Monday, 20 October 2014

NEW ALBUM - Auburn Jam Records and the MAD Trust get ready for Christmas!

You may think it is too early to start discussing all things Christmas - I know that is what I have been telling all my friends. But when a very special press release popped up in my Inbox today, I had to make an exception to the rule!

(Courtesy of Auburn Jam Music)

Auburn Jam Records, otherwise known as the super talented Joe and Nikki, alongside the MAD Trust are going to release ‘The West End Goes MAD For Christmas’; a compilation album of Christmas songs by new writers, performed by a host of West End stars.

The album will be officially released on November 30th to coincide with MAD Trust’s annual fundraiser, A West End Christmas’, at St Paul’s (The Actor’s Church), Covent Garden.

CDs, priced at £10, are available to pre-order now via both the MAD Trust and Auburn Jam Music websites.

Songs on the album will be:

Together We Can Make ItKillian Donnelly and the cast of Les Misérables; written by Felix Hagan

Home Alistair Brammer; written by Gus Gowland and Alistair Brammer

I Love ChristmasChloe Hart; from The Bakewell Bake Off written by The Baking Committee

This Christmas – written and performed by Stuart Matthew Price

Reindeer WivesHarriet Thorpe, Christopher Howell & Sophie Isaacs; written by Anderson and Petty

A Soldier’s ChristmasGerónimo Rauch and Nadim Naaman; written by Nadim Naaman

Praying For You Gina Beck; written by Alexander S. Bermange

The Little Match GirlJanie Dee; written by Tim Connor

Nikki and Joe Davison are the husband and wife team behind Auburn Jam Music production. They explain the inspiration behind the album:
 
"This year is the 5th anniversary of our studio, so we wanted to do something special to celebrate, and raise some money for the brilliant work that The Make A Difference Trust do at the same time. We have had the privilege of working with some fantastic up-and-coming new musical theatre writers, as well as talented West End performers and singer-songwriters to produce albums and original cast and concept recordings over the past five years, so it seemed like the perfect celebration to do a Christmas album of new songs! The album is very eclectic, there’s rock, pop, classical, comedy… definitely something for everyone! "

A minimum of 20% from every sale will go to the charity, and this will increase and increase the more are sold as costs are covered. So buy one for yourself, your friends, your mum, your gran, your neighbour and your goldfish!

To pre-order your copy of this wonderful album (I know I will be!), head over to:

http://madtrust.myshopify.com/ or http://www.auburnjam.co.uk/product/the-west-end-goes-mad-for-christmas/ 

Such a worthy cause deserves so much support - so spread the word and tell as many people as you can about this wonderful album!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The West End Wilma Awards - NOMINEES ANNOUNCED! VOTING NOW OPEN!

 
What do you get when you take one of the best Theatre Bloggers around - and everyones favourite Nanna - and add in a touch of class, charm and sparkle in the shape of the newest set of West End Theatre awards?
 
Welcome to THE WILMA AWARDS, created by the legendary West End Wilma!
 
The Awards - running for the first time ever, and in association with Freedom Bar Soho - will take place on Friday afternoon, 7th November 2014 at an exclusive invite-only ceremony at Freedom Bar in Soho, hosted by Tim McArthur.

Guests will be treated to Afternoon Tea with Wilma (courtesy of The Full English) while they watch the winners be revealed and listen to some very special live performances
 
I am so excited to say that, after many tough decisions and difficult deliberations, West End Wilma and her team of reviewers have now shortlisted the nominees in each category from their combined opinions on the past 12 months Theatre. It is now up to the public vote to decide on the winners.
 

And the nominees are….
 
