We were back at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this week - one of our favourite places to do our Curtain Call visits. It was a welcome return for us to see not only a Jamie Lloyd production, but following the sell-out success of Jesus Christ Superstar two years ago, another Andrew Lloyd Webber hit show.
We sit down with the company members who play the three main antagonists in the show, Samantha Pauley as Evita Peron, Trent Saunders as Che and Ektor Rivera as Juan Peron to discuss their journey from across the Atlantic to Regent's Park here in London to perform one of musical theatre's classic rock scores.
This week, we talk to The Inbetweeners Joe Thomas, Olivier Award nominees Summer Strallen and Alex Gaumond, as well as Bo Poraj and Laura Patch about their new dark comedy "What's in a Name?", in which a dinner party gets wildly out of hand when a father-to-be suggests his son just might given the name of one of history's most vile human beings.
In a slight variation to a normal press junket, they actually performed the play in a rehearsed reading before we got to speak with them. And it was fantastic. We laughed. A lot. Which bodes well before they head off on a UK tour.
Shure have come up with a microphone that is hitting the theatre world by storm. Smaller, lighter, better response and performance along with a body back that is far less conspicuous than those they have released before. Sitting alongside their big initiative called “This is the Moment”, highlighting the critical moment where every single piece of the production puzzle comes together at the moment a performer takes a breath to speak, sing or even play a note.
I had the pleasure of talking to the Senior Product Manager, Microphones at Shure about the years of development and incredible invention and iteration that has seen their new Axient digital wireless system and the Twinplex system used on shows such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, War Horse and the new musical Jagged Little Pill.
As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank, Dominic Dromgoole oversaw 10 successive and extremely successful seasons at the Bard’s theatre. His tenure started with his directing Corialanus with Alastiar Macaulay for The Financial Times saying, "If Dromgoole can build from this promising start, the best years at Shakespeare’s Globe lie ahead.". And the final production he directed, The Tempest, was similarly well received with The Stage saying “Few directors can take a space and make Shakespeare feel as alive in it as Dromgoole.” But he oversaw many productions from a multitude of talented directors including Jeremy Herrin’s 2016’s production of Macbeth was similarly revered with David Lister of the Independent stating “This is the Globe at its best.”
In his last season, two of the Globe’s productions would hit the West End with Nell Gwynn and Farinelli and the King… the later even ended up on Broadway picking up 5 Tony Award nominations.
And now, Dominic Dromgoole is turning his hand to film directing, with his feature film debut “Making Noise Quietly” which hit the screens on the 19th of July and is written by Robert Holman - the script having been adapted from the acclaimed stage play of the same name and written by Holman, Nick Drake and Mark Rosenblatt.
I sat down to talk to Dominic about the transition from theatre to film, working with some of his favourite actors and what he sees himself doing next.
The Actor's Nightmare, a collection of Christopher Durang's short plays, is having it's World Premiere this week at the Park Theatre here in London. I sat down in their rehearsal room at the Jerwood Space with director Lydia Parker, and pretty much all of the company including Meaghan Martin, Layo-Christina Akinlude, Stefan Menaul and Kate Sumpter to talk about getting their heads around playing many characters in numerous plays in the same production, the language of Durang, working in the round and their own actors nightmares.
When we were covering People, Places & Things in New York for Curtain Call, and Matt was busy taking some beautiful photographs, I was backstage chatting to the company. That is where I met Himesh Patel. Now, you may not have heard of his name yet, but you most certainly will have seen him on your screens recently. He’s the star of the film “Yesterday”, written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle. Before we started recording, and I am annoyed I didn’t get this on tape… Himesh hinted to the fact that he hopefully going to work on this little Richard Curtis film, but didn’t say much more than that. And that “little” film looks like it is going to be the next big hit, at least here in the UK.
In 2008, actor Darren Raymond became Artistic Director of Intermission Youth Theatre. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Darren who had recently finished a run of Othello.
He took charge with just four young people in that first season. Since that day, more than 100 16-25 year olds have past through St Savior’s and been introduced to the genius of Shakespeare, discovering that he is just as accessible today as he was 400 years ago.
I sat down to talk with Darren about Intermission’s latest production - Othello: Remixed, as well as their mission, vision and plans for the future.
Screenwriter and Playwright Janet Jones has had an astonishing career. She’s worked for just about every studio out there and not just as a writer, but that’s just the beginning.
She’s written lyrics, poetry, worked as a tour guide for a major Hollywood Studio, writer’s assistant, script editor, and she’s even making her own podcast. She always has a ton of projects on the go.
She’s a working writer, and you don’t get to sit down and chat with many of those… At least, I don’t. So sit back and listen to an extraordinary story of how somebody goes from Motown to the Tower of London in one lifetime!
BalletBoyz was founded in 2000 - the same in the same year that Billy Elliot was released - by ex Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. They became associate artists at Sadler’s Wells in 2005. In 2013, they won the National Dance Award for Best Independent Company.
