New Openings, Back To The Future Gossip & Urinetown Casting News + More #WestEndUpdate

Producers of Once have confirmed that Jill Winternitz has extended her run in the musical which plays at the Phoenix Theatre. This means she will star opposite Boyzone's Ronan Keating who joins the cast as Guy on 17th November 2014.

Keating's press night will take place on Tuesday 25th November 2014. The performer, who is currently a judge on the Australian version of The X Factor, is already preparing for the role. The production is currently booking at the Phoenix Theatre to 4th July 2015. David Hunter plays his final performance as Guy on 15th November 2014.

Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games officially opened at the London Palladium last night (Wednesday 3rd September) with a special gala performance which was attended by the likes of Carol Vorderman, Kimberly Wyatt and Brooke Vincent. Marking Michael Flatley's final West End performances, the show runs until Saturday 25th October 2014.

From what I hear the new cast of The Phantom of the Opera are settling in nicely at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Remembered for his appearance on BBC1’s The Voice, Liam Tamne has taken over as Raoul. The actor has previously appeared in the West End productions of Les Miserables, Hairspray and Wicked. Gerónimo Rauch and Harriet Jones continue as The Phantom and Christine.

The current West End cast of Matilda have entered their final week of performances. Alex Gaumond will play his final performance as Miss Trunchbull this Sunday (7th September). Known as one of the West End’s most versatile performers, Gaumond has starred in countless shows including Top Hat, Jesus Christ Superstar, We Will Rock You and Legally Blonde.

It’s all change at Wicked as producers have confirmed that Nikki Davis-Jones has withdrawn from the production, meaning she will no longer take over as Elphaba from Kerry Ellis on Monday 27th September as previously announced. A casting announcement will be made shortly.

In the meantime make sure you catch Kerry Ellis blowing the roof off the Apollo Victoria Theatre with her powerhouse vocals! The star recently returned to Wicked to star as Elphaba following five years away. She was the first British actress to play the role in both the West End and Broadway productions of the show.

Full casting has been announced for the West End transfer of Urinetown. Matthew Seadon Young will lead the cast, taking over from Richard Fleeshman as Bobby Strong. It has also been confirmed that Simon Paisley Day will reprise his performance as Caldwell B. Cladwell.

Also joining the cast are Nathan Amzi (Officer Barrel), Alasdair Buchan (Swing), Christina Modestou (Swing), Kane Oliver Parry (Robbie The Stockfish) and Vicky Lee Taylor (Swing). They join the previously announced Jenna Russell (Penelope Pennywise), Jonathan Slinger (Officer Lockstock), Rosanna Hyland (Hope Cladwell) and Karis Jack (Little Sally). Jamie Lloyd’s production begins performances at the Apollo Theatre on Monday 29th September, following an acclaimed run at the St James Theatre.

Whilst on the topic of Jamie Lloyd, it has been reported in the Daily Mail that he will no longer direct the musical adaptation of Back to the Future. This is apparently due to "amicable creative differences". Bob Gale, who wrote the 1985 film and its two sequels, will apparently write his own Back To the Future musical script and then seek a director. We’ll keep you updated!

King Charles III and The Play That Goes Wrong both begin previews this week at the Wyndham’s and Duchess Theatres whilst Hetty Feather closes at the Vaudeville Theatre.

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