West End news round-up: 14 January 2013

For all you West End Wendies out there, there’s never a week that goes by without some sort of hot backstage gossip making its way to our ears. So, in case you missed it, here’s the latest and greatest from the world of theatre…

Magicians Barry and Stuart: Show and Tell national tour

Prepare to be amazed and astounded as stars of BBC One’s The Magicians, Barry and Stuart, are back with their sell-out 2011 Edinburgh festival show Show and Tell’ on a dazzling national tour. Described by Derren Brown as ‘The most consistently original, creative and exciting force in British magic,’ Scottish BAFTA-nominated Barry and Stuart bring you their highly acclaimed ‘Show and Tell’. Split into two parts, the first is the ‘Show’, crammed full of slick, distinctive, astonishing, gruesome and brilliant illusions laced with black humour. The second part, the ‘Tell’, has Barry and Stuart exclusively revealing and teaching the audience all the secrets and techniques behind the magic and tricks. To find out if the tour if coming near you and to book tickets, visit the show’s official website.

Cast change for Taboo – the Boy George musical

Taboo, the musical based on Boy George’s life, celebrates its on-going run by adding a brand new song, an enhanced script and an exciting new cast. This site-specific performance, currently playing at The Brixton Clubhouse, features the new song ‘No Need To Work So Hard’, written by Boy George and Kevan Frost. Paul Treacy takes the iconic role of Boy George and appears alongside Jordan-Luke Gage as Marilyn, Boy George’s rival-turned-closest ally. These bright young things are ones to watch – both make their professional debut in Taboo, and are real-life best friends and third-year students at the prestigious Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, due to graduate in this summer. Taking on the role of feisty-yet-vulnerable punk runaway Kim is Devon-Elise Johnson. Kim forms an enduring on-stage relationship with young photographer Billy’s mother, Josie (Alex Jordan-Mills and Julia Worsley, respectively). Josie’s drunk and homophobic husband, Derek, is played by Paul Kevin-Taylor, who brings a double dose of the dark side to the show, as he also performs the role of Petal, the scene’s violent and terrifying cross-dressing drug pusher. The show has also just received three nominations at the respected, publicly-voted Awards, including a nod for Sam Buttery as Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. The musical is now booking through to March 2013.

Live cinema screenings of Great Expectations at the Vaudeville

To celebrate the launch of The Dickens Legacy at the Gala Evening at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, Great Expectations will be screened live via satellite to more than 150 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. Although it is Dickens’s most popular novel and has previously had many incarnations in cinema, television and even a stage musical, this will be the first time there has ever been a production of Great Expectations as a full-scale stage play in either the West End or on Broadway. The cast includes Jack Ellis as Jaggers, Chris Ellison as Magwitch and Paula Wilcox as Miss Havisham. The live screening will commence on Thursday 7 February at 18:45, at a number of participating cinemas.

Cast announced for The Secret Garden: In Concert

The cast has been announced for the forthcoming concert revival of Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman’s three time Tony Award winning musical The Secret Garden at The Kings Head Theatre. Following in his father’s footsteps and making his professional stage debut in the shared role of Colin is Zac Donovon, son of pop/TV/musical theatre star Jason Donovan. He will be sharing the role with Tyler Fagan, an original Gustave in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies. The role of Mary Lenox will be shared between Ana Martin, who also makes her professional debut, and Olivia Hallett, who was a recent soloist in the West End Voices concert at The Actor’s Church in Covent Garden. Zoe Curlett will play the role of Lily; her previous credits include Cosette in Les Misérables and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Alexander Evans will play Archibald, and Rachael McCormick will take on the role of Martha. The concert runs from 10 February to 17 March 2013, and tickets start at £10.

New cast set to take over hit musical Top Hat

From 5 February 2013, joining Gavin Lee, who will play Jerry Travers in the West End hit musical Top Hat, are Broadway actress Kristen Beth Williams as Dale Tremont, Olivier Award nominee Alex Gaumond as Alberto Beddini, and Clive Hayward as Horace Hardwick. Vivien Parry continues as Madge Hardwick, and Stephen Boswell as Horace’s valet Bates. In addition, on 28 January 2013, over 275,0000 tickets will be released for sale, taking bookings for Top Hat at the Aldwych Theatre up to 27 April 2014.

Seventy-seven years after its movie release, which saw Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers playing the roles of Jerry Travers and Dale Tremont, Matthew White’s production arrived in the West End in April 2012, having completed a 20 week sell-out UK tour. Performed by a cast of 31 and accompanied by a live band of 15, this musical comedy includes Irving Berlin classics from the original movie.  A further ten numbers have been interpolated from Berlin’s 1200 strong back catalogue.  In November last year, Top Hat won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for London’s Best Night Out, and the production has also been nominated for 5 Awards.

Featured image source: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images Europe

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