They are now in their 19th year and have gone from those two original dancers to nearly a dozen, and they have moved into a fantastic home in Kingston on the outskirts of London. In June, they are bringing their latest show "Them/Us" to the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End, which will be the BalleyBoyz’s first foray into the heart of Theatreland.
Agatha Christie’s “Witness for the Prosecution” has been an extremely popular story in pretty much all forms of entertainment you can possibly imagine. A best-selling novel, a Billy Wilder film, American and British television adaptations, radio adaptations... If you can think of it, it’s probably been done. And, of course, that includes theatre.
Today, we come from a south London rehearsal room where we are talking to two members of the new company who are about to join the cast of the London production of the Agatha Christie classic which opened on October 6 2017 at County Hall on London’s South Bank. Produced by Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Rebecca Stafford Productions and directed by Lucy Bailey, the show has been extremely well received and has already seen its run extended multiple times.
Lewis Cope and Carolin Stoltz play the lovers at the centre of this thriller and are extremely excited to be joining such a revered production in such an iconic location.
This week, I catch up with another friend i haven’t seen for quite some time, because when I heard that Laurence Mark Wythe had a new musical being performed with the National Youth Musical Theatre, I just had to get the inside scoop. Along with his writing partner Timothy Knapman, they take the story of The Big Bad Wolf and turn it on its head.
Laurence is an extremely prolific music writer and always seems to have something on the go, so I really appreciated him sitting down with me, talking about his early career, how and why he got into the composer game and just what it’s like writing and recording music in a new digital age.
On this episode, we bring you Siubhan Harrison. After graduating from Guildford School of Acting, she hasn’t really stopped, ticking off some big bucket list musical jobs along the way including Les Mis, Grease and Guys and Dolls - all in London’s West End.
Siubhan is the real deal. And she’s showing off her comedy chops as well as her dramatic acting prowess in the winner of Best New Comedy at this year’s Olivier Awards, Home, I’m Darling.
We sat down in Siubhan’s dressing room for a quick pre-show chat to talk about her journey in getting to work with Tamara Harvey again, her director on “From Here to Eternity”, as well as discussing how theatre is changing for parents, what we love about theatre and the proper pronunciation of Theatre Clwyd.
Ben Hewis is the guy that goes behind the scenes to bring you behind the scenes of some of the biggest shows hitting london. If you have seen any promotional footage for shows such as Come From Away, Night of the Living Dead Live, Gloria Estefan's On Your Feet (which you will be seeing soon) as well as covering untold numbers of opening nights and awards ceremonies for WhatsOnStage, including working the red carpet and press room from this year’s Olivier Awards.
But more than that Ben has been up to something good. After seeing a production of Emilia (currently running at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End) he’s been using the Twittersphere to raise awareness about the production and to encourage and take as many disadvantaged young women to see the show as possible.
We recently got to sit down with the company of "All About Eve", currently playing at the Noël Coward Theatre in London’s West End, to talk about bringing this classic Hollywood film to the London Stage, and then back to the screen on an NT Live broadcast.
The company, led by Gillian Anderson and Lily James as Margo Channing and Eve Harrington respectively, were totally aware that this production of the beloved film, arguably the film that launched Marilyn Monroe’s career, and where Bette Davis utters the immortal words “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”, was going to be highly scrutinised. But they didn’t have to worry at all. Ivo van Hove’s interpretation has seen a sold out run at the Noël Coward and the company revelled in this stage adaptation.
Say the name Strallen and you can take your pick of a first name and you are pretty much guaranteed a quality turn. Scarlett, Zizi, Saskia and this week’s guest, the wonderful Summer Strallen have all graced stages across London, the UK and indeed the globe - all the while picking up nominations and awards all over the place. These are some seriously talented sisters.
And I had the absolute pleasure to meet, sit down and have a good old chin wag with Summer last week to chat about all kinds of things, because, let’s face it, she’s got a CV that most actors would die for, working for some of the greatest directors of our time.
Summer is currently playing in Intra Muros at Park Theatre until the 4th of May.
This week, it’s a little mini podcast. One that shows just how manic it can be backstage before a show during one of our visits and one that you can listen to in between stations on the London Underground. Just about as long as an Oscar® speech.
So why not let us celebrate the genius that is Olivia Colman. Not only is she a delight to watch on stage and screen. But as we found out this award season, she’s exceptionally good at an acceptance speech. Raspberries and all.
We had the absolute pleasure in meeting and chatting to Olivia while she was on stage at the National Theatre performing in Mosquitoes. So you will hear us referencing another Olivia, and that would be friend of the show Olivia Williams. She talks about their on stage sisterly bitterness as well as her fondness for the National Theatre. Hopefully we see her back there soon.
A couple of weeks ago, we brought you right into the heart of the launch party for “Come From Away” held at Canada House. The Broadway transfer was just about to start rehearsing before heading off to Dublin for an “Off Off Off West End” run.
And this week, we return to Canada House to the official press event before tonight’s official opening.
