17th Annual Whats On Stage Awards Nominations Announced

This afternoon, we popped down to Cafe De Paris for the Whats On Stage Awards nominations. In a room filled with press, West End stars and plenty of wine, the shortlist for the 17th annual awards were revealed. We were also lucky enough to be treated to a performance of “Seasons of Love” from the 20th anniversary touring cast of Rent (check out our twitter for a sneak peak).

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Here are the nominations:

Best Supporting Actress in a Play (Sponsored by Tonic Theatre)
Jenna Russell – Doctor Faustus
Meera Syal – Romeo and Juliet
Noma Dumezweni – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Poppy Miller – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Vanessa Redgrave – Richard III

Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Antony Boyle – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Derek Jacobi – Romeo and Juliet
Freddie Fox – Travesties
Jonjo O’Neill – Unreachable
Paul Thornley – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Sponsored by Newman Displays)
Amy Lennox – Lazarus
Emma Williams – Half a Sixpence
Rebecca Trehearn – Showboat
Sophia Anne Caruso – Lazarus
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt – Murder Ballad

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Sponsored By Encore Radio)
Adam J Bernard – Dreamgirls
Ian Bartholomew – Half a Sixpence
Joel Montague – Funny Girl
Trevor Dion Nicholas – Aladdin
Tyrone Huntley – Jesus Christ Superstar

Best Choreography (Sponsored By Encore Radio)
Andrew Wright – Half a Sixpence
Casey Nicholaw – Aladdin
Casey Nicholaw – Aladdin
Drew McOnie – Jesus Christ Superstar
Peter Darling – Groundhog Day

Best Costume Design 
Gregg Barnes – Aladdin
Gregg Barnes – Dreamgirls
Katrina Lindsay – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Matthew Wright – Funny Girl
Paul Brown – Half a Sixpence

Best Set Design
Bob Crowley – Aladdin
Christine Jones – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Lez Brotherston – Show Boat
Miriam Buether – Wild
Rob Howell – Groundhog Day

Best Lighting Design (Sponsored by White Light)
Charlie Morgan Jones – Little Shop of Horrors
Hugh Vanstone – Groundhog Day
Jack Weir – The Boys in the Band
Natasha Katz – Aladdin
Neil Austin – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

Best Video Design (Sponsored by PRG XL Video)
Andrezej Goulding – Groundhog Day
Finn Ross and Ash Woodward – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Finn Ross – The Tempest, RSC
Laura Perrett – Murder Ballad
Tai Yarden – Lazarus

Best Direction
Casey Nicholaw – Aladdin
John Tiffany – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Matthew Warchus – Groundhog Day
Michael Mayer – Funny Girl
Rachel Kavanaugh – Half a Sixpence

Best Play Revival
The Boys in the Band
The Deep Blue Seas
The Dresser
No Man’s Land
Travesties

Best Musical Revival (Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe)
Funny Girl
Jesus Christ Superstar
Ragtime
Show Boat
Sunset Boulevard

Best New Play (JHI Marketing)
The Comedy About A Bank Robbery
The Flick
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
IHO
The Mother

Best New Musical (Sponsored by Shine Creative Solutions)
Aladdin
Dreamgirls
Groundhog Day
Half a Sixpence
School of Rock

Best Off-West End Production (Sponsored By Les Misérables)
The Boys in the Band
Grey Gardens
The Last Five Years
Ragtime
Side Show

Best Regional Production (Sponsored by MTI  Europe)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Flowers for Mrs Harris
The Girls
The Grinning Man
Rent

Best Actress in a Musical (Sponsored by The Hippodrome Casino)
Amber Riley – Dreamgirls
Carrie Hope Fletcher – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Devon-Elise Johnson – Half a Sixpence
Glenn Close – Sunset Boulevard
Sheridan Smith – Funny Girl

Best Actor in a Musical (Sponsored by The Umbrella Rooms)
Andy Karl – Groundhog Day
Charlie Stemp – Half a Sixpence
Michael C Hall – Lazarus
Michael Xavier – Sunset Boulevard
Ramin Karmiloo – Murder Ballad

Best Actress in a Play (Sponsored by Live at Zédel)
Billie Piper – Yerma
Helen McCrory – The Deep Blue Sea
Lily James – Romeo and Juliet
Michelle Terry – Henry V
Pixie Lott – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Best Actor in Play (Sponsored by Radisson Blu Edwardian)
Ian Hallard – The Boys in the Band
Ian McKellen – No Man’s Land
Jamie Parker – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Kenneth Branagh – The Entertainer
Ralph Fiennes – Richard III

Best West End Show (Sponsored by Capezio)
Kinky Boots
Les Misérables
Matilda
The Phantom of the Opera
Wicked

Voting closes at the end of January. To ensure your favourite wins, vote now: http://awards.whatsonstage.com/17th-voting/

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THE ORCHARD THEATRE INVITES YOU ALONG TO OPEN HOUSE

By Sophie Ross

The Orchard Theatre in the heart of Dartford’s town centre is the home to all of your theatre needs. They offer a wide range of entertainment from touring productions of West End musicals, top comedians, classical music, bands and their annual pantomime to name just a few. Originally opened in 1983, this hub of culture has enjoyed incredible success and opened it’s doors to some of the biggest and most respected names in the business.

