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In praise of understudies: Any-Swing Goes!

In Dance, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Regional theatre, Touring by Andrew WrightLeave a Comment

One couldn’t help but notice the slight hysteria surrounding understudies this week but is this really anything new? Cast your minds back to missing performances from Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady, Tamsin Outhwaite in Sweet Charity… the list goes on. If I see the ‘At this performance’ sign in the box office my heart…

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TICKETS: Mark’s Top Ten recommendations + this week’s openings (15 Feb)

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

A Broadway comedy and two British created musicals arrive in the West End this week – one from last summer’s season at Bath’s Theatre Royal, the other after a long stage life of touring regionally and internationally for the last eight years. Will any of them make it to next week’s Top 10 list? This week’s main openings In London: …

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FUNNY GIRL – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

People, people who need people are, allegedly, the luckiest people in the world. I’d argue that those who are emotionally and financially self-sufficient have a hell of a bigger reason to feel lucky than those who depend needily on others for their wellbeing. But I’m not a character in a musical – and neither, really are the people who need people who appear in Funny Girl a narrative so far removed from the actual history of kooky kosher comedienne Fanny Brice and her deeply dodgy gangster hubby Julius ‘Nicky’ Arnstein as to be a complete fiction.

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Year in Review: The best of the best of #theatre2015 round-ups

In Features, Festivals, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

After my two-week Christmas roadtrip in the US, I’m finally back at my desk and able to catch up on all the 2015 UK theatrical year round. Have you been keeping up in my absence? Fear not either way, because once again, I’ve rounded up the round-ups to give you an essential overview.

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Jonathan Baz: My top picks of 2015

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

As 2015 draws to a close, here is my personal look back on the performance highlights of the last 12 months. This list is entirely subjective – and marks out the shows I have seen, that, as Sondheim’s Mary Flynn put it so eloquently in Merrily We Roll Along, ” will stay with me for a long time….”My list includes musicals, drama, cabaret and concert performances – together with an eclectic Best Of The Rest. Here’s are my favourites.

Diary of a theatre addict: Peter Pan goes right, the National lacks Wonder, Funny Girl is very funny

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

I’ve been consciously taking it easy (or at least easier than I usually do!) over the last week after dislocating my newly replaced hip the week before, as I described in a posting here last week was a bit of a wake-up call — I had actually scheduled some ten shows (including out-of-town trips to Leicester and Leeds) just ten days after coming out hospital the first time; but then had the wake-up call that took me out of commission entirely.

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NEWS: Funny Girl extends West End season until Sep 2016

In London theatre, Native, News, Press Releases, Ticket recommendations by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Following a critically acclaimed opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory this week, the smash hit production of Funny Girl extends its booking period at the Savoy Theatre due to popular demand. Michael Mayer’s “exhilarating embrace of a production – Independent” will now run until 10 September 2016 – marking the musical’s 50th anniversary year. Tickets for the extended booking period production starring Olivier and BAFTA award-winning actress and “phenomenal talent – Independent” Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice go on sale today.

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Press pass: All the reviews and pics of Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Reviews by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

In musical theatre happenings, the big news last night was London’s first major revival of Jule Styne’s Broadway classic Funny Girl. The big question: could Sheridan Smith lay to rest the ghost of Barbra Streisand, who originated the role of Fanny Brice on stage and (Oscar-winning) screen? And the big answer: a resounding yes.

FUNNY GIRL – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Edward SeckersonLeave a Comment

It’s hard not to invoke the B word – Barbra, that is, not Brice – and I speak as one who bunked off school to catch her at a mid-week matinee. It was standing room only at the Prince of Wales but by then she was pretty much phoning in her performance and only the thrill of that voice (smaller than one expected but laser intense) carried her through.

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FUNNY GIRL – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Libby PurvesLeave a Comment

For half a generation there has been a truism in the musical theatre world that nobody can do Jule Style and Bob Merrill’s Funny Girl, because Streisand played the 1920’s eccentrically comic Ziegfeld star and nobody can beat her. So why try? Thus not many have done so: one Broadway revival got “postponed”. But nothing daunts the Menier, fount of daring musical revivals. Michael Meyer from New York directs, the Savoy transfer is already in the bag, and the starring role is our secret weapon: Britain’s own high-voltage electric waif, Sheridan Smith.

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FUNNY GIRL – Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Imelda Staunton may have just wowed in Styne and Sondheim’s Gypsy, but hard on her heels is Sheridan Smith’s take on Fanny Brice. In a role that famously demands an unconventional beauty – and which, from both Broadway and Hollywood launch pads Barbra Streisand was rocketed into the highest of stellar orbits – Smith has enormously famous shoes to fill.

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TICKETS NOW ON SALE: Sheridan Smith’s Funny Girl transfers direct to West End, 9 Apr

In London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Press Releases, Quotes by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

UPDATED, Mon 16 November 2015: Tickets are now on sale for Funny Girl in the West End via your Mates! And to tantalise, we’ve added pictures below from the rehearsal room of Sheridan Smith, Darius Campbell and the cast in action… 30 October 2015: Due to unprecedented demand the Menier Chocolate Factory Production of Funny Girl transfers to the Savoy …

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NEWS: Darius Campbell joins Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl, Full cast

In London theatre, Musicals, News, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces full casting for their production of Funny Girl. Joining Sheridan Smith as Fanny Brice are Valda Aviks (Mrs O’Malley), Natasha J Barnes (Emma/Mrs Meeker), Darius Campbell (Nick), Marilyn Cutts (Mrs Brice), Maurice Lane (Mr Keeney), Bruce Montague (Ziegfeld), Joel Montague (Eddie), Gay Soper (Mrs Strakosh); with Emma Caffrey, Matthew Croke, Joelle Dyson, Rebecca Fennelly, Luke Fetherston, Leah Harris, Kelly Homewood, Sammy Kelly and Stuart Ramsay completing the ensemble.

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NEWS: Sheridan Smith confirmed to play Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at Menier Chocolate Factory

In London theatre, Musicals, News, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Menier Chocolate Factory today announces that award-winning actress Sheridan Smith returns to the theatre to play Fanny Brice in a major new revival of Funny Girl. The multi award-winning Michael Mayer directs the production, which opens on 2 December 2015, with previews from 20 November, and runs until 5 March 2016. This production is presented in association with Sonia …