December 29, 2010
To celebrate the festive period, WEG has prepared a little theatre quiz for you – yes, it’s time to get your geek on. And no Googling!
1. What are the names of the three operas performed by the company in The Phantom of the Opera?
2. In Legally Blonde, name two of the reasons which make Callaghan’s legal team wonder if the witness is gay or European?
3. Which of the following was not on Broadway this year?
a) Next to Normal
b) The Scottsboro Boys
c) Little Women
d) Promises, Promises
4) What is the longest-running show currently in the West End?
5) Which show had previously held that title?
6) What do Wicked’s Louise Dearman, Spring Awakening’s Lucy May Barker and Avenue Q’s Paul Spicer have in common?
7) Which main cast member of the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert at the O2 was a last-minute replacement?
8 ) Which is the oldest surviving West End theatre and which show is it now home to?
9) Name the theatrical aunt of actresses Summer and Scarlett Strallen.
10) Which iconic theatre role did the mother of pop star Eliza Doolittle create?
11) Which of the following musicals has not spawned a reality TV casting show?
a) The Wizard of Oz
b) Legally Blonde
d) Mary Poppins
12) Which show did Wicked’s Alexia Khadime appear in before going green?
13) Name the two Broadway legends that Glee’s Rachel Berry thought might be her biological mother?
14) Which British TV actress went for the part of Baby in Dirty Dancing: the musical, but narrowly missed out?
15) Which of the following actresses was not considered for the lead role in the movie version of Evita, snapped up by Madonna?
a) Meryl Streep
b) Bette Midler
c) Michelle Pfeiffer
d) Olivia Newton-John
Answers to follow. Have a very geeky New Year!
December 17, 2010
For anyone who didn’t catch the Royal Variety Performance last night, the musical theatre crowd were out in force (amongst lesser vocalists such as Cheryl Cole and N Dubz.) Danielle Hope gave a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow – preceded by a somewhat bizarre medley by rainbow-clad children, baffled by their choreography – and a large crop of Les Mis cast sang through a much more beefy excerpt of the show than I’d anticipated. Alfie Boe is still too operatic for me, but Samantha Barks’ On My Own and the ‘Four Valjeans’ singing Bring Him Home were both wonderful.
The battle for Christmas Number 1 has once again reared its head (remember the days when no one really cared and Bob the Builder would take the crown?) and this year’s anti-X Factor bid, 4.33, just seems wildly pointless to me. If Cowell’s chosen puppet – and I have to say, I do like Matt Cardle as a singer – is so bad, there should be loads of other great tracks out there to contend with them. People shouldn’t have to resort to buying silence to prove a point.
The Four Valjeans are also in the running this year, and I urge any musical theatre types to buy their single. Not only is it stunning to listen to, it’s in aid of soldiers’ charity Tickets for Troops, and the B-side is On My Own (Samantha Barks.) Definitely worth £2.99.
To see their Royal Variety performance, skip to 01.25 on the iPlayer video. It is total travesty that the show stuck Les Mis in the middle in favour of a Take That finale – what with Strictly, X Factor and now this, could they be any more overexposed?
December 1, 2010
…Shrek the Musical. The West End could use another dose of humour and fantasy – Wicked’s still a classic, but we’re about due something new. Previews start 6 May 2010. This preview video was posted today:
Here are some other projects I’m hoping to catch in the new year…
Crazy For You (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from July)
Company (Southwark Playhouse from Feb)
November 15, 2010
Some of the biggest shows in recent years have been revivals of vintage theatre - Hair, The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Oliver!, to name a few. Smaller venues and tours have also breathed life into some classics; the Donmar’s production of Passion, for instance, and the brilliant Oklahoma tour that I saw earlier this year. But many people’s favourite shows are the obscure, the unperformed and the forgotten. At the weekend I saw a beautiful amateur production of Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden, and although the narrative reasons it wasn’t long-running were clear, it contained some of the loveliest music I have heard for a long time in theatre.
If you could produce a revival, what would you bring back? I have always wanted to see RENT done properly here, and though it would be suited to a small venue and short run, a London cast of Songs for a New World would be wonderful. I saw Miss Saigon when I was about 11 and was firmly bitten by the theatre bug. I think it’s a truly underrated musical and the stunning score and ambitious staging are well worth a take two. I’m not sure we needed The Wizard of Oz ‘back’ this year, but I can see how it’s a solid cash cow in troubled times. Comment with the shows you’d put on in your dream West End….