• Miss Saigon
• Shakespeare In Love
• Wicked
• Matilda

Most Underrated West End Show
• Stephen Ward
• From Here To Eternity
• 39 Steps
• Ladykillers 

Best Fringe Production 
• Urinetown - St James Theatre
• Fleabag - Soho Theatre
• The Spring Tide - Old Red Lion Theatre
• Title of Show - Landor Theatre 
• Rocky Horror
• Cats
• Cabaret
• Avenue Q

Best Supporting Cast Member
• Lizzy Connolly - Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 
• Alexia Khadime - Book of Mormon
• Peter Polycarpou - The Pajama Game
• David Huwel Baynes - Alice Through The Looking Glass

Best Take Over In A Role
• Savannah Stevenson - Wicked
• Alex Gaumond - Matilda
• David Hunter - Once
• Dianne Pilkington - Mamma Mia
• Official Theatre
• West End Frame
• Pocket Size Blog
• A Younger Theatre
• Cynthia Erivo
• Laura Pitt-Pulford
• Nellie McQuinn
• Jordan Lee Davies
• Above The Stag
• The Union Theatre
• The Old Red Lion
• Park Theatre

Lifetime Achievement In Theatre – sponsored by HotTicketOffers.com
• Bonnie Langford
• Imelda Staunton
• Sheila Hancock
• Harriet Thorpe
Public voting IS NOW OPEN and will run for two weeks at www.westendwilma.com
 
For more details, you can follow @WilmaAwards on Twitter and 'Like' the Wilma Awards Facebook page
 
I certainly know who I will be voting for - do you?
 
Signing off for now
 
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx


URINETOWN - Welcome to the West End!

 
One of my favourite new shows of 2014 has to be the dark comedy classic URINETOWN, which ran at the wonderful St James Theatre for a sold out run earlier in the year. Directed by Jamie Lloyd, it was certainly one of the strangest yet phenomenal shows I had ever seen - it had definitely been a while since I had laughed that much at a show.
 
So when I heard it was transferring to the West End - I was overjoyed that this show was going to be brought to an even wider audience, and I certainly cannot wait to pay another visit very soon.
 
Until then - my dear friend, and truly awesome fellow Theatre Blogger THEATRE THERAPY was present for the shows first night at the Apollo Theatre. Check out her fantastic report here: -
 
 
Head over to www.urinetown.co.uk for more details about the show, as well as details of how to book tickets - I promise you won't regret it!
 
Signing off for now
 
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx
 


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . West End Wilma


I am over the moon to announce the identity of my next interviewee - an interviewee who to me, as a novice blogger and someone who has such immense respect and admiration for her, needs no introduction.

Here's what happened when I chatted to the legend that is WEST END WILMA . . .

Tell us a little known fact about yourself - something we wouldn't know by looking at you

I love wine.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer/blogger? And what was it about theatre that inspired you into becoming TheatreLand's favourite Nanna?

I really didn't ever think about it. I always enjoyed writing but it wasn't until one day a friend of mine said I should start a blog because I see so many shows that I decided to give it a go! I didn't think anyone would ever read it! I'm still not sure anyone does!
 
What was the first song/album you ever bought?

I think it was Moon River! Back in my day there was no iTunes or Spotify but I think is wonderful that music is so accessible these days!
 
Wilma collects her Ticketmaster Blog Award for Best Theatre Blog
(Picture from www.thestage.co.uk)
 
What was the first play/musical you ever saw (as a theatre-goer) and what was the first show you ever reviewed?

The first show I reviewed was Masterclass at the Vaudeville Theatre with Tyne Daly back in 2012 (not that long ago)! Interestingly the second show I reviewed was a production of Les Mis performed by inmates of an all male prison!
 
The first show I ever saw? I have no idea!

What was the last play/ musical that you saw that took your breath away (in a good way!) and why?
 
I saw the touring production of Top Hat a couple of weeks ago and it was every bit as wonderful as the West End production! I loved it!

One of the most popular features on your website is TEA WITH WILMA. If you could have any Theatre Performer (West End or Broadway) be a part of a future TEA WITH WILMA that hasn't been involved already, who would it be and why?