And just one of the many, many reasons you should go watch this show is to see the powerhouse performance of this week’s guest, Rachel Tucker. Rachel is a West End and Broadway star, appearing in “We Will Rock You” and others here in London as well as Sting’s “The Last Ship” on Broadway… and she played Elphaba in “Wicked” on both sides of the Atlantic. This girl can absolutely sing! And what’s more, she’s just lovely to meet in person.
We got the opportunity to talk to her about her role as “Beverley / Annette and others”. It’s a marvellous track, and we sat down to talk about just what it meant to be part of this amazing story that is SO much more than a 9/11 musical.
Earlier this week we brought you the first part of our “Get the Most Out of Your Next Job” panel at Surviving Actors London 2019.
If you haven’t listened to episode 114, take the time to download it and then you can listen to this episode. Or do the absolute opposite and listen to this one first. It doesn’t really matter, but whatever you do, you don’t want to just listen to one part. That would be like watching Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 2 only… Nobody needs that to happen to them.
In any case, I was joined by director Bruce Guthrie, casting director Sarah Jane Price, producer Kimberly Thomas-Currie, movement director Amaia Mugica and lovely actor Sam Marks making there at Surviving Actors London 2019.
Have a listen as we open up the panel to the actors in the audience.
Curtain Call had the opportunity to host a panel at Surviving Actors London 2019. If you don’t know about it, Surviving Actors was set up by actors for actors.
Since there were already panels about getting auditions, audition technique, self-taping and the like, we thought it would be good to have a panel that discussed what happens when you get the job and how to get the most out of the opportunity you’ve been given.
I was joined by director Bruce Guthrie, casting director Sarah Jane Price, producer Kimberly Thomas-Currie, movement director Amaia Mugica and lovely actor Sam Marks making there at Surviving Actors London 2019.
Coventry City is currently looking forward to its status as City of Culture, its tenure beginning 2021. To ring in the celebrations, the ever-popular Horrible Histories team visited the city to film some sketches that revolved around local historical figures including Lady Godiva and Ira Aldridge…
Curtain Call’s Theo Bosanquet takes the reins this week when he sat down with the Horrible Histories team to talk about the project with Director Adam Jenkins, followed by writer Greg Jenna. You’ll then hear from actors Jessica Ransom, Tom Stourton and Javone Prince before Mark Burnham, Costume designer, brings it home.
Curtain Call has recently published a couple of pieces about the top Broadway Musical transfers and the top musical revivals for 2019. It is by no means an extensive list, but just something to put in your pipes to smoke.
And we thought we would talk to someone who KNOWS about musicals...to go straight to the source…the amazing Jenna Russell. Urinetown, Merrily We Roll Along, Doctor Faustus, Grey Gardens, Di and Viv and Rose, Fun Home… These are just some of the more recent shows. She’s been in far, far more. Les Mis, Follies, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, As You Like It, Anthony and Cleopatray…. The gal never stops…
We sat down with Jenna to speak about the musicals coming to town in 2019, and also a bit about her concert on the 3rd of February at the Leicester Square Theatre.
Anyone who caught Dominic Cooke’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the National Theatre during the 2017/2018 season were witness to a sensational performance by today’s guest. And for those of you who didn’t get to see it...you’re in luck, because Tracie Bennett is reprising her role of Carlotta Campion this Spring in what promises to be a very popular return run.
The opportunity to hear Tracie sing “I’m Still Here”, absolutely nailing Sondheim’s masterpiece of a song, should have punters racing to get tickets.
We had the chance to speak to Tracie during the last run about what it means to sing Sondheim’s classic tunes, holding the stage at the Olivier and what it means to return to The National to perform.
Last year, Curtain Call were privileged to be invited to the launch party of the West End Transfer of the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away.
In this week's episode, we bring you our coverage of the entire event, including some audio from three of the songs featured in the musical. After just two days of rehearsal, the company stood in front of industry media and industry professionals to deliver a knock out performance.
Come From Away begins its previews later this month before opening on the 18th of February at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End.
This is the full episode and not just the intro! Sorry
One of the West End’s biggest shows will be bringing the curtain down one last time in a couple of weeks as this episode drops. And London’s Strand will be just a little bit more dull without the sparkling red footwear that currently hangs over one of London’s busiest streets. Of course I am talking about Kinky Boots.
Crowds have loved this show...and so have we at Curtain Call. And we couldn’t let the show close without one last visit to have a chat to the Charlie and Lola closing the show.
And before we kick off, I just want to say that this is going to be a two-parter, with part two coming out this Friday, so listen out for that...but to start it all off, Simon-Anthony Rhoden and Oliver Tompsett sat down with me just before Christmas to talk about all things Kinky from their first experience of Kinky Boots, to stepping into the big boots of those who went before them to just what it means to be playing in such a loved (and socially important) show.
In part one of this double-header, Simon-Anthony Rhoden and Oliver Tompsett talked about their first experience of Kinky Boots and what it means to be playing in such a loved (and socially important) show.
In this episode, we dig a little deeper and get a little more personal as the boys relate how close to their hearts this show has grown, how important they believe the show’s message is and what they will individually take away from their time in Kinky Boots.