so he chooses all-American girl Kim McAfee for a very public farewell kiss. Featuring a tuneful high-energy score, plenty of great parts for kids, and a hilarious script, Bye Bye Birdie remains one of the most popular shows in schools across the country.
Hit songs include ‘Put on a Happy Face,’ ‘One Last Kiss,’ ‘One Boy,’ ‘A Lot of Livin’ to Do,’ ‘Kids!’ and ‘Rosie.’

Chicago (High School Edition) by Fred Ebb, John Kander, Maurine Dallas Watkins, Bob Fosse

Full Length Musical (90 mins); F10, M9; 1920s; Chicago, Illinois; Classic Broadway, Jazz

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap… until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another ‘Merry Murderess,’ Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the ‘American Dream’: fame, fortune, and acquittal. Changes made for the High School Edition:
(1) Removal of adult language and overtly sexual references.
(2) Removal of ‘Class’ and ‘A Bit of Good’
(3) Transposed keys to better accommodate teen voices

 

Nick Hern Books
T: 020 8749 4953
W: www.nickhernbooks.co.uk | E: info@nickhernbooks.co.uk
F: NickHernBooks | T: @NickHernBooks

Bright. Young. Things. by Georgia Christou

Full-length Play; F7, 8 F/M; Contemporary, various locations (can be simply staged); 978 1 788 50342 6; epub £8.99 (£7.19 direct from publisher)

On a reality television show, six remarkable young geniuses are competing for the coveted title of ‘Britain’s Brainiest Child’. As the contestants battle it out round after round, the pressure mounts, the spotlight gets harsher, and each is faced with questions they were never expecting. Part of Platform, a partnership between Nick Hern Books and Tonic Theatre that provides new plays written specifically for young people with majority- or all-female casts that put young women at the heart of the action.
‘[Offers] quirky characters and amusing situations… an interesting challenge for any youth group’ British Theatre Guide

 

Caterpillar by Alison Carr

Full-length Play; f2, M1, (plus 2m voices only); Contemporary, seaside town; 978 1 848 42794 5; epub £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

Greasy fish’n’chips, sticks of rock and a pot-bellied Spider-Man throwing himself off the pier; the annual ‘Birdman’ competition is in full flight. It’s the busiest weekend of the year in this faded seaside town, but Bayview B&B is somehow closed for business. A finalist in the Theatre503 Playwriting Award, this is a darkly funny, searing and tender drama about those moments when we find ourselves teetering on the edge.
‘Alison Carr’s ear for natural, funny dialogue distinguishes it from the outset’ The Stage

 

The Funeral Director by Iman Qureshi

Full-length Play; F2, M2; Contemporary, various interiors and one exterior; 978 1 848 42796 9; epub £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

Winner of the Papatango New Writing Prize 2018, this is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in Twenty-First-Century Britain. Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. But when a grieving young man walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral, Ayesha makes a snap moral decision that has profound consequences. Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost.
‘Very clever… plenty of moral meat to sink your teeth into’ Time Out

 

Heavy Weather by Lizzie Nunnery

Full-length Play; F5, 3 F/M, plus ensemble; Contemporary, various locations (can be simply staged); 978 1 788 50343 3; epub £8.99 (£7.19 direct from publisher)

A powerful, timely play featuring songs, about one girl’s journey through a world teetering on the brink. Amidst the chaos of competing and contradictory voices about Earth’s future, she sets off on a kaleidoscopic journey to find answers – about the planet, and her own family. Part of Platform, a partnership between Nick Hern Books and Tonic Theatre that provides new plays written specifically for young people with majority- or all-female casts that put young women at the heart of the action.
‘Wonderful… well worth a look for any teenage youth-theatre group’ British Theatre Guide

 

You Stupid Darkness! by Sam Steiner

Full-length Play; F2, M2; Contemporary, single interior (an office); 978 1 848 42832 4; epub £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

In a cramped, crumbling office, four volunteers spend a few hours every Tuesday night on the phone telling strangers that everything is going to be okay. As the outside world disintegrates, they teeter on the edge of their own personal catastrophes. Their hopes and fears become entangled as they try, desperately, to connect with the callers and with each other. This comic play about the struggle for optimism and community is perfect for any group interested in offering a sideways look at the world’s current situation.
‘Hilariously bleak… has a charming cynicism and compassion’ Guardian

 

 

Bloomsbury – Methuen Drama
T: 01256 302699
W: www.bloomsbury.com | E: direct@macmillan.co.uk
F: BloomsburyPublishing | T: @bloomsburybooks

Actors’ and Performers’ Yearbook 2021 – Essential contacts for stage, screen and radio – Foreword by Rob Ostlere

Theatre book; 978 1 350 15947 1; £16.99

This essential directory supports actors in their search for work within an industry where contacts and networking are key to career survival; now updated to include even more advice from industry experts with each listing, including valuable insight into auditions, interviews and specific tips on how to wow the crowd.

 

 

Adrian Lester and Lolita Chakrabarti: A Working Diary by Adrian Lester, Lolita Chakrabarti

Theatre book; 978 1 350 09277 8; £18.99

The creative powerhouse couple Lolita Chakrabarti and Adrian Lester recount 16 months of their working lives, including their time working on the stage adaptation of Life of Pi, an original series of monologues about the NHS (The Greatest Wealth), and the film adaptation of Red Velvet; giving us a first-hand glimpse of their experiences as two of the most proactive and versatile theatre makers today.

 

 

My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid) – Edited by Rachel De-lahay

Play collection; 978 1 786 82901 6; £14.99

23 letters from exciting voices in the UK and beyond – Zia Ahmed, Travis Alabanza, Fatimah Asghar and more – engage with topics from racial tensions, microaggressions and emotional labour, to queer desire, prejudice and otherness and ask: “Could you put your white best friend on stage and remind them that they’re part of the problem? Even if you love them?”

 

 

The 24 Hour Plays Viral Monologues: New Monologues Created During the Coronavirus Pandemic – Volume edited by Howard Sherman

Monologue collection; 978 1 350 18754 2; £14.99

Over 50 original monologues from writers such as Clare Barron, Christopher Oscar Peña and Jesse Eisenberg chronicle the global response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented moment in history which brought an end to live theatre in the USA and Europe; making for an anthology that is timely, moving, irreverent and at its best, transcendent.

 

 

Robert Icke: Works One (Oresteia; Uncle Vanya; Mary Stuart; The Wild Duck; The Doctor) by Robert Icke

Play collection; 978 1 786 82907 8; £17.99

This collection of Robert Icke’s multi-award winning adaptations includes The Wild Duck, a new version of Ibsen’s masterpiece in which a stranger’s revelation of family secrets leads to tragic consequences; Uncle Vanya, Chekhov’s late masterpiece examining the bittersweet contradiction of human behaviour; and Oresteia, a family drama spanning several decades which still resonates today.

 

 

The Greek Trilogy of Luis Alfaro (Electricidad; Oedipus El Rey; Mojada) by Luis Alfaro. Edited by Rosa Andújar

Play collection; 978 1 350 15540 4; £22.49 paperback

Featuring a new interview with Alfaro which addresses key topics such as his engagement with ancient Greek drama and work with Chicanx communities across the United States, this trilogy gathers together for the first time the three ‘Greek’ plays of the MacArthur Genius Award-winning Chicanx playwright and performance artist, each with its own introduction and summary of overall themes.

 

 

Lucy Prebble Plays 1 (The Sugar Syndrome; Enron; The Effect; A Very Expensive Poison) by Lucy Prebble

Play collection; 978 1 350 17509 9; £19.99 paperback

Bringing together Lucy Prebble’s landmark plays from 2003-2019, this collection spans from the George Devine Award-winning play The Sugar Syndrome – following 17 year old teen truant Dani, who seeks solace from her mundane life through online chatrooms – to A Very Expensive Poison, a bizarre mix of high-stakes global politics and radioactive villainy.

 

 

Richard Bean Plays 6 (One Man, Two Guvnors; Young Marx; The Hypocrite) by Richard Bean

Play collection; 978 1 350 18365 0; £19.99 paperback

The sixth collection of plays from award-winning playwright Richard Bean showcases the world-conquering hit One Man, Two Guvnors, winner of both the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Best New Play and Critic’s Circle Best New Play; Young Marx, his riotous take on Karl Marx’s life in London which launched London’s new Bridge Theatre; and The Hypocrite, a historical-farcical romp that lit up Hull’s year as City of Culture.

 

 

Tom Whalley Pantomimes
W: www.tomwhalleypantomimes.com
E: tomwhalleypantomimes@gmail.com
F: twpantoscripts | T: @twpantoscripts

Dick Whittington by Tom Whalley

Full length pantomime; Free perusal copies available upon request

Dick is a dreamer and has his sights set on London; the city paved with gold. With his trusty pussy cat by his side, he gets a job at Alderman Fitzwarren’s Store but the city is under attack from the most villainous, vermin of them all; King Rat!
With the help of his new love Alice, Fairy Bow Bells, Sarah the Cook and her silly son – Idle Jack, will Dick be able to vanquish the vermin?

 

The Crowood Press
01672 520320
W: crowood.com | E: enquiries@crowood.com
F: TheCrowoodPress | T: @crowoodpress

The Costume Maker’s Companion by Diane Favell

Theatre book; 978 1 785 00719 4; £25.00 paperback

Authentic historical costume is essential for any performance, to instantly communicate a period, a social standing, an occupation or an identity. The responsibility of this representation lies with the costume maker, in their knowledge of the design and their accuracy of construction. The Costume Maker’s Companion serves as an aide memoire, to novice and experienced makers alike, covering the common garments of the Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean, Restoration, Regency and Victorian eras of British history.
Learn the key styles and fashions of each period before step-by-step tutorials and detailed orders of work illustrate the costume construction process for eight popular garments, from the designer’s drawing through to the finished piece. This book also covers:

  • Working with a costume designer
  • Key processes and equipment
  • Flat pattern manipulations
  • Cutting a pattern on the stand
  • Taking a pattern from an existing garment
  • Costume details, including goldwork and flounces
  • Making accessories, including gauntlets, corsets and ruffs

Foreword by Fiona Shaw.
Diane Favell has worked at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for nearly twenty-five years, teaching costume and running the Wardrobe department since 2001. Before this she both made for and supervised performances in theatre and film. Diane also teaches short courses at Central St Martins, University of Arts, London.

 

Cressrelles Publishing Company Limited
01684 540154 | F: Cressrelles
W: www.cressrelles.co.uk | E: simon@cressrelles.co.uk

Please email simon@cressrelles.co.uk if you would like to read any of these plays:

Celestial Error by Patricia Brooks
Celestial Error is a divine one-act comedy for women, written in 1958. Five women are called to Judgement after a clerical error has caused confusion over which of them was scheduled to meet their Maker! Two of them should not be there – but all five of them have to plead their case before the Heavenly Court!
For eight women, of mixed ages from nineteen to 60s+. The roles of the three Court officials can be played by men. The running time is approximately 45 minutes.

Blonde On The Bonnet by Jennifer Curry
Blonde on the Bonnet is a piece of absurdist theatre. It is a one-act play with a great deal of humour, tinged with the drama and sadness of an unfulfilled marriage. When George buys a new car, he is surprised when the scantily-clad girl draped over the bonnet is included. The effect on his wife and neighbours is devastating – until his wife wins a Disk Jockey in a competition!
Blonde On The Bonnet can either be staged with a large cast of ten men and nine women, or a cast of eight with doubling of parts. The running time is approximately 45 minutes.

South For The Winter by Joe Graham
South For The Winter is a two-act comedy, which is ideal for amateur drama groups as it is set within an amdram society! Michael Finch has spent the last fifteen years wasting his serious acting ambitions on his local drama group. He wants to stretch himself and branches out to set up his own group, holding open auditions for Shakespeare’s Richard III. The response is not what he hoped for, as many of the usual suspects from his usual society turn up.
The sudden and unwelcome arrival of his father, Birdy, and his personal issues, throws the group into a chaotic spiral as skeletons and real feelings are exposed. A comic but hard look at a world that appears to be Care Bear Land, but often hides secrets and desires.
For three men and five women, ranging from their twenties up to 56. The running time is approximately 90 minutes.

Be My Guest! by Kay Macauliffe
Be My Guest! is a best-selling, zany comedy from a well-respected author. A mix-up over the identities of Mary’s Mother-in-law and the Guest Speaker causes confusion and chaos. Espcially when the Guest Speaker’s rescued baby badger is mistaken for a child!
For six women – four younger and two of whom are older. The running time is approximately 30 minutes.

The Cardboard Cavaliers by John Waterhouse
The Cardboard Cavaliers is a one-act social farce. Lil, Will and Bill are a family living on the streets, in three cardboard boxes underneath a railway arch. The play is basically a domestic comedy. Young Bill returns from begging in the West End with news that a TV presenter wants to interview them for a real, human-interest documentary series. The family’s eagerness to impress is confounded by Bill’s ineptitude. It does not end happily for the family, but there is plenty of humour along the way. At the end, the police move them on, but as they leave, a new family moves in. And so the cycle goes on.
For four men, four women and three extras (1m, 1w, 1b). The running time is approximately 30 minutes.

Blush Pink by Jean McConnell
Blush Pink is a one-act comedy for an all-women cast. Well-meaning ladies from the local Townswomen’s Guild or WI have decided to re-decorate an elderly lady’s home as a treat for her. After a variety of mishaps and squabbles, the old lady drops a bombshell which puts them back to square one.
For six women, one of around 80, five any age younger. The running time is approx. 30 minutes.