Oh wow. That's a good question. I'd love to meet Imelda Staunton. Or of course the legend that is Angela Lansbury! That would be incredible!

(Picture from www.westendwilma.com)
 
Your newest project is THE WILMA AWARDS. You have said yourself that there are already so many Theatre Awards out there - what will make THE WILMA AWARDS stand out from all the rest?

I think there are a few categories that are different to those you would typically see in theatre awards. Guests at the ceremony will be treated to afternoon tea courtesy of The Full English (http://www.thefullenglishfoodcompany.ltd.uk) which is lovely as I will get to have tea with so many people at once!

All the awards will be voted for by the public and you will be able to vote for each category separately. So if you haven't seen any of the shows listed or don't know who the people are, you can leave it blank to avoid contaminating the results with a randomly chosen answer.
 
You have some very specific categories - why did you choose those in particular?

It was actually very difficult to keep it to 10 categories. I didn't want it to go on forever and so was keen to narrow it down. I think there is a good mix of categories and ultimately they were the ones I wanted to recognise most.

We know that the awesome Tim McArthur will be hosting at the Awards Ceremony in November - what else can we expect from the event?

There will be a couple of very special live performances. And it's being held at the stagey Freedom Bar Soho (http://freedombarsoho.com) and so I'm sure there will be a few Pornstar Martini's consumed at some point!

In 10 words or less, what would you say to my readers to ensure they vote once the nominations have been announced?

If you love theatre then show your support by voting!

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to your 13 year old self - what would you say?

My mother told me when I was young that I could be anything I wanted to be. You might have to work hard to make it happen but anything is possible. I still live by that motto and I believe it's true!
 
To find out more about the Awards, including nominations and voting, please check out the brilliant http://www.westendwilma.com/wilma-awards/ , and over on Twitter @westendwilma and @wilmaawards

It was such an honour and an absolute dream to conduct this interview. I can only but give my endless thanks to Wilma for giving up her time to answer my questions!

All hail West End Wilma :-)

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

UPCOMING EVENT - Dan and Laura Curtis at the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room


Just a note to let you all know - if you don't know already - about an upcoming concert at the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room by the truly marvellous songwriting duo (and former interviewees) Dan and Laura Curtis.

The concert will take place on 14th October and will feature artists such as Alexander Hanson (Stephen Ward, Jesus Christ Superstar), Sabrina Aloueche (Les Miserables, We Will Rock You), Rebecca Caine (Les Miserables, Phantom Of The Opera), Mark Moraghan (Priscilla Queen of The Desert), Chloe Hart (Hairspray, Wicked), Anna O'Byrne (Love Never Dies, Phantom Of The Opera), Lucie Jones (Les Miserables) and many other special guests.

The evening will feature music from Love on 42nd Street as well as premiering a number of new songs.

You can still get tickets for what I am sure is going to be a night to remember over at http://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/daniel-and-laura-curtis/default.aspx and to learn more about Dan and Laura, including their stunnning new song WHEN YOU SMILE, performed by the stunning Laura Osnes, why not check out http://www.danandlauracurtis.com/ too!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

COMING SOON! The West End Wilma Awards

 
Anyone who knows me will know that one of my "Blog Idols", if you will and someone I respect immensely in the Blogging Community is the wonderful WEST END WILMA.
 
So when I heard she was launching the first ever WILMA AWARDS, needless to say, I was very intrigued!
 
In association with Freedom Bar Soho, the first ever WILMA AWARDS will take place on Friday 7th November 2014 at an exclusive invite-only ceremony at Freedom Bar in Soho, hosted by the brilliant Tim McArthur. The afternoon will include Afternoon Tea with Wilma (courtesy of The Full English) while the winners are revealed alongside some very special live performances!

People have been telling me for years that I should do The Wilma Awards but I wanted to wait until I felt the time was right. If I’m going to do something in life, I’m going to do it properly! And if there’s one thing I know how to do it’s throw a good party!” said everyone's favourite Nana of the Theatre World.
 
