‘Twas the night before Christmas…✨
Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas Eve.
The poem was recorded in support of the Actors’ Benevolent Fund, of which The Prince has been Patron for over 20 years. pic.twitter.com/1QBl22mUXF
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) December 24, 2020
If you’re feeling festive and missing musical theatre, then All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre is the place to be
“But it’s not like Christmas at all
I remember when you were here”
Thespie’s Reunited series has been a fun way of getting your musicals fix over the past few weeks and in a rather clever move, they’ve managed to put together a Christmas special featuring the companies already featured, plus some brand new special guests. So All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre so we get to see Team Schwartz and Team Girl Power again and my personal faves, Team Juliet as they tackle a range of festive classics.
For me though, it was the promise of concerts to come that proved most exciting. The tight harmonies of Heathers alumni Sophie Isaacs, Jodie Steele and T’Shan Williams were a particular delight on both ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ and the women of Pretty Woman are in wonderfully high spirits on both ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ so consider my appetite whetted for their forthcoming gigs. Continue reading “Review: All I Want For Christmas Is Theatre”
Photos: Tristram Kenton
A trio of charity singles supporting some great causes over Christmas
Martin Dickinson is releasing a cover of ‘You Raise Me Up’ as a charity single for Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. The track is released on Friday 11th December and features an introduction from the marvellous Brenda Edwards and a choir featuring Kimberley Ensor, Charlotte O’Rourke, Louise Young, Jordan Lee Davies and Danny Whitehead.
Two versions of the single will be available – a full version/radio edit and a music video will arrive on streaming platforms including iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
West End star Alice Fearn, Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowell, performers and musicians from London’s musical theatre scene have come together to release a Christmas Charity single to generate awareness of heart failure, along with raising funds for the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s only patient-led heart failure charity.
‘Music will live in our Hearts’ was written by award-winning musical theatre composer and songwriter Pippa Cleary (The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾), lyrics by Mark Nathan, and a choir of West End performersand musicians who donated their time to appear on the single, including Flora Spencer-Longhurst, Laura Barnard, Lee Van Geeleen, Adam Hepworth, Sam Oladeinde, Stephenson Ardern-Sodje, Meesha Turner, Natalie Dunne, Nick Lautman and Ellie Ann Lowe.
And last but by no means least, ‘Christmas Again’ is a new song written by Anna Hale, Joe McNeice and Matthew Spalding and from which all profits will go to Theatre Support Fund+ and will then be distributed to Acting For Others, The Fleabag Support Fund and the NHS COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.
The track features, Mark Anderson, Marc Antolin, Luke Bayer, Tracie Bennett, Norman Bowman, Alex Cardall, Oscar Conlon-Morrey, Matthew Croke, Adam Davidson, Janie Dee, Alice Fearn, Tyrone Huntley, Rachel John, Ryan Kopel, Rebecca Lock, Jack Loxton, Robert Madge, Rebecca McKinnis, Claire Moore, Martha Pothen, Joanna Riding, Clive Rowe, Savannah Stevenson, Noah Thomas, Harriet Thorpe, Sally Ann Triplett and Lauren Ward.
A trio of festive album reviews with If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, Leslie Odom Jr – The Christmas Album and Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together at Christmas
“Oh, my love, we live in troubled days”
No word of a lie, since starting to play Christmas music last week, I’ve listened to If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album everyday, it truly is that joyous. It’s a brilliant twist on the Christmas album that takes a slightly left-field approach to its festive track selection and then thoroughly imbues it all with the irrepressible spirit and way down musicality of Anaïs Mitchell’s soul-raising Hadestown. Led by the gorgeous voices of Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, Kay Trinidad and Jewelle Blackman, aka The Fates, and featuring the rest of the cast of the show’s Broadway production, the album features original songs from Mitchell, Gonzalez-Nacer and the show’s MD Liam Robinson alongside festive staples and some Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen and Sara Bareilles for good measure.
