Another week in this crazy new world has gone by. While there have been some sad stories including the announcement certain theatres will stay closed until 2021 and the passing of Dame Vera Lynn, the week has not been without its positives with more reasons to be excited for the future than in recent weeks.
Here is a roundup of some of the need to know stories from the last 24 hours:
The Lincoln Center production of the Tony nominated Falsettos will have a special singalong performance streamed online as part of a series of LGBTQ+ related shows in honour of Pride month. The show, starring Christian Borle, Stephanie J Block, Andrew Rannels and Brandon Uranowitz was filmed on Broadway in 2017 and was more recently seen in a West end production at The Other Palace.
The singalong stream will be available for 48 hours from 8pm ET (1am in the UK) on Thursday 25th June from broadwayHD.com. The stream will be free to watch but donations to Broadway Cares and Equity Fights AIDS are encouraged. Donations can be made at https://broadwaycares.org/falsettos2020
In the meantime, the regular version of the show is available to watch from the same website so you have time to brush up on your lyrics before attempting to win your own Tony award next week.
One of the most upbeat shows in the West End (nearly as happy as Les Miserables) will be inviting NHS and frontline workers to see the show when the West End returns. Judy Craymer, the creator of the mega hit show, has said she plans to invite hospital staff as soon as government guidelines allow.
Craymer has also said she is planning a threequel to the movie, following the success of sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again in 2018 and that the plan was always to turn the film into a trilogy. Whether it's called 'Mamma 3a' or 'Mamma Mia: How Can I Resist You' remains to be seen but the film definitely needs to give Cher a bigger part after she stole the show in the sequel. And *SPOILER ALERT* if they can bring Donna back from the dead, that would be great too. Stranger things have happened... like Cher playing Meryl Streeps mother when she is only 4 years older than her, for one.
ABBA members Bjorn and Benny have written four new ABBA songs for a virtual concert they're planning for the future, and the hope is the new songs will make it in to the thirs movie. In the meantime, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again heads to Netflix from June 26th.
Andrew Lloyd Webber has today announced he is planning trial runs at the London Palladium of safety measures for theatre cast, crew and audience members in the post pandemic world. He hopes to start these tests in the first week of July, but has insisted there will be no social distancing as it is not possible.
The trials will follow a similar trial in South Korea, where his show The Phantom Of The Opera has continued to play. Measures include thermal imagine cameras at the stage door and entrance to the theatre that can identify if people have temperatures.
He has chosen the Palladium as it is the biggest theatre he owns, with 2300 seats so is likely to be the most problematic when theatres can reopen. if these tests are successful, it will instil a lot more confidence in the safe continuation of theatre.
Speaking of the Palladium, tickets for the postponed run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat have gone on sale today.
Following a highly successful sold out run at the theatre in summer 2019, the show was due to return for another limited season this summer but has had to be pushed back until summer 2021 instead. Jac Yarrow and Jason Donovan have both confirmed they will be returning to the roles of Joseph and the Pharaoh respectively, with the casting of the Narrator yet to be announced.
The show is due to open on July 1st next year. Anyone who had tickets for the run this year will have the same seats automatically transferred to the equivalent performance next year.
In other 2021 show news, Pretty Woman has extended its run by a month. The show was due to close at the Piccadilly Theatre on January 4th to make room for the already announced Moulin Rouge but has now extended another month to February 6th, though obviously the theatre remains closed for the time being. No word yet on what this means for the debut of Moulin Rouge, who had already delayed the on sale date for tickets due to the pandemic.
The UK premiere of Something Rotten, which was due to open in Birmingham in October has been postponed until 2021. The Broadway sensation, which has never played in the UK before, will now run at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 7th - 30th October 2021.
If you had tickets for the original dates, your tickets will be automatically transferred to the new dates.
In other postponement news, this years planned tour of Bat Out Of Hell will now take place in 2021 instead.
The dates theatres are closed until is starting to vary drastically from one to another, with current announcements ranging from August 2nd to sometime next year. The latest to announce an extension to their closure is the beautiful Mayflower YTheatre in Southampton.
It has been announced the theatre is going to remain closed until December 10th. Chief executive Michael Ockwell has said he is working with producers to reschedule as many of the affected shows as possible, though he warned it would be inevitable some tours would not be able to be rescheduled.
All customers with bookings for shows up until December 10th at the venue will be contacted in due course.
This years Olivier awards nominees have joined forces with some of last years Theatre award winners and a number of institutions and organisations to sign an open letter to Boris Johnson pleading for help for the arts community during the pandemic.
The letter states "The pandemic has brought theatre to its knees. Theatres do not have the money to operate viably with physical distancing. Research by UK Theatre/Society of London Theatre suggests 70% of theatres will run out of money by the end of 2020. For many, it will be sooner. Four theatres have already gone in to administration and we are concerned that number will soon rise dramatically".
It goes on "We call on the government to urgently consider the submission from UK Theatre/SOLT calling for moves to:
Sustain the workforce, through the continuation and development of the Job Retention Scheme and a new package to support the army of freelancers and self-employed artists who create so much of our work.
Support theatre recovery, through adaptations to the existing theatre production tax relief scheme, support for businesses that supply theatres, and aid with making venues Covid-19 secure"
Meanwhile, a petition to the government urging them to offer more support to the asks continues to gain momentum and has so far received over 125,000 signatures. This means it will now be considered for a debate in Parliament.
It has been suggested that the Lincoln Center production of My Fair Lady, which recently ran on Broadway, will soon be heading to the West end... though not TOO soon. The production was well received during its run on Broadway and looks set to run at the Coliseum in the West end in 2022.
Laura Benanti played the role of Eliza in the fecent Broadway version, while the last time it was seen in the West end, the role was played by Martine McCutcheon. No more news is out on this production as yet, but if true, this will be something to look forward to in the future.
Catfish, the musical created by two strangers who had never met, have announced details of an online concert. Created by Willy Mukendi and Joseph Purdue, the cast album was released earlier this year. Cast members from the recording will unite to perform a concert celebrating musicals and pop culture, raising funds for Black Lives Matter on Sunday 21st June at 5pm. Follow Catfish The Musical on Social media for more details as they are announced.
Back To The Future, The View Upstairs and The Voice star Cedric Neal will be releasing a new single from 'KING the Musical' - a musical about the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
'We Need You Now' is the first track to be released from a forthcoming four track EP and will be available next Saturday. All proceeds from the track will raise funds for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Fund.
Cedric said "The lyrics of "We Need You Now" were written in the 1980s about the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, and are just as appropriate, relevant and necessary today. This song has become my personal prayer in the fight for EQUALITY and the end of systemic racism. The message of Dr King and Martin Smith's "We Need You Now" are one and the same. Peace is achieved through LOVE for one another – equally given and received."
The song is accompanied by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra and will be available at https://www.lmto.org/
That's it for another week. Don't forget tonights #TheShowsMustGoOn streaming title is the 2014 version of 'Peter Pan' available at youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon at 7pm for 48 hours only. Come back tomorrow to find out my thoughts on the show. And Virtual West End Live takes place online over both days this weekend.