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Best of the Blogs: The Mates give their verdicts on Adrian Mole, Noises Off, The End of History & more

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Native, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre, Reviews, Sticky, Ticket recommendations by Lisa Martland

Carrying on a new series, our editor Lisa Martland has picked out her Top Picks including three musicals: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ The Musical at the Ambassadors Theatre (Libby Purves), Fiver at Southwark Playhouse (Emma Clarendon) and The Color Purple at Curve Leicester (No Billington).

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NEWS: Actress Seyi Omooba will leave Curve & Birmingham Hippodrome’s The Color Purple after ‘homophobic’ Facebook post controversy

In Native, News, Plays, Press Releases, Quotes, Regional theatre, Sticky, Touring by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Curve Leicester’s Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster and Birmingham Hippodrome’s Fiona Allan have stated that Seyi Omooba, due to play Celie in the theatres’ forthcoming co-production of The Color Purple, will no longer be involved in the show.

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THE COLOR PURPLE IN CONCERT – Cadogan Hall

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

The Color Purple’s book, movie and musical have all told the extraordinary story of a Celie, a brutally oppressed woman who against all odds, overcomes racism, abuse and misogyny to find her unique place in 20th century America. Not seen in London since the Menier’s sensational production in 2013, the musical returned to the capital this week for a one night only concert-staged fundraiser.

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NEWS: The Color Purple, A View from the Bridge & Hamilton triumph at Tony Awards

In Awards, Broadway, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Quotes by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Menier Chocolaty Factory’s production of The Color Purple led the British charge at last night’s Tony Awards, hosted by fellow British import James Corden at the Beacon Theatre in New York. It won two awards, as did the Young Vic’s transfer of A View from the Bridge. American-born hit Hamilton, due to open in the West End in 2017, swept the board with 11 awards.

NEWS: The Color Purple, A View from the Bridge & Hamilton triumph at Tony Awards

In Awards, Broadway, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Quotes by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

The Menier Chocolaty Factory’s production of The Color Purple led the British charge at last night’s Tony Awards, hosted by fellow British import James Corden at the Beacon Theatre in New York. It won two awards, as did the Young Vic’s transfer of A View from the Bridge. American-born hit Hamilton, due to open in the West End in 2017, swept the board with 11 awards.

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ON BROADWAY: The Color Purple

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

It says much for London’s modest but acclaimed Menier Chocolate Factory that their production of The Color Purple, first staged three years ago, has been shipped back to Broadway to a rave reception. John Doyle’s simple staging that worked so well in the Menier’s cockpit, all stripped-back wood and chairs, has been neatly expanded to fit the Bernard B Jacobs’ cavernous stage and the transition works well.

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BROADWAY: The Color Purple

In Broadway, International, Musicals, Opinion, Reviews by Simon ParrisLeave a Comment

To have Jennifer Hudson on the Broadway stage is miracle enough, but the additional presence of human dynamo Cynthia Erivo in the lead role is the one-two punch that makes this show a knockout. With a volume that is completely at odds with her petite frame, Erivo brings down the house time and again, earning a standing ovation before the final curtain with Miss Celie’s joyous anthem “I’m Here.”

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News from New York: Color Purple and Fun Home are hits, Pacino flops, Groban arrives

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

London’s Menier Chocolate Factory have just scored their fourth Broadway hit: after previously transferring Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music, and Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles, to Broadway after runs in the West End first, this time they’ve by-passed the West End to go direct to Broadway with The Color Purple and take coals to Newcastle once again, returning a musical ‘home’ whose original production only closed seven years ago.

News from New York: Color Purple and Fun Home are hits, Pacino flops, Groban arrives

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

London’s Menier Chocolate Factory have just scored their fourth Broadway hit: after previously transferring Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music, and Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles, to Broadway after runs in the West End first, this time they’ve by-passed the West End to go direct to Broadway with The Color Purple and take coals to Newcastle once again, returning a musical ‘home’ whose original production only closed seven years ago.

News from New York: Color Purple and Fun Home are hits, Pacino flops, Groban arrives

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

London’s Menier Chocolate Factory have just scored their fourth Broadway hit: after previously transferring Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and A Little Night Music, and Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles, to Broadway after runs in the West End first, this time they’ve by-passed the West End to go direct to Broadway with The Color Purple and take coals to Newcastle once again, returning a musical ‘home’ whose original production only closed seven years ago.