What really makes If The Fates Allow… sing is the way in which the sound of Hadestown is folded into the record – never mind the Ghost of Christmas Past, this collection is haunted by the spirits of Christmas Ancients. Musical motifs from the show shimmer beautifully in unexpected places and it is just spine-tinglingly effective; so too the iconic brass sounds that pepper ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’, an ingenious way of reinterpreting familiar songs through an inimitable musical identity. A cynic might demur at such an exercise in brand extension but they would just be wrong. Just listen to Patrick Page’s profundo on Cohen’s profound ‘Come Healing’ with its harmonious backing, or the ragtime-influenced take on ‘Sleigh Ride’, or the hushed splendour and lyrical incisiveness of Mitchell original ‘Song of the Magi’. Surely destined to become a perennial festive favourite whether you’re way down underground or livin’ it up on top. Continue reading “Christmas album reviews: If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album / Leslie Odom Jr – The Christmas Album / Michael Ball & Alfie Boe – Together at Christmas”
Join stars of the West End stage for festive fun galore at West End Wonderland, a week of unique performances with plenty of stardust. All right in the heart of theatreland at the Welsh Chapel, Charing Cross Road.
Cabaret Whores, Sarah-Louise Young’s brilliant musical character comedy is packed with hilarious original songs, bitingly funny stories and lightning quick changes. Named as one of Time Out’s Top Ten Cabaret Acts of the Year, Sarah-Louise has appeared in the West End with Fascinating Aida, Julie Madly Deeply, La Soirée and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.
Yes Queens is the West End’s first female-led improvised comedy night, featuring top UK improv talent from Olivier Award-winning productions such as Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Austentatious and
Regions across the UK were hoping to win the lottery but with the news of Tier 2 (for now) for London, here’s some Christmas theatre news
The Donmar Warehouse announces today that it will present a special concert online to mark the festive season. LOOKING A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS will be performed in the beautiful setting of St Paul’s Church (affectionately known as The Actors’ Church), in the heart of Covent Garden and premiere online for free on the Donmar’s YouTube channel on Wednesday 16 December, 7.30pm. The concert will be captioned, and an audio introduction will be available in partnership with Vocaleyes.
This hour-long concert of musical numbers, sketches and seasonal poetry will be directed by Simon Evans (Staged, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui) with musical direction by Nigel Lilley (Piaf, Caroline, or Change) and production design by Grace Smart (My Beautiful Laundrette, One Night in Miami). Continue reading “News update for Christmas theatre in London”
Chichester Festival Theatre’s A Merry Little Christmas Celebration has released an enticing teaser of what’s to come in their festive celebration that runs from 3rd-5th December, with the show on the 4th being live-streamed.
The show features marvellous singers Rebecca Trehearn, Emmanuel Kojo and the divine Rebecca Caine with CFT Artistic Director Daniel Evans and a special surprise guest each evening, plus Simon Callow giving a selection of Christmas readings.
Theatre discovery platform Thespie has announced the Reunited Series, bringing together more than two dozen of the UK’s top musical theatre artists for a series of filmed concerts premiering throughout December.
Developed by Aimie Atkinson, Thespie’s Creative Producer and the Olivier nominated star of Pretty Woman and SIX), each concert presents ensemble music performances (filmed in COVID-secure London venues), and ranges from musical theatre hits, to pop music, to favourite Christmas songs. The program of each concert has been developed by the artists involved and will also include intimate interview footage. Continue reading “News: Thespie to stream concerts throughout December”
It’s a theatre that reliably creates memorable Christmas productions so it is good to hear that Forever Plaid will return to Upstairs at the Gatehouse from 16th December. The cast features Cameron Burt, George Crawford, Christopher Short and Alexander Zane, with Ian Oakley (musical director) and Jess Martin.
The show was written and originally directed and choreographed by Stuart Ross and has musical continuity, supervision and arrangements by James Raitt. This production is directed by John Plews and choreographed by Racky Plews. Continue reading “News: new musicals for Christmas and New Year”