On Sunday September 4th, they welcome you to a morning of fun and exploration. From 10am – 2pm the general public can have an access all areas experience and delve into the exciting world of theatre. The Theatre invites you to come backstage as they lift up the curtain allowing you to see the behind the scenes action. Activities on the day will include backstage tours, demonstrations, creative workshops and arts and crafts.

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Tickets to this event are FREE so don’t miss out.
Book your free ticket by calling 01322 220000 or book online at orchardtheatre.co.uk.

Kerry Ellis to guest star in Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland

Kerry Ellis is set to join the 2017 UK tour of Wonderland. She will play alongside Coronation Street’s Wendi Peters and theatre favourite Dave Willetts for selected dates during the show’s eight month run. Ellis, will play Alice with Peters playing Queen of Hearts and Willetts as the White Rabbit.

With music by Frank Wildhorn, Wonderland is a musical adaption of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Having sold out in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, this production has been Hailed by the New York Times as “inspirational”. It makes it’s UK premiere at the Edinburgh Playhouse on the 20th January before embarking on a tour around the country.

Here a timely and touching story of love in all its forms, it’s an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives.

Completing the principal cast are Stephen Webb as Jack / White Knight, Natalie McQueen as Mad Hatter, Kayi Ushe as Caterpillar, Dominic Owen as Cheshire Cat, Ben Kerr as March Hare and Carolyn Maitland as Alternate Alice / Mad Hatter. They are joined by an ensemble comprising Sharif Afifi, Toyan Thomas Browne, Divine Cresswell, Jessica Croll, Francesca Lara Gordon, Benjamin McMillan, Bree Smith, Benjamin Yates and swings Lewis Easter and Collette Guitart.

You can see the full list of tour dates below:

20 – 28 Jan Edinburgh Playhouse *
30 Jan – 4 Feb Sunderland Empire
6 – 11 Feb Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre *
13 – 18 Feb Southend Cliffs Pavilion
20 – 25 Feb Oxford New Theatre
27 Feb – 4 Mar Grimsby Auditorium
6 – 11 Mar York Grand Opera House
13 – 18 Mar Bromley Churchill Theatre *
21 – 25 Mar Derry Millennium Forum
27 Mar – 1 Apr Belfast Grand Opera House
3 – 8 Apr Woking New Victoria Theatre *
10 – 15 Apr Blackpool Opera House
18 – 22 Apr Southampton Mayflower
24 – 30 Apr Manchester Palace Theatre *
2 – 6 May New Wimbledon Theatre *
8 – 13 May Bristol Hippodrome *
16 – 20 May
Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre
23 – 27 May Lowestoft Marina Theatre
30 May – 4 Jun Brighton Theatre Royal *
6 – 10 Jun Torquay Princess Theatre
12 – 17 Jun Liverpool Empire *
20 – 24 Jun Dublin
26 Jun – 1 Jul Llandudno Venue Cymru
3 – 8 Jul Glasgow Kings Theatre
10 – 15 Jul Stoke Regent Theatre
17 – 22 Jul Milton Keynes Theatre
24 – 29 Jul Swansea Grand Theatre
14 – 19 Aug Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

(* Kerry Ellis will guest star as Alice in these venues)

Andrew Lloyd Webber completes yet another Broadway hatrick!

By Charly Ralph

With the most recent revival of Cats now gracing the Broadway boards, Andrew Lloyd Webber currently has a trio of Broadway productions. The celebrated The Phantom of the Opera, the contemporary School of Rock – The Musical and the classic Cats are all running on Broadway indefinitely, highlighting Lloyd Webber’s unrivalled success in 21st century musical theatre.

And it’s not the first time the Lord himself has held such an accolade. The Phantom of the Opera and the original Broadway production of Cats played simultaneously with Aspects of Lovein the early 1990’s and then with Sunset Boulevard in the mid 1990’s.

