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Young Vic's A View from the Bridge wins two major Critics' Circle Awards

Mark Strong: A View from the Bridge

Theatre news

TODAY, Tuesday, January 27, 2015, the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2014 were hosted by its Chairman, Mark Shenton, at the Prince of Wales Theatre and the Young Vic’s production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge picked up two major awards – Best Actor for Mark Strong and Best Director for Ivo van Hove.

Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, A View from the Bridge opened at the Young Vic in April last year and went on to enjoy an extended sell-out run. A West End transfer to Wyndham’s Theatre opens next month.

Other major awards went to Helen McCrory (Best Actress for her performance in Medea at the National Theatre); Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Gypsy (The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical – new or revival) which transfers to the Savoy Theatre in March; and the Almeida’s production of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III (Best Play) which completes its West End run at Wyndham’s Theatre on Saturday.

Other winners were:

Antony Sher in the RSC’s Henry IV Parts I & II – The John and Wendy Trewin Award for Best Shakespearean Performance. The production played at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, on regional tour and at the Barbican Theatre, London.

Best Designer was awarded jointly to Paul Barritt for Golem, which was created by 1927 for the Young Vic and Es Devlin for Headlong Theatre’s The Nether, which opened at the Royal Court Theatre in July 2014 and played to sell-out audiences. The West End transfer of The Nether begins preview performances at the Duke of York’s Theatre on January 30.

Assassins - Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini join cast

Aaron Tveit (Enjolras) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius) in 'Les Misérables'.

Casting news

CAST changes have been announced for Jamie Lloyd’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, which continues at the Menier Chocolate Factory until March 7, 2015.

Replacing Aaron Tveit, whose departure is due to filming commitments, and Catherine Tate, who will be out of the show for two weeks before returning to complete the run, will be Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini.

Anna Francolini’s theatre credits include Our Town (Almeida Theatre), Victor/Victoria (Southwark Playhouse), and Company and Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse).

Michael Xavier’s theatre work includes The Pajama Game (Shaftesbury Theatre), and Into the Woods (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Love Story (Chichester Festival Theatre/Duchess Theatre), for which he received Olivier Award nominations.

Previously Posted: Broadway star Aaron Tveit will make his UK stage debut when he plays John Wilkes Booth in Jamie Lloyd’s Assassins, which runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory from November 21, 2014 to March 7, 2015.

Tveit will be joining the previously announced Catherine Tate (as Sara Jane Moore until February 8), Carly Bawden (“Squeaky” Fromme), Simon Lipkin (The Proprietor), Mike McShane (Samuel Byck), Andy Nyman (Charles Guiteau) and David Roberts (Leon Czolgosz).

They in turn will be joined by Jamie Parker (Guys and Dolls, Proof, The History Boys), Harry Morrison (Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me, Kate, The Sound of Music) and Stewart Clarke (The Return of the Soldier, Cool Rider, Loserville).

As well as originating roles in Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can on Broadway, Aaron Tveit’s other stage credits include Rent, Wicked and Hairspray. He also played Enjolras in the 2012 film version of Les Misérables.

Described as a bold, surreal and sometimes disturbingly funny musical, Assassins tells the story of nine crazed would-be killers, each with one shared aim, to kill the President of the United States.

Read more about Assassins.

American Buffalo - John Goodman and Tom Sturridge join cast

Casting news

JOHN Goodman (as Don Dubrow) and Tom Sturridge (Bobby) will join Damien Lewis in the cast of David Mamet’s 1975 play American Buffalo, which runs at Wyndham’s Theatre for a limited season – from April 16 to June 27, 2015.

John Goodman’s recent stage credits include Waiting for Godot and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, both in New York. His many film credits include The Big Easy, Raising Arizona, Sea of Love, King Ralph, Barton Fink, The Flintstones, The Big Lebowski and Argo, plus voicing Big Daddy’ La Bouff in The Princess and the Frog and Hound in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

On joining the production he said: “I’m delighted to be returning to the stage, and to be making my West End debut, in such a fantastic project with two brilliant British actors both of whom I’ve admired for some time.”