Black Velvet by Winifred Trentham
Black Velvet is a one-act murder mystery set in the late 1940s. The Moir family has gathered for a reunion. Dinner is about to be served when the son’s wife, who is hated by every member of the family, is found dead. With the family Doctor ruling the death to be unnatural, the police are called. As several members of the family seem to have good cause to murder Louise, who will be revealed as the killer? And what does it have to do with the cat?!
For four men (two older) and four women (one older). The running time is approx. 30 minutes.

The Burning Glass by Charles Morgan
The Burning Glass is a three-act drama. Set in the 1950s as the suspicions and rivalries of the Cold War begin to grow. A British scientist has stumbled upon an immense new power which harnesses the Sun’s rays. In the enemy’s hands, it could be a devastating weapon. With spies closing in, Christopher turns to the Prime Minister for protection, but have they acted too slowly.
For six men and two women, with most of the cast of a younger age and two in their 50s or higher. The running time is approximately 90 minutes.

Answers On a Postcard by Andrew Rock
A one-act comical play. Harold relieves the boredom of unemployment by advertising for lady visitors. In the midst of an appointment, his wife, a successful business woman, unexpectedly returns home and her reaction surprises her errant husband. Festival winner.
For one man and three women, two in their forties, two younger. The running time is approximately 35 minutes.

Alas, Poor Yorick! by Leonard de Francquen
Alas, Poor Yorick! is a one-act play set in the 1950s-1960s. Peter, an actor, is being painted in his role of Hamlet by his beloved Norah, an artist. Norah is resisting his proiposal of marriage yet again. Molly, Norah’s impetuous younger sister, invites Norah’s ex-fiancé and his wife round for tea. Will seeing him finally lay the ghost of their love to rest and allow her to move on?
For two men and three women, in their 20s to 30s. The running time is approx. Running time is around 35 minutes.

Afternoon Theatre by Beatrix Carter
Afternoon Theatre is a gentle, one-act play for women. Sybil has submitted a radio play to the BBC for its ‘Afternoon Theatre’ slot. To her joy, it has been accepted and is being broadcast this afternoon. She has gathered some of the villagers to listen to her radio play. Some have come to celebrate with her, others to sneer where they can. A heart-warming blend of humour and compassion.
For five women, middle-aged and above. The running time is approx. 35 minutes.

Strike Up the Band!

Strike Up the Band!

Well this is an interesting edition of Strike Up the Band! Usually, this regular feature lists details of what some of the big professional (musical) productions have to offer us over the coming months.
However, this year – since mid-March – there haven’t been any shows, anywhere in the world. Productions began by rescheduling to the Autumn before most of them drew a line through 2020 completely and took the decision to draw up brand-new, and arguably more sensible, plans for 2021 instead.
Some productions, such as the West End’s Phantom of the Opera – the second-longest running show in the world (33 years) – have even closed their doors permanently!
Here is a snapshot of what some of the shows have announced so far, but please do check with the respective websites to get the most up-to-date information before booking any tickets.
So far, Cameron Mackintosh hasn’t even announced when his big three (Les Miserables, Mary Poppins and Hamilton) are to reopen. All we know is it will be “as early as practical in 2021.” Phantom was also one of his big shows (before the quartet became a trio), and look what happened to that!
While some of the shows here include the Government’s current social distancing guidlines, it would seem that most aren’t even entertaining the prospect of playing until the auditoriums are able to let audiences rub shoulders with one another again and social distancing is in the past…

As part of our special Life in Lockdown feature, on pages 22 & 23 we have already listed several musical productions that were quick off the mark to announce new and rescheduled dates relatively early. These are:

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of CINDERELLA (pg 22); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium (pg 22); Michael Ball in Hairspray at the London Coliseum (pg 22); the UK tour of Strictly Ballroom the Musical, directed by Craig Revel Horwood and starring Kevin Clifton (pg 22); the much-anticipated new production of Hello, Dolly! starring Imalda Staunton (pg 22); the new UK tour of My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Alexandra Burke (pg 23); Liza Pulman’s concert dates at Riverside Studios (pg 60); and the London Apollo run of Sister Act starring Whoopi Goldberg, who reprises her iconic role as Deloris van Cartier, and Jennifer Saunders as the convent’s Mother Superior.

Photo: Julia Kennedy ©Disney

FROZEN – THE WEST END MUSICAL
Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London WC2B 5JF
2 April 2021 (previews)… Opens 14 April – (currently booking until) 24 October 2021
W: frozenthemusical.co.uk | F: frozenlondon | T: @frozenlondon
Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna) will lead the London cast which has moved its October opening to spring 2021. This follows the shocking news that the Broadway production closed permanently after two years during the pandemic lockdown. Based on the multi-award-winning and biggest animated movie series of all time, Michael Grandage directs, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez supply the music & lyrics while Jennifer Lee has written the book.

Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Piccadilly Theatre, London W1D 7DY | Opens Autumn 2021
W: moulinrougemusical.com/london | F: moulinmusicalUK | T: @moulinmusicaluk
Based on Baz Luhrmann’s revolutionary film, the London stage adaptation was due to open in the New Year before the inevitable happened. Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures and producer of the show said: “…we are committed to bringing Moulin Rouge! The Musical to London and look forward to being part of a revived West End.”

Photo: Matt Crockett

The Prince of Egypt
Dominion Theatre, London W1T 7AQ | Opens 2 November 2020 – 4 September 2021
W: www.theprinceofegyptmusical.com | F: PrinceOfEgyptUK | T: @PrinceOfEgyptUK
Based on the 1998 DreamWorks film, the new musical proved quite a hit before lockdown. The show’s reopening, which is scheduled for early November, comes with the following warning: “If further cancellations are necessary, they will continue to be announced on a rolling basis.”
We would guess that if social distancing has not been eradicated by November (and we don’t think it will be), this size of show will be pushed back again – because show’s like this cannot make enough at the box office playing to 25-30% capacity.

Photo: Matt Crockett

SLEEPLESS – A MUSICAL ROMANCE
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, London HA9 0SP
25 August – 27 September 2020
W: sleeplessthemusical.com | F: SleeplessLDN | T: @SleeplessLDN
It was announced in July that – somehow – the new musical (which should have opened in March) will begin socially distanced indoor performances at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre from 25 Aug, using a new accurate Covid-19 test on cast, musicians, crew and theatre staff on a daily basis during rehearsals and during the run of the show. The test is called FRANKD (Fast, Reliable, Accurate, Nucleic-based Kit for Covid19 Diagnostic Detection). Testing will be carried out onsite, since the FRANKD technology does not require a laboratory. Test results will be sent directly to crew, cast and staff phones via a secure app within an hour.
The trouble is, what happens if a positive result is discovered? Two-weeks’ isolation? With a gala night planned on 27 August for ‘NHS Heroes’ (doctors, nurses and support staff) and customers required to wear face coverings throughout, we fear the worst.

 

 

Photo: Johan Persson

WE WILL ROCK YOU
Touring from 18 January – 5 June 2021
W: wewillrockyou.com | F: wewillrockyouglobal | T: @wwryglobal
The 2020 UK tour of Queen & Ben Elton’s smash hit musical has been rescheduled for early 2021. The show’s unprecedented success in theatres and arenas all around the world since it began in 2002 promises that this tour will be no exception. The show has received continuous rave reviews and standing ovations in every town and city it has visited and will be ready to pick up exactly where it left off in January 2021.
The plot is a little far-fetched but the music is understandably superb.

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

WAITRESS
Touring from 1 May 2021 – 2 April 2022
W: waitressthemusical.co.uk | F: waitressuk | T: @waitressuk
The West End show may have closed after a year, never to reopen during lockdown, but the rescheduled UK and Ireland tour will now open at The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, on 1 May.
It tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker in a small town, who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness. But Jenna must find the courage and strength within herself to rebuild her life. The show has garnered multiple awards and nominations in both America and the UK.

Photo: Matt Crockett

DREAMGIRLS
Touring 8 Dec – 1 May 2021 (more rescheduled dates to add)
W: www.dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk | F: DreamgirlsMusicalUK | T: @Dreamgirls_UK
The first-ever UK tour should be beginning on 12 Sep but the first five tour venues have now been postponed. When it does kick off, Nicole Raquel Dennis will play the role of Effie White… following in the footsteps of Jennifer Hudson, Amber Riley and Marisha Wallace.
A finalist on ITV’s The Voice in 2019, Nicole wowed viewers and judges at her blind audition, performing the show’s mega-hit ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’ alongside team mentor and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson.
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.
With Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen and Music by Henry Krieger, with Additional Material by Willie Reale.
The UK Tour has a lead producer of Sonia Friedman Productions and is directed and choreographed by the Olivier and Tony Award-winning Casey Nicholaw.

 

 

Photo: Manuel Harlan

GREASE
Touring from 22 January – 27 July 2021
W: greasethemusicalontour.com | F: GreaseUkTour | T: @greaseuktour
The musical was due to tour in 2020 but has, instead, been rescheduled to begin in the New Year.
Following his success starring in last year’s tour, Peter Andre will star at certain venues. As well as reprising the role of Teen Angel, Andre will also play Vince Fontaine.
During the show’s original eight-year run in the early 70s, at the time, little known actors including Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze and John Travolta all appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere.
This time direction is from Nikolai Foster & choreography, Arlene Phillips.

Photo: Matt Martin

THE ADDAMS FAMILY, A MUSICAL COMEDY
Touring from 26 January – 10 July 2021
W: www.theaddamsfamily.co.uk | F: TheAddamsFamilyUK | T: @AddamsFamilyUK
Samantha Womack & Cameron Blakely will revive their roles as Morticia and Gomez Addams as the new tour is moves to 2021. The book is by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, with music & lyrics by Andrew Lippa.

 

Photo: Tristram Kenton

CHICAGO
Touring from 12 March – 20 November 2021
W: www.chicagothemusical.com | F: chicagothemusical | T: @ChicagoMusical
Set in the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. To avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest lawyer to transform her crime into sensational headlines.

 

Godspell 50th Anniversary concert
Streaming 27, 28, 29 August 2020
W: hopemilltheatre.co.uk | F: HopeMillTheatre | T: @hopemilltheatr1
Theatrical legends will come together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stephen Schwartz’s acclaimed hit in an exciting online charity concert experience. £15

WEST END MUSICAL DRIVE IN
Troubadour Meridian Water N18 3QQ
29 August and 12 September 2020
W: www.westendmusicaldrivein.co.uk | F: TheDriveInLDN | T: @thedriveinldn
The socially distanced musical theatre concert. Each event will have the biggest West End stars performing songs from different musicals live!
Tickets are £65 per car.

FAME: THE MUSICAL
Streaming on Broadway HD
W: www.broadwayhd.com/movies/AXEOPBJCXohZH4dIgHA4 | F: broadwayhd | T: @broadwayhd
Featuring an outstanding cast of dancers, singers, musicians and rappers, the definitive 30th anniversary production of the much-loved musical was declared the best production of Fame ever by creator David De Silva.

THE RHYTHMICS
W: www.therhythmics.co.uk | F: therhythmics | T: @TheRhythmics_
Metta Theatre and Aria Entertainment are joining forces to produce a brand-new life-affirming musical which explores the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs belting their way through a thrillingly catchy guitar-led score. Book & lyrics are by Metta’s Artistic Director Poppy Burton-Morgan, and music & lyrics from Stiles&Drewe. Watch this space!

 

 

MORE…

Ben Stock sings Noël Coward
The second album from West End and UK theatre actor and singer, Ben Stock. Recorded at London’s Baker Street Studios, the album features eleven glorious tracks, with new piano arrangements by musical director/ accompanist Inga Davis-Rutter and Ben Stock, and celebrates the songs of renowned playwright, songwriter and ‘wit’, Mr Noël Coward.
The album also features some of Coward’s contemporaries (Cole Porter & George & Ira Gershwin) in order to enhance the stories of his songs, plus the rarely recorded song When My Ship Comes Home. www.simgproductions.com/Records/Ben_Stock_Sings_Noel_Coward.html

THE THEATRE CHANNEL A Musical Theatre Web Series
Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café are are presenting a brand-new musical theatre-based web series bringing together talents from the theatre world, both on and off stage, the series will showcase musical theatre classics; performed by some of the industry’s top performers. Tarinn Callender, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Henry MBE, Lucie Jones, Oliver Ormson and Jenna Russell feature.

 

Ruthie Rearranged

Ruthie Rearranged

By Paul Johnson

Musical theatre star, Ruthie Henshall, is probably one of those performers who has – to coin a phrase – done it all. Over a glittering thirty-three-year career, Ruthie has played some of the biggest shows in West End history including Les Misérables, Crazy For You, Chicago, Cats, Miss Saigon, Oliver!, A Chorus Line, She Loves Me, Peggy Sue Got Married, Marguerite, Putting It Together, Billy Elliot… the list goes on. In Chicago, she’s played Roxie, Velma and Mama Morton (the only British actress to play all three roles.)
Following some initial dates last summer in Sidney, Australia, Ruthie was due to play four concerts back here in April, visiting Leicester, Manchester, London and Dublin. However, after the dates were cancelled (obviously) the performer has been able to rebook the same four venues in the same cities next March.
In July, Sardines intended to speak with Ruthie about her rearranged concerts and, even though we did manage to cover some of the details, she was far more concerned with the current state of the theatre industry… much to her credit…

It’s a mad, mad world isn’t it?” could be Ruthie’s understatement of the year, before continuing: “I have no doubt that eventually things will get back to normal, whatever that ‘normal’ is. We’ll either find ways around it or we’ll find a vaccine. So one way or another we’ll get there; theatre will always survive. People will always want to be entertained, they’ll always want to go and see something that will change the way they feel.”

