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Sixty-Second Theatre News Roundup -May 3rd

This week’s video is available on YouTube:

This week’s news includes:

Kevin Wilson launched the West End Rising Stars Festival.

Making their West End producing debuts. Included in the photograph are: - Chris Steward, Shanay Holmes, Katy Lipson, Ameena Hamid, Adam Lenson, Tom Duern, Kirk Jameson, Jack Maple, Chris Marcus, Damien Stanton, Piers Cottee-Jones, Jamie Chapman Dixon, John-Webb Carter, Shaun McCourt, Robin Rayner, Hugh Summers, Greg Barnett, Krystal Lee, Sarah Evans + Nica Burns (middle, front) .

Photographed at The Lyric Theatre, London. Photograph by David Levene

Twenty-three young theatre producers are being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present their work in the West End for the first time.

Their 17 productions - plays, musicals, concerts and one-off events - have attracted wonderful performers from emerging talent to popular West End stars. The Rising Stars Festival will run from May to September in Nimax's six theatres (the Apollo, Duchess, Garrick, Lyric, Palace and Vaudeville).

Announcing Nimax's festival Nica Burns, Chief Executive, said: "I am delighted to be welcoming into the spotlight a galaxy of talented young producers - our rising stars making their West End debuts. Entrepreneurial, adventurous, creating shows during our lockdown days to entertain and inspire, attracting stellar performers. Usually behind the spotlight, few understand what a producer does. Without them, there are no shows. If these enterprising producers are the future of the West End, it's looking good."

The Rising Stars Festival runs alongside Nimax's long-running shows and new summer programme. All Nimax's long-running shows will have reopened by the autumn. Please check the Nimax website ( for details of all 34 productions currently on sale.

Nica Burns added: "A big thank you to Oliver Dowden and the DCMS for awarding us a Cultural Recovery Fund grant which has enabled us to re-open all six of our theatres with social distancing, support the Rising Stars Festival and create hundreds of new jobs."


17 - 19 May Drag Queens of Pop (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producer David O'Reilly

18 May - 13 June Cruise (Duchess Theatre)

Producers Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Jamie Lambert

and Eliza Jackson for Lambert Jackson Productions

19 May - 11 July Death Drop (Garrick Theatre)

Producers Ameena Hamid, Jamie Chapman Dixon and John-Webb Carter for Carter Dixon Productions

22 & 23 May Roles We'll Never Play (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producer Thomas Duern

24 May An Evening with Kathy Burke (Lyric Theatre)

Producer David O'Reilly

24 May Intermissions Live (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producers Alice Fearn & Kirk Jamieson

24 May, 14 June & 5 July Monday Night at the Apollo (Apollo Theatre)

Producers Greg Barnett and Hugh Summers for Wild Mountain Productions Ltd

27 -30 May Public Domain (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producer Adam Lenson

2 - 6 June The Show Must Go On! (Palace Theatre)

Producers Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton for Theatre Support Fund+ and Jack Maple and

Brian Zeilinger for MZG productions

7 - 13 June Alyssa, Memoirs of a Queen! (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producers Robin Rayner and James Quaife for New Frame Productions

7 June An Evening With Arlene Phillips (Duchess Theatre)

Producer David O'Reilly

10 - 13 June West End Musical Celebration (Palace Theatre)

Producers Shanay Holmes and Chris Steward for West End Musical Productions

14 June West End Live Lounge (Lyric Theatre)

Producer Shaun McCourt

21 June & 28 June The Distance You Have Come (Apollo Theatre)

Producers Sarah Evans for Sevans Productions and Krystal Lee

28 June The Wonderbirds Live (Duchess Theatre)

Producer David O'Reilly

15 July – 30 August Wonderment (Palace Theatre)

Producers Stephen McGill, McGill Productions, John-Webb Carter and Jamie Dixon, Carter Dixon

Productions, Piers Cottee-Jones, Piers Cottee-Jones Entertainment

17 September - 13 October The Last 5 Years (Vaudeville Theatre)

Producers Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group, with Dan Looney, Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP GROUP

Nica Burns OBE, Chief Executive of Nimax Theatre

Nica Burns is a multi-award winning producer of over 100 productions, including 'Everbody's Talking About Jamie", currently at the Apollo theatre. She was artistic director at the Donmar Warehouse from 1983 to 1989 and production director of Stoll Moss and Really Useful Theatres from 1993 to 2005. She founded Nimax Theatres in 2005 with her business partner Max Weitzenhoffer and co-owns the Palace, Lyric, Apollo, Garrick, Vaudeville and Duchess theatres. In January she was named Producer of the Year by The Stage.

