Lea Salonga returns to London!
Date: 21/07/2019
Rating: ★★★★

The International musical theatre star: Lea Salonga, concluded her sold out tour at the world famous London Palladium yesterday. for not just one but two shows. Wowing with an impressive 17 song setlist, filled with much loved classics and some wonderful surprises, it was a concert that we’re glad we didn’t miss. As the crowds flooded into the auditorium, the excitement was undeniable as her die-hard fans awaited the moment for the house lights to drop. Greeted on stage with an ongoing round of applause I haven’t done anything to deserve that yet“, she says as the first notes of ‘Feeling Good’ start to play.

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Luke Hughes (luke.views)

Salonga has had an incredible steady career spanning over forty years in the business. She’s most known for the singing voice of both Jasmine (Aladdin) and Fa Mulan (Mulan) as well has her Broadway and West End credits for both originating the role of Kim in Miss Saigon, whilst also being the first asian descent to play both Fantine and Éponine in Les Misérables. Although no stranger to performing, she didn’t hide the fact that she was “freaking out to play the Palladium“, easily one of the most iconic venues in the UK. Salonga was originally scheduled to perform back in June but due to an injury had to post-pone, joking that she was happy to be visiting the UK during the summer months instead and that she was “thrilled to have London as the end date for the tour“.

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Luke Hughes (luke.views)

What was so special about the show was how relaxed she felt with the audience making it feel as though she was in a room with her closest friends. Her charm, wit and warming personality shone through and there wasn’t a moment where you felt she was disconnected. Her setlist was the perfect combination of what you’d expect her to sing vs some real surprises, in the form of One Directions “Story of my Life”, which her Brother had suggested was perfect for her voice.

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Sophie Ross (TheTheatreHub)

During act 2, Salonga asked for a member of the audience to join her on stage for a duet of “A Whole New World” and luckily for her, her chosen duet partner was a great singer. “Thank you for keeping up the reputation that all people from the Philippines can sing“, she said.

Throughout the entirety of the show, Salonga displayed a real genuine strength and power in her vocals, a voice that truly hasn’t changed since she began her professional career at 17. It’s a real joy to see that after all the time in the biz, she can still sell out venues such as the Palladium, as this show, was one that deserved to be seen.

P.s West End producers: It’s time to get Lea back into a West End show.

Reviewed by Sophie Ross
Reviewer rating: ★★★★★

Recently finishing as Elphaba in as part of Wicked UK’s tenth anniversary cast, Rachel Tucker is back and better than ever. Kicking off this week at Live At Zédel with four shows of pre-tour warm-ups, we were lucky to nab a ticket to catch this leading lady on her sold out run. And trust me when we say, it was one not to be missed.

Performing in front of an ever so intimate crowd at the Crazy Coqs, Rachel brings her cabaret style show to life with a catalogue of different songs both old and new. Starting off with a minor lighting issue in which Tucker said “who needs lights anyway”, she began to mingle amongst audience members raising their spirt’s as she filled the room with a rendition of Bette Midler’s “Miss Otis Regrets”.

It’s great to see this leading lady take centre stage as herself, captivating an audience with her charm, humour and all round warmness. It’s rare to find someone that oozes all of those qualities as well as having the stamina to keep those killer vocals sounding on fine form. Rachel had the audience in the palm of her hand as she transported them on a journey through the variation of songs she had chosen to sing. From Dear Evan Hansen, to Waitress to Wicked, both uptempo and some more emotional, her show appeals to everyone. Every song came with a story that related to a moment in her life and she offered used the joke “when I was on Broadway” which was always received by the laughter of the crowed room.

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Twitter: FaneProductions
For the Wicked fans in the audience, her special guests for the evening were fellow cast members and friends Louise Dearman and Katie Rowley-Jones. The trio sang a medley from the Broadway show Waitress, followed by a Tucker and Dearman duet which was simply beautiful. The chemistry runs so naturally between them and you can tell that the friendship they share is pure and genuine.
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In rehearsals (From left-right Katie Rowley-Jones, Rachel Tucker, Louise Dearman, Kris Rawlinson)
What is so special about seeing Rachel up on stage is seeing how far she’s grown as a performer from the the young ambitious girl we loved on BBC’s “I’d Do Anything”. Her hard work and passion has certainly paid off and you can tell she’s living her dream. It’s a joy to watch her stripped back, be herself and be totally in her element of entertaining people.