After thirty-three years as a professional, the West End star is in no doubt as to the seriousness of the current practicalities facing her profession. “I don’t think we’ll see the theatre industry for a while,” she tells me sadly. “I just don’t see how it will work. I see The Mousetrap is opening, but it takes a few pence to put that show on every night so they can afford to do it and have their audience socially distanced. Sadly, there will be shows in the West End that simply won’t come back. It’s devastating. It’s only the long-runners that will be able to continue because they’ve already made back their initial investment.”

Ruthie agrees that social distancing will only be possible if producers of young shows are happy to take a hit. “Well, the producers and the theatres are taking huge hits but, bearing in mind how long that show’s been running [The Mousetrap], they haven’t got anything to recoup any more. And shows like The Mousetrap were never full every night anyway, so there will be a certain amount of space to spread the audience out.”

The Government’s infamous rescue package [£1.57bn] for the arts hasn’t fooled anbody either. “I know it sounds like a lot,” says Ruthie, “…but it will probably translate into about 5p per venue because we’re not just talking about theatres. When you include art galleries, and all the rest, up and down the country…” she doesn’t even need to finish that sentence to get her point across.

I attempt to get Ruthie to chat about her own rearranged concerts (well, we have been writing about them for eight months) but the actress’s focus soon shifts after I ask how much of a relief it has been to rearrange all four dates to next March. “Well it is, as long as we are through this by the time it comes round again,” replies Ruthie as she looks ahead to the spring. “It’s so hard to even comprehend how theatre can open again; it really is day by day at the moment isn’t it. Before that comes to pass, a lot of people will have lost their jobs and will be looking for alternative careers. I mean, it’s how everyone pays the mortgage or the rent. If somebody was in a show at the time of lockdown then it’s possible they might have been furloughed and can continue to be paid, but there are a lot of actors who are out of work and were out of work at the time. There’s nothing they can do, unless they are lucky enough to be able to get something from the government.”

“When you think about all the students that were coming out of theatre school this year…” she tells me, remembering her own early days. “…there have been no showcases, and they are literally coming out into a business that isn’t there anymore. I really feel for them. If that was me now instead of thirty-odd years ago it would have really crushed me. I really had a let-me-at-it attitude and I couldn’t wait. Honestly, I can’t imagine how they all feel. When you think of the training; it’s not just the three years you have to do at college. It’s probably also most of their childhood too. I was dancing from a very young age; you are training for that career from as young as ten years old or something like that. My heart goes out to them.”

To her great credit, Ruthie’s long and successful career has given her the ability to step back and empathise with the whole industry. Nevertheless I ask about the concerts again, this time whether she needs to keep rehearsing throughout such a lengthy lay-off… “Yes, I keep rehearsing because we have a show that’s been put together, is Ruthie’s answer. “Mind you, because of everything that’s going on you do keep thinking and therefore chop and change bits and pieces; you might find a new song or say to yourself, ‘I want to do that.’ So odd things will change, but to be honest there’s really little point being over prepared until we know what’s going on.”

In that case this year one might end up changing the entire show! “Not yet,” laughs Ruthie. “Also, things tend to evolve as you go round and perform in the different venues. In Australia there were certain things we cut and changed, because as you do the show you quickly realise what works, such as the running order. You might want to put a certain song to the end because it has a big impact, or an opening number might not be doing it for me.”

Ruthie also informs me (just like we amateurs) “With a tour you don’t get the luxury of previews as you would with a show; you don’t get an audience until your first night. So if something doesn’t ‘land’ tonight you don’t do it tomorrow.”

Over the years, I’ve found that the most successful performers genuinely still love what they do, so I’m not at all surprised by Ruthie’s answer to my next question. Will such a long lay-off make her nervous to get back onstage? “It’s not so much ‘nervous’ for the wrong reasons. It’s more like ‘excited’ for the right reasons,” that might be the perfect response! “I really will feel like that student again; so it’ll be more like, ‘Let me at it!’ The theatre is my church and at the moment it’s very, very strange not to be around it, around the people.”

Ruthie goes on to mention her trusty musical director: “That’s one of the things I miss the most… all those wonderful people with whom I come into contact and make me laugh. My MD, Paul Schofield, for instance is quite brilliant. In Australia he actually got his own reviews! He does my arrangements, and keeps me entertained too.”

I ask Ruthie to take a brief look back over her illustrious career and I wonder if any sought-after roles have eluded her. “I have no regrets,” is her succinct-yet-fitting reply. “I’ve been doing it for so long now that I feel everything I’ve done so far has led me to where I’m supposed to be. Definitely no complaints, in fact it’s a privilege to have been through this career. There are certainly no more roles in Chicago, ha ha! I’ve been a bit greedy there.”

I interviewed Ian Kelsey for a past cover story, not all that long ago, and I remember him talking to me about his time in Chicago. I wonder if Ruthie and Ian ever crossed paths (or boards)? “YES! He was an absolute hoot,” I’m secretly thrilled to hear (can you imagine if they hadn’t got on?) “I left him onstage once during one of my career bloopers,” Ruthie remembers before explaining. “I was chatting and having a laugh with somebody at the side of the stage one night and I totally mistimed my entrance, leaving Ian onstage all on his own. He was so lovely about it, even though, that’s the worst thing you can do as a performer. He’s just brilliant and I loved working with him. Ian’s a real company member too, he’s there for everybody.”

Earlier on Ruthie mentioned graduating from drama school. The school in question was Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, and just the mention of it instantly takes the West End veteran back in time. “Laine’s is an amazing school, “she beams. “I was part of that new musical theatre course, because before that it was only a dance school. I have wonderful memories of my time there.” And like all ‘Lainees’ (Kerry Ellis and Louise Dearman spring to mind), Betty Laine commands the ultimate level of respect. “She’s an incredible woman, and really prepares you for the business much more than anybody else could,” Ruthie tells me. “I’m still in touch with my whole year. In fact we still all get together. When we talk about ‘Miss Laine’ now, there are still people who get very reverent, perhaps even a little fearful. I don’t know how that school could ever go on without her and remain the same; she’s the heartbeat of that place.”

Whether you’re destined to be a musical theatre star or a comedy actress like Sarah Hadland (another Lainee), the Epsom school is able to spot your talent, as Ruthie tells me: “Miss Laine has also created so may brilliant performers who are all so well-rounded; my fellow students from my year for a start. She sees your essence and nurtures it. And that’s a gift in itself; in show business – and theatre – it’s not ‘one size fits all’.”

Before leaving, I briefly ask Ruthie about her Bromley roots – having spent many a happy hour at Bromley Little Theatre myself. I wondered if Ms Henshall also performed on an amateur basis – after all, Jude Law once trod BLT’s boards as a teenager. “Yes, absolutely, although I’m probably more familiar with the Churchill Theatre,” she says. Now why didn’t I see that coming! “I did The Pied Piper of Hamlyn there with the youth group. I loved growing up in Bromley.” That’s good then. And with that, one of the most genuine people in the theatre business drifted away.

As long as we’re all back to normal by next March, Ruthie Henshall will be performing four concerts in the UK.

For tickets and more info, visit: www.ruthiehenshall.com

NEW PLAYS, BOOKS AND MUSICALS

Samuel French Ltd (A Concord Theatricals Company)

T: 020 7054 7285 (Amateur Groups)
T: 020 7054 7285 (Schools and Youth Groups)
T: 020 7054 7289 (Universities and Drama Schools)
W: www.samuelfrench.co.uk | F: samuelfrenchuk | T: @SamuelFrenchLtd

 

Better Off Dead by Alan Ayckbourn

Full-length Comedy

Larger than life and highly irascible author, Algy Waterbridge is hard at work on his 33rd crime novel featuring blunt Yorkshire cop DCI Tommy Middlebrass. But it’s been a while since Tommy was on the TV, Algy’s wife is getting frighteningly forgetful and his adoring PA sometimes oversteps the mark. With constant interruptions, it’s almost the last straw when old acquaintance Gus Crewe turns up to interview him for the press, with alarming consequences.
But as Algy’s fictional characters take over and real people introduce themselves into the dramatic climax of his novel, the lines become blurred and it might just be that fiction, misunderstandings and mistaken identity are closer to the truth than they seem.
A comedy of confusion about a grumpy old man who might not be so grumpy after all.

 

A Brief History of Women by Alan Ayckbourn

Full-length Comedy, 3M 3F, 978 0 571 34828 2, £18.99 (Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 6)

Contained in Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 6
A comedy in four parts about an unremarkable man and the remarkable women who loved him, left him, or lost him over sixty years; and of the equally remarkable old manor house that saw and heard it all happen.
A Brief History of Woman charts the life of Anthony Spates: from his first job as an adolescent footman at a country manor house through to his retirement as manager of the hotel the manor house became. Over the course of six decades, the play follows him and the remarkable women he has loved, left and lost over the years.
A Brief History of Woman premiered in September 2017 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

 

Consuming Passions by Alan Ayckbourn

Full-length Comedy

Consuming Passions is a thriller in which a woman believes she overhears a murder being planned. But has she really and, if so, can she prevent it?

 

A Daughter’s a Daughter by Agatha Christie

Full-length Play/Melodrama, 4M 5F, 1930s, PMS0000000209, £14.99 (pre-publication manuscript)

The love between a mother and daughter turns to jealousy and bitterness in this intense and personal drama.
Ann Prentice falls in love with Richard Caulfield and hopes for a new life and happiness. Only her daughter, Sarah, takes an instant jealous dislike to him. Resentment slowly corrodes their relationship as each seeks comfort in the formidable and knowing Dame Laura Whitstable who remarks, “the trouble with sacrifice is that once its made its not over and done with.”

 

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie by Dan Gillespie Sells, Tom MacRae, Jonathan Butterell

Full-length Musical, 10M 8F, Contemporary, 978 0 573 70689 9, £9.99

This title is not currently available for performance. To be informed as soon as it becomes available in the future, please submit a license application.
Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation.
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.
Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.
Please note: the acting edition currently sold is intended for perusal only and may not be used in performance.

 

Fabric by Abi Zakarian

Monologue, 1F, Contemporary, 978 0 573 13211 7, £9.99

Leah has lost her friends, family, career, and dignity. Forced to move for a third time following a harrowing court case, she relives painful events in her past as she sorts through all the stuff that has accumulated in her spare room: clothes she doesn’t wear, books she doesn’t read, things she doesn’t need anymore. Leah desperately tries to unpick just where it all went wrong and who or what is really to blame.
Fabric deals with the aftermath of a rape that isn’t believed and confronts the traditional roles still expected of women; questioning how much has changed since the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

 

Farinelli and the King by Claire van Kampen

Full-length Drama, 6M 1F, 16th Century / Elizabethan, 978 0 573 70790 2, £10.99

Depressed and plagued by insomnia, King Philippe V of Spain lies awake in his chamber. The queen, desperate to find a cure, hears of Farinelli – a castrato with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it. Even Philippe is astonished when Farinelli sings, and he begs him to stay. But will Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time, choose a life of solitude over fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe? And will his extraordinary talent prove to be a curse rather than a blessing?

 

Fiddlers Three by Agatha Christie

Full-length Play, Melodrama, 8M 3F, 1970s, License only

Trying to get their hands on more than a little inheritance, a group of young people hide the body of a dead tycoon. But what starts as a lark quickly becomes all too serious when they discover that the body is in fact a murder victim.
A comedy about business and finance, with a strong undercurrent of criminal activity, the play combines humour, intricate plotting and a confounding murder.

 

Hangmen by Martin McDonagh

Full-length Play, Melodrama, 12M 2F 2M/F, 1960s, 978 0 571 32887 1, £9.99

In his small pub in Oldham, Harry is something of a local celebrity. But what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and sycophantic pub regulars, dying to hear Harry’s reaction to the news, a peculiar stranger lurks, with a very different motive for his visit.
Don’t worry. I may have my quirks but I’m not an animal. Or am I? One for the courts to discuss.

 

If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet by Nick Payne

Full Length Drama, 2M 2F, Contemporary, 978 0 571 25597 9, £9.99

Surviving school as a fat kid is tough enough. When your mum’s a teacher, it’s hell. What’s more, Anna’s dad is obsessed with saving the world and her maverick uncle Terry is dossing on the couch. When Anna hits back at the bullies, she suspended from school and stuck at home with hapless Terry trying to save her. But Terry needs saving himself and, as the bond between the two deepens, Anna is swept up in a friendship she can’t live without. If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet by Nick Payne is premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in October 2009.
Once you have applied for your licence, email your licensing representative so that they can send you the most up-to-date version of this script necessary for production. No other version of the script is approved for production.

 

Incognito by Nick Payne

Full-length Drama, 2M 2F, 1960s, Enquire for details

Four actors play a combined twenty-one characters within Incognito’s three interwoven stories. A pathologist steals the brain of Albert Einstein; a neuropsychologist embarks on her first romance with another woman; a seizure patient forgets everything but how much he loves his girlfriend. Incognito braids these mysterious stories into one breathtaking whole that asks whether memory and identity are nothing but illusions.
The brain builds a narrative to steady us from moment to moment, but it is absolutely an illusion. There is no me, there is no you, and there is certainly no self.
Princeton, New Jersey. 1955. Thomas Stoltz Harvey performs the autopsy on Albert Einstein – and then steals his brain.
Bath, England. 1953. Henry undergoes pioneering brain surgery. The surgery changes Henry’s life, and the history of neuroscience.
London, England. The Present. Martha is a clinical neuropsychologist. When her marriage breaks down she starts to make radically different choices.
Three interwoven stories exploring the nature of identity and how we are defined by what we remember, Incognito is an exhilarating exploration of what it means to be human.

