It's been another busy week for theatre news. The biggest story being that West end theatres are to remain closed until August 2nd, with &Juliet, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and TINA staying closed until September. That has had a knock on effect for some other shows but there have also been more positive announcements, from new tours to charity successes to life after lockdown. Here are the top ten theatre stories from the last few days:
While 2020 is going to be a notoriously quiet year for theatre, 2021 keeps getting better and better. The latest reason to be excited for next year is the announcement of a brand new UK tour for Chicago. The tour kicks off in Birmingham in March next year and works its way around the country for the remainder of the year. The fist batch of tickets go on sale next week. For more details see https://chicagothemusical.com/international-tour/
Tonight (5/6/20) was due to see the next installment in the weekly streaming series 'The Shows Must Go On'. This weeks title was due to be Peter Pan Live. However, it has been announced that this will no longer be going ahead as part of the media blackout caused by the outrage of the racist incidents of the past week.
If you still want to keep up the Friday night theatre routine, there is no shortage of new content being made available with Candide In Concert starring Rob Houchen, Carousel starring Jessie Mueller and the amazing Old Vic production of A Monster Calls all coming online. My tip would be A Monster Calls at 7pm - prepare to be amazed!
On Wednesday, it was announced that all West end theatres will be remaining closed until August 2nd at the earliest (with several extended the closure for a further month). It has been confirmed that this means Be More Chill, which was playing a successful run at The Other Palace, have cancelled the remainder of their performances and will not unfortunately be back straight away when it is safe for West end theatres to reopen. In a message, the show states they hope to return to London soon and to keep an eye on bemorechillmusical.com to be the first to find out on when it will come back.
There have been some other cancellations announced this week. The Book Of Dust - La Belle Sauvage has been postponed from its planned run at the Bridge Theatre this summer. New dates are yet to be announced,
It has also been announced that the annual Kids Week in theatre will not be able to take place this year due to the uncertainty of when theatres will reopen.
Another casualty of the extended closure of theatres is the Olivier award winning play The Pillowman. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, it was due to kick off a limited run at the Duke of Yorks theatre from July. It has been announced that this run will now take place in 2021 instead. Exact dates are still to be announced.
Further details have been announced about the forthcoming live stream of Lungs. Matt Smith and Claire Foy will reunite at the Old Vic to stream performances of the show live each night. The shows will run for six performances from June 26th until July 4th. Tickets need to be purchased in advance and go on sale on Friday 12th June at 10am. There are 1000 tickets available for each performance with prices ranging from £10 to £65 - all have the same view though.
The next title from the weekly National Theatre At Home series has been announced. The Madness Of King George will be available to stream for one week from 7pm on Thursday 11th June. The production was filmed at Nottingham Playhouse and stars Mark Gatiss, Adriana Scarborough and Debra Gillett. In the meantime, Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston is available to view via National Theatre at Home in the meantime.
It has been announced that the immersive production of The Great Gatsby will be reopening in London on October 1st. New measures will be taking place to ensure the safety of cast, crew and guests including a reduced capacity, PPE and cut scenes that are no longer possible with social distancing.
Gatsby isn't the only immersive piece of theatre available in October. One Night Records is a new immersive venue and will be opening in London Bridge. Its first production will be called Lockdown Town and is based on different musical styles from America. Running from October 2nd, social distancing measures will be in place ensuring no two households come into close contact with eachother.
There's been no shortage of Stephen Sondheim tributes during lockdown, with amazing virtual concerts from both the stars of Broadway and the West end. It has now been announced there will be a new cabaret series called The Sondheim Sessions. The first of which will be "Another Vodka Stinger" starring West end star Oscar Conlon-Morrey. If you're not familiar with Oscar, he is starring in Only Fools and Horses and has been keeping the masses entertained with hilarious social media posts during lockdown. Aside from that, he is an amazing talent and watching his interpretation of Sondheim classics shouldn't be missed. You can watch this on Sunday 7th June at 7pm. Tickets must be booked in advance from https://www.crowdcast.io/e/anothervodkastinger/register but are free of charge. Charity donations are being welcomed to The Stephen Sondheim Society.
The creative industry has been getting even more creative during this trying time, finding ways to raise money to help the industry that needs their support and other charities. One such endeavour is the charity 'The show must go on' range featuring letters from 16 West end shows. Items in this collection include a t-shirt, mug and notebook It went on sale just over a month ago and so far has raised over £125,000 for Acting For Others, Fleabag Support Fund and NHS Charities. It's not too late to do your bit and get one at theatresupportfund.co.uk. I've got my one and look forward to seeing everyone wearing them when theatres reopen.