Tom Sturridge’s theatre credits include Orphans (Broadway); Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith and Manchester Royal Exchange), for which he received the Critics’ Circle Best Newcomer Award; and Polly Stenham’s No Quarter (Royal Court Theatre). His film work includes The Boat That Rocked, Effie Gray and the forthcoming Far from the Madding Crowd (as Sergeant Troy).

Sturridge also spoke of joining the production: “It’s a deep privilege to be offered the chance to do this play with Damian and John under Daniel’s [Daniel Evans] direction. I think the play is dangerous and delicate, funny and frightening. American Buffalo is special. I can’t wait to fight to make an audience feel about it as I do.”

In American Buffalo, long-repressed feelings of bitterness and betrayal explode when three inner-city losers plot the robbery of a valuable coin in a seedy second-hand junk shop. The play was filmed in 1996 and starred Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Franz and Sean Nelson.

Read more about American Buffalo.

Also at Wyndham’s Theatre: Ivo Van Hove’s five star Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, starring Mark Strong (February 10 to April 11, 2015).

Brendan Cole reveals dancers for his A Night To Remember tour

Brendan Cole rehearsing

WITH his 48 date A Night To Remember tour kicking off tomorrow (January 27, 2015) Stricly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole has revealed the cast of dancers who will be sharing the stage with him on his new show.

In addition to Latin and Ballroom champions and Strictly colleagues, the cast will include three dancers who came to the public’s attention on Britain’s Got Talent.

So joining Brendan are: Fauve Hautot, Patrick Helm, Crystal Main, Loren James, Kai Widdrington, Ryan McShane and Ksenia Zsikhotska.

French Latin dance champion Fauve Hautot has appeared in all five series of Dancing With The Stars (Dance Avec Stars). Having won the show and become a loved television personality in her own right, she is now involved in many different television and media shows within the industry. She also starred in Brendan’s second touring theatre show Licence To Thrill but had to pull out of the second run due to injury.

Patrick Helm, the German born dancer and choreographer, has starred in the West End in Burn The Floor as well as being part of the show’s Broadway run. He also toured with Brendan’s Licence to Thrill show and is part of the creative team for Strictly Come Dancing, overseeing choreography and concept design as well as appearing in several of the professional dances in the Sunday night results shows.

Crystal Main is an exceptional professional Ballroom and Latin dancer, teacher, performer and choreographer, and has devoted her whole life to dance. Competing at all levels and a true UK champion in her own right, Main has represented England around the world. She has starred in many international touring dance and stage shows as well as being show-dancer and assistant choreographer on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. She also starred alongside Brendan in his Licence To Thrill show.

Originally from the valleys of South Wales, Loren James has travelled the world competing at the highest level and is proud to have represented her country at the European and World Latin championships. James’ competitive career has seen her become a finalist of the British nationals and UK Closed Championships at youth, amateur and professional levels. This is her first tour with Brendan.

Kai Widdrington is a talented young dancer who found fame in Britain’s Got Talent. Reaching the final in 2012, he returned a year later to reach the semi-final with the newly formed and exciting dance group Kings and Queens.

Ryan McShane is an exceptional dancer and part of the formidable dance duo with Ksenia Zsikhotska (who is also part of the A Night To Remember cast). The Northern Irish dance professional is also a member of Kings and Queens.

Former UK Closed Amateur Champions Ksenia Zsikhotska and her dance partner Ryan McShane, were finalists in the British National Dancing Championships 2014. The Ukrainian dancer is also a member of Kings and Queens.

In A Night To Remember, described as a bold, sensational show, Brendan will showcase his expertise in an odyssey of music and dance, once again blending exquisite choreography with his own unique charisma.

A Night to Remember visits New wimbledon Theatre on February 8 and Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on February 21.

Read more about A Night To Remember.

Made in Dagenham to close in April

Theatre news

MADE in Dagenham, which opened at the Adelphi Theatre on November 5, 2014 following preview performances from October 9, is to close on April 11, 2015.

Despite mainly favourable reviews, Rupert Goold’s production, which stars Gemma Arterton as Rita O’Grady, has struggled at the box office.

Rebecca Quigley of Stage Entertainment said: “I’m immensely proud of Made in Dagenham and of everyone involved in bringing it to the stage. Brand new, British musicals are few and far between – particularly those that can make you laugh and move you in equal measure.