The Phoenix Arts Club will host a Eurovision Final viewing party on Saturday 22nd May.

There are just 80 socially distanced seats available, with doors at 6pm.

Tickets are just £25.00 + 10% booking fee which includes a glass of bubbly to toast the winner.

-UPDATE: This event is now sold out.

Sabrina Aloueche joined David Ribi for his duet series.

West End star and Kids TV presenter David Ribi, known for Channel 5's 'Milkshake!' Mamma Mia , Rocky Horror Show, and Hairspray, has been producing and posting the duets on his Instagram channel throughout lockdown.

Featuring nearly 50 artists including Kerry Ellis, Louise Dearman, Natalie Paris, Emma Hatton, Scott Alan, Zoe Birkett, Jenna Lee James, Sabrina Aloueche, Lauren Samuels, Gina Beck, Paul Wilkins, Dan Koek, Zoe Tyler, Grace Mouat, Natasha Barnes, Laura Baldwin, Steph Parry, Chris Barton, Michael Vincent, Lucy Kay, Lucy Bosher, Adam Bailey, Paul Ayres, Jacob Fisher, Hannah Ponting, Olivia Birchenough, Danielle Reales, Triptonic, Aaron Kavanah, Daniel Hope, Zoe Hearn, Rachel Grundy, Anna McGarahan, Calvin Hudson, Harriet Bunton, Lauren Varnham, Linda Holmgren, Becky Harrison, Sam Murphy, Simon Shorten, Richard Franks, Rhys Owen, Jen Harding

In his latest video he teams up with Sabrina Aloueche to perform “The Show Must Go On!”

Follow David on Twitter @DavidRibiMusic Instagram @Ribsy87 and YouTube-

Nikolai Foster will direct RENT: The Concert at Leicester Curve this August 10th to 21st.

Performed in the round in Curve’s specially adapted auditorium

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster commented:

“As we emerge from this pandemic, it feels timely to reflect on the resilience and courage which defined the lives of so many during the 1980s HIV/AIDS pandemic. Jonathan Larson’s astonishing Pulitzer Prize winning musical RENT represents one of musical theatre’s greatest triumphs, defining an entire era through its blazing music and iconic characters. It is simply one of the greats and we are thrilled to present it in a staged concert at Curve, in our epic, in-the-round arena. Celebrating community, the exhilarating joy of music, the power of artists and the sheer life force of young people, we are looking forward to literally raising the roof this summer at Curve.”

Curve is set to fully reopen on 1 July, in line with the government roadmap, with performances of Peter James’ Looking Good Dead. Last week Curve announced its plans for a socially distanced season to welcome audiences back from May, including Resident Creatives New Work (21 – 22 May), Aakash Odedra’s Rising (24 – 25 May), Am Dram: A Musical Comedy (27 – 29 May) and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (7 – 19 June).

As outlined in the roadmap, social distancing is expected to no longer apply during performances of Rent: The Concert at Curve. The theatre will however ensure Covid-safety measures are in place, in-line with government guidance at the time.

Curve has been certified by both UK Theatre as part of its ‘See it Safely’ initiative and Visit England’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ accreditation and audiences will be notified of further Covid-safety measures and protocols in advance of attending a performance.

Tickets for Rent: The Concert will go on sale to Curve Friends on Wednesday 28 April, Supporters on Thursday 29 April and Members on Friday 30 April. Tickets will be on general sale from Tuesday 4 May, all at 12 noon. Tickets can be purchased online at

Shaun McCourt has announced the line up for his Reunited series at the Crazy Coq.

The producers behind the hugely successful West End Live Lounge, and Unplugged at Crazy Coqs comes the exciting new festival, ReUnited at Crazy Coqs. SMC Productions, (in collaboration with Crazy Coqs) brings you a series of concerts celebrating talent from the world of music, theatre, cabaret, comedy, and lots more. The festival runs from the 7th – 9th and 14th – 17th August 2021.

Full festival line-up is as follows:

  • Saturday 7th August (3pm) Ailsa Davidson – 27 and A Half

  • Saturday 7th August (7pm) – Hannah Stratton: Shamrock Shenanigans

  • Sunday 8th August (3pm) Back To Black – Maisey Bawden.

  • Sunday 8th August (7pm) Lisa-Marie Holmes – The Streisand Version.

