It's been a big week for theatre with lots of news coming thick and fast from new shows to venues re-opening to show transfers, it's been a much needed week of positive news. A couple of sadder stories emerged too but thankfully the good outweighed the bad.
With so much news coming out every day, it's easy to miss some of them so here's a handy recap in bitesize chunks of the week that was:
NEW SHOWS AND VENUE RE-OPENINGS
The week started with massive news as The Show Must Go On announced a series of charity concerts at the Palace Theatre for five dates only. The shows will feature performances from the casts of &Juliet, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Mamma Mia!, The Prince of Egypt, Six, TINA and Wicked with more to be announced. If you missed out on tickets, they are all sold out now but there are rumours of a potential stream being added so watch this space.
The Barn Theatre's well received production of Private Peaceful announced a West End transfer this week. The show will play a short run at the Garrick Theatre, as well as heading to the Bristol Old Vic later this month.
The Garrick Theatre didn't stop with the announcements this week with FIVE shows taking up residency in its soon to be re-opened venue in the coming months. As well as Private Peaceful, there will be occasional shows from Showstopper and The Comedy Players Club as well as seasons from Here Come The Boys and Potted Panto. Tickets are on sale for all shows from nimaxtheatres.com
The biggest news of the week was the eagerly anticipated but unexpected return of panto the Palladium this Christmas. Pantoland at the Palladium opens on December 12th and features a cast of Julian Clary, Ashley Banjo & Diversity, Charlie Stemp, Beverley Knight and Jac Yarrow with more to be announced next week. Look out for more women joining the cast including the possible return of Dawn French.
Tickets went on sale yesterday and 10am. Within one hour, over £500,000 had been made on ticket sales. How's that for not viable? Tickets are still available from lwtheatres.co.uk
As part of a scheme with National Lottery, QDos will be running more pantomimes across the UK in the coming weeks. Other pantos around the country have also announced new runs including Blackpool Grand Theatre. Looks like Christmas isn't cancelled after all!
The show announcements kept on coming this week:
A revival of Top Hat has been announced for The Mill at Sonning from October 16th. Tickets on sale here
A brand new play called GHBoy will be re-opening the Charing Cross Theatre from November 4th. More info and tickets on ghboy.co.uk
Hampstead Theatre will be re-opening with Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter celebrating the 60th anniversary of the play. Opening on November 18th, tickets are on sale next week from https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/the-dumb-waiter/
A new ghost story, When Darkness Falls, will play a limited season at The Union Theatre from November 23rd. Tickets on sale here
As well as their already announced runs at the Lyric Theatre in The West End and the Theatre Royal Bath, Six announced the first dates in a new UK tour, landing at the Mayflower in Southampton from January 20th - 31st. Tickets are on sale from Tuesday at https://www.mayflower.org.uk/whats-on/six-sd-2021/
Carly Mercedes Dyer, who has recently been seen in West Side Story and The View Upstairs has also been announced as joining the tour cast as the new Jane Seymour.
Following the sold out run at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, Rent have announced a series of shows to be streamed online from the theatre. Tickets are limited and start from November 27th. Get yours from hopemilltheatre.co.uk
The fantastic Southwark Playhouse production of The Last Five Years have filmed a performance to be streamed worldwide from www.stream.theatre. It will be available to watch from November 26th-29th.
Check out my 5 star review of the show from this week here
The Old Vic will be live streaming a new season of A Christmas Carol this December live from the venue. As part of its In Camera series, the cast will perform to an empty audience for 16 performances.
Tickets will go on sale in November priced from £10 – £65.
The Curve Leciester have released a digital concert of The Color Purple to mark Black History Month. The concert features performances and reflections from the cast including Danielle Fiamanya, Simon Anthony-Rhoden and T'Shan Williams
You can watch the concert here
A new play marking 50 years since the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission has been released online this week. Available until December 31st, Apollo 13: The Dark Side Of The Moon is based, in part, on actual transcripts, it can be streamed from originaltheatreonline.com
AND THE REST
The saddest news this week came with the announcements that all theatres on Broadway will be closed until June 2021 at the earliest. Whereas the West End are starting to see some of its theatres re-open with reduced audiences with plans in place for more openings in the New Year, Broadway have not been as fortunate as us in terms of live theatre.
The announcement has also forced the new production of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster to delay its opening. It will now play its first preview on December 21st 2021, more than fifteen months after it was due to premiere.
Oh happy day! Whoopi Goldberg has confirmed that a third installment of the Sister Act movie franchise is in the works, 28 years after the second film was released.
In the meantime, Whoopi is due to reprise her role as Deloris in London for a limited run of Sister Act at Eventim Apollo next summer, delayed from its planned 2020 season.
Tonight's final of Britain's Got Talent will feature a show stopping performance from three giants of the West End. The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Mary Poppins will join forces for a one off medley of songs from all three shows. Cast members including Carrie Hope Fletcher, John Owen Jones, Shan Ako, John Owen-Jones, Matt Lucas, Killian Donnelly, Charlie Stemp and Zizi Strallen will be among the 60 performing.
There's more news for all 3 shows too...
Details for new cast recordings for Les Miserables and Mary Poppins have been confirmed. The 2019 all star staged concert of Les Mis will be released on DVD on November 2nd. The cast recording will be released later in the month on November 20th. The show celebrated its 35th birthday this week.
The 2020 cast recording of Mary Poppins will be released on November 6th. 'A spoonful of sugar' and 'Step in time' from the recording are available right now.
Remember that weird time a couple of months ago when Cameron Mackintosh said The Phantom of the Opera had closed for good then Andrew Lloyd Webber said that wasn't true? We finally have some more clarity as Cameron has said the show will return to Her Majesty's Theatre by Autumn 2021 if not earlier.
The theatre is currently undergoing major restoration work meaning it is likely to re-open later than other West End theatres when social distancing rules are relaxed. The show celebrated its 34th birthday this week and emailed the chance to buy Phantom gift vouchers which act as deposits for future tickets. Anyone who buys one of these will have first access to tickets to the show when it goes back on sale.
What a week for theatre. While we are far from getting back to normal, there is a lot more to be positive about as the high skilled creatives continue to prove how viable the industry is.
I wonder what next week will bring?