Watch Andrew Lloyd Webber Chat With Lin-Manuel Miranda at The Other Palace!

Last night, two of the most influential musical theatre writers of the last century shared the stage for a very special panel discussion. Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of Hamilton (arguably the most talked-about Broadway musical in years) spoke with Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose work has been so successful he hardly needs an introduction!

Anna and Emily were lucky enough to be in the room where it happened! Find out what they thought..! 

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Songs For a New World - Review

Like many British JRB fans, the original off-Broadway cast recording of 'Songs for a New World' is very familiar, but my only reference for Songs’ on stage are dodgy YouTube clips of small-town American school productions, often featuring voices ill-equipped to flatter the often tricky belts and harmonies of the show. Luckily director Adam Lenson has assembled the finest collection of musical theatre actors in town, moving them into a New York loft apartment set (complete with boxes of well-loved possessions). Finally the show looks as good as it sounds, and those (sometimes skippable) character songs are fully dressed in his production. A show which has many unanswered questions, this thoughtful production shows us it has thought about the answers, even when it cannot share them.

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Musicals to see in London in 2014

Wednesday 15th January 2014

Thank you, London theatre, because 2014 is set for some of the most exciting musical theatre programming I’ve seen in the five and half years I’ve lived in this glorious city. I’ve been booking up tickets galore and here’s an insight into what I, and you, can see in 2014.

Off-West End

Down at the gorgeous Menier Chocolate Factory, be sure to catch Candide which has just extended ‘til March 1st. I saw it before Christmas and left with happy tears in my eyes at the glory of this production and Leonard Bernstein’s sublime score. 

I’ve yet to visit the St James Theatre (which opened in 2012), so am excited to have booked several shows for the coming months. Sondheim’s Putting It Together runs ‘til the end of January with an all-star cast including Daniel Crossley and Caroline Sheen and the UK premiere of Urinetown runs from February 22nd - May 3rd. There’s also a limited West End run (at the Duchess Theatre) of the 2013 sell-out production of Tell Me On a Sunday

Urinetown poster. Source: Time Out

In the St James Studio, new musical theatre writers Kerrigan & Lowdermilk can be seen performing their songs on February 8th. Produced by United Theatrical, the production company of actors Stuart Matthew Price and James Yeoburn, this evening of entertainment follows on from Price and Yeoburn’s acclaimed ‘Andrew Lippa in Concert’ at the same venue. I look forward to seeing what other new musical delights these boys, in partnership with the St James, can introduce London audiences to in the future.

For something a little bit different, the new musical of American Psycho is the sell-out success story of the Almeida Theatre and runs ‘til February 1st. Unless you’re willing to queue for day seats or returns, the production is sold-out, but judging by its critical reception, it won’t be the last we see of a singing Patrick Bateman...

Theatre Royal Stratford East is celebrating 50 years since Joan Littlewood and Theatre Workshops’s groundbreaking Oh! What a Lovely War with a revival that also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the subject of the musical. The production runs February 1st - March 15th.  Stratford East will also be reviving Theatre Workshops’s production of Lionel Bart’s Fings Ain’t What They Used T’Be  from May 8th - June 8th; my excitement for the year ahead continues!

Come summer, the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park will host musical masterpiece Porgy & Bess. Featuring some of the greatest songs by George and Ira Gershwin, this is the sort of show I’ll happily sit through rain for (it’s hard to think of summer when it’s so grey and cold outside...)

Many venues will be releasing their new seasons in the coming weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see what else is in store for later in the year!

West End

The West End is set for some exciting openers, and some intriguing...

I Can’t Sing, the X Factor musical, opens at the Palladium in February. With a book by Harry Hill and an original score by Steve Brown, I’m interested to see whether this show is more than just another profit machine for Simon Cowell. With Cynthia Erivo (who blew me away in The Color Purple last year) in the lead role and Nigel Harmen playing Mr Cowell, the production is in safe hands cast-wise. I’m looking forward to seeing how it sits with the critics, but the audience will undoubtedly be the judges of the show’s longevity. 

I Can't Sing poster. Source: officialtheatre.com

March will see the premiere of a musical adaptation of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre. Starring Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound and Katherine Kingsley, the production is directed by the fabulous Jerry Mitchell and comes into town following a UK tour. 

Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed production of The Pajama Game will be replacing the not so acclaimed From Here to Eternity at the Shaftesbury Theatre in April. If it’s anything as good as the transfers of Singing in the Rain, Sweeney Todd and Kiss Me, Kate  were, then it’ll continue to prove that Chichester know what they’re doing when it comes to musical revivals (we won’t mention Barnum for now...)

Of course the thing I’m saving all my money for is the return of Miss Saigon which comes to the Prince Edward theatre from May. Cameron Mackintosh’s mega-musical was the show I was a bit too young to see as a kid on a London theatre trip, so I’m super excited for its return (along with just about every other person I know!) Boublil & Schoenberg’s score and that helicopter are sure to see the production run for many years, as they did in the original West End production. Bring it.

What shows are you seeing in 2014? We’re in for a good ride, folks!

What London Can Learn From the Tony Awards

'It's Bigger' exclaimed Neil Patrick Harris during the breathtaking opening of last night’s Tony Awards and my God it really was. The Tonys celebrate all things Broadway and, for a musical lover like me, are a great televised platform for the biggest new musical theatre productions to dazzle audiences with show-stopping medleys and a real taste of what they can see live on stage. While tearful acceptance speeches and awkward introductions always seem to labour awards ceremonies, it’s the entertainment segments of the Tonys which set this show above its awarding colleagues and which are a real lesson to London on how we could make the Olivier Awards something worthy of the primetime TV slot many of us think it deserves.

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