 

Mikey and Addie by Robert Alan Evans

Short-length Play, 1M 1F, Contemporary, 978 0 573 12015 2, £9.99

He walks about with his head in the stars, believing that his dad is up there somewhere, in space, working for NASA. However, when Addie shatters his dreams she starts to realise that with the truth comes responsibility and that, like it or not, she is going to have to do everything she can to help this boy. Even if it means breaking all the rules she holds dear.

 

Mystery of Dumsey Meadow by David Perkins, Caroline Dooley

Full-length Musical, 8M 8F 1M/F, 1930s, 978 0 573 11525 7, £9.99

When the pupils of St Winifred’s and St Albert’s arrive for a camping trip at the beautiful Dumsey Meadow, deep in the heart of the English countryside, they find themselves in a spot of bother – there has been a double booking and only one school may camp there.
Whilst trying to decide which of them should stay, they become aware of some mysterious things happening around them: What is the peculiar smell in the air? Why is the Farmer always singing? Why do the cows and sheep appear to be laughing? Why did the Dumsey apple harvest fail for the first time in 300 years? And who is the hooded woman with the horrible cackle? With sleuth-like commitment the children attempt to find answers to these puzzling questions.
Set in the 1930s with a cast of colourful characters, this is a musical play for mystery lovers everywhere with a flexible performing age range of eight to adult.

 

No Knowing by Alan Ayckbourn

Full-length Comedy, Enquire for details

A supremely funny comedy written in 2016, we see Elspeth and Arthur celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary. We go back to the previous Christmas and wince as their grown-up children reveal murky and (often) hilarious truths about both parents.

 

One Day When We Were Young by Nick Payne

Full-length Drama, 1M 1F, WWII & 2002, 978 0 571 28395 8, £9.99

I am scared, that once this war is over, and I am sent home, that you won’t be here. That you will have left.
Leonard and Violet, young, restless and in love, spend their first night together knowing it may also be their last. It’s 1942 and, in a hotel room in Bath, they dream of their future while preparing for Leonard’s departure to the war. But the bombs begin to fall and their world will never be the same again. In the year 2002, the couple look back at what might have been.
Examining the impact of the Second World War on two ordinary lives and a love that spans more than sixty years, Nick Payne’s One Day When We Were Young premiered at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield, in October 2011 in a Paines Plough production.
Once you have applied for your licence, email your licensing representative so that they can send you the most up-to-date version of this script necessary for production. No other version of the script is approved for production.

 

Personal Call by Agatha Christie

Radio Play, Melodrama, 9M 5F, 1950s, Enquire for details

James Brent receives a chilling telephone call seemingly from beyond the grave. His dead wife, Fay, is waiting for him at the very place she met her grisly end. At his new wife’s insistence, they go to meet her as requested and in the process discover a terrifying and disturbing truth.
Part of the live radio triple bill Murder in the Studio which also includes Butter in a Lordly Dish and Yellow Iris.

 

A Poirot Double Bill by Agatha Christie

A double-bill of short Poirot plays, 7M 2F, 1930s, PMS0000000216, £14.99 (pre-publication manuscript)

In The Wasp’s Nest, Hercule Poirots come between a bitter triangle of lovers to prevent a sinister murder before it takes place. In Yellow Iris, A distressed phone call from a mystery woman brings Hercule Poirot to the hotel Jardin des Cygnes, where a man commemorates the four-year anniversary of his wife’s sudden death – a death under very suspicious circumstances that Poirot himself witnessed. Gathered is everyone present on that fateful night and now Poirot must find a killer in the midst, before they strike again.

 

Rule of Thumb by Agatha Christie

A triple-bill of short contrasting plays, 5M 4F, 1930s, PMS0000000217, £14.99 (pre-publication manuscript)

This triple bill of one-act murder mysteries combines: The Wasp’s Nest which sees Hercule Poirot come between a bitter triangle of lovers to prevent a sinister murder before it takes place; The Rats, a dark and chilling tale in which a pair of adulterous lovers find themselves lured to a flat, trapped like rats and framed for murder; and finally, The Patient, a tense thriller in which a woman has been hospitalised after seemingly falling from her balcony.

 

The Same Deep Water As Me by Nick Payne

Full-length Drama, 5M 6F, Contemporary, 978 0 571 31100 2, £9.99

Had an accident at work? Tripped on a paving slab? Cut yourself shaving? You could be entitled to compensation. Andrew and Barry at Scorpion Claims, Luton’s finest personal injury lawyers, are the men for you. When Kevin, Andrew’s high school nemesis, appears in his office the opportunity for a quick win arises. But just how fast does a lie have to spin before it gets out of control?
Once you have applied for your licence, email your licensing representative so that they can send you the most up-to-date version of this script necessary for production. No other version of the script is approved for production.

 

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

Full-length Play, Melodrama, 10M 4F, 1920s, Enquire for details

The Council Chambers at Chimneys, the Brent family estate, holds a dark and intriguing secret and someone will stop at nothing to prevent the monarchy being restored in faraway Herzoslovakia.
A young drifter finds more than he bargained for when he agrees to deliver a parcel to an English country estate. Little did Anthony Cade suspect that a simple errand on behalf of a friend would make him the centrepiece of a murderous international conspiracy. A sinister plot rife with diamonds, oil conessions, exiled royalty, an elusive master criminal and the combined forces of Scotland Yard and the French Surete.

 

Starlings by Nick Payne

Full-length Play, 3M 2F, Enquire for details

Melissa wants to get on with her life but never knows when her father is going to turn up next. Over thirty years she struggles to overcome her past while her family, torn apart by alcohol, try to repair the damage. Nick Payne’s new play about history and hope is a poignant, unflinching reflection on the ties that bind us.
Once you have applied for your licence, email your licensing representative so that they can send you the most up-to-date version of this script necessary for production. No other version of the script is approved for production.

 

The Wasp’s Nest by Agatha Christie

Short-length Play, Melodrama, 3M 1F, 1930s, PMS0000000235, £12.99 (pre-publication manuscript)

This classic Christie short story sees Hercule Poirot come between a bitter triangle of lovers to prevent a sinister murder before it takes place.
Available to buy as an individual title or as part of the collections Rule of Thumb and A Poirot Double Bill.

 

Nick Hern Books

T: 020 8749 4953
W: www.nickhernbooks.co.uk | E: info@nickhernbooks.co.uk
F: NickHernBooks | T: @NickHernBooks

 

Box Clever by Monsay Whitney

Full-length play, 1F 1F/M (larger cast possible), Can be simply staged, 978 1 848 42694 8, £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

Offering a challenging role for a lead female performer, plus a diverse chorus of characters for one multi-roling performer or a larger cast, Box Clever is a moving, truthful and darkly comic play. Marnie is stuck in a women’s refuge, trying to escape toxic relationship patterns, just wanting to do the best for herself and her daughter. But how do you get out of a rut when everyone you know is a liability? ‘A superb piece of writing, bubbling with bitterness yet bursting with heart, simultaneously funny and infuriating’ The Stage

 

Drawing Crosses on a Dusty Windowpane by Dylan Coburn Gray

Full-length play, 1F, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50212 2, £3.99 – epub (£3.19 direct from publisher)

A play for a solo female performer about losing someone close to you, about the human need to remember and connect. From the Verity Bargate Award-winning playwright Dylan Coburn Gray. ‘Entrancing… sumptuous and sinuous writing’ Irish Times on Citysong

 

The House Keeper by Morna Regan

Full-length play, 2F 1M, Can be simply staged, 978 1 848 42272 8, £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

A woman stripped of everything she has ever worked for takes a stand, only to find she has disturbed a hornet’s nest of unimagined proportions. The House Keeper is a darkly humorous psychological thriller exploring the nature of possession, inheritance and corruption for three performers. ‘Potent… Regan’s humour is ink-black and bladed’ Exeunt Magazine

 

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Jessica Swale, music by Joe Stilgoe

Full-length play, 6F 3M, 9+F/M (flexible; smaller/larger cast possible), Can be simply staged, 978 1 848 42925 3, £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

Rudyard Kipling’s beloved tale of family, belonging and identity has been reimagined in this acclaimed version by Olivier Award-winning playwright Jessica Swale. This musical adaptation with original songs by Joe Stilgoe is packed with memorable characters, catchy tunes and brilliant storytelling, offering rich opportunities for all school, college, youth-theatre and amateur groups looking for a fresh, ambitious and inventive retelling of a much-loved classic. ‘Swale has given us a Jungle Book for the present day, one ready to enchant and educate in equal measure’ WhatsOnStage

 

Mud by Robert Holman

Full-length play, 1F 4M, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50232 0, £4.99 – epub (£4.00 direct from publisher)

A surreal and touching play for a small cast about a group of lonely people converge on the North Yorkshire moors. George, recently retired and grieving for his wife, has come on holiday to fish. Harold, son of the local squire, has come to shoot. Alan and Pauline have come to escape prying eyes. Hopes, dreams and fears play out in a Beckettian landscape as RAF fighter planes tear across the sky. ‘Holman’s instinct for truth, and an unaffected ability to spot what’s poignant in it, is what one remembers’ The Times

 

The Natural Cause by Robert Holman

Full-length play, 2F 4-7M plus additional voices, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50231 3, £4.99 – epub (£4.00 direct from publisher)

A dark and disturbing portrait of mental illness, and its effects on a young family. Barry and Mary are expecting a child. Barry is a bus conductor, but he’d like to drive the bus one day instead. His mother keeps telling Mary that Barry’s not right, and that she should leave him. But Mary chooses to stick with Barry, for better or in fact for worse.

 

Other Worlds by by Robert Holman

Full-length play, 4-5F 5-8M, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50231 3, £4.99 – epub (£4.00 direct from publisher)

A gorilla is taken for a French spy by an Eighteenth Century fishing community on the isolated North Yorkshire coast. Robert Holman’s play explores the suspicions, antipathies and fears of the unknown that divide communities, and the bonds that can transcend those divisions.

 

The Overgrown Path by Robert Holman

Full-length play, 3F 3M, plus several children, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50235 1, £4.99 – epub (£4.00 direct from publisher)

Nicholas Marks, an aspiring academic from Yorkshire, arrives on the Greek island of Tinos to interview reclusive scientist Daniel Howarth about his work on the atomic bomb. But as he tries to tease apart fact and fantasy, science and mythology, chance and destiny, Nicholas discovers a surprising truth about himself. The Overgrown Path is about history, and the stories we tell each other to make sense of ourselves.

 

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Cordelia Lynn

Full-length play, 5F 9M plus extras, Can be simply staged, 978 1 848 42860 7, £9.99 (£7.99 direct from publisher)

A fresh and intelligent adaptation that makes Chekhov’s characters feel like contemporary young women. In a room in a house in a provincial town, three sisters wait for their lives to begin. Olga, the eldest. Masha, the middle child. Irina, the youngest. The clock strikes. A candle is lit. The clock stops. Something catches fire. The clock strikes. They wake up.

 

Today by Robert Holman

Full-length play, 5-6F 7-9M, Can be simply staged, 978 1 788 50234 4, £4.99 – epub (£4.00 direct from publisher)

From the lawns of King’s College, Cambridge, where two shy young men from opposing backgrounds confront the reality of their attraction to each other, to the battlefields of the Spanish Civil War, where courage, idealism and solidarity are tested in the furnace of conflict, Today is a panoramic study of life, desire and the search for a fundamental self in the midst of a shifting, uncertain world. Written for a large ensemble cast.

 

Music Theatre International (Europe)

T: 020 7580 2827
W: www.mtishows.co.uk | E: shows@mtishows.co.uk
F: mtieurope | T: mtieurope

Shrek – The Musical

Music by Jeanine Tesori. Book & Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig.

Available for performances after 1 January 2021. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek The Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure featuring all-new songs from Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline or Change) and a sidesplitting book by David Lindsay-Abaire. Shrek brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage, and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.
“Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek…” And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude, and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand…and his name is Shrek.
Shrek presents a treasure trove of creative opportunities including costumes, sets, puppets (there is a fire-breathing dragon after all), and more! Irreverently fun for the whole family, Shrek proves that beauty is truly in the eye of the ogre.

 

Josef Weinberger Ltd

T: 020 7927 7322
E: shows@jwmail.co.uk | W: www.josef-weinberger.com

The Guardsman by Ferenc Molnar, in a new adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, from the unabridged English translation by Gabor Lukin

Full-length Play, 3M 4F, 2 Sets, 978 0 856 76376 2, £9.99 (RRP)

A beautiful actress has married her handsome leading man, and their best friend is a critic. A recipe for marital bliss for denizens of the theatre world – until a dashing guardsman enters the scene and starts sending the actress roses. In this new version of The Guardsman, Molnar’s “romantic comedy” finally receives the treatment it deserves as a “comedy of agony.”
The Guardsman is an anguished farce which inspired the work of Pirandello and Pinter. Even as it poses disturbing questions about identity, voyeurism, reality, perception, the masks we wear, and the pain of love, it elicits gales of laughter.

