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First Look at the Barn Theatre’s Production of Patrick Barlow’s Ben Hur

The Barn Theatre have released production photos of their new Built by Barn production of the comedy Ben Hur by Olivier Award-winning playwright Patrick Barlow.

The production, which runs in the historic Roman town of Cirencester from 4 March to 18 April 2020, stars James Dinsmore (Great Expectations) as Edgar T Chesterfield, Liam Horrigan (The Play That Goes Wrong) as Daniel Veil, Devarnie Lothian (Grandpa’s Great Escape) as Omar Lord and Bronte Tadman (A Christmas Carol) as Crystal Singer.

Joseph O’Malley returns to direct, following his previous direction on the Barn Theatre’s successful Built by Barn productions of Hound of the Baskervilles and The 39 Steps. Bronte Tadman also returns to the Barn Theatre after appearing in their 2019 production of A Christmas Carol.

Liam Horrigan (Daniel Veil), Bronte Tadman (Crystal Singer) and Devarnie Lothian (Omar Lord)
Photo Credit: Benjamin Collins

Based on the best-selling novel, General Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and the 11-time Academy award-winning 1959 film adaptation starring Charlton Heston, this stage adaptation asks the question: can four actors in an amateur theatre company pull off this epic tale? Will the backstage drama ruin the show? One thing that can be certain… audiences will be laughing uncontrollably by the end of the evening! 

Complete with chariot races, sea battles, and stage combat, Patrick Barlow weaves his compressed style popularised by The 39 Steps into one of the largest stories ever told.

Bronte Tadman (Crystal Singer) and James Dinsmore (Edgar T Chesterfield)
Photo Credit: John-Webb Carter

This Built by Barn production marks the second time the award-winning theatre has produced a play by Patrick Barlow, following their successful 2019 production of The 39 Steps, which transferred to Theatre Royal Windsor in August 2019.

The production will feature direction by Joseph O’Malley, choreography by Off-West End Awards 2019 finalist Zak Nemorin (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), set design by Off-West End Awards 2019 finalist Justin Williams (Soho Cinders, Brooklyn), costume design by Penn O’Gara, lighting design by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner and Justin Farndale and sound design by Harry Smith.

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First Look at New Immersive Production of Zorro the Musical Opening at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre

Zorro The Musical reveals a first look at the cast in action as rehearsal images for the new immersive production are released today. The production features music by The Gipsy Kings and the evening will start with live entertainment and a Flamenco party in the foyer of Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre before the story continues in the auditorium itself, bringing the legendary adventure of the masked hero to life. Zorro the Musical is directed by Christian Durham and runs from 14 March – 18 April 2020, with opening night for press on 18 March

Zorro the Musical will be performed by a cast of 16 actor-musicians with Antony Costa as Garcia, Alex Gibson-Giorgio as Ramon, Emma Kingston as Luisa, Genevieve Nicole as Inez, Kit Orton as Don Alejandro and Benjamin Purkiss as the masked hero, Zorro. The cast is completed by Ajjaz AwadAmy BastaniIsobel BatesBen Boskovic, Maxwell GriffinMatthew HeywoodJessica PardoeThomas PingSeren Sandham-Davies and Stylianos Thomadakis.

Antony Costa (centre), Photo Credit: Ben Hewis

With music by the Gipsy Kings and John Cameron, lyrics by Stephen Clark and a book by Stephen Clark and Helen EdmundsonZorro the Musical reinvigorates the story of the iconic hero, who appears when times are hardest and the struggle for freedom feels lost. The audience will be enveloped by the action of the legendary adventure as they are taken on a thrilling journey into an iconic story of good vs. evil, love vs. hate, brother vs. brother. The production is presented by Katy Lipson and John Gertz and features original music by the Gipsy Kings, alongside their international hits including Bamboleo, Baila Me and Djobi, Djoba. The production will be filled with pounding flamenco, breathtaking sword fights, tricks and magic, comedy and, at its heart, the desperate battle within a family of power versus freedom. 

Benjamin Purkiss and Emma Kingston, Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Antony Costa (Garcia) is best known as a member of the chart-topping boyband Blue. Most recently on stage he starred in the 2019 Rock of AgesUK tour. Previous stage credits also include A Judgement In Stone, Save The Last Dance For Me (Bill Kenwright Productions), Blood Brothers(Phoenix Theatre) and Boogie Nights (UK tour). For TV he has appeared in Holby City and Casualty

Alex Gibson-Giorgio’s (Ramon) stage credits include Aria Entertainment’s recent production of RAGS The Musical (Park Theatre), Everything’s Coming Up Sondheim (Chapel off Chapel), Yank (Understudy Productions), Mamma Mia! (Australian Tour) and Anything Goes (Opera Australia).

Emma Kingston (Luisa) starred as Eva Peron in Evita (2017-18 international tour), Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Vanessa in In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre). Further stage credit includes Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK Tour) and Grease (UK Tour). 