She went on to say There are some great Theatre Awards out there already with the Oliviers, Whats On Stage and Off West End Awards but I wanted to bring my own little list of awards to life for some categories that I feel maybe don’t get recognised in other awards.”
 
Those categories are: -
• Best West End Show
• Best Fringe Production
• Best Touring Production (sponsored by Churchill Theatre Bromley)
• Most Underrated West End Show
• Best Supporting Cast Member
• Best Theatre Blog (sponsored by IOGIG Online Services)
• Rising Star Award (sponsored by Planet Hollywood)
• Most Welcoming Venue
• Best Take-over in a Role
• Lifetime Achievement in Theatre

West End Wilma and her team of reviewers will shortlist the nominees in each category from their combined opinions on the past 12 months of Theatre. Those shortlisted will then be put to the public vote to decide on the winners.

Public voting will open on 1 October 2014 and run for two weeks at www.westendwilma.com


You can keep up to date with everything you need to know about the Awards on Twitter @WilmaAwards and over on Facebook too! Oh, and if you've never paid it a visit, www.westendwilma.com is a must read for all Theatre fans!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

SWEENEY TODD at Twickenham Theatre

 
In my quest to not only expand my own knowledge but my readers knowledge of Off West End Theatre, I had to share with you all details of this fantastic new production which were passed to me by former interviewee, the awesome Jamie Chapman Dixon.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Hugh Wheeler, an intimate new production of the Tony Award and Olivier Award-winning musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.will kick-off the autumn season at Twickenham Theatre in West London.

It will start previews on Wednesday 10 September and runs to Saturday 4 October.

David Bedella (Sweeney) was a triple award winner, named Best Actor in a Musical at the 2004 Olivier Awards, the Evening Standard Awards, and The Critics Circle Awards, for creating the role of the warm-up man Jonathan Weiruss/Satan in Jerry Springer The Opera. He appeared in the role at the National Theatre, in the West End, the Sydney Opera House and in New York in a concert version at Carnegie Hall. On television David most notably played Dr Carlos Fashola in Holby City and more recently guest starred in By Any Means and Inside No. 9, all for BBC, and his film credits include Alexander and Batman Begins. His other West End starring roles include Frank n Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Billy Flynn in Chicago, and Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He starred as Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy and Wilson Mizner in Sondheim’s Road Show, both at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In the past year he played Man 1 in the acclaimed production of Sondheim’s Putting It Together at St.James Theatre and Kevin in Into The Heights at Southwark Playhouse.

Sarah Ingram (Mrs Lovett)’s many West End musicals include Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Martin Guerre, Inherit The Wind, Flashdance, Imagine This, Murderous Instincts and Napoleon. She worked with David Bedella on Sondheim’s Road Show at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Most recently, Sarah played Josie in the revival of the Boy George musical Taboo at Brixton Clubhouse following her critically acclaimed performance as Miss Hannigan in Annie at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Mark McKerracher (Judge Turpin). His West End starring roles include The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Sunday in the Park With George, Ragtime, Cats and The Bodyguard.

Zoe Curlett (Beggar Woman). Her West End starring roles include Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and Cosette in Les Miserables, and Cats and The Secret Garden on UK tour.

The rest of the cast includes: Shaun Chambers (Pirelli), Genevieve Kingsford (who makes her professional debut as Johanna), Mikaela Newton (Tobias), and Josh Tevendale (Anthony).

The Creative Team includes: - Derek Anderson, Benjamin Holder, Lee Crowley, Rachel Stone, Olivia Ward, Joel Price, and Anne Vosser

This sounds like a truly phenomenal production and one not to be missed!

Check out more details about the production and get your tickets over at http://www.twickenhamtheatre.com/#!SWEENEY-TODD-A-Musical-Thriller/c1lw/hz411kya171

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx