Shakespeare In Love Opens, Wicked Celebrates Landmark Plus Matilda & Phantom Casting News #WestEndUpdate
| By Andrew Tomlins
Following several weeks of previews, Shakespeare in Love officially opened at the Noel Coward Theatre on Wednesday (23rd July 2014). The majority of critics have fallen in love with the show, the Daily Telegraph and Independent both awarded the production five stars.
Coinciding with the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, Disney's stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love is based on Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard's screenplay. Lee Hall – the man behind Billy Elliot the Musical - has transformed Shakespeare in Love for the stage, allowing it to shine as a stunning piece of theatre in its own right.
On Thursday (24th July 2014) the West End production of Wicked welcomed its 6 millionth theatregoer to London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. The lucky audience member, Owen Thomas from Bury St. Edmonds, was treated to a special backstage visit after the show and met the cast and crew.
Wicked has now been seen by over 42 million people worldwide in 13 countries. The critically acclaimed musical has won 100 international awards. As one of the most popular family shows in London, Wicked has added two extra matinee performances over the summer holidays on Thursday 21st and 28th August 2014.
We’ve had more exciting casting news this week. Firstly Matilda announced its new West End cast, with Craige Els joining the company at the Cambridge Theatre as Miss Trunchbull in September. He has previously appeared in Mamma Mia! (Novello), Oklahoma! (Chichester), Never Forget (West End/Tour) and Spamalot (West End).
Els joins a stellar cast including James Clyde (Mr Wormwood), Haley Flaherty (Miss Honey) and Kay Murphy (Mrs Wormwood). Lara Denning will take over as Miss Honey between Monday 29th September and Sunday 26th October. Matilda Shapland and Violet Tucker will join Tasha Chapple and Lottie Sicilia in the title role.
The Phantom of the Opera has also announced its new West End cast. Liam Tamne will star as Raoul in the musical, which plays at Her Majesty’s Theatre, from Monday 1st September 2014. Some may remember Tamne from his recent appearance on BBC1’s The Voice. He has previously been seen in the West End productions of Les Miserables, Hairspray and Wicked.
John Ellis and Alicia Beck will also join the cast as Piangi and Meg, marking their West End debuts. Gerónimo Rauch will continue to star as The Phantom and Harriet Jones as Christine. Emmi Christensson joins the company as alternate Christine.
The Phantom of the Opera will continue to star Andy Hockley as Monsieur Firmin, Martin Ball as Monsieur Andre, Lara Martins as Carlotta and Jacinta Mulcahy as Madame Giry. The musical has now been seen in 152 cities in 30 countries and played to over 130 million people! If you haven’t seen the show you must ensure to catch this new cast in action.
Saturday 26th July marked the end of an era at the Prince of Wales Theatre as American actors Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner played their final two performances in The Book of Mormon. The pair began their journey with the outrageously funny show when together they starred in the musical’s US tour before coming to London to open the West End production.
American actors Billy Harrigan Tighe and A.J. Holmes take over from Creel and Gertner as Elder Price and Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon from Monday 28th July 2014. Alexia Khadime and Stephen Ashfield will continue to give their acclaimed performances as Nabulungi and Elder McKinley.