Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily, after an extraordinary day that saw us bid farewell to Her Majesty the Queen, after a reign of 70 years that saw her appoint 15 prime ministers — the latest of whom Liz Truss she met only on Tuesday. Truss will now be reporting in a weekly audience to King Charles III (coincidentally the title of Mike Bartlett’s 2014 play which imagined the future that awaited him — and us — that transferred to the West End and Broadway).
The West End needs to take the the Covid threat seriously
American Actors Equity are requiring actors and crew to be fully vaccinated as a condition of work. Again, in the UK, SOLT and Equity are not requiring this. Regular testing is deemed sufficient.
‘Freedom Day has turned into closure day’: A cry for help or a bid for headlines?
The press performance of Cinderella on Monday got cancelled, and so did last night’s “gala opening”; Andrew Lloyd Webber has now threatened to pull the plug on the entire show…. or has he?
A double whammy of encore performances proves to be a pleasure
Regular readers will know that I like nothing more than seeing shows I’ve already seen and loved again… and again. As a critic, you see shows under specific circumstances — as invited by the production.
West End shows have a fight on their hands post ’Freedom Day’
Social distancing restrictions may be about to be lifted, but can the West End survive the mass self-isolation that the current virus surge will require?
For work or pleasure? Respecting the etiquette of being a critic
Audiences go to the theatre for pleasure, not work; critics need to remember that their work is someone else’s pleasure.
So another delay to the ‘cautious, irreversible’ roadmap out of lockdown: It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day
In what is becoming a wearyingly predictable cycle, Boris Johnson’s latest failure to act fast enough to lockdown the country from the arrival of what is now known as the Delta variant of Covid, which originated in India, has resulted in it becoming the dominant strain of the virus in Britain — with the added problem that it is much more easily transmissible than previous strains.
The sooner theatres follow the Wembley sporting protocols on vaccine passports the better
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The post June 10: Should Covid passports be required to go to the theatre? first appeared on Shenton Stage.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is ready for battle over the June reopening but what about the nation’s health?
In a front page scoop in today’s Daily Telegraph, the paper lines up three heavy-hitting bylines — chief reporter Robert Mendick, political editor Ben Riley-Smith and theatre critic Dominic Cavendish — to reveal an exclusive with Andrew Lloyd Webber. The headline reads: ‘You’ll have to arrest us to stop reopening’.
The unusual performing detours brought on by Covid
COVID has created unusual detours that producers and performers have been forced to navigate; and it has sometimes opened new doors in the process
As London’s Theatreland opens up to new producers, are we seeing a new dawn for the West End?
No theatre owner or producer has done more to re-ignite the West End, both then in December and especially now in May, than the forever-tenacious, ever-energetic and resilient Nica Burns.
Can honest critics have theatre professionals as friends?
I’m unashamedly a friend and champion of the theatre; but I can never been a simple cheerleader for it, regardless of the circumstances or my connections with people in a show I’m seeing. As honest critics find out all too often, we’re loved when we love something we see; but that can quickly pivot to becoming the enemy when we don’t.
Now & forever? What is the legacy of Cats 40 years on?
There’s hardly a more insistent ear worm of a song in all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ear-wormy repertoire than ‘Memory’, the breakout hit of his 1981 musical Cats, which last night celebrated the 40th anniversary of its premiere at the then New London Theatre (now itself renamed for Gillian Lynne, the choreographer whose work on the show ignited a revolution in global musical theatre, and accidentally created the West End’s first authentic dance-based musical).
Being in the room where it happens: How quickly are theatre audiences going to return?
As theatre next week starts to finally edge cautiously out of a full lockdown of over five full months, plus only very intermittent appearances in the nine months before that, the question arises will the audiences be there for it?
As Phantom & Six announce reopening dates, plans speed up for Broadway’s return
It turns out New York is moving even faster, with the state (and its neighbours, New Jersey and Connecticut), according to the New York Times on Monday, “lifting almost all their pandemic restrictions, paving the way for a return to fuller offices and restaurants, a more vibrant nightlife and a richer array of cultural and religious gatherings for the first time in a year”.
Are we all going to rush to the theatre as soon as social distancing is no more?
Do we have to become responsible for our own Covid safety? So, the man who (allegedly) said he didn’t mind if the bodies were piled high, he didn’t want to impose another lockdown — until he, in fact, did — is now embarking on another experiment in which that may indeed turn out to be outcome. On 21 June, all social distancing is to be scrapped in the UK.
Have theatrical producers of old forgotten how to treat the people who helped them reach the top in the first place?
Now we’ve seen Cameron Mackintosh here in London twice in the last year throw his original investors overboard on his two biggest hits: Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera.
Beneath contempt: Mark Shenton reacts to the empty promises made over the return of Phantom to the West End
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The post April 27: The rotten stench of contempt for people, from the government to its people and from producers to their orchestras and audiences first appeared on Shenton Stage.
Putting profits before people? Where is the original Phantom of the Opera we were promised?
When The Phantom of the Opera was unloaded from the Her Majesty’s Theatre last year, it produced the forlorn sight of the original Phantom chandelier resting on the pavement outside the theatre instead of poised over the proscenium from which it famously comes crashing down over the heads of those seated in the stalls.
‘If you can’t join them, beat them’: Mark Shenton reacts to the Scott Rudin ‘bullying’ controversy
On Monday, leaders of three American entertainment unions — SAG-AFRA, Actors’ Equity Association and the American Federation of Musicians Local 802 released a joint statement condemning workplace harassment, bullying and violent behaviour.