In honour of this week’s opening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway, I thought it would be prudent to bring you the West End’s own Willy Wonka, Jonathan Slinger, in a relatively brief chat we had backstage during the interval of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory when we visited the show for our Curtain Call book. He talks about his inspiration for the character, the size of the company and just how big that stage of the Theatre Royal Drury lane can feel.
And now, for something completely different. What I thought I would do this week is set a little quiz. The first Curtain Call Theatre Podcast Quiz: “Guess the Warm Up”.
You are going to hear a series of warm ups in the podcast, and we are going to give a book to the person that can guess which show up goes with which warm up.
Sounds easy, but there are definitely some tricky ones in there. But hopefully you’ll have a lot of fun guessing. The trick is to listen to the acoustics of the sound, recognizable names or characters names, and I may just give you a hint or two.
And there you have it. The very first Curtain Call Theatre Podcast Quiz. Send your answers as to which shows you heard to email@example.com, or send us messages via Twitter or Facebook, and the person that guesses the most correctly will win a copy of Curtain Call: A Year Backstage in London Theatre. If there is a tie, we will draw a name from a hat.
On Friday the 7th of April, we heard the incredibly sad news that the BAFTA award winning and Tony and Olivier Award nominee Tim Pigott-Smith passed away at the age of 70. It came as a huge shock on both sides of the Atlantic, not to mention the entire theatre world.
Having built a steady theatre career, he was brought to the nation’s consience when he starred as Ronald Merrick in a career-defining screen performance in ITV’s “The Jewel in the Crown.” Garnering him a BAFTA for Best Actor.
In this week’s podcast, we bring you the first person we ever recorded on our Curtain Call journey – one of the hardest working people in theatre - Emma De Souza, Head of Media and Marketing at the Society of London Theatre, or SOLT as it is now known. But just wait to hear what the actual acronym used to be. Take a wild guess…and enjoy it when you hear.
We’re going to celebrate another Olivier Award Nominee this week. We last saw Florian Zeller in the West End when his play “The Father” ended up on not one, but TWO West End stages, not to mention the multiple theatres visited on their UK tour. He was back in 2016 with the brilliantly scathing “The Truth” – nominated for Best New Comedy.
This week I talk to the company of Amadeus, recently at The National Theatre, about the process of rehearsing with musicians who never had the opportunity of getting out from behind their instruments. But also had a chance to talk to the musicians about having to get out of their comfort zones and get comfortable with telling the story though movement as well as music.
00:30 - Intro
00:45 - Curtain Call Exclusives
01:10 - Introduction to Amadeus
02:30 - Adam Gillen
04:30 - Beth Higham-Edwards
05:30 - Fleur de Bray
06:10 - The Boys: Everal A Walsh, Geoffrey Beevers, Nicholas Gerard-Martin, Michael Lyle
07:15 - Lucian Msamati
07:55 - The Boys Part II
08:30 - Tom Eddon
09:40 - Karla Crome
10:10 - The Girls: Sarah Amankwah, Eleanor Sutton
10:55 - Tom Eddon Pt II
11:55 - Fleur de Bray Part II
12:25 - The Boys Part III
13:00 - Lucian Msamati Part II
14:00 - Curtain Call Pro Membership
14:30 - The Socials @curtaincall
15:00 - Get in touch
15:10 - Thank you!
15:25 - Adios!
This week, we talk to Michele Dotrice, currently on stage in "The Girls" about her time on both "The Importance of Being Earnest" and "Nell Gwynn".
Michele is one of my favourite people to chat to. She's just so funny, warm, inviting, smiley, happy...insert your own positive words here.
Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding have all been nominated for their roles as The Girls in Gary Barlow and Tim Frith's new musical "The Girls".
This week, we bring you Ruth Wilson. Ruth has been nominated for Best Actress in a play for her portrayal of the titular character in Hedda Gabler. An all out career-defining performance, Ruth is deservedly nominated and talks to us about her rehearsal process with Olivier Award winning director, Ivo Van Hove, and just what brings her back to theatre time and time again.
Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott play every character in "Dirty Great Love Story"a play written mostly as a long form poem. This week, they take me on their journey from the first reading the script and coming to terms with it’s rhythms and rhyme through to performing on stage at Leicester Square’s Arts Theatre.
This past Sunday saw the yearly theatrical celebration that is known as the WhatsOnStage Awards. Now for those of you that didn’t know, the WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theatre awards here in the UK where you, the audience, are the judges.
This week we bring you Jamie Parker, winner of Best Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Harry Potter and Noma Dumezweni for her portrayal as Hermione Grainger which picked up a gong for Best Supporting Actress in a Play, both for Cursed Child. We talked to Noma when she took on the titular role of Linda at The Royal Court, and we follow this with Jamie Parker when he played another iconic character, Nathan Detroit, at 2015’s revival of Guys & Dolls at The Savoy Theatre which garnered him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
In this week’s episode of the Curtain Call Theatre Podcast, we’re going to be celebrating 25 years of The Brit School. Now The Brit School is often associated with award winning musicians such as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Rizzle Kicks and Jessie Jay among others. But the school also prepares those who take the stage to perform not music, but the written word. And with success. The Brit School has launched thousands of careers in the arts over the 25 years it has been running, with Tom Holland recent winner of the 2017 BAFTA Rising Star award as a perfect example.
This week, I talk to Kyle Soller, of Poldark fame, about Ivo Van Hove's unusual rehearsal process and what it was like to work with a Patrick Marber script.
A also speak with Chukwudi Iwuji on why the theatre has such a special hold over him - why he keeps coming back.
With the announcement a couple months ago that Emma Rice was going to bring back Nell Gwynn to Shakespeare’s Globe this year and that Laura Pitt-Pulford was stepping into Gemma Arterton’s shoes, I thought it’d be a good idea to let you listen to the actors backstage as they got ready for their respective shows that we covered.
Flying with Peter!
In any production of Peter Pan worth its salt, there’s plenty of flying. Achieved with great success in this production by Sally Cooke, with many cast members both flying and counter-weighting, I wanted to know how comfortable the cast were after strapping into the harnesses. Suffice to say, it wasn’t all smooth “gliding” getting to grips with floating 30 feet above the Olivier stage floor. But once they got the hang of it, it was all fun!
Marc Antolln & John Pfumojena
Amaka Okafor & Laura Cubitt
John Leader & Dan Wheeler
On Tuesday we dropped Episode 30, when we took you backstage to Lazarus at the Kings Cross Theatre. And what you didn’t get to hear were the incredible team of understudies that I met, so I thought it was high time that Curtain Call bring you another Understudy Special bonus episode to get you through the weekend. So sit back and listen to John Boydon, Alexandra Da Silva, Trina Hill and Paul Westwood take you through their journey on David Bowie’s extraordinary “Lazarus.”
John Boydon & Paul Westwood
Alexandra Da Silva & Trina Hill
To say that last Tuesday’s visit to London transfer of The New York Theatre Workshop’s “Lazarus” was a privilege is an understatement for Matt Humphrey and I. For Curtain Call to be invited backstage on such an occasion shows just how far we have come in the last year or so. I had a fantastic time talking to the company of Lazarus at King’s Cross Theatre, including the associate producer Zelda Perkins and Musical Director Tom Cawley. Also the fantastic cast such as Amy Lennox, who you have heard on the Kinky Boots podcast, as well as Broadway star Michael Esper and Dexter & Six Feet Under Star Michael C Hall, making his London Theatre debut.
Mark Manley started a craze a few years ago when he went from doodling during phone calls to doodling actors he saw on stage. So the logical next step was to plan an exhibition, which is exactly what he did last year. Now, he is back by popular demand at The Theatre Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue. I spent last Sunday talking to Mark as he hung his latest exhibition.
