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Marking the nostalgia of the past for Follies’ 50th & edging towards some hope for Broadway’s future

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

On Friday the resumption of theatre life began in New York; meanwhile, today is the 50th anniversary of the Broadway opening night of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, his jagged and shattering tribute to the musicals as well as the marriages of yesteryear, as James Goldman’s characters confront their current predicaments as middle and old-aged people looking back on their lives through the prism of the nostalgia of their theatrical pasts — all set to a score that gently pastiches the songs of the period while actually improving on them.

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‘I think once you’re an entrepreneur, it’s in your DNA’: How Howard Panter & Rosemary Squire can’t resist building a theatre empire

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

It’s been announced that Howard Panter & Rosemary Squire’s Trafalgar Entertainment are joining forces with regional theatre operator HQ — who currently operate 11 venues from Bromley and Dartford to Southend, Swindon, Crewe and Guildford.

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As lockdown restrictions begin to lift, where does that leave theatre?

In Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Today, for the first time since the mid-December lockdown brought the shutters down on most forms of social interaction in public, including the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, museums and galleries, Britain is beginning the process of edging out of those some of those restrictions.

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Will an older generation of creatives be altruistic enough to make room for young talent?

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

A constantly recurring theme as we hopefully start emerging from this pandemic — and even long before it actually happened — was about creating space for new voices and talents, and preferably younger and more diverse voices, whether as writers, directors, producers, designers, actors or even theatre critics.

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A year on: Mark Shenton reflects on the theatre shutdown in the West End & beyond

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

It was just after 5pm on 16 March 2020 that Boris Johnson made his heart (and business) stopping announcement: “Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel. We need people to start working from home where they possibly can. And you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.”

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Remember all the many creatives who have brought us theatre online, not just the big-hitters

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes, Regional theatre by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

There’s no question that, apart from his undoubted brilliance as a composer of instantly memorable melodies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest gift is as (self) publicist. He’s just wonderful at getting people to speak about him and his shows; and thereby promote them.

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Giving our regards to Broadway 12 months after shutdown

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

Tonight is the first anniversary of the last performances that were given on a Broadway stage; a year ago tomorrow, Six was due to open on Broadway, but that afternoon the governor of New York State, the currently beleaguered Andrew Cuomo, announced that public gatherings of more than 500 people would be immediately suspended.

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The long wait for Tony Awards 2020 results & Andrew Lloyd Webber’s great expectations for West End openings in the summer

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

Voting has just begun for last year’s Tony Awards. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, there is no date for the actual (or even virtual) ceremony yet. In the topsy-turvy world that Covid-19 has wrought upon us, we’re wrestling with all sorts of improbabilities and impossibilities, but few events epitomise the very strangeness of this time and its repercussions than this weird situation.

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Star casting in & out of lockdown – the debate continues

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Theatre may have migrated online for now (though here’s hoping that we’ll be back in the stalls and not just our armchairs or desks soon). Even though online theatre has created a much more level playing field in terms of opportunities for people and productions to be seen, with the smallest theatres like the Barn competing with the biggest like the National for audiences, star casting is STILL a thing.

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Coming out of lockdown: Is it better to wait than to rush to open theatres & risk everything?

In Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Setting a timetable requires Johnson to be a clairvoyant, predicting the future way of a virus that, to be honest, is only really getting started. Yes, vaccines are being done fast (I got my first dose on Saturday), but lifting the lid on Pandora’s box too quickly — by setting a timetable for reopening — won’t benefit anyone’s mental health, if it simply exacerbates the virus and leads to the necessity to shut down again.

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‘There’s no saying where theatres will be by the time summer arrives’: Is the light at the end of the tunnel even further away?

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It won’t be until the vaccine programme has been fully and successfully rolled out throughout the nation, and any necessary tweaks established for mutant strains, that there may be enough confidence to begin to even think about going indoors again to sit amongst strangers.

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Dancing to a digital tune: The impact of the pandemic on performers, agents & theatre-goers

In Dance, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Quotes by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Yes, Covid has changed all of our lives — probably forever. At the very least, we will never take the freedoms we used to have – to travel, to meet friends, to socialise in public spaces and gather indoors to watch live performances and other events – ever again.

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As we say so long farewell to veteran actor Christopher Plummer, Mark Shenton praises the art of obituary writing

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

If, as Monty Python famously urges, we should always look on the bright side of life, then the brighter side of death are obituaries. They’re one of my absolutely favourite forms of journalism, and I read them just as avidly as I read the best critics; and it’s for the same reasons.

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Mark Shenton bemoans the lack of British songwriters in Radio 2’s forthcoming musicals celebration

In Audio, Broadway, Features, London theatre, Musicals, Online shows, Opinion by Mark ShentonLeave a Comment

Radio 2’s Greatest Show could — and should — have been a platform to celebrate more British musicals, especially here, especially now, with the industry floundering so badly. A show of support for our own creators of new musicals would not have gone amiss.