A little while ago I was given the incredible opportunity to see a preview of the Christmas show at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham: Dreamgirls.
Dreamgirls tells the story of Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, a revolutionary time in American music history. We follow the journey of the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.
Directed by Daniel Evans, with Music and Lyrics by Rodgers & Hammerstein and Book by Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan, South Pacific is based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific and was an immediate hit following its Broadway premiere in 1949. With a now iconic score including I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair, Bali Ha’i, There Is Nothing Like a Dame, Some Enchanted Evening and Happy Talk, receiving multiple awards, spawning many successful revivals, tours and a 1958 movie.
Based on the 1984 hit film starring Kevin Bacon (which was itself loosely based on true events in the town of Elmore City, Oklahoma), we follow the story of Ren McCormick (Joshua Hawkins) and his mother, who move from Chicago to Bomont, a rural backwater town following the abandonment of his father. There, he discovers that rock ’n’ roll music and dancing is banned following the deaths of four young people in a car accident, with a traditional, conservative and strictly religious community spearheaded by the Reverend Shaw Moore (Darren Day). Taking matters into his own hands, Ren befriends the loveable (although rather dim-witted) Willard Hewitt (Jake Quickenden), falls in love with Rev. Moore’s rebellious daughter, Ariel (Lucy Munden), and campaigns for a dance to be allowed for the seniors of the school.
Based on the 2003 movie starring Jack Black and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes, School of Rock tells the story of Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp), a wannabe rock star who impersonates a substitute teacher in a prestigious prep school. Upon discovering the musical talent of his young students he forms a band in an attempt to win the Battle of the Bands contest.
Based on the cult film starring Jack Black, School of Rock follows slacker Dewey Finn as he turns a class of straight – A students into an ear-popping, riff-scorching, all-conquering rock band! As they prepare for the Battle of the Bands, can Dewey make them embrace the empowering message of rock?
I was delighted to get the chance to speak to Midlands-born actor Jake Sharp about his role of Dewey Finn ahead of next week’s show.
Everyone’s favourite kooky family are coming back to the stage in The Addams Family, a spectacular musical comedy from the writers of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by TONY AWARD nominated Andrew Lippa.
I had the honour of being able to chat withKara Lane, who plays Alice Beineke in the show.With a lovely Australian accent and a great sense of humour, I wanted to find out more about The Addams Family musical coming to The Alexandra Theatre this week and her experiences as a performer.
I’m so excited about the show! I’ve have seen the TV show and the movies but the musical is new to me. Tell me more about The Addams Family and what can the Birmingham audience expect from the show?
It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s witty, it’s such a great form of escapism which is what I think we all need right now!It’s the same kooky family that you know from the TV show, the movies and the cartoons, but with a brand new adventure. It’s actually set a little bit later in time – Wednesday Addams has grown up and she has found a boyfriend. You’ve got Joanna Clifton playing Morticia, Cameron Blakely (who has done countless West End roles) playing Gomez, you’ve got Scott Paige (Uncle Fester) and Kingsely Morton who is playing Wednesday. She is fresh out of college, although when I say fresh out of college I mean before the pandemic, so life has been on hold since then. I love that all of them in the family have really captured the essence of the characters that we all know and love without impersonating them, they’ve been able to bring something fresh to the roles. I grew up watching the 60’s TV programme so it’s quite close to my heart, and when things are that close to your heart you tend to be a bit biased to the original, but I think everyone has really nailed their characters. It’s such a fun night out!
You play the role of Alice Beineke in the show. What preparation have you done to get into character and to develop your role?
Alice is the mother of Wednesday’s boyfriend, Lucas (who is played by the lovely Ahmed Hamad), but she’s not a character that the audience may have any preconception about, unlike the rest of the family, so it has been a lot of fun to create a character almost from scratch really. Without giving too much away, she definitely goes on a journey throughout the show, trying to be the perfect wife to her husband Mal, played by Sean Kingsley.
Note: This is a press review for the 2021 tour of Rock of Ages.
Following a sell-out UK tour in 2018/2019, musical comedy Rock of Ages returned to the Alexandra Theatre. A jukebox musical featuring over 25 classic 80s rock anthems including Here I Go Again, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Wanted Dead or Alive and Don’t Stop Believing, Rock of Ages has become a global smash-hit, with sold-out seasons on Broadway, the West End, Las Vegas and spawning a Hollywood movie in 2012.
Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the press review of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.
The musical adaptation of the popular Dr Seuss book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tells the story of the miserable Grinch who lives on the top of Mount Crumpit with his downtrodden dog, Max. With a heart ‘two sizes too small,’ he sets out to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville, home of the cheery and warm-hearted Whos. Narrated primarily in verse by Steve Fortune’s ‘Old Max’ throughout, Birmingham audiences were also treated to a one-off special guest appearance from George Hancorn who opened the performance. Continue reading →
Birmingham’s BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to the Alexandra Theatre stage this week with their latest production – A Christmas Carol.
In a musical adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol The Musical tells the story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is visited by his long-deceased and equally mean-spirited business partner and three ghosts – Past, Present and Future – on Christmas Eve. Originally developed for the stage in 1994 and performed annually in December at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden until December 2003, the score and songs are written by legendary Disney composer, Alan Menken, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Continue reading →
Looking for a fairytale that the whole family can enjoy this Christmas?
This new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda. When Gerda awakes on her sister Karen’s 13th birthday, she discovers that Karen has become mean and cold-spirited – a spell that The Snow Queen puts on all children when they reach the age of thirteen to ensure that everyone is as hateful as she is. After the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter? With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend. Continue reading →
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