  • Monday 9th August (7pm) An Evening with KAELI

  • Monday 9th August (9pm) Mother: Colleagues

  • Saturday 14th August (3pm) Lauren James Ray – The Sirens of Song

  • Saturday 14th August (7pm) An Evening with Michael Mather

  • Sunday 15th August (3pm) An Afternoon with Lewis Cornay

  • Sunday 15th August (7pm) I Sing Because I’m Happy! – Nicholas McLean

  • Monday 16th August (7pm) Let’s Go to The Movies! – Kelly Agbowu

  • Monday 16th August (9pm) Sejal and Hiba – Don’t Make A Scene

  • Tuesday 17th August (7pm & 9pm) Joel Harper-Jackson Live in Concert

Speaking of the event, producer Shaun McCourt said “I am so excited to be producing ReUnited at Crazy Coqs. After the chaotic year we have all just lived through, I can’t wait to reunite these amazingly talented performers with their peers and audiences alike. Like everyone, I have been so saddened by the decimation of our industry, so am delighted to create a festival of work that gets our performers back on stage where they belong! Crazy Coqs is the perfect venue for this intimate festival and I am thrilled to be working alongside their amazing team who have been pioneers in this turbulent time.”

Chiswick Playhouse announce Tori Allen-Martin and Phoebe Barran as their first ever associate artists.

This very exciting collaboration will seek to champion new and adventurous work, support our dynamic programme and reaffirm our artistic values.

Tori Allen-Martin (Pandemonium, BBC; London Kills, BBC) is an acclaimed actor, writer, and singer-songwriter, who was named as one of the BBC’s New Talent Hotlist in 2017. Most recently she has co-founded Burn Bright, a non-profit organisation aiming to level the playing field for writers who identify as women, helping to create opportunities and share the stories of the marginalised.

Phoebe Barran is an award-winning director, who most recently won an Off West End Award for her revival of Tryst at the Chiswick Playhouse. Barran will be showcasing her skillset as part of the Chiswick Recharged Festival’s Bare Bones, stripping down two new plays The Woodcutters Tale by Orlando Wells and a new version of Tom Sharpe’s Wilt, adapted by David Spicer.

Tori Allen-Martin commented: “I am so honoured to have been asked to work with Chiswick Playhouse as an associate artist. Chiswick Playhouse are committed to developing artists of all disciplines, ages and backgrounds and are passionate about platforming voices that too often feel silenced as well as creating work that will have a vibrant life not only inside, but beyond the fringe circuit. I share these values and am so excited to collaborate with them on finding exciting opportunities to platform new talent, especially marginalised voices. We share a view of Chiswick Playhouse becoming a hub for new work and new connections and I am so proud to put my name to this brilliant and exciting venue, and I myself can’t wait to create magic with them.’

Phoebe Barran added: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining the Chiswick Playhouse as an associate artist. I’ve been a supporter of the theatre for many years both as an audience member and from having the opportunity to develop new writing and direct shows here. The theatre itself is such a wonderful space for both creatives and audiences and I’m hugely excited to now be part of the team that will bring some of the best and the brightest to come and work here. I know the Chiswick Playhouse has ambitious plans with both its own programme of productions and partnering with other producers and creatives. I’m so excited to play my part in making those plans a reality.”

Mark Perry, Chiswick’s Executive Director, said: “The ethos of Chiswick Playhouse is to give a platform to work and creatives so that they can have a life far beyond Chiswick. We want to be a place where we can support artists from all backgrounds to not just create work for our audiences, but also develop themselves and their craft. This is why Phoebe and Tori are such perfect additions to the team as associate artists. Both of them, besides being hugely talented themselves, have made it part of their raison d’être to help and support people around them, no matter whether those people are experienced artists, making first steps into the theatre world or are in some way a neglected voice. We want to firmly establish the Chiswick Playhouse on the theatre map and I am delighted that Phoebe and Tori have agreed to come on board to help us do that.”

The Phantom of the Opera has announced its entirely new cast for the West End to include Lucy St Louis as Christine.

Joining Killian Donnelly as the Phantom and Rhys Whitfield as Raoul.

The cast also includes Saori Oda as Carlotta Giudicelli, Matt Harrop as Monsieur Firmin, Adam Linstead as Monsieur André, Greg Castiglioni as Ubaldo Piangi, Francesca Ellis as Madame Giry and Ellie Young as Meg Giry. At certain performances, the role of Christine will be played by Holly-Anne Hull.

They are joined by Leeroy Boone, Corina Clark, Edward Court, Lily De-La-Haye, Hywel Dowsell, Jemal Felix, Erin Flaherty, James Gant, Eilish Harmon-Beglan, Yukina Hasebe, Olivia Holland- Rose, Grace Hume, James Hume, Donald Craig Manuel, Jonathan Milton, Janet Mooney, Tim Morgan, Beatrice Penny-Toure, Michael Robert-Lowe, Nikki Skinner, Tim Southgate, Ashley Stillburn, Manon Taris, Anouk Van Laake, Skye Weiss, Simon Whitaker and Karen Wilkinson. One further female ensemble member is still to be cast.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast tour announces full cast. Set to open at Bristol Hippodrome on 25 August.