 

The Musical Company

T: 020 7240 0880
W: www.themusicalcompany.com | F: themusicalco
E: laura.hall@reallyuseful.com | T: @themusicalco

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Lyrics by Tim Rice. Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Full length musical, Principals: 6M 1F (Narrator); Featured: 11M 1F; Choir (Men/Women); Children’s Chorus (Boys/Girls), “way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began” in the land of Canaan and Egypt.

Orchestration:

  • 10 Piece Novello Version (60 minutes) – 1974
  • 10 Piece Version (90 minutes) – 1991
  • 15 Piece Version (90 minutes) – 1991
  • Backing Track Edition (60 minutes)

For the first time, adult amateur societies are being given the opportunity to apply to perform one of musical theatre’s best-loved and most popular shows of all time. The performing window is throughout 2020 and only applies to productions taking place outside the M25 and in auditoriums with less than 1,000 seats.
To date, Joseph… has only ever been available to schools, colleges and youth groups so we hope The Really Useful Group is preparing to be inundated with requests to perform the show which played to sell-out audiences at The London Palladium last summer.
First performed as a 15-minute school pop-opera in 1968, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is based on the story of Joseph from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. Today, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sung-through musical has been on a virtual non-stop tour for years, which is one of the reasons why it has never been available to amateur companies.
Featuring songs from just about every musical genre, there can’t be many people who don’t recognise the show’s numbers, which include: Any Dream Will Do; Joseph’s Coat; One More Angel in Heaven; Close Every Door; Go, Go, Go Joseph; Song of the King; Those Canaan Days and Benjamin Calypso.

 

Arts On the Move

T: 0161 881 0868
W: www.artsonthemove.co.uk | F: artsonthemove.co.uk
E: info@artsonthemove.co.uk | T: @artsonthemoveco

Nickolai of the North by Lucy Daniel Raby. Music by Geoff Tinniswood

Full-length Christmas Play with Music, 24. KS2 KS3, 120 minutes, £60.00 (download) £20 (license, up to 5 performances)

Have you ever wondered who filled Santa’s stocking when he was a boy? Or why he carries out his Christmas mission every year? All is revealed in this two-act Christmas play with music.
A refreshing alternative to panto, it tells the magical story of Santa’s childhood. When villainess Magda destroys his home at the North Pole, young elf Nickolai is rescued by a flying reindeer. We follow his adventures as he grows up amongst humans, realises he is different and returns to the North Pole to seek his destiny and ultimately save the world’s children from Magda’s evil.
With fourteen sensational songs from established composer Geoff Tinniswood, including backing tracks and vocals and containing traditional seasonal ingredients such as heroes, villains, witches, fairies, reindeer, wolves and goblins, ‘Nickolai’ is a sparkling family show that provides a fabulous opportunity for ensemble work.
The package includes mp3 music files of backing tracks, vocals and incidental music for performance and practice; lyrics; vocal music score (vocal line only) and the playscript with production notes and lyrics.

 

Brown, Son and Ferguson Ltd

T: 0141 883 0141
W: www.scottishplays.co.uk | E: info@skipper.co.uk
F: Brown-Son-Ferguson-Ltd-1684294391792165 | T: @skipper_uk

A Bit of Land by Agnes Adam

Short-length Comedy, 4M 2F, 978 0 851 74837 5, £1.00

Tommy Boyle, thinking his father has died, persuades Dan Murphy to impersonate the dead man for the purpose of making a will. After a hurried make-up, Dan jumps into bed and poses as the dying man. The schoolmaster arrives to make the will. Finally, he starts to make a new will, but old Andy, the supposed dead man, appears on the scene.
This is rollicking comedy in Ulster dialect at its raciest, but is playable in any dialect.

 

Building Bridges by Marie Dunlop

Full-length Play, 2M 2F, 978 1 849 27085 4, £5.00

Building Bridges is set in 1965 in Anderston, Glasgow and examines the reaction of deserted husband, Billy Speirs and his family to the return of his estranged wife, Bernie, whose mother has been taken seriously ill.
It is a tale of bitterness and betrayal but also of the absolute enduring strength of love at a time when a community was being sliced up to make way for a stretch of inner city motorway and the Glasgow Kingston Bridge. Just as the earmarking of Anderston as a Glasgow Comprehensive Development Area faced mixed reactions, the couple’s tentative and nervous steps back to one another face opposition and difficulty and like the opinion of much of the community at that time, it was clear that things were never going to be the same again.
The heart was getting ripped out of the place, just as it had been ripped out of Billy. Decisions have to be made, loyalties examined and painful truths faced. Better days were coming, however, in the promise of new corporation housing and it is against this backdrop of demolition and renewal that Building Bridges opens.

 

False Widows by Rebecca Bond

Two-act Play, 2M 5F, 978 1 849 27069 4, £5.00

It’s 1955 and Roland Ayre, the Earl of Dunshire has passed away; but at his funeral his family find out he was not the man they thought. In the forty-eight Hours that follow Heathersett House is turned into a battle ground as his families go head to over the inheritance – and things take a very strange turn.

 

Redemption in Salamanca by Rebecca McCallum

Three-act Play, 6M 1F, 978 1 849 27086 1, £5.00

The soul of Don Félix de Montemar, a young Spanish aristocrat, is on the brink of damnation as he makes his way through the night streets of Salamanca in the direction of the Carnaval. On his travels, he encounters a duel, a gambling den, a lost lover and the wraiths and priests who will fight over his soul.
Adapted for the stage from the Romantic poem by José de Espronceda, which is a variation of the Don Juan legend, the play brings to the fore the question of mortality, faith, eternal law and redemption.

 

Scobie Raeburn had a Ten Pound Note by Alistair Ferguson

Six-act Play, 5M 8F, 978 1 849 27082 3, £5.00

Scobie’s rent is due. While paying he produces a £10 note from his sock, but changes his mind and decides to hold on to that one – it’s his lucky one and has some kind of sentimental value. During passionate negotiations with his landlady the note is torn, making it quite identifiable. Scobie manages to retain the £10 note, which he then decides to spend at the shops instead.
The note then goes on an adventure, seeing a few snapshots into people’s lives, before ultimately finding its way back to Scobie, who ends the play quite philosophically.

 

Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie. Stage Version by James Scotland

Full-length Play, 16M 8F, 978 1 849 27086 1, £4.00

October, 1941. The Hebridean islands of Great Todday and Little Todday are sunk deep in the doldrums of a spiritless wartime existence, till the S.S. Cabinet Minister runs aground nearby, and by a miracle there is uisghe beatha gu leoir.
Various young couples find the path of true love smoothed and the village schoolmaster slays his personal dragon, but the commander of the local Home Guard finds his duty becoming harder every day. Compton Mackenzie’s immortal tale is world-famous. He expressed his warm approval of this stage version, which was first performed at the 1966 Edinburgh Festival by the Edinburgh People’s Theatre.

 

Smith Scripts

T: 0844 997 1000
W: www.smithscripts.co.uk | E: info@smithscripts.co.uk
F: smithscripts | T: @smithscripts

A Carol’s Christmas by Keith Badham

Full-length Comedy, 4M 8F, Contemporary, £5.00 (download only)

Carol is struggling to organise her Christmas with a dysfunctional family, friends and neighbours. A surprising discovery changes her Christmas and her relationships. Shock announcements, catering issues and the odd game of charades make the perfect Christmas menu. Based very loosely on A Christmas Carol, A Carol’s Christmas is a bittersweet comedy that is perfect for the festive season.

 

Hollywood The Musical by Shaun Blake

Full-length Jukebox Musical, 8M 13F plus extras – may be performed by 15 M/F with doubling, Contemporary, £5.00 (download only)

Hollywood the Musical is the tale of Bryan and Jennifer who make it into the movie industry in Hollywood for the first time. There they meet several people along the way, some who will help them to success and others who will show them the possibly scandalous side of the industry. A jukebox musical set to many of your favourite film soundtracks.

 

Ride a White Swan by Tom Kelly

One-act Play, 2M, Contemporary/Simple staging, £3.50 (download only)

Joe returns to the family home, after his divorce and has to share with his younger brother Mark, who has been living alone since the death of their parents. After years of being apart, they have to learn to live together and find that adjustment is difficult.
Mark has a passion for the music of Marc Bolan as a way of coping with a lack of parental love. The brothers bicker, drink and reflect on their lives, family and growing slowly and sometimes painfully closer together.

 

Six Views by Max Porter

Six Short Plays, Min. 2M 2F. Max. 8M 4F, Contemporary/Simple staging, £5.00 (download only)

Six ten-minute two-handers all set on a bench in a park overlooking a town. May be performed individually or in groups.
Some serious, some serious, but all with a slight twist in the tale, these duologues are suitable for a variety of ages and all in a very easily staged.

 

Bloomsbury – Methuen Drama

T: 01256 302699
W: www.bloomsbury.com | E: direct@macmillan.co.uk
F: BloomsburyPublishing | T: @bloomsburybooks

Theatre Books

Actors’ and Performers’ Yearbook 2020 – Essential Contacts for Stage, Screen and Radio | Edited by Lloyd Trott

978 1 350 10757 1, £11.89 (Online price, paperback)

This well-established and respected directory supports actors in their training and search for work on stage, screen and radio. It is the only directory to provide detailed information for each listing and specific advice on how to approach companies and individuals, saving hours of further research. From agents and casting directors to producing theatres, showreel companies, photographers and much more, this essential reference book editorially selects only the most relevant and reputable contacts for the actor.
With several new articles including The multi-hyphenate comedy actor-performer-writer; Ignition, inspiration and the imposter; Be prepared for publicity; and Equity pension scheme, Actors’ and Performers’ Yearbook 2020 features aspects of the profession not previously covered, as well as continuing to provide valuable insight into auditions, interviews and securing work alongside a casting calendar and financial issues. This is a valuable professional tool in an industry where contacts and networking are key to career survival.
All listings have been updated alongside fresh advice from industry experts.

“A map, compass, guide-book” Simon Callow. “Use of this book will save you time and money” Samuel West

Plays

Methuen Drama’s Modern Plays: 60th Anniversary Gift Set by Shelagh Delaney, Edward Bond, John McGrath, Caryl Churchill, Sarah Kane, Kwame Kwei-Armah, James Graham

978 1 350 13666 3, £56.00 (Online price, hardback)

Published in a limited-edition box set, this special celebratory set includes the following plays:
A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney (1959)
Saved by Edward Bond (1960s)
The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil by John McGrath (1970s)
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill (1980s)
Blasted by Sarah Kane (1990s)
Elmina’s Kitchen by Kwame Kwei-Armah (2000s)
This House by James Graham (2010s)

Methuen Drama’s iconic Modern Plays series began in 1959 with the publication of Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey and has grown over six decades to now include more than 1,000 plays by some of the best writers from around the world. This new limited-edition hardback box set of seven plays celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Modern Plays series and features a play from each decade from 1959 to 2019.
Starting with Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey, the six other plays were chosen by public vote from a shortlist of plays from each decade. The resulting collection tells a unique story of British theatre from a period of restriction and censorship through to a period of radical retaliation against the status quo and norms of theatrical storytelling. The box set brings together first plays by remarkable women, the first Black British voice in London’s West End, often-revived classics, student favourites and contemporary Olivier Award nominees to offer a diverse picture of British playwriting. Methuen Drama’s Modern Plays series has been at the heart of British theatre for the past 60 years and looks forward to publishing landmark plays of future decades.

 

Stagescripts Ltd

T: 0345 686 0611
W: shop.stagescripts.com | E: sales@stagescripts.com
F: Stagescripts | T: @stagescripts

A Very Scottish Play by John Waterhouse

Full-length Play, 3M 3F (30s – 50s), Contemporary/Simple staging, £7.95 (printed)

Terry, a highly stressed businessman, decides to go away with his wife for some rest and relaxation on a remote Scottish island. Soon after arriving, he discovers the idyllic looking cottage in the brochure is actually very uncomfortable and has a strange atmosphere. To make matters worse, Sid, the landlord, who is also the local undertaker, describes a host of natural hazards on the island, from sudden fog to quicksand and this is in addition to numerous dangers from local animals and insects.
Terry’s wife, Angela, is determined that they will enjoy their holiday and they venture off to a local pub, only to fall into bogs whilst a mysterious woman in black arrives and just stares at them. Sid believes that they have seen the ghost of the ‘dark lady’ and this is confirmed by Valerie, a curious clairvoyant who checks into the guest house that evening. The ghost is seen pointing at Terry and this is interpreted by Valerie as a warning. Then Gerald a flamboyant American film producer arrives looking for set locations, accompanied by his girlfriend Fenella. The old guesthouse is exactly what he needs for his latest film.
The ghost of the dark lady makes further appearances and Terry believes that his life is in danger. Sid knows of a reclusive medium called Gertie who lives on a remote island, who can exorcise the spirit that is tormenting Terry, for a fee. Gerald is fascinated in the ghostly background to the guesthouse and hopes to film the dark lady’s next appearance.
Valerie emerges as a lady of many talents and Gerald puts her in his film, finding her surprisingly athletic for a clairvoyant and arousing jealousy from Fenella, who is the star of the film.
Will Terry and Angela be freed from the attentions of the ghost? Is Valerie really just a clairvoyant writer? What is Sid really up to? And why is this island the focus of paranormal activity?