“Our writers, creative team and company have been particularly passionate about telling this true story of a remarkable event in our history with the wit, heart and creativity it deserves. They’ve achieved that and so much more.”

Inspired by a true story and based on the hit movie, Made in Dagenham is the uplifting new West End musical comedy about friendship, love and the importance of fighting for what is right.

Made in Dagenham has a book by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors, The Heretic, England People Very Nice), music by BAFTA and Grammy award-winning composer David Arnold (James Bond series, Hot Fuzz and Sherlock) and lyrics from Olivier Award winner Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer The Opera, The Royal Opera’s Anna Nicole and Shoes at Sadler’s Wells).

Read more about Made in Dagenham.

The Honey Man - The Albany

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING shows at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Tyrone Huggin’s critically acclaimed The Honey Man will tour nationally, visiting Deptford’s Albany Theatre (March 3 and 4) and the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham (March 18, 2015).

With striking visual design and projections by Timothy Bird and sound design from Joseph Roberts (Rudy’s Rare Records), The Honey Man is described as a funny but highly moving exploration of Black British identity, ecological destruction and friendship that crosses generational and cultural divides.

Through the story of an unlikely friendship between an elderly beekeeper and a troubled young teenager, the play looks at the relationship between two people on the fringes of society.

In a derelict cottage on the grounds of an English country manor house, ageing Caribbean recluse, Honey Man, tries in vain to save his colony of bees. However, his life is set to change when fiery teenage heiress Misty charges into his world and challenges all he knows. Initially, the two clash, but over time, an unlikely friendship develops.

Events take a dramatic turn when an antique painting reveals a secret that connects their lives in ways they never imagined, shedding light on the histories hidden in art and the connections between English heritage and the history of slavery.

Writer Tyrone Huggins said: “Over the last few years I’ve become aware that a generation of ‘digital natives’ has grown up surrounded by digital technology as a fact of life. I began imagining how it would be for a youngster from that generation to encounter someone who was almost locked in another time and way of life. I was also interested by how the moment by moment connectedness of the digital world was squeezing out time to reflect and bringing its own form of loneliness.

The Honey Man allowed me to bring two characters together who appear to have nothing in common. And because neither has anyone else, they have to search for what they can share; survival of the bees and their British colonial history.”

The Honey Man is also performed by Tyrone Huggins, with Beatrice Allen. Emma Bernard directs.

Tyrone Huggins co-founded the experimental/visual theatre company Impact Theatre Co-operative. He has performed in over 70 theatre productions across the UK including most recently, Electra with Kristin Scott Thomas at the Old Vic, Noughts & Crosses and YPS Lear for the RSC and the UK tours of Of Mice And Men with Matthew Kelly and Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Centenary celebration production I Was A Rat!

Huggins has also made many appearances on radio, TV and film including The Last Client, On Road and the feature Run, Fatboy, Run. He has written 12 plays including Emigrating Home for The Bush and Choo Choo Ch’Boogie for Bolton Octagon and is currently under commission for Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

The Honey Man is suitable for ages 14+.

Tickets (The Albany): £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 8692 4446 or online at www.thealbany.org.uk/.

Times: 7.30pm, Tuesday matinee at 11am.

TIckets (Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Tottenham): £12, £10 concessions – available from the box office on 020 8365 5450 or online at www.berniegrantcentre.co.uk/.

Time: 7.30pm.

Running Time: 2 hours (including interval).

The tour will also visit Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton; Stamford Arts Centre; St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth; Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds; Pegasus Theatre, Oxford; The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead; and Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds.

Gypsy - Peter Davison joins cast

Casting news

FURTHER casting has been announced for the West End transfer of Jonathan Kent’s production of Gypsy, which opens at the Savoy Theatre on April 15, 2015, following preview performances from March 28.

Joining Imelda Staunton, who stars as the indomitable Momma Rose, are Lara Pulver who reprises the role of Louise and Peter Davison who joins the cast to play Herbie. Final casting for this five star Chichester Festival Theatre production will be announced shortly.