The role of the Associate Director is a crucial one for any show, be it a West End, Fringe or regional production. They ensure that that show runs smoothly once the production is up and running and the director is on to their next project. An often unsung hero or heroine, Curtain Call would like to celebrate their input into a show by sharing with you a chat we had with Alexander Lass, Associate Director on No Man's Land at the Wyndham's Theatre.
00:10 - Hello & Happy New Year!
01:00 - Exclusives at www.curtaincallonline.com
01:15 - Where to find us iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play
01:45 - Intro to Alexander Lass
03:00 - Alexander Lass
16:20 - Do you have any curtain call speeches?
16:35 - The Socials
16:50 - Become a Curtain Call Insider
17:15 - Thank you's
17:30 - Adios!
It’s the last week of the year, I am bringing a few highlights, moments where I met some of my favourite stars of the stage and screen I have met over the last two years covering shows for Curtain Call.
00:10 - Welcome
00:25 - More at www.curtaincallonline.com
00:50 - Please rate and review the podcast
01:00 - Intro to Episode 27
02:00 - James McAvoy
05:30 - Denise Gough
10:45 - Damian Lewis
15:45 - Uzo Aduba
19:40 - David Morrissey
Curtain Call Co-Founder and Podcaster, John Schwab, reads "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore - better known as " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas".
Happy Christmas Everyone!
Having spoken to Joe McGann and Ben Forster last week, we are introducing you to many, many more elves, grumpy grinches and Santas this week as we take you backstage during a performance of Elf - The Musical at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End.
00:15 - Intro
02:05 - The company of Elf
15:55 - The Socials
16:10 - Curtain Call Shop Discount
17:30 - Krista Detor's Album The Silver Wood: Winter Music
18:25 - Thanks to Elf Company (See full cast on the Curtain Call website)
18:45 - Merry Christmas and Goodbye
This week is a jolly jaunt backstage to Elf - The Musical. Performed at the Dominion Theatre in London's West End, Elf was a massive festive hit, and the joy onstage was certainly mirrored backstage. I have a chat with two of the shows players Joe McGann and Ben Forster.
00:05 - Intro
00:30 - Rate & Review
01:00 - Intro to Elf - The Musical
02:05 - Joe McGann
06:45 - Intro to Buddy
07:30 - Ben Forster
14:25 - The Socials @crtncll
14:40 - www.curtaincallonline.com
15:00 - Podcast 20% off discount - PODCAST20
15:50 - Feedback options
16:05 - Thanks to the company of Elf - The Musical
16:25 - Thanks
Music: Christmas in London by Krista Detor
Last week I hung out with actor Damien Molony in his dressing room before the performance of the astonishing No Man’s Land, starring the two knights of the British Realm, Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart who as well as Damien and Owen Teale. Damien and I sat down and discussed his journey on the play, as the only cast member who hadn’t worked with any of the others before, and what it was like touring in different houses before hitting the west end stage.
This week we talk to actor Matthew Darcy about his experience of playing on two vastly different stages in the same year: The Duke of York's with Farinelli and the King and The Rose Playhouse in Measure for Measure.
00:08 - Hello
00:55 - Intro to Episode 23
02:10 - Matthew Darcy
18:00 - Socials!
18:20 - www.curtaincallonline.com
18:45 - Christmas Discount! PODCAST20
19:15 - Feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
19:45 - Thanks and Thanksgiving
20:40 - Adios
David Spicer is a writer and, more recently, playwright. With a world premiere production of his latest play "Raising Martha" opening at The Park Theatre in Finsbury Park London, I wanted to chat to David to get his take on the whole process. I have known about this play for a long time, and have seen it workshopped, optioned, workshopped again...So it's great to see it finally get a home, and with a spectacular cast.
Listen, as David takes us from radio hit Week Ending to Game Shows to West End - an incredible journey!