 

Oberon Books

T: 020 7607 3637
W: www.oberonbooks.com | E: permissions@oberonbooks.com
F: OberonBooksLondon | T: @oberonbooks

[BLANK] by Alice Birch

978 1 786 82948 1, £17.99 paperback

She can’t stay awake. She sold drugs. She’s good at interrogations. She drinks in the mornings. She ate a rabbit. She smashed up a shop. She stabbed a man. She used a hammer. She had a baby. She can’t find her mother. She’s covered in blood and doesn’t know why.
Alice Birch’s heartbreaking new play reaches across society to explore the impact of the criminal justice system on women and their families.

 

Cyrano by Peter Oswald

4 – 13M 3 – 7F, 978 1 786 82945 0, £9.99 paperback

A new version of the classic French romantic comedy from Peter Oswald.
Cursed with the looks of a clown, he weaves his secret longing into love letters of exquisite beauty that he will never dare to send. All he needs is a perfect nose to match his perfect prose. The handsome Christian has also fallen for Roxane – but while he looks like a god, he sounds like a fool. Sacrificing physical love for fantasy, Cyrano hands his words of love to Christian to speak for them both. Will Roxane fall for the ‘perfect’ man? Can Cyrano exist with only half her heart? Is true love more than skin deep?

 

Dirty Crusty by Clare Barron

1M 2F, 978 1 786 82976 4, £9.99 paperback

“We must be the women of the future standing here in this bathroom because we look like sex and power, we look like sex and power, and you don’t even know it, standing there in that motherfucking pantsuit.”
Jeanine is determined to improve her life. With sex. With dance. With new hobbies, like horticulture. But self-improvement is hard. Reclaiming your dreams is hard. And personal hygiene is really, really hard.

 

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Glyn Maxwell, Robert Louis Stevenson

2M, 2F, 978 1 786 82951 1, £9.99 paperback

A new version, from award-winning poet Glyn Maxwell, of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Gothic masterpiece. A decent man finds himself stalked and confronted by his own evil alter-ego.

 

Essex Girl by Maria Ferguson

1F, 978 1 786 82987 0, £9.99 paperback

“Essex Girl: a young working-class woman from the Essex area, typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic, devoid of taste and sexually promiscuous.” Collins English Dictionary.
Kirsty is a sixteen-year-old girl growing up in ’00s Brentwood. She likes WKD, Elton John, Pie & Mash and Charlie Red body spray. She’s on a quest to win Sexy Ricky’s heart and pass her GCSEs. She also has a secret to tell you. One she can’t tell anyone else.
Follow Kirsty’s story through the house parties and Irish pubs of Essex. From West Ham matches to choir practice, pre-drinks to registration, she will tell you what it’s really like to be an Essex Girl.

 

Feeding the Dragon by Sharon Washington

1F, 978 1 786 82626 8, £9.99 paperback

‘Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a library…’
Deep in the bowels of a New York Public Library lies a dragon: the monstrous coal furnace that Sharon’s father, the live-in custodian, must feed every night.
A moving examination of family secrets, forgiveness, and the power of language, Feeding the Dragon explores Sharon’s life growing up in the library and the fire she never allowed to fade.

 

Five Guys Chillin’ by Peter Darney

978 1 786 82003 7, £9.99 paperback

A graphic, gripping, funny and frank verbatim drama exposing the chill-out chem-sex scene. “Wanna pair of shorts? Shot of G? Line of Meth?” From surgeons to students, couples to kink; guys that love it and lost guys longing to be loved. An original look into a drug-fuelled, hedonistic, highly secret world of Grindr, and instant gratification.

 

for all the women who thought they were Mad by Zawe Ashton

978 1 786 82958 0, £9.99 paperback

“they like to see us fall, to slip on branches full of fruit we have not tasted”
Lately, it’s small things. Pop songs. The radio. Every day, anguish becomes madness. Call on your family. Call on the ancestors. Can they guide you home?
for all the women who thought they were Mad is an urgent piece of theatre examining the myriad of forces that collide and conspire against women of colour in Britain today.

 

Gail Louw: Plays Three by Gail Louw

978 1 786 82959 7, £17.99 paperback

A third collection of plays by South African writer, Gail Louw.
Includes the plays The Ice Cream Boys, Being Brahms, A Life Twice Given, and Killing Faith.

 

 

Gods & Kings by Paul Whittaker

1M, 978 1 786 82778 4, £9.99 paperback

At the age of 23, Paul walks into a psychiatrist’s office believing he is either a God, or a King. He leaves with a diagnosis of bi-polar manic depression, and facing a life-changing decision: take the pill and live, or don’t take the pill and die.
Challenging perceptions of what it is to live with mental illness, Gods & Kings is a bracingly honest and darkly funny real-life tale, expressing what it is to live a life ruled by mental illness.
This special edition also contains a range of materials from the National Centre of Mental Health, covering diagnoses and issues raised in the play.

 

The Ice Cream Boys by Gail Louw

2M 1F, 978 1 786 82940 5, £9.99 paperback

There are some enemies you’d wait a lifetime to see face-to-face. Charismatic, corrupt and dangerous, Jacob Zuma was until recently President of South Africa. But before Zuma came to power, Ronnie Kasrils masterminded the intelligence services. Now at last they’re alone together. When you’ve been betrayed, it’s never too late to settle old scores.

 

It’s True, It’s True, It’s True by Breach Theatre

4F, 978 1 786 82662 6, £9.99 paperback

Fringe First and Total Theatre Award- winning Breach (Tank, The Beanfield) restage the 1612 trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
Based on surviving court transcripts, this new play dramatises the seven-month trial that gripped Renaissance Rome, and asks how much has changed in the last four centuries. Blending myth, history and contemporary commentary, this is the story of how a woman took revenge through her art to become one of the most successful painters of her generation.

 

Mephisto (A Rhapsody) by Chris Campbell, Samuel Gallet

3M 5F, 978 1 786 82953 5, £9.99 paperback

In the town of Balbek the far right are about to seize power. At the local theatre, Aymeric dreams of celebrity; Lucas longs for a liberal revolution; Michael is seduced by the extremists. Juliette Demba is in fear for her life.
As this political earthquake ripples through the town, Aymeric must make his choice: resist the forces of hatred or harness them for his own success.
Based on the real life story of Gustaf Gründgens, whose dreams of fame led him to betray everything, and at the peak of his career, perform Faust for Hitler, Mephisto [A Rhapsody] is a searing contemporary response to Klaus Mann’s banned, and fiercely political cult novel. Samuel Gallet’s urgent new play asks: what would you sacrifice to do the right thing?

 

The Monstrous Heart by Oliver Emanuel

3F, 978 1 786 82955 9, £9.99 paperback

Mag lives in a rustic cabin in the Canadian wilds, far from neighbours and further from her past. It’s an unremarkable life, save for the enormous bear carcass on the kitchen table.
But when her estranged daughter Beth turns up on the doorstep having been freshly released from prison, the past becomes terrifyingly present – and the bear isn’t the only thing with a dangerous bite.
The Monstrous Heart is a play about motherhood, the cycle of trauma, and how you can never really leave your past behind.

 

The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess

2F, 978 1 786 82965 8, £9.99 paperback

At an elite East Coast university, an ambitious young black student and her esteemed white professor meet to discuss a paper the college junior is writing about the American Revolution. They’re both liberal. They’re both women. They’re both brilliant. But very quickly, discussions of grammar and Google turn to race and reputation, and before they know it, they’re in dangerous territory neither of them had foreseen – and facing stunning implications that can’t be undone.

 

Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum with Expats by Sh!t Theatre

2F, 978 1 786 82978 8, £9.99 paperback

In 2018, island-monkeys Becca and Louise got invited to Valletta, the European Capital of Culture in Malta. They thought they were going to drink rum with Brits abroad, celebrating their final year as Europeans, and make a play. Instead they found corruption, hypocrisy, and murder in the fight to be European.

 

Shuck ’n’ Jive by Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Simone Ibbett-Brown

2F, 978 1 786 82942 9, £9.99 paperback

Opera singer Simone very quickly discovers that London is not the BNP-free utopia she’d always dreamed of. Meanwhile, actress Cassi battles it out for the illustrious roles of ‘Sassy Friend’, ‘Spunky Slave’ and ‘Third Crack Whore From The Left’ at every audition.
Desperate to be seen as they are, not as the colour of their skin, they decide to take control and write their own story.
With songs and searing honesty, Shuck ’n’ Jive is the laugh-out-loud story of two friends trying to break out of racist typecasting and create a story for themselves.

 

Terra Firma by Barbara Hammond

5M 1F, 978 1 786 82961 0, £9.99 paperback

Inspired by a real-life event and its aftermath, Terra Firma is set in a not-so-distant Beckettian future–years after a conflict known as the Big War, in which a tiny kingdom wrestles with the problems of running a nation – and opposing notions of what makes a citizen, a country, and a civilization.

 

There’s A Room by Three Performance Texts By Third Angel

978 1 786 82752 4, £17.99 paperback

There Is A Room brings together three works by Third Angel: Where From Here, Presumption and What I Heard About the World.
Taken chronologically, these shows turn their attention outward, from the intensity of personal relationships and our domestic lives, to the overwhelming number of stories and events taking place in the world beyond.

 

The Watsons by Laura Wade

8 – 10M 8F, 978 1 786 82638 1, £9.99 paperback

What happens when the writer loses the plot? Emma Watson is nineteen and new in town. She’s been cut off by her rich aunt and dumped back in the family home. Emma and her sisters must marry, fast. If not, they face poverty, spinsterhood, or worse: an eternity with their boorish brother and his awful wife.

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

Welcome to Strike Up the Band!, our snapshot of what 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?

Photo: Johan Persson

& JULIET
Shaftesbury Theatre, 210 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8DP
Booking until 30 May 2020
W: www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk | F: JulietMusical | T: @JulietMusical
This is one of those West End productions that will have held its opening night after we’ve gone to press. However, with all the hype surrounding the continuing story of the ‘Juliet’ half of Shakespeare’s best-known romantic couple, rave reviews should be in the bag by the time you read this. Featuring a plethora of the biggest pop anthems including Roar; Hit Me Baby One More Time; Love. Me Like You Do; I Kissed a Girl and Everybody.

 

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL
Savoy Theatre, Savoy Court, London WC2R 0ET
Booking until 23 May 2020
W: 9to5themusical.co.uk
F: 9to5TheMusicalUK | T: @9to5MusicalUK
David Hasselhoff will play Franklin Hart Jnr. – the role recently inhabited by Brian Conley -from 2 Dec until 8 Feb 2020. He joins Caroline Sheen as Violet Newstead, Chelsea Halfpenny as Judy Bernly, Natalie McQueen as Doralee Rhodes and Bonnie Langford as Roz Keith in Dolly Parton’s show which, in turn, is based on the 20th Century Fox Picture.

 

Photo: Matthew Murphy

COME FROM AWAY
Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JP
Now booking until 23 May 2020
W: www.ComeFromAwayLondon.co.uk | F: ComeFromAwayUK | T: ComeFromAwayUK
This joyous musical tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.
300 performances and 300,000 visitors in the UK, the Olivier Award-winning Best New Musical is a hit all over the world.

 

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Noël Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4AU
Now booking until 2 May 2020
W: www.dearevanhansen.com/london | F: DEHWestEnd | T: DEHWestEnd
Another sure-fire hit that holds its press night after we go to press. The sell-out production is holding a weekly digital lottery where patrons who are selected will be offered the option to purchase two tickets at £25 each.
The winner of six Tony® awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album, this show opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre to great critical acclaim in 2016 where it has broken all box office records and is now in its third year of standing-room-only audiences.

 

Photo: Helen Maybanks

HAMILTON
Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street, London SW1E 5EA
Booking until 28 March 2020
W: hamiltonmusical.com | F: HamiltonWestEnd | T: HamiltonWestEnd
A new cast for the multi-award-winning West End production has been announced as the show enters its third year in London. With a book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and helped shape the very foundations of the America we know today. The score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now.
Full ticketing information can be found on the official website which includes details of the West End £10 daily Lottery as well as details of best ticket availability.

 

Photo: Johan Persson

MARY POPPINS
Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton Street, Soho, London W1D 4HS
Booking until 3 May 2020
W: www.marypoppinsonstage.co.uk | F: marypoppins | T: MaryPoppins
Cameron Mackintosh’s highly anticipated show has just opened to 5-star reviews as Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp lead the 40-strong cast as P.L. Travers’ famous creation flies back into the West End. Strallen has returned to the role while Stemp takes on the role of Bert the Chimneysweep. Songs include: A Spoon Full of Sugar, Step in Time, Feed the Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds with new songs from Stiles & Drewe.

 

Mamma Mia! the Party – 19th September 2019 by Luke Dyson

MAMMA MIA! THE PARTY
The O2, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Booking until 31 May 2020
W: www.mammamiatheparty.co.uk | F: mammamiapartyuk | T: @mammamiapartyuk
The new immersive theatrical and dining experience has just extending its booking period due to popular demand, and rightly so – it’s phenomenal! …and, at the end of the day, who doesn’t love ABBA. Song after song after song. The show probably features the group’s entire back-catalogue.

 

Photo: Shervin Lainez

WAITRESS
The Adelphi Theatre, The Strand, London WC2R 0NS
Booking until 28 March 2020
W: waitressthemusical.co.uk | F: waitresslondon | T: @WaitressLondon
Sara Bareilles who wrote the music & lyrics for this hit musical will make her West End debut next year and will reunite with Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor Gavin Creel following their hugely acclaimed reception in the Broadway production. She will perform in the lead role of Jenna with Gavin Creel as Dr Pomatter from 27 Jan to 7 Mar for a six-week run. The award-winning show premiered on Broadway in 2016 and has since become the longest running show in the history of the Brooks Atkinson Theater.
Waitress and pie-maker, Jenna, dreams her way out of a loveless marriage. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of workmates Becky and Dawn, she overcomes the challenges and finds that laughter, love and friendship provides is the perfect recipe for happiness.