The Olivier Award-winning musical had its UK premiere at the Dominion Theatre in 1997.

The tour continues to Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin

Courtney Stapleton (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Belle, with Emmanuel Kojo (Girl From the North Country) as Beast, Tom Senior (Eugenius!) as Gaston, Gavin Lee (returning to the role after playing it in New Jersey) as Lumiere and Sam Bailey (The X Factor) as Mrs Potts.

The role of Wardrobe will be played by Samantha Bingley, Babette by Emma Caffrey, Le Fou by Louis Stockil, Maurice by Martin Ball, Cogsworth by Nigel Richards and Chip by Joshua Smith/Theo Querico/Manasseh Mapira/Rojae Simpson/Iesa Miller.

Completing the cast are Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas-Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.

Matt West directs and choreographs, with the creative team featuring scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and lighting designer Natasha Katz.

New dance arrangements will also be created by David Chase, while Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator.

Casting has been announced for Cinderella set to open at the Gillian Lynne Theatre later this year.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Emerald Fennell and David Zippel's musical, a twist on the iconic fairytale, stars thepreviously revealed Carrie Hope Fletcher in the titular role, alongside Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt as the Stepmother.

Rebecca Trehearn will play the Queen, with Laura Baldwin and Georgina Castle as the Stepsisters and Gloria Onitiri as the Godmother.

Also in the show are Georgina Onuorah as the Ensemble / Alternate Cinderella, Sam Robinson as Dorian, Giovanni Spano as Gawain and Vinny Coyle as Arthur.

The full company also includes Michael Afemaré, Lydia Bannister, Michelle Bishop, William Bozier, Lauren Byrne, Sophie Camble, Tobias Charles, Nicole Deon, Jonathan David Dudley, Dominic Adam Griffin, Michael Hamway, James Lee Harris, Leah Harris, Kate Ivory Jordan, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Andy Rees, Alexandra Waite Roberts, Lauren Stroud, Georgia Tapp and Matthieu Vinetot.

Cinderella is directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by JoAnn M Hunter, co-musical supervision by John Rigby, design by Gabriela Tylesova, sound design by Gareth Owen and lighting by Bruno Poet.

Rachel Tucker and Lewis Cornay will star in John and Jen at Southwark Playhouse

Olivier Award nominee Rachel Tucker (Come from Away) and Lewis Cornay (The Book of Mormon) star in the world premiere of a brand new updated version of the musical ‘John & Jen’ from Andrew Lippa, the award winning composer of

‘The Addams Family’, ‘Big Fish’ and ‘The Wild Party’, & Tom Greenwald with new orchestrations by Jason Robert Brown and Andrew Lippa.

Southwark Playhouse, 28 July - 21 August

Creative Team: Director Guy Retallack, Musical Supervisor Michael Bradley, Musical Director Bob Broad, Scenic & Costume Design Natalie Johnson, Sound Design Andrew Johnson, Production Manager Matt Harper, Stage Manager Robyn-Amber Manners, Casting Leon Kay Casting, Produced by Bray Productions.


£22 (£18 Concessions)

All previews £14

Casting has been announced for the Donmar Warehouse's revival of Constellations by Nick Payne.

The rotating cast include:

Sheila Atim and Ivanno Jeremiah (18 June – 1 August)

Peter Capaldi and Zoë Wanamaker (23 June - 24 July)

Russell Tovey and Omari Douglas

(30 July-11 September)

Anna Maxwell Martin and Chris O’Dowd (6 August - 12 September)

Mary Poppins reopens 7th August

Hamilton reopens 19th August.

Lauren Samuels and Sophie Evans will release the album Chasing Rainbows Finding Judy. To be released 2nd July.

Fourth Wall Live announce live concerts at Cadogan Hall.

Jenna Russell 7th November 2021

Shoshana Bean 4th December 2021

Jessica Vosk 27th February 2022

Peter Pandemic returns to the Canal Cafe

Written by Ceris Hine and Brendan Matthew.

It stars Alex White. Josephine Rattigan. Chris Fern and Ceris Hine.

It will run for 6 nights from Tuesday 18th - Sunday 23rd May Performances are all at 7.30pm and the show lasts an hour.

Sean Parkins and Niall Sheey launch new podcast Two’s Company.

Follow on Twitter and Instagram @TwosCompPodcast

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