Gypsy is considered by many to be the greatest of the Broadway musicals. It tells the true story of ambitious showbiz mother Momma Rose, who treks across America with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act.

As times change, Momma Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.

Lara Pulver previously appeared at Chichester Festival Theatre in Uncle Vanya. Her other theatre credits include Parade (Donmar Warehouse), Honk! (National Theatre), The Last Five Years (Menier Chocolate Factory), Into the Woods (Royal Opera House), High Society (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Grease (Victoria Palace Theatre).

Pulver’s screen credits include Skins, Da Vinci’s Demons, Fleming, Sherlock, Robin Hood, True Blood and Spooks (TV); The Edge of Tomorrow (film). In 2015, she will also be seen reprising the role as Erin Watts in Spooks: The Greater Good and in The Riders opposite Liam McIntyre, which is released later this year in Australia.

Related: Read our interview with Lara Pulver

Peter Davison, who was last on stage in the West End as Professor Callaghan in Legally Blonde The Musical and King Arthur in Spamalot, became a household name when he played the fifth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who between 1981 and 1984.

His extensive television credits also include Tristan Farnon in the long running BBC series All Creatures Great and Small and DC Davies in four series of ITV’s acclaimed The Last Detective as well as New Tricks, Micro Men, At Home with the Braithwaites, The Complete Guide to Parenting, A Very Peculiar Practice, Ain’t Misbehaving and Fear Stress and Anger.

More recently, he has appeared on television in Unforgiven, Midsomer Murders, Miranda, The Queen, Death in Paradise, Cabbage and Pat and Toast of London. His film work includes Parting Shots and Black Beauty.

His other stage credits include The Vertical Hour (Park Theatre), Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), An Absolute Turkey (Globe Theatre) and Arsenic and Old Lace for Chichester Festival Theatre.

Read more about Gypsy.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels continues at the Savoy Theatre until March 7, 2015.

The Elephant Man with Bradley Cooper transfers to the W/E

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a highly-acclaimed, record-breaking run on Broadway, The Elephant Man, starring Bradley Cooper as John Merrick, is transferring to the West End – to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, where it runs for a strictly limited 12 week season from May 19 to August 8, 2015.

Written by Bernard Pomerance and based on the real life of Joseph Merrick, The Elephant Man tells the story of 19th-century London man Merrick, who became a star of the traveling freak show circuit.

When the renowned Dr. Treves takes Merrick under his care, he is astonished by the man’s brilliant intelligence, unshakable faith and, most of all, his resounding desire for love and understanding. He introduces Merrick to the beautiful actress Mrs. Kendal, who is deeply touched by this pure and genuine soul.

As a complex friendship blossoms among the three, Treves and Kendal struggle to protect Merrick from a world of questionable intentions… and so begins a story of love as unique as “The Elephant Man” himself.

As well as Bradley Cooper, the cast includes Patricia Clarkson (as Mrs. Kendal), Alessandro Nivola (Dr. Frederick Treves), Anthony Heald (Ross/Bishop Walsham How), Scott Lowell (Snork/Pinhead Manager/Lord John), Kathryn Meisle (Miss Sandwich/Princess) and Henry Stram (Carr Gomm/Conductor).

They are joined by Chris Bannow, Peter Bradbury, Lucas Calhoun, Eric Clem, Amanda Lea Mason, Marguerite Stimpson and Emma Thorne.

Four time Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper has also appeared on the American stage in Three Days of Rain and The Understudy. His numerous film credits include American Sniper, which he also produced and for which he has been Oscar nominated, Serena, Guardians of the Galaxy, American Hustle (also Executive Producer), Silver Linings Playbook (also Executive Producer) and The A Team.

Presented by James L. Nederlander in association with Michael Codron, The Elephant Man is directed by Scott Ellis.

Jonathan Church’s world premiere production of Mark Hayhurst’s new play Taken At Midnight, starring Penelope Wilton, continues at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until March 14, 2015. It will be followed – from March 17 to May 2 – by Lindsay Posner’s new production of Harvey, starring Maureen Lipman (as Veta) and James Dreyfus (Elwood P. Dowd).