 

Photo: Oliver Rosser and Michael Wharley

IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS
Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7AQ
16 November 2019 – 4 January 2020
W: whitechristmasthemusical.co.uk | F: whitexmasshow | T: @whitexmasshow
With music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin, Curve’s artistic director, Nikolai Foster, directs this classic Christmas show, which enjoyed the festive period in Leicester last year.

 

 

HIGH FIDELITY
The Turbine Theatre, Arches Lane, Circus West Village, London SW11 8AB
21 October – 7 December 2019
W: TheTurbineTheatre.com | F: TurbineTheatre | T: @TurbineTheatre
You only have days left to catch Turbine’s first (and UK premiere) of this irresistible new musical comedy. Based on the acclaimed British novel by Nick Hornby, it surrounds thirty-something Rob, owner of a London record shop who’s mastered the art of finding rare vinyl and losing girlfriends.

 

Photo: Johan Persson

ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES THE MUSICAL
Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HT
Booking until the end of April 2020
W: OnlyFoolsMusical.com | F: OFAHMUSICAL | T: @OFAHMusical
Paul Whitehouse will return to star as Grandad in the 5-star West End show for four months from 6 Jan.
The news comes after the show extended its booking period due to massive demand to see of Del, Rodney and co. on stage.

 

Photo: RSC

THE BOY IN THE DRESS
Royal Shakespeare Thtr, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB | Until 8 March 2020
W: www.rsc.org.uk | F: thersc | T: thersc
The new musical, based on the best-selling novel by David Walliams, features sixteen original compositions by Robbie Williams and his long-term writing partner Guy Chambers. Could the show follow in the footsteps of Matilda? Press night occurred after we went to press – so we shall wait and see.

 

Photo: Ellie Kurttz

WEST SIDE STORY
Curve, 60 Rutland Street, Leicester LE1 1SB
Until 11 January 2020
W: www.curveonline.co.uk | F: CURVEtheatreLeicester | T: @CurveLeicester
The timeless Broadway musical is the second show in this SUTB! to be directed by Nikolai Foster.
Ellen Kane, who is currently working on the Universal/Working Title film of Cats and whose previous work includes RSC’s Matilda the Musical, will create new choreography for the production.
Inspired by Romeo and Juliet and with a timeless score by Leonard Bernstein including Tonight, America and I Feel Pretty, the show represents one of the greatest musicals of all time. Press night took place after we went to press.

 

Photo: Pamela Raith

THE ASTONISHING TIMES OF TIMOTHY CRATCHIT
Hope Mill Theatre, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester M4 7JA
Until 29 December 2019
W: hopemilltheatre.co.uk | F: HopeMillTheatre | T: @hopemilltheatr1 @HopeAria2019
This new musical has a book by Allan Knee and music and lyrics by newcomer Andre Catrini.
The show tells the tale of a young man who sets out to find his place in an expanding and volatile world. Inspired by the characters of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the story follows the plight of young Tim from the home of his benefactor, Ebenezer Scrooge, to the theatrical madness of the great comic, Giuseppe Grimaldi.
You guessed it, press night took place just before this issue came through letterboxes.

 

Photo: Paul Coltas

THE BOOK OF MORMON
Touring from 15 January – 28 November 2020
W: www.thebookofmormonmusical.com | F: bookofmormonUK | T: bookofmormonuk
Broadway’s smash-hit musical written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, will tour the UK next year.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the creators of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning TV show, South Park, now in its twenty-second season, and the feature films South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and Team America: World Police.
Robert Lopez co-created Avenue Q and co-wrote the songs for Disney’s Frozen and Coco.
The Book of Mormon follows a pair of Mormon boys sent on a mission to a place that’s a long way from their home in Salt Lake City.
it won nine Tony® Awards and has been performed on three continents and won over thirty international awards.

 

Photo: Rebecca Need-Menear

BUDDY – THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY
Touring now until 25 July 2020
W: www.buddythemusical.com | F: BuddyTheMusical | T: buddythemusical
The rock ‘n’ roll show’s 30th anniversary tour got five stars from Sardines when we caught it in Croydon in November. Buddy Holly squeezed a whole career into twenty-two months before he was killed in a plane crash in 1959. The show celebrates one of music’s true pioneers and includes a long list of songs, including: That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Not Fade Away, True Love Ways and Rave On.

 

Curtains The Musical
©The Other Richard

CURTAINS
Now touring the UK, including: Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, Covent Garden, London WC2H 0DA
from: 13 December2019 – 11 January 2020…
before continuing touring the UK until 11 April 2020
W: curtainsmusical.com | F: CurtainsMusicalUK | T: @MusicalCurtains
The musical starring Jason Manford will play 38 performances over the festive period in the West End, which will mark the West End premiere of Kander and Ebb’s (Cabaret and Chicago) musical which opened on Broadway in 2007 and ran until June 2008.
Jessica Cranshaw, star of the Broadway-bound musical Robbin Hood, has been murdered onstage, on opening night! The entire cast and crew are suspects. Time to call in the local detective, Frank Cioffi, who just happens to be a huge musical theatre fan. With a nose for crime and an ear for music, Frank has his work cut out trying to find the killer whilst giving the show a lifeline. As Cioffi, Manford is adding to an impressive list of musical theatre credentials.

 

Photo: Paul Coltas

THE BODYGUARD
Now touring until 1 February 2020
W: thebodyguardmusical.com/uk-tour | F: thebodyguardmusical | T: TheBodyguardUK
X Factor winner-turned-theatre-star, Alexandra Burke returns to the role of Rachel Marron following a triumphant run in the show in both the West End and subsequent sell out tour in 2015/16.
The show is based on 1992’s movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner and has played all over the world.

 

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
Now touring until 22 February 2020, including: The Dome, Doncaster Lakeside, Bawtry Road, Doncaster DN4 7PD: 18 Dec 2019 – 4 Jan 2020
W: www.kenwright.com | F: BKLProductions | T: @BKL_Productions
Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Mark McMullan, will don the Technicolor Dreamcoat in his first major musical role.
Retelling the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, the show is the first of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals to be performed publicly. Seen by an estimated 26 million people, and counting, Joseph continues to enthral audiences around the world.
Full of life and colour, the magical musical features the unforgettable and timeless songs including: Go, Go, Go Joseph, Any Dream Will Do, Jacob and Sons and Close Every Door To Me.

 

Photo: Darren Bell

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT
Now touring until 23 May 2020
W: priscillauktour.com | F: PriscillaTourUK | T: priscillatouruk
Another 5-star show when Sardines reviewed it when it passed through Wimbledon in October 2019. Starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden, this is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Australian Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.
Jason Donovan produces the show which he starred in on tour and in London.

 

Photo: Johan Persson

THE RED SHOES
Now touring until 6 June 2020, including:
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4TN
from: 3 December 2019 – 19 January 2020
W: www.new-adventures.net | F: MBNewAdventures | T: @New_Adventures
A sell-out before its world premiere season opened in 2016, Matthew Bourne’s triumphant adaptation of the legendary film has returned, having won two Olivier Awards and dazzled audiences across both the UK and USA.
The story is 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. Set to the achingly romantic music of golden-age Hollywood by composer Bernard Herrmann, this show is an intoxicating drama where life imitates art with fateful consequences.

 

BE MORE CHILL
The Other Palace, 12 Palace Street, Westminster, London SW1E 5JA
12 February – 3 May 2020
W: www.bemorechillmusical.com | F: BeMoreChillMusical | T: @BeMoreChill
This mind-bendingly fun, Broadway musical, based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini, is to transfer to London to make its UK premiere at The Other Palace.
It tells 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 success of the show in the US has been led by a groundswell of unprecedented online support.

 

Photo: Tristram Kenton

FAME THE MUSICAL
Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre, Fulton Road, Wembley Park, Middlesex HA9 8TS
21 December 2019 – 26 January 2020
W: fameuktour.co.uk | F: Famemusicaluk | T: famemusicaluk
Due to huge demand this critically acclaimed 30th Anniversary production will extend its current run for a strictly limited season at the newly opened Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre.
Based on the 1980 pop culture film, this show is the international smash-hit following the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life.
This bittersweet but uplifting show explores issues that confront many young people today: prejudice, identity, pride, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.

 

Photo: Matt Martin

FOOTLOOSE THE MUSICAL
Touring from 24 April – 3 August 2020
W: www.selladoor.com/shows/whats-on/footloose-the-musical-2020 | F: FootlooseTour | T: FootlooseTour
Following two critically acclaimed tours and huge popular demand, Footloose The Musical is back, with Gareth Gates reprising his role as Willard from the 2017 tour.
However, the actor-muso production has an odd choice of format; in a town where dancing is banned, isn’t it strange that everybody walks around playing a musical instrument?

 

NATIVITY! THE MUSICAL
Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QH
11 – 29 December 2019
W: www.nativitythemusical.com | F: nativityuk | T: nativityuk
The highly acclaimed festive show is back for a third year in London and will include Sharon Osbourne who joins the company as President of Parker Pictures.
Sharon will star as Crystal Collins, mother-in-law to Harry Parker who will be played by the inimitable Danny Dyer – back by popular demand as The Hollywood Producer following last year’s appearance. However, he’s also joined by his daughter, 2018 Love Island winner, Dani Dyer as Polly Parker.
Also starring are Rylan Clark-Neal as The Critic and Simon Lipkin as Mr Poppy, the latter of whom is back for a third helping of Nativity chaos.

 

OPERA UNDONE: TOSCA & LA BOHEME (A PUCCINI DOUBLE-BILL)
Trafalgar Studios 2, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
5 February – 7 March 2020
W: www.atgtickets.com/shows/coming-clean/trafalgar-studios | F: kingsheadtheatre | T: @KingsHeadThtr
The Olivier Award nominated producers of the 2017 smash-hit La bohème, present a Puccini double-bill, Opera Undone: Tosca & La bohème, in brand-new English versions by David Eaton and Adam Spreadbury-Maher (Artistic Director of the King’s Head Theatre).
Opera Undone is a new strand of the King’s Head Theatre’s celebrated opera programming, whereby famous operas are radically reimagined in a punchy sixty-minute format and sung entirely in English. This revolutionary new form tears up the opera rulebook for a whole new generation.
Newcomers to opera, along with diehard fans will be able to experience in one evening two enthralling tales of love, heartbreak and deception as they’ve never been told before.

 

RAGS THE MUSICAL
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP
9 January – 8 February 2020
W: www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/ rags-the-musical | F: ParkTheatreLondon | T: @ParkTheatre
Rags is a heart-warming and powerful musical with book by Joseph Stein, revised book by David Thompson, lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and music by Charles Strouse. It tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life. Rebecca must decide what matters more to her – staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to ‘fit in’.

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE THE MUSICAL
Opera House Manchester, 3 Quay Street, Manchester M3 3HP
20 February – 17 May 2020 (12-week season prior to West End transfer)
W: BackToTheFutureMusical.com | F: BTTFmusical | T: @BTTFmusical
Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, the world premiere will have a book by Bob Gale plus new music & lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri Glen Ballard, with additional songs: The Power of Love & Johnny B. Goode.

 

Photo: Craig Sugden

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
Touring from 11 January – 29 August
W: beautifulmusical.co.uk/tour | F: BeautifulUKTour | T: BeautifulUKTour
Playing the iconic role of singer-songwriter, Carole King, in the upcoming tour of this Olivier, Tony and Grammy award-winning musical will be Daisy Wood-Davis. Following a highly successful West End run of two and a half years the show tells the true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming a successful solo act. She wrote the soundtrack to a generation, including: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof and The Locomotion.

 

Alfie Boe and Michael Ball

BACK TOGETHER – UK TOUR 2020
Touring 22 February – 7 March 2020
W: www.ballandboe.com | F: MichaelBallOfficial | alfieboe  T: mrmichaelball | AlfieBoe
To support the release of their third album, Back Together, cleverly titled to follow on from the first to albums, Together and Together Again (how do they come up with these names?!), musical theatre royalty, Michael Ball and Alfie Boe are embarking on a ten-date arena tour early next year.
Fans will be able to hear tracks from their brand new album, which is out now – nicely timed for Christmas, along with many more favourites.
The first album, Together, became the UK’s best-selling album of 2016, beating the likes of Little Mix and The Rolling Stones to the Christmas No.1 spot.
The pair have recently been starring in the concert production of Les Misérables in London.

 

SHOW MAN
Touring 19 February – 15 March 2020
W: www.brendancolelive.com | F: BrendanColeTour | T: @BrendanColeTour
The 2020 tour will apparently be Brendan Cole’s last big-band tour after ten successful years of touring five critically acclaimed productions.
Brendan Cole is of course best known from Strictly Come Dancing where he danced the first show of the first series, lifting the very first glitterball trophy.
Taking its inspiration from the magic of theatre and the movies plus hand-picked championship dancers and an eight-piece live big band and singers.

 

ONCE
Ouring 19 December 2019 – 25 July 2020
W: OnceTheMusicalOnStage.com | F: oncethemusicaluk | T: oncethemusical1
Starring Daniel Healy as Guy and Emma Lucia as Girl, the celebrated musical will launch its first major UK tour from Croydon.
Based on the critically acclaimed and much-loved film, Once tells the uplifting yet yearning story of two lost souls – a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician – who unexpectedly fall in love.
Includes the Academy Award-winning song, Falling Slowly.

