Ria Jones, so resplendent when she stepped into Norma’s shoes at the Coliseum in 2016 (we were lucky enough to be at one of those shows is once again in the title role and she gives a powerhouse performance.
Ria Jones dazzles in the poignant, wonderfully melodramatic and tragic Sunset Boulevard that is both a love letter to movies and a eulogy to Hollywood’s silent era.
Sunset Boulevard is a thrilling ride through the film industry of mid-century America, filled with the song, dance and cultural ephemera of the era. It’s an intoxicating spectacle that is both entrancing and, in parts, exhausting.
There is no doubt that Ria Jones, as Norma Desmond, owns the Curve theatre’s production of Sunset Boulevard that lights into the Edinburgh Playhouse on the first date of its major UK tour.
Ria Jones’ extraordinary history with Sunset Boulevard might well be entitled The Norma Conquests… And, 26 years on, was it worth the wait?
There is a magic that pervades Nikolai Foster’s production of Sunset Boulevard, and it flows from leading lady Ria Jones. Twenty-six years after creating the role of Norma Desmond for Andrew Lloyd Webber at the composer’s Sydmonton Festival, Jones now leads the show and never has a casting been more perfect.
Danny Mac will play Joe Gillis to Ria Jones’ Norma Desmond in the upcoming UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.
Michael Harrison and David Ian are delighted to present the UK and Ireland tour of the Curve production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical SUNSET BOULEVARD. Starring Ria Jones as Norma Desmond and directed by Nikolai Foster, SUNSET BOULEVARD will open at Leicester Curve, where it runs from 16 to 30 September 2017 with a press night on 28 September, …
A stunning new large-scale production, 42nd Street deservedly enjoyed a sold-out season at Théâtre du Châtelet, where it finished yesterday.
My favourite moments of the shows that I saw in 2016 are below and include performances from across the UK, together with the USA and also Europe. Theatre, cabaret, dance and concert performances are all included and there’s no ranking.
It may be in the English language but this production of 42nd Street is in a French theatre, the glorious Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris which, under Jean-Luc Choplin’s artistic directorship, has arguably entirely reshaped the Parisian relationship with musical theatre.
Dan Burton who plays Sawyer’s love interest Billy Lawlor is another of Mear’s regular ingénues, last seen in the West End’s Gypsy. Arguably the best of his generation in musical theatre dance, Burton has a grace in his movement that has to be seen to be believed alongside perfectly pitched, mellifluous vocals. Other Brits in the cast include Alexander Hanson, Ria Jones and Jenny Dale.
The Union Theatre’s founder Sasha Regan, who is a wonderful facilitator and supporter of young talent and vital to a growing industry, doesn’t have to play by the normal rules
Nominations have been announced in the third annual West End Wilma Awards, which will be held, once again, in association with London’s Hippodrome Casino. Public voting to decide the winners opens online on 2 September 2016 at westendwilma.com
‘At this evening’s performance, the title role will be played by …’ Understudy. Somewhere between a trending topic and a dirty word as arguments rage over whether or not audiences should be compensated for missing a favourite star.
Before today I knew she was good but by the time I left the theatre I was sure of one thing… Ria Jones is a star!
At the curtain call, co-star Michael Xavier bowed down before Ria on stage and producer Michael Grade was first to grab her in the wings as the sound of the cast applauding her enveloped her. A class act, indeed and one I am so privileged to say I witnessed up close and personal from the front row. It was a night I will never forget.
The evening has to be given to Close, who exceeded every expectation and was every ounce the Hollywood star she is. Charisma, dramatisation, characterisation, timing and delivery, all outstandingly perfect.
Before launching into a sassy opening routine of Irving Berlin’s Sisters, Ria Jones and Ceri Dupree tease their audience with a hint of Gypsy’s act one Let Me Entertain You – sung of course originally by that show’s child sisters June and Louise. And in that moment these two gifted performers achieve a rare and elusive vanishing point that sees dramatic irony fade into reality. For Dupree and Jones really are siblings, Dupree by a few years being Jones’ elder brother.
Jermyn Street Theatre, London
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Concepts by Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento and Jerry Herman
Directed by Kate Golledge
(l-r) Sarah-Louise Young, Emma Barton and Ria Jones
Drawn from the shows of Jerry Herman, Jerry’s Girls is a delightful cabaret that in the hands of three talented ladies, offers a whirl of show tunes that thoroughly deserves its hastily arranged return visit to Jermyn Street Emma Barton, Ria Jones and Sarah-Louise Young are magnificent throughout, working their way through a set list that was originally put together for a Broadway revue back in the 1980’s. The compilation is rarely seen over here and credit to producers Katy Lipson and Guy James for having the ingenuity to have mounted it so successfully.
With perhaps the exception of Milk and Honey, the numbers are all familiar to musical theatre lovers and the combination of gloriously powerful belts intermingled with moments of the purest poignancy make for an evening that would be an emotional rollercoaster were it not all so ridiculously enjoyable. All of Herman’s big shows get a look in, with Barton’s Mabel in Wherever He Ain’t channelling an exquisite vocal presence that also suggests just a hint of Albert Square! From the same show, Young and Jones give a gorgeous and perfectly weighted nuance to I Won’t Send Roses.
Herman’s humour sparkles, never wittier than in a song he wrote for the revue, Take It All Off, that wonderfully spoofs burlesque stripping. Again there is fabulous work from Young with Jones being disarmingly (and hilariously) self-deprecating as a stripper whose best years are behind her.
There are nods to Hello Dolly throughout, with the show ending on a powerful tribute to all that La Cage Aux Folles stood for. Grins along with lumps-in-throats all round.
Kate Golledge directs assuredly, with an entertaining eye for detail. Matthew Cole choreographs cleverly too given the venue’s intimacy and that Tap Your Troubles Away evolved into all three women tap-dancing, accompanied by pianist and MD Edward Court and his reed and mandolin playing partner Sophie Byrne on their feet too, (both fabulous musicians to boot) only added to the wondrous sparkle of the occasion. My one regret was not having discovered this gem of a show sooner so I could have had the opportunity to have returned to see it again.
Jerry’s Girls is only playing until May 31st. Barely lasting two hours, it offers West End entertainment at a fraction of a typical West End price. If you love what Broadway, Streisand, Merman & co were/are all about, then you’ll come out grinning. Go see this show!
Runs until 31st May