With a mid show outfit change, a Roxy hart role play and a near audience marriage proposal, the show was filled with so much variety. It was a real live in the moment show where you can just sit and enjoy the music for what it is. 

Before the show ended, Tucker sang a reworked version of “No Good Deed” arranged by her MD Kris Rawlinson which quite honestly, was incredible. It’s great to see a well known musical track arranged for a more mainstream audience/sound (and it’s our favourite song from the hit show so we couldn’t be happier – excuse the pun). 

Finishing off by singing Ed Sheeran’s “Castle On The Hill”, the evening ended with the crowd up on their feet applauding Tucker on what had been a wonderful evening.

Her tour kicks off in Belfast on May 13th and finishes at 54 below in New York in September.
It’s a show that you’d be crazy to miss. Grab yourself a ticket whilst you can: (http://www.parallelproductions.co.uk/racheltucker)

You can check out our recent interview with Rachel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtyUKXcJeW4&t=617s

 

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.

It’s that time of year when our inner stagey reemerges as we await the Tony nominations. This year marks the 70th annual awards which are hosted by funny man James Corden on June 12th at the Beacon Theatre. With smash hit Hamilton making record breaking nominations, this years show is certainly not one to be missed.

Take a look at the full list below…

Best Play

Eclipsed (Author – Danai Gurira)
The Father (Author – Florian Zeller)
The Humans (Author – Stephen Karam)
King Charles III (Author – Mike Bartlett)

Best Musical

Bright Star
Hamilton
School of Rock
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Waitress

Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
Blackbird
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off

Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical

Bright Star – Steve Martin
Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda
School of Rock – Julian Fellowes
Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed – George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score Written for the Theatre

Bright Star -Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell/Lyrics: Eddie Brickell
Hamilton – Music/Lyrics – Lin-Manuel Miranda
School of Rock – Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber/Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Waitress -Music/Lyrics: Sara Bareilles

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Gabriel Byrne –  Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels – Blackbird
Frank Langella – The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith – King Charles III
Mark Strong – Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Jessica Lange – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf – Misery
Lupita Nyong’o – Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo – Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Michelle Williams  – Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Alex Brightman – School of Rock
Danny Burstein – Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Lev –  She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton
Leslie Odom, Jr. – Hamilton


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Laura Benanti – She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack – Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo – The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller – Waitress
Phillipa Soo – Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Reed Birney – The Humans
Bill Camp – Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
David Furr – Noises Off
Richard Goulding – King Charles III
Michael Shannon – Long Day’s Journey Into Night


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Pascale Armand – Eclipsed
Megan Hilty –Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell – The Humans
Andrea Martin – Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh – Eclipsed


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Daveed Diggs –Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Christopher Fitzgerald – Waitress
Jonathan Groff – Hamilton
Christopher Jackson – Hamilton


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danielle Brooks – The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry – Hamilton
Jane Krakowski – She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard – Disaster!
Adrienne Warren – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt – Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram – Hughie
Jan Versweyveld – Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge
David Zinn – The Humans

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Es Devlin & Finn Ross – American Psycho
David Korins – Hamilton
Santo Loquasto – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
David Rockwell – She Loves Me

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass – Noises Off
Clint Ramos – Eclipsed
Tom Scutt – King Charles III

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes – Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie – She Loves Me
Ann Roth – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Paul Tazewell – Hamilton

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend – The Humans
Jan Versweyveld – Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Jan Versweyveld – Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley – Hamilton
Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Ben Stanton – Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend – American Psycho

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold -King Charles III
Jonathan Kent – Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello – The Humans
Liesl Tommy, – Eclipsed
Ivo Van Hove –  Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden – Spring Awakening
John Doyle – The Color Purple
Scott Ellis – She Loves Me
Thomas Kail – Hamilton
George C. Wolfe  – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler – Hamilton
Savion Glover – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Hofesh Shechter – Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner – Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo – On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan


Best Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen – Bright Star
Larry Hochman – She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire – Hamilton
Daryl Waters – Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed