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Friday Theatre News: The Show Must Go On

This week we have been treated to various levels of stagey goodness from new show announcements to other creative methods of keeping theatres alive while the doors remain closed. While this week has also seen some sad news, I'm just going to be focusing on the positive stories this week as we could all use a bit of positivity right now.


Some exciting news came out overnight as The Mousetrap announced its reopening date. It is fitting that the longest running play in the world would be the first theatre in the West end to reopen but that's exactly what is happening.


Last night it was confirmed that The Mousetrap would resume performances at the St Martins Theatre on October 23rd. The theatre has Covid-proofed all areas ensuring it is safe for cast, crew and audience members with social distancing in the audience.


While theatres in London are officially closed until August 2nd, the Society of London Theatre are expected to announce an extension shortly. Where we originally worried no shows will reopen this side of Christmas, this is a much needed push in the right direction for the future of theatre. With Sleepless opening at the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley in August, that's at least two shows open to keep up our physical stagey fix this year. Who will be next?


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden might not be on many theatre fans Christmas card list this year (unless it's a card filled with the words THEATRE THEATRE THEATRE THEATRE THEATRE) but this week he actually took an interest in the struggling world of theatre tp visit the London Palladium, where Andrew Lloyd Webber is currently carrying out extensive tests to allow the safe reopening of his theatres.


Dowden shared the above picture on his social media showing him on stage discussing the safe measures with Andrew Lloyd Webber. On Twitter Dowden said "he knows panto season is key" - with the annual panto at the Palladium being one of the highlights in the theatre calendar, this is looking promising that the venue could reopen in time for it to take place this year.


Still no mention of financial aid for theatre though...


Today sees the launch of a new initiative around the country as over 50 venues wrap themselves in special "Missing Live Theatre" tape. The scheme is to raise awareness for the arts community as more people venture out to enjoy the reopening of other sectors but crucially not this one.


National Theatre will be the first to put the banners up with othjer venues taking part including Manchester's Royal Exchange, Theatre Royal Plymouth and members of the Ambassador Theatre Group.


This weekend sees the reopening of pubs and restaurants. Theatres are also allowed to reopen but not put on any live performances. With that in mind, one of my favourite venues in London, Southwark Playhouse, has announced it will be reopening its doors so people can enjoy the bar area. While it is still unable to put on any performances for the time being, any excuse to allow a venue to open its doors again is a reason to celebrate... with a drink or two ideally.


So if you fancy going out for a drink but also want to continue to support the arts, why not choose a theatre like Southwark Playhouse to spend your money in?


More details have been announced about next weeks Turn Up concerts. Organised by Dreamgirls and Dear Evan Hansen star Nicole Raquel Dennis and Motown star Ryan Carter, the event will showcase black voices from the West end and Broadway and will raise money for The Bail Project, The Okra Project, The Black Curriculum and UK Black Pride.


As well as adding a tonne of incredible names to the already bulging line up, ticket details have been released. The concert has already been recorded at Cadogan Hall and will be broadcast at 7.30pm on Friday 10th, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July. Tickets for each concert are £10 or £25 for all three, though each concert will be exactly the same. Tickets are available from club11.London/Turn


This weekend, West End Talks are hosting a concert to celebrate Pride. The cast are a mix of West end stars including Harry Apps from Les Miserables, Brandon Lee Sears from Come From Away and Alex Tranter from &Juliet but also feature a host of incredibly talented student performers who will not only hold their own alongside the current stars but will blow you away.


Proceeds from the concert will raise money for RAZE collective which supports and developes LQBTQI performances in the UK. The concert takes place on Saturday 4th July. See twitter.com/endtalks for details


If you're looking for more theatre titles to watch online (he says on the day a certain show is released online), you're in luck as BroadwayHD have announced a host of new titles to add to their already exhaustive list.


The Open Air Theatre revival of Into The Woods will be added to the service from July 9th, while Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith will be available from July 21st. If you're channelling your best Veruca Salt and yelling "I WANT IT NOW" you'll be pleased to know they have also added the original Broadway production of Sunday In the Park With George starring Bernadette Peters and the iconic Judy Garland film Meet Me In St Louis - both of which are available for your viewing pleasure right now at broadwayhd.com.


Tonight sees the fourth and final instalment of the weekly series from In The Wings. The series focused on showcasing four new musicals that were sadly postponed due to the pandemic. The final title is Dorian: A Rock Musical, based on the iconic tale of Dorian Gray and his portrait.


This instalment features performances from Aaron lee Lambert, Steph Parry, Laura Pick and Dougie Carter and is one not to be missed. It will be available on their Youtube channel tonight at 7.30pm. See twitter.com/wings_2020 for more details.


Of course you all know that today is the day we've been waiting for. The original Broadway cast production of Hamilton has landed on Disney+ and is yours to view forever... and ever... and ever and ever. If you need a break from your 45th and 46th viewings of it (That's a big if obviously), don't forget the weekly tradition of a new show being uploaded online at 7pm every Friday for 48 hours only which we all love watching. Tonight's installment in the weekly series The Shows Must Go On is Michael Flatley's Celtic Tiger... Yeah, thank God for Hamilton. If you do want to watch it, it will be on youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon - I won't be reviewing this weeks title tomorrow but you can expect a glowing review of Hamilton in its place.


And finally...


Over the last three months we have been inundated with a vast amount of lockdown videos - from cast reunions to collectives coming together to the more random ones. If you thought you'd seen the best of these, you would be wrong as this week something truly mind blowing arrived.


West End Live Lounge gathered together the most phenomenal line up of stars to perform a special rendition of the Queen classic 'The Show Must Go On' - a song that has taken on a whole new meaning since theatres have closed and especially since we've all been rocking the amazing t-shirts with the slogan on.


Among the stars included in this video are Danielle Steers, Andrew Polec, Louise Dearman, Emma Hatton, Zoe Birkett, Jodie Steele and Glenn Adamson. Watch this and prepare to be amazed:


That's the end of another stagey week.

Remember, you can't watch Hamilton 24 hours a day. 23 is fine but 24 is too excessive.

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