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Don Black to receive Special Award at Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard

Renowned lyricist Don Black will be honoured with this year’s Special Olivier Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to theatre.

In a prolific career spanning six decades, Black has provided lyrics for many musical theatre productions, working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Tell Me On A Sunday, Aspects Of Love, Whistle Down The Wind and Stephen Ward

His collaboration with Christopher Hampton on Sunset Boulevard won them a Tony Award for Best Book in 1995. Other stage credits include A. R. Rahman’s musical Bombay Dreams, John Barry’s Billy and Brighton Rock, and Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula, The Musical.

Alongside his theatre work, Black’s output includes numerous film and television themes, as well as hit songs. He has written lyrics for Quincy Jones, Lulu, Meat Loaf, Michel Legrand and Debbie Wiseman, among many others. 

Black is particularly known for his long association with the James Bond films, starting with the Thunderball theme in 1965, and continuing with John Barry’s Diamonds Are Forever and The Man With The Golden Gun. A further collaboration with Barry on the title song of the film Born Free won Black a 1966 Academy Award for Best Song.

‘The Society of London Theatre is delighted to honour Don Black with the Special Award, marking an extraordinary career encompassing many genres, but particularly musical theatre. Lyricists often do not receive the recognition they deserve, despite their words being known and loved by audiences worldwide – and having personally known Don for over 25 years, it makes it a particular pleasure to celebrate his impact on the face of theatre.’

Kenny Wax, President of the Society of London Theatre

The Special Award is given each year to recognise an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to theatre over the course of their career. Past recipients include Matthew Bourne, Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Sondheim, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Sam Mendes, Maggie Smith, Harold Pinter, Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, Joan Littlewood and Ian McKellen.

The Olivier Awards, widely recognised as Britain’s most prestigious stage honours, take place on Sunday 5 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford. Nominations were announced earlier this week and are available to view on the Olivier Awards website.

#OlivierAwards

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Be More Chill announces London extension at The Other Palace

The producers of the UK premiere of Joe Iconis’ mind-bendingly fun musical, Be More Chill, which premiered to great critical and popular acclaim last week, are delighted to announce a six-week extension.  It will now run at The Other Palace in London until Sunday 14 June 2020, making it the longest running musical at London’s The Other Palace.

‘Making my London debut as a musical theatre writer has long been a dream of mine and my experience with Be More Chill at The Other Palace has exceeded all expectations. I have been blown away by the response of audiences and the theatre community here in the UK and am ecstatic that we will be extending our run until 14 June. How thrilling that more people will now get to experience this production I am so proud of, populated by a genius cast of British unicorns. I look forward to returning this summer to see those brilliant creatures work their misfit magic once again.‘

Joe Iconis, Composer & Lyricist

Scott Folan plays the central character of Jeremy Heere, with Blake Patrick Anderson as Michael Mell and Miracle Chance as Christine Canigula.  Stewart Clarke plays The Squip, Eloise Davies is Brooke Lohst, Christopher Fry plays Mr Heere and Mr Reyes, James Hameed plays Rich Goranski, Renee Lamb is Jenna Rolan, Millie O’Connell is Chloe Valentine and Miles Paloma plays Jake Dillinger.  Understudies are:  Gabriel Hinchcliffe, Eve Norris and Jon Tsouras.

Millie O’Connell (Chloe Valentine), Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

Be More Chill is based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini.  With original music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and a book by Joe Tracz.  

Be More Chill tells the atypical love story of a boy, a girl … and the supercomputer inside the boy’s head guiding him every step of the way. The boy is desperately trying to fit in. The girl’s longing to be noticed. And the supercomputer just wants to take over the world.

Renee Lamb (Jenna Rolan), Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

Since the 2015 Original Cast Recording was released by Ghostlight Records, millions of people streamed the album and formed a passionate community of Be More Chill fans, leading the musical to receive a Broadway production, and now this new London production.

When the 2019 Broadway Cast Recording was released by Ghostlight Records, it debuted at #2 on the Top Cast Albums Chart. Songs from the musical have now accumulatively garnered over 350 million streams, with the breakout track Michael In The Bathroom amassing over 31 million streams and 8 million YouTube views alone. Tumblr has ranked Be More Chill as the #2 most talked-about musical on their platform, behind only Hamilton.

Scott Folan (Jeremy), Blake Patrick Anderson (Michael Mell), Photo Credit: Matt Crockett

Joining Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz on the creative team are director Stephen Brackett, choreographer Chase Brock, set designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer Bobby Frederick Tilley II, lighting designer Tyler Micoleau, sound designer Ryan Rumery and video designer Alex Basco Koch with wigs by Dave Bova. Orchestrations are by Charlie Rosen, vocal arrangements by Emily Marshall, UK Musical Direction by Louisa Green and UK casting is by Will Burton.  

Jerry Goehring and Lisa Dozier King are Executive Producers for the UK Production of Be More Chill.

Book tickets on The Other Palace’s website and find out more about the show on Be More Chill’s website.

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Dutch musical SOLDIER OF ORANGE coming to London in 2020

Dutch musical Soldier of Orange will have its UK premiere at a specially created 360-degree theatre in London next year.

The production, which has been seen by over 2.8 million people in Holland, is based on the story of Dutch resistance fighter Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, who joined the RAF during the Second World War. His story was adapted into a film of the same name in 1977 directed by Peter Verhoeven (RoboCop).

The Dutch musical, Soldier of Orange, will open in late 2020.

The musical, which will be performed in English, has a book by Edwin de Vries, with music and lyrics written by Tom Harriman and Pamela Phillips Oland. This first English production is adapted for the British stage by Jeremy Brock.

Soldier Of Orange will be performed in a special theatre (being built in late 2019, subject to planning permission) located in London’s Royal Docks, opposite London’s City Airport.

Audiences will sit on a special rotating 1100-seat platform, which slowly reveals a 360-degree panoramic set during the course of the show.

More information can be found at https://www.soldieroforange.com/