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If that wasn’t enough reason to pop open the champagne, the latest data from Broadway revealed that Lloyd Webber has become the first ever British composer to have three musicals reach the top ten best-selling Broadway shows of the week. All three productions topped last week’s Broadway box office rankings of highest-grossing shows with School of Rock – The Musical in sixth, Cats in seventh and The Phantom of the Opera finishing in tenth.

With no signs of retiring his piano just yet and School of Rock – The Musical set to open in London’s West End this October, we look forward to welcoming Andrew Lloyd Webber home and hearing what’s next for the decorated composer.

Joanna Lumley to host special celebratory Gala by the National Youth Ballet

By Charly Ralph

As a patron of the National Youth Ballet since 1989, it has been revealed that Joanna Lumley will host a special Memorial Tribute Gala performance on Sunday 4 th September. Taking place at the iconic performing arts venue, Sadler’s Wells, the event will celebrate the company’s Founder and Artistic Director Jill Tookey who sadly passed away in March of this year.

Since meeting Jill at one the company’s beautiful performances at Sadler’s Wells, over twenty five years ago, Joanna has become an avid supporter of the National Youth Ballet and has subsequently narrated two of their ballets. The celebratory evening will see Joanna joined on stage by many returning alumni who have gone on to dance for leading performance companies, including Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.

For more than three decades, Jill Tookey quietly became one of the industry’s most influential dance leaders, inspiring generations of young dancers and choreographers, many of whom have embarked upon successful professional careers since their training with the National Youth Ballet. In recognition of her services to dance, Jill was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours, and in June this was presented at Buckingham Palace to her ten-year- old granddaughter, and 2016 NYB company member, Gabriella Rummery.

National Youth Ballet involves talented young dancers aged 8 to 18 in every aspect of creating a ballet, from the conception of an idea through to performance on stage at a professional level. The Company inspires children from all walks of life to become involved with dance through schools and community workshops. It utilises the skills of students in associated arts and encourages the talents of young designers, costumiers, musicians and student teachers in the preparation and production of all their work.

Through the Beyond Ballet platform, the Company also nurtures young choreographic talent, supporting young choreographers in devising and showcasing their own works at professional level. This year 120 dancers from across the country were offered places with the Company, and will perform in the 2016 season.

The innovative Beyond Ballet platform will also return, showcasing young choreographic talents presenting their own works. The Memorial Gala performance at Sadler’s Wells will also include new commissions and performances from returning alumni including choreographer Andrew McNicol, West End performer Lucinda Lawrence and Birmingham Royal Ballet first artist Ruth Brill.

The 2016 programme, which includes performances at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 August, will also showcase highlights from National Youth Ballet’s 29-year history through some of Jill’s favourite commissions. These include The Old Man of Lochnagar, a ballet based on the children’s book by HRH The Prince of Wales, choreographed by Olivier Award winner and NYB alumnus Drew McOnie.

Sheridan Smith stuns audiences with her surprise return to the Savoy Stage

By Charly Ralph

Sheridan Smith has returned to the Savoy stage, much to the delight of theatre lovers everywhere. The star of stage and screen surprised Friday nights audience (July 8th) by reprising her role of Fanny Brice in Michael Mayer’s production of Funny Girl.

Having taken 8 weeks off to recover from stress and exhaustion, Sheridan shone on stage like the star she is with many audience members taking to Twitter shortly after her final curtain call to express their admiration. After a fierce amount of media speculation leading up to and during her leave of absence, we’re so pleased Sheridan has returned in such a professional manner, silencing critics with her unquestionable talent. She is now scheduled to perform every Tuesday through to Saturday until the run ends on October 8th.

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For Monday night performances, the role of Fanny Brice will be played by the beautiful Natasha Barnes who has wowed audiences during the past 8 weeks, giving her own charming interpretation of the much loved leading lady. Although both offer different performing styles, audiences are lucky to witness either actress play such an iconic role. We are thrilled to see Sheridan well again and doing what she does best.

You can buy tickets here: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/funny-girl/savoy-theatre/

Les Mis Vs Phantom – The Decider!

By Sophie Ross

The famous award winning Les Mis Vs Phantom charity football match is back and better than ever. The fun kicks off on Sunday 7th August at Bromley’s Arena. There’s still time to grab a ticket and do your bit for this amazing cause. With a star studded stagey concert and an all star football match, this isn’t one to be missed.

With an online donation page raising over £1,700 at current the proceeds will be going to Macmillan Cancer support. Macmillan provides support for people who are affected by cancer to make sure that no-one faces cancer alone.

Which team are you supporting? Let us know over on @TheTheatreHub.

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Buy your tickets here:  https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/boxoffice/select/RLSiLFLWVlaZ

Donate to the cause: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LMVP5