 

Photo: Johan Persson

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Touring 22 Februry 2020 – 20 February 2021
W: uktour.thephantomoftheopera.com | F: ThePhantomOfTheOpera | T: PhantomOpera
Now in its 34th phenomenal year in the West End, ‘Phantom’ is widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic, haunting and soaring score includes Music of the Night, All I Ask of You, Masquerade and the iconic title song.
It has played to over 145 million people in 41 countries and 183 cities in 17 languages. It has won more than 70 major theatre awards, including seven Tonys and four Olivier Awards.
The show tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as The Phantom who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talents and beauty of a young soprano – Christine, he lures her as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her, unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul.

 

DENNIS & GNASHER THE MUSICAL!
Touring 23 January – 15 August 2020
W: www.dennisandgnasherthemusical.com | F: dennisngnasher | T: @dennisngnasher
British actor Rory Maguire (Gerard in American Idiot) will star as Dennis in Selladoor Family and Beano Studios’ new stage production.
The musical tells the story of the iconic duo Dennis & Gnasher and along with their best friends, Rubi, JJ and Pieface and their mission to save Beanotown from the grips of the evil W Corps! Featuring live music, hilarious pranks, and of course, Dennis’ trademark skateboard, this brand new, high-octane musical is perfect for pranksters young and old!
BAFTA-winning writer/producer-director Will Brenton will write and direct the show which will feature Dennis and Gnasher’s imitable sense of fun and ageless humour delivered with a repertoire of songs.

NEWS, GOSSIP AND LOOKING AHEAD

Photo: Matt Martin

THE ADDAMS FAMILY, a musical family
Touring 30 Jul – 14 Aug 2020
The goulish family returns for a national tour two years after the last outing. Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows; she’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family! All the clan are present – Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley et al.

 

 

Photo: Simon Annand

THE COMMITMENTS 
Touring 28 Sep 2020 – 3 Jul 2021
Over thirty years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, the world’s hardest working and most explosive soul band are set to return to embark on a brand new tour.
In 2013 the musical enjoyed a record-breaking two-year residency at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End.

 

THE DRIFTERS GIRL 
Newcastle Theatre Royal: 5 – 19 Sep 2020
Garrick Theatre London: 1 Oct 2020 – 13 Feb 2021
The brand-new musical will star Beverley Knight, and will tell the remarkable story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups, The Drifters, and the woman who made them. It will make its world premiere at Newcastle Theatre Royal next year, before transferring to London.

 

FOOTBALLERS WIVES THE MUSICAL
Focusing on the first TV series, which aired on ITV from 2003-2006, the WAGs will be back, but this time on stage. Our obsession with the dramatisation of their crazy lifestyles, relationships and constant tension was simply a genius plot for TV. And judging by the recent real-life feud between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, it’s arguable that we still can’t get enough of them?!

 

MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL 
Opening at the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2021
After ten years in development, and following the fantastic response to the Broadway production, we are promised ‘a world of splendour and romance, of eye-popping excess, of glitz, grandeur and glory! A world where Bohemians and aristocrats rub elbows and revel in electrifying enchantment.’
The Piccadilly Theatre is set to be completely transformed!

 

Photo: Manuel Harlan

GREASE 
Touring 22 May – 28 Nov 2020
Following this year’s tour, the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical will return again in 2020, directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips. Dan Partridge will reprise the role of Danny Zuko, with further casting to be announced.

 

 

HAIRSPRAY THE MUSICAL
From 23 April 2020
Lizzie Bea takes will play Tracy Tunblad and Marisha Wallace will take the role of Motormouth as the pair star alongside Michael Ball who will reprise his Olivier Award-winning role of Edna Turnblad. The multi-award-winning musical is extending its season and will now play at the magnificent London Coliseum for 18 weeks.

 

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL
Touring 26 May – 26 Sep 2020
Following two record-breaking seasons at London’s The Other Palace and West End transfer to Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2018, the sassiest show around, will be touring with further dates promised. Produced by Bill Kenwright & Paul Taylor-Mills, this high-octane, black comedy, rock musical is based on the cult teen film.

 

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT 
Touring 2 Jul – 6 Sep 2020
Following last summer’s sell-out smash, Jason Donovan (Pharaoh) and Jac Yarrow (Joseph) will be back at the London Palladium in 2020. Audiences and critics were unanimous in their acclaim for the first major collaboration by Rice & Lloyd Webber – as it returned to London.

 

Photo: Michael Wharley

RUTHIE HENSHALL – IN MY LIFE 
Touring 11 – 30 April 2020
Ruthie Henshall’s new intimate show is a rare opportunity to see this dazzling star up close and personal, reinterpreting highlights from her acclaimed career as well as exploring the work of other iconic artists from Stephen Sondheim and Carole King to Victoria Wood and The Beatles. Ruthie is accompanied by MD, Paul Schofield.

 

 

Photo: Matthew Murphy
and Oliver Rosser

SISTER ACT
29 Jul – 30 Aug 2020
Whoopi Goldberg will reprise her starring role as Deloris Van Cartier for the first time onstage with Jennifer Saunders as Mother Superior in a newly adapted production of the smash hit musical at London’s Eventim Apollo next year.
Alan Menken & Glenn Slater provide the original songs as the production doesn’t feature any numbers from the film.

World Map Shows the Top  Musical Production in Every Country (Your News)

World Map Shows the Top Musical Production in Every Country (Your News)

By Andrew Stuckey

Plus… The 100 most searched for musicals in the world over the past fifteen years

TicketSource has scoured the globe to reveal the Top Musical in every country of the world.

Using unique data gathered from Google Trends and Adwords, the ticketing tech company has found the top three most searched musical productions in every country.

The interactive online maps allow visitors to simply hover over a country to reveal the top musical.

The Top 100+ Musicals in the World

Using a unique index scoring system** TicketSource has also predicted the 106 most searched for musical productions in the world over the past fifteen years.

Disney dominates the very top echelons, with first-place took up by Elton John’s blockbuster The Lion King, with High School Musical coming in a close second, even though it’s limited to junior performances. The legendary musical composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, sees his School of Rock making up the top three.

Having been recorded in a whopping eight different languages, Notre-Dame de Paris is fourth on the list. Even though it failed to live up to the hype, particularly in the West End, it’s clearly still popular amongst French-speaking countries and Asia. The much-loved and well-travelled Cats completes the top five.

Despite its recent rise to worldwide popularity, Lin-Manual Miranda’s phenomenon Hamilton doesn’t have quite enough punch (at least yet) to break the top ten, coming in twelfth position behind musical stalwarts such as Wicked, Chicago, Les Misérables and Abba-inspired Mamma Mia!

You can find the ‘Top 20 Most Searched for Musicals’ over the past fifteen years by visiting the online league table, with the full list of 106 musicals… plus all of the other interactive maps – and lots more – at: www.ticketsource.us/blog/top-musicals-around-the-world

Snapshot: The top-50 most-searched for musical productions in the world over the last fifteen years are…

  1. The Lion King
  2. High School Musical
  3. School of Rock
  4. Notre-Dame de Paris
  5. Cats
  6. Wicked
  7. Chicago
  8. Rock of Ages
  9. Les Misérables
  10. Mamma Mia!
  11. Shrek: The Musical
  12. Hamilton
  13. Matilda: The Musical
  14. Hair
  15. Jesus Christ Superstar
  16. My Fair Lady
  17. Aladdin
  18. Evita
  19. Romeo and Juliet
  20. A Bronx Tale
  21. Grease
  22. Dracula el Musical
  23. Charlie and the Choc’ Factory
  24. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  25. The Phantom of the Opera
  26. Annie
  27. The Fantasticks
  28. The Sound of Music
  29. We Will Rock You: The Musical
  30. A Chorus Line
  31. Dirty Dancing
  32. Gypsy: The Musical
  33. Hairspray
  34. Legally Blonde
  35. Oklahoma!
  36. Oliver!
  37. Spring Awakening
  38. The Percy Jackson Musical
  39. Cabaret
  40. South Pacific
  41. Tarzan
  42. 14-18 musical
  43. Be More Chill
  44. Bella: An American Tale
  45. Boys in the Band
  46. Cinderella
  47. Crazy for You: The Musical
  48. Four Reigns the Musical
  49. Frozen
  50. Madiba: The Musical
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.

Sophie-Louise Dann is Thinking Outside the Box

Sophie-Louise Dann is Thinking Outside the Box

I’ve just had a most glorious week in a rehearsal room. Then, within the space of a four-hour call, with Hollywood heavyweight Kelsey Grammer, Gillian Bevan and Michael Praed… putting a scene together in act two of The Boy Friend – which was scheduled to play at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, Canada (under the banner of The Menier Chocolate Factory) – we were called up into the main studio and told by our wonderful producer, Paul Elliott, that forty-five minutes earlier the decision had been taken to close all of the Mirvish Theatres for the first time in their history due to the global Coronavirus situation. He had come straight to the rehearsal room to tell us all.

Unfortunately, because it was such a small call, much of the young company were not at rehearsals that day. Of course, there’s nothing worse than getting a message in your inbox – but the fact remains that we’re cancelled!

We probably knew the writing was on the wall when Broadway went dark on 13 March, but it’s all happened so quickly hasn’t it. We haven’t even seen this week out [mid-March]. So many people are working in the industry, and that’s before you even take the amateur sector into account too. The impact of this is huge. And I know everybody is figuratively in the same boat, but I do think ours is a slightly different boat in this industry. It has a direct impact on finances and mental health (which can be fragile at the best of times). Without a doubt, first and foremost, this is a health crisis but it’s also a financial one. The only slightly rosy situation, for me personally, is that we have been honoured with two-weeks’ paid notice.

What I must say, in hindsight, is that I’m very grateful – as a company – we’re not stranded on the other side of the world. We are able to be close to loved ones… but, of course, that’s just my story. This is also happening to millions of others in all walks of life. I’m just trying to reach out and make people aware of the problems faced by the theatre community. In the industry, professional actors are freelance and don’t get statutory sick pay. In my thirty-year career I’ve had no more than ten performances off – you just don’t go ‘sick’. The old adage of ‘the show must go on’ is very real, because the bills still have to be paid.

Sophie-Louise Dann in A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN (2018). Photo: Matt Martin

What angered me initially by Boris Johnson’s response was that he really threw us under the bus, as an industry. It was left for the producers to take the situation into their own hands, and, if producers cancel a show then nobody’s covered. Just a re-wording of his sentence could have helped us out a little bit at least.

Unlike over here, theatres in Canada were closed by law rather than a public request and, as a result, I think the legal ramifications are currently being wrangled to and fro across the pond as we speak.

I really didn’t want to make this a political rant, but I think that many people – even your agent – think that in periods of down-time we exist in this sort of idle rich idyll, ha, ha! We don’t! We’re real people with mortgages to pay like everybody else.

Anyway, I went to bed last night thinking about what we can do. We all have captive audiences, literally. But, at the moment none of us have a platform, even for smaller productions like our cabarets or one-woman shows. For me, the smaller venues such as Live at Zédel aren’t available because they’re all rightly closed.

People like me have lovely sets which we’ve put together and might perform to around eighty people. There must be a gap in the market, somewhere, to get together some kind of venue and a videographer and perhaps stream a performance for the price of… well I don’t know. That’s the other thing; as an actor you’re always terrified to ask for money in case it loses you a job. Ha, ha! I can entertain people from my living-room if I need to. I just need to know how. It might be a case of ‘watch this space!’ With today’s technology I’m sure there must be quite a few people who are already thinking along the same lines of how this kind of idea might be feasible. We’ve all got these iPhone 11 Pros, on which you can even make a movie!

I’ve even started to do some bite-size chunks – without getting preachy – on social media myself. People might not miss not going to a show at the moment, but they will if venues go bust and are forced to shut down permanently.

We do of course need to put all of these arguments into perspective. There is a bloody nasty virus out there and, at the end of the day, we’re just show people – only with bills to pay.

Sardines comment:
The famous quote says: We’re In This together! Never has this been truer than right now.
If your society has any creative ideas to share with the rest of the country, perhaps even along the same lines as the ‘safe’ video streaming mentioned by Sophie-Louise Dann, then please let us know and we will publicise your thoughts.
We were down to review Abbey Musical Society’s March production, Shrek the Musical, which has been cancelled – along with both amateur and professional shows up and down the country.
As a little light at the end of the tunnel, Abbey Musical Society has told our reviewer that a video of the production is hopefully to be released which, if successful, will be made available in the future. Our reviewer has even offered to review such a video version to make up for the cancelled show, with the thought that: “all their efforts can then at least get some acknowledgement.”
Hopefully the idea may catch on so if there is any way Sardines can help with publicity and social media posts then please do, again, get in touch.
We are aware that, in the past, videos of performances have usually been prohibited as part of securing a license. However, rights holders and playwrights are also ‘in this together’ so why not suggest the idea? Just like Sophie-Louise Dann they are just ordinary people, with bills to pay, like all of us.
Also, in related news, TicketSource (used by a high number of companies) has offered to waive fees for coronavirus event cancellations. “The online ticketing platform, has suspended its handling fees for customer refunds resulting from events cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns. All affected customers will be refunded the purchase price of their tickets including booking fee.”
Contact Sardines by emailing: news@sardinesmagazine.co.uk or call 020 8302 7565
-