Just Jim Dale - Vaudeville Theatre

Jim Dale

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING his huge Off-Broadway success in New York, Tony Award winner, two-time Grammy Award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Jim Dale is bringing his critically acclaimed show to London.

Entitled Just Jim Dale, it runs at the Vaudeville Theatre from May 28 (previews from May 26) to June 20, 2015.

It was at the Vaudeville Theatre that Dale made his West End musical debut in 1965 in The Wayward Way, so his return to the venue marks the 50th Anniversary of his first performance there.

Jim Dale is one of the world’s great stage entertainers: singer, dancer, comedian, Shakespearean actor, raconteur. And in Just Jim Dale, he takes audiences on a journey through an unequalled career in the theatre with a myriad of irresistible showbiz tales, songs and performances.

It’s a career that extends from performing as the youngest professional comedian on the British Music Hall stage to joining the National Theatre at the request of Sir Laurence Olivier, starring in 11 Carry On films, his Broadway triumphs in Scapino, Barnum and Me and My Girl, and his uproarious experiences narrating all seven Harry Potter audiobooks for the US market.

Described as candid, intimate and hilarious, Just Jim Dale encompasses stories from the vast breadth of Dale’s theatrical work, his film roles and beloved songs, including The Colours of My Life, The Lambeth Walk and Georgy Girl.

Dale says: “It’s hard to believe that it will be 50 years since I made my West End debut at the Vaudeville Theatre, so I’m thrilled to be back with my own show. Stepping onto that stage again will be as comfortable to me as slipping into an old pair of jeans.”

Just Jim Dale is directed by Tony Award winning director (and co-author of Miss Saigon) Richard Maltby, Jr. The pianist is Mark York.

Just Jim Dale is presented by Nica Burns, who said: “I was so stunned by Jim Dale’s performance when I saw him in New York that I rushed backstage afterwards and begged him to come to London. This is a delightful gem of a show. Thirty performances only: don’t miss it!”

Tickets: £20, £25, £35 and £45 – available from the box office on 0844 482 9675 or online at tickets.nimaxtheatres.com/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm (no matinee on Wednesday, May 27).

Running Time: 2 hours (with interval).

NB: The West End run is preceded by two shows in Northamptonshire at the Corby Cube on April 11 and 12. The Corby Cube is less than 10 miles from Jim Dale’s birthplace of Rothwell, Northamptonshire.

Di and Viv and Rose, starring Tamzin Outhwaite, Samantha Spiro and Jenna Russell, runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until May 23, 2015.

Jersey Boys - cast changes announced

Casting update

ON MARCH 10, 2015, Gary Watson (as Nick Massi) will join the cast of Jersey Boys, which is currently booking at the Piccadilly Theatre until October 25, 2015.

Gary Watson’s stage credits include A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Finding Neverland (Curve, Leicester), Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre/RSC), Mamma Mia! (International Tour), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre), Cats (UK Tour), Evita (Adelphi Theatre) and Saturday Night Fever (Apollo Victoria Theatre).

His screen work includes Cinderella for Walt Disney Productions, directed by Kenneth Branagh, Tubby and Enid, Olympic Torch Concert, Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, The Royal Variety Performance and Greasemania.

In Jersey Boys, Watson will be starring alongside Michael Watson (as Frankie Valli), Edd Post (Bob Gaudio) and Jon Boydon (Tommy DeVito). At certain performances, the role of Frankie Valli is played by Sandy Moffat.

Also joining the cast on March 10 will be Simon Adkins (the London production’s original Bob Crewe), Matthew Cutts, Stuart Dawes, Nicky Griffiths, Joseph Peters, Chris Stoddart and Helen Ternent.

They will be joining current cast members Nicola Brazil, Lucinda Gill, Thomas Goodridge, Matthew Hunt, Mark Isherwood, Charlotte Jeffery, Ben Jennings, Matt Thorpe and Ben Wheeler.

It was in 2008 that Jersey Boys opened in London – at the Prince Edward Theatre, before moving to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014.

The musical, which tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, has now been seen by over 20 million people worldwide. A recent film adaptation was directed by Clint Eastwood. The show, which features many of the group’s hits from the 60s such as Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Oh, What a Night, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, is also currently touring the UK and Ireland.