CYNTHIA ERIVO & OLIVER TOMPSETT SING SCOTT ALAN – Album Review

In London theatre, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

There’s an eclectic, relaxed charm to this collection of Scott Alan’s songs as performed by Cynthia Erivo and Oliver Tompsett. With Alan having enjoyed a modest UK residency this summer / autumn, there is a natural evolution that has seen this album born out of a collaboration of three people who evidently enjoy and above all complement each other’s talents.

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Scott Alan and Cynthia Erivo: Home Again – Review

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

St James Studio, London

*****

Coming in the midst of the London Festival of Cabaret, Scott Alan leaves a very distinctive handprint on the genre. Typically contemplative, his songs touch emotions that are common to us all – love and loss, rejection and reflection. It is however in Alan’s sharing of his life with his audience, (where his pre-song spiel can often last longer than the song itself) that he re-engineers cabaret. Where earlier in the week this pied-piper of songwriting had assembled a phone-book sized guest list of artists to sing his work, tonight was one of a three-night residency simply featuring Cynthia Erivo alongside the songwriter. 
I have written before of Erivo’s handling of some of Alan’s most sensitive work and as Broadway beckons, it is plain to see that she is not only one of Alan’s most cherished friends, she is also fast becoming a muse to his creativity.
With one of the strongest yet most perfectly controlled voices of her generation, Erivo brings a polished fragility to Alan’s soulful verse, her take on And There It Is displaying an almost ethereal impishness as her lightly smiling face belied a lyric of complex emotions.
When the pair occasionally duetted, their sensitive counterpoint added a depth. Always, which ended the first half was exquisitely rendered and later it was to be Alan who (surprisingly) delivered the opening lines of Anything Worth Holding Onto before Erivo joined him in a song of remarkable profundity that she has long laid claimed to. 
The act one closer was preceded by a confessional to the microphone of the painful loss Alan still feels for Kyle, an ex-boyfriend now deceased. As Alan sobbed at the microphone, there was a sense of witnessing a man on a high wire, as this gifted composer continues to challenge his demons, though any hint of audience prurience or of performer-sensationalism should be swept aside. Alan continually battles his depression and chooses to do so, at times in public and at a piano. His message to those who criticise his on-stage confessionals was blunt. Knowing that his words have inspired other depressives to choose life, he values that contribution over a critic’s carping. It is impossible to fault the man’s integrity, nor to be inspired by his message.
It wasn’t entirely Alan and Erivo. Oliver Tompsett returned to the St James’ stage with a gorgeously nuanced Kiss The Air, Alan’s paean to his mother left bereft after his father’s abrupt marriage walk-out. Tompsett was also to earn an ovation when he was thrust (by Erivo) into joining her in Never Neverland, a song that was not only out of his range but one that he was also completely unfamiliar with. Tompsett rose to the challenge – and where Alan can often be a Lord of Misrule, subjecting his singers to impromptu set-list changes and additions, it was a treat to see him for once hoist with his own petard, Erivo delightfully calling the shots.
Their sold-out run ends tonight – and if Alan needs anything to hold onto at all it is knowing that whilst Erivo is in New York with The Color Purple, the two of them could pack out 54 Below every Sunday night for a year. Get ready to book your tickets, you read it here first!

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Cynthia Erivo heads to Broadway, Jonny Donahoe comes home & Ben Brantley raves about Chenoweth

In Broadway, Inspiring people, London theatre, Musicals, News, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

No sooner did I declare Cynthia Erivo yesterday to be number two in my list of current UK musical theatre actresses in my round-up for The Stage than yesterday it was also announced that she’s at to reprise the shattering performance she gave in The Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory in the summer of 2013 when John Doyle’s production transfers to Broadway, beginning performances at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on November 9 prior to an official opening on December 3.

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Review: The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory)

In Musicals, Reviews by Johnny FoxLeave a Comment

The first thing that blasts you in the Menier Chocolate Factory is the newly-installed air conditioning, long overdue and a good way to spend the profits from their chain of West End transfers: now even the itchy seats aren’t so scratchy. The second is John Doyle’s breathtaking diagonal set and thrust stage, which must take […]

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