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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st December 2018

The current Broadway production of the musical Frozen, book by Jennifer Lee, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez, adapted from the 2013 animated film, directed by Michael Grandage, with choreography by Rob Ashford, will reopen the Theatre Royal Drury Lane after its upcoming refurbishment in the autumn of 2020.

English National Opera is launching an initiative designed to encourage new and young theatregoers to experience the magic of opera, by giving free balcony tickets to under 18s for all Saturday night performances of Akhnaten, La Boheme and The Merry Widow in its spring season. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, but adults who pay full price for a balcony ticket can bring up to four children under 16 free of charge. Teachers bringing school groups can accompany up to 10 children under 16 free of charge. The company already runs Access All Arias, which offers full-time students or anyone aged 16 to 29 the best seats in the house for £30 or less.

The Illusionists - Live From Broadway, featuring 5 international illusionists, will return to the Shaftesbury Theatre from 6th July to 1st September.

Story Pocket Theatre's musical AniMalcolm, adapted from David Baddiel's children's novel about a boy who dislikes animals yet can't get away from them, directed by Julia Black and Adam Fletcher-Forde, with movement by Shona Morris, will open a national tour at the McMillan Theatre in Bridgewater on 16th February.

The Other Palace in Victoria is to stage MT FEST, a festival of new musical theatre, featuring work by both emerging and established writers, plus talks and concerts, from 11th to 23rd February. As in the NAMT festival in New York, there will be 45 minute showcase versions of 8 shows, ranging from new work to revised Broadway shows: AA, set at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting; Nerds, the story of the rise of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs; First Date, about the meeting of a blind-date newbie and a serial-dater; Porn The Musical, charting a young man's introduction to an industry that takes some getting used to; But I'm A Cheerleader, the story of a high school girl sent to the True Directions rehabilitation camp; Bloody Bloody Jessica Fletcher, a murder story featuring the geriatric thriller writer; The Astonishing Return Of… The Protagonists, in which a group of superheroes face middle age; and Killer Queen, a fantasy on the life of Marie Antoinette.

And Finally . . . When Nicholas Hytner took over as artistic director at the National Theatre, regarding the pursuit of 'inclusivity' and what constitutes 'serious theatre', he said: " there's evidently a thing called the young audience and everybody accepts that it's a good thing. And there's also a white, middle class, middle-aged audience and it's a very very bad thing indeed . . . We have to call a halt to this. There's nothing inherently good about any particular audience. We mustn't judge the success of an artistic enterprise by its ability to pull in an Officially Approved Crowd . . . like our Elizabethan predecessors on the South Bank, we want, while we hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature, to give as many people as possible a really good time." Words that are even more important to be heard today.


Opening This Week

There are no shows opening in this period -


First Nights

3rd - The Room / Victoria Station / Family Voices - Harold Pinter
4th - Party Time / Celebration - Harold Pinter
14th - James Acaster - Phoenix
23rd - When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other - National Dorfman
23rd - Notre Dame de Paris - London Coliseum


5th - The Merry Wives Of Windsor - Barbican Theatre
5th - Bat Out Of Hell - Dominion
5th - 42nd Street - Drury Lane
5th - Switzerland - Ambassadors
5th - Chicago - Phoenix
5th - War Horse - National Lyttelton
6th - Operation Ouch! - Apollo
6th - Peppa Pig's Adventure - Haymarket
9th - The Tell-Tale Heart - National Dorfman
12th - Kinky Boots - Adelphi
12th - Dreamgirls - Savoy
12th - The Band - Haymarket
13th - Snow White - London Palladium
13th - Room On The Broom - Apollo
19th - James Acaster - Phoenix
19th - Summer And Smoke - Duke of York's
19th - Romeo And Juliet - Barbican Theatre
19th - Macbeth - Barbican Theatre
19th - Antony And Cleopatra - National Olivier
19th - The Inheritance - Noel Coward
26th - Hadestown - National Olivier
26th - The Cane - Royal Court
26th - Party Time / Celebration - Harold Pinter
26th - Sweat - Donmar Warehouse
26th - Room On The Broom - Lyric
26th - The Room / Victoria Station / Family Voices - Harold Pinter