Genevieve Nicole’s (Inez) musical credits include Guys & Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Spamalot in the West End, UK tours of Hairspray,Chicago, The Producers, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas, and previously at the Hope Mill in Pippin.

Kit Orton’s (Don Alejandro / Gypsy Leader / Guitar / Violin) theatre credits include Tom (UK Tour 2014/2016), Spamalot (UK Tour & West End), Oliver!, Spend Spend Spend, Martin Guerre (Watermill Theatre) and Dickens Abridged (Arts Theatre). 

Benjamin Purkiss (Zorro/Diego) recently performed as the alternate Strat in the original West End cast of the Evening Standard Award and BBC Radio 2 Audience Award winning Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (Dominion Theatre/ Manchester Opera House). His other stage credits include Broken Wings (The Other Palace), Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera (William Christie and Les Arts Florissants) and Allegro (Southwark Playhouse).

Zorro the Musical brings together Director Christian Durham (Breaking The Code, Quaint Honour, Café Society Swing), Choreographer Cressida Carre (Avenue Q, Titanic, Pippi Longstocking), Designer Rosa Maggiora (Hobson’s Choice, Approaching Empty, ‘Nina’ A Story About Me & Nina Simone) and Orchestrator and Musical Director Nick Barstow (RAGS The Musical, Just So, RE:arrangement). The creative team also includes Sound Designer Andrew Johnson, Lighting Designer Matt Haskins, Flamenco Specialist Maria Vega, Fight Director Renny Krupinski, and Casting Director Jane Deitch.

Tickets are now on sale at www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/zorro/

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FIRST LOOK: Anna O’Byrne performs “Somebody” from AMOUR THE MUSICAL at Charing Cross Theatre

Get a first look and listen to Anna O’Byrne’s haunting version of ‘Somebody’ from the premiere of Michel Legrand’s Tony Award-nominated musical Amour at Charing Cross Theatre!

Gary Tushaw will take centrestage in the UK professional premiere of multi award-winning composer Michel Legrand’s musical fantasy Amour at London’s Charing Cross Theatre next month.

Featuring music by Legrand with English Lyrics by Jeremy Sams (from the original French by Didier Van Cauwelaert), Tushaw (Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre, Allegro, Southwark Playhouse) will star as Dusoleil, the shy Parisian civil servant who magically acquires the ability to work through walls.

He will be joined by Anna O’Byrne (The Woman In White, Charing Cross Theatre; Phantom of the Opera,West End) as Isabelle with Alasdair Harvey (We Will Rock YouSunset Boulevard, West End) as Isabelle’s controlling husband, the Prosecutor.

They will be joined by Elissa Churchill (Elephant Steps, Arcola); Claire Machin (Flowers For Mrs Harris, Chichester Festival Theatre; Titanic, Charing Cross Theatre and UK tour); Keith Ramsay (The Cereal Cafe, The Other Palace); Steven Serlin (The Wild Party, The Other Palace; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, West End); Alistair So (The King and I, West End, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Daniel Stockton (Guys & Dolls, Kilworth House); with understudies Laura Barnard and Jack Reitman.

Announced earlier this year, just a few weeks after legendary film composer Legrand died at the age of 86, his Tony-nominated Broadway debut musical will play the central London venue from Thursday 2 May until Saturday 20 July 2019.

The show’s producer Danielle Tarento said: “Whilst I am so delighted to be producing this beautiful show, there is a tinge of sadness that Michel never got to see Amour in London, something that he sorely wanted. I hope the production serves as a fitting tribute to this extraordinary man.”

Set just after the end of the Second World War and adapted from the short story Le Passe-Muraille by Marcel Aymé, the musical follows the fortunes of Dusoleil who uses his new-found powers to rob from the rich to give to the poor and changes his own life in the process. The show was first seen on Broadway in 2002 where it was nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The Charing Cross production will be directed by Hannah Chissick with choreography by Matt Cole. The creative team also includes: production designer Adrian Gee, lighting designer Rob Halliday, sound designer Andrew Johnson, musical director Jordan Li-Smith and producer and casting director Danielle Tarento.

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FIRST LOOK: Louise Redknapp in 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL

Louise Redknapp re-joins the cast of 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL in the role of ‘Violet Newstead’ at the Savoy Theatre, London from tonight, Monday 25 March until 29 June 2019. 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL opened in the West End last month, where Dolly Parton attended the premiere and joined the cast on stage at the finale. The show is booking at the Savoy Theatre until 31 August 2019.

Louise Redknapp in 9 to 5 the Musical at Savoy Theatre, London

Louise Redknapp most recently starred as ‘Sally Bowles’ in the national tour of “Cabaret”. In 2016 she reached the final of “Strictly Come Dancing”. As a musician Louise has sold millions of records. She was a member of the band Eternal before embarking on a highly successful solo career, with her first live shows in 15 years selling out all over the UK.

Louise joins Amber Davies as ‘Judy Bernly’, Natalie McQueen as ‘Doralee Rhodes’, Bonnie Langford as ‘Roz Keith’ and Brian Conley as ‘Franklin Hart’.