Tuesday, 24 February 2015

PLAYING OUR PART 2015 "Mini Interview" - Louise Dearman and Gina Beck

In support of PLAYING OUR PART - a wonderful concert taking place on the 1st March at the stunning Cadogan Hall all in aid of Comic Relief - my mini-interviews continue with two amazingly talented ladies, who are one of my all time favourite on stage pairings.

From WICKED, THE WATER BABIES and EVITA - the stunning Louise Dearman, and from PHANTOM, LES MISERBLES and WICKED - the fantastic Gina Beck.


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

LD: I used to do BMX racing, competition level and dressed as a giant bear to present a TV programme for Steiff Bears.

This is your first time at Playing Our Part - how did you get involved with this wonderful event?

LD: I was contacted by Nadim who is organising the event. Once he had explained who was involved and the charity the concert was supporting, I didn't need to be asked twice.

GB: I was asked by Nadim to take part and I'm delighted that this year's charity is Red Nose Day. Also gives us a chance to flex our comedy muscles!

How does it feel to be a part of such a versatile cast of performers - some of whom you know or have worked with before?

LD: It feels great. It's always lovely to catch up with friends I maybe haven't seen or performed with in a while. Plus it's lovely to hear those performers sing material I'd never have had to chance to hear them sing before.

GB: Oh, it's going to be such a fun night because I consider a lot of the performers to be close friends, we are gonna have a right laugh!!

Comic Relief is all about looking at serious issues in a lighthearted way. That being said, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

LD: Ooh, lots of things but the funniest when I look back is being centre stage in Evita during Buenos Aires, doing a high kick and my leg being swept away from under me! I've never gone down and got up so fast!! The reaction of the cast around me was what made me laugh though, nice to know they were concerned!!

GB: I've worked with David Burt twice now and his mere presence on stage next to me is the funniest thing that's ever happened to me, he is a law unto himself!

Can you tell us anything about what song you will be singing?

LD: I'm singing a duet but won't spoil it, stop trying to squeeze that out of me cheeky! My solo will be by William Finn. It's one of favourite songs to sing, the lyrics are incredibly moving, emotional yet positive. It holds a beautiful message.

GB: Well I'll be doing a song that Kristin Chenoweth once sung.. And perhaps a duet with a certain ex witch :)

Convince my readers who have NOT bought a ticket yet why they should buy a ticket - in no more than 10 words.

LD: Versatile, diverse performers. One room. One evening. For Comic Relief.

GB: Come and buy tickets for laughs and great singing!

There are still tickets available to see Louise, Gina and a huge array of West End talent take the stage all in aid of Comic Relief - just head over to https://secure.cadoganhall.com/event/playing-our-part-150301/book/?performance=1216 for all the details. You can also find out more over on Twitter @PlayingOurPart1

It has been such a pleasure to interview all of these amazing performers and I once again have to give a HUGE thank you to Nadim Naaman for giving me the opportunity to support this amazing event!

I can't wait for the concert itself now - will you be there? I know I will!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Friday, 20 February 2015

PLAYING OUR PART 2015 "Mini Interview" - Jeremy Secomb and Christopher Howell

In support of PLAYING OUR PART - a wonderful concert taking place on the 1st March at the stunning Cadogan Hall all in aid of Comic Relief - my mini-interviews continue with two amazingly talented gentleman, who are both returning for a second time to PLAYING OUR PART this year.

From WICKED, BETTY BLUE EYES and HAIRSPRAY - the brilliant Christopher Howell, and from PHANTOM and SWEENEY TOOD - the sensational Jeremy Secomb.


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

CH: I have double jointed thumbs and love Star Wars.

JS: I’m known by my family as Jerm!
 
This is your second time performing at Playing Our Part - what made you want to come back again?

CH: I wanted to come back to the project because of all the fun we had last year and the huge amount of money that was raised. I hope we beat last years amount and put on a fantastic show!

JS: The first Playing Our Part was such a great success both for the Charity and well received that when I was asked again I jumped at the chance. Great Venue, Great orchestra and great people involved. What’s not to like?
 
How does it feel to be a part of such a versatile cast of performers - some of whom you know or have worked with before?

CH: I feel very blessed to be part of this amazing cast - the line up is ridiculous! I have played along side many of these actors as teacher, goat, stage hand, mother (I could go on) and I really look forward to hearing their songs with Alex Parkers' wonderful orchestra.

JS: It’s great to be asked in the first place but then you add all the people involved as well then, it’s a no brainer. Great to be working with Nadim again as well as all the others. A few people that I don’t know personally but I know of their work.

Comic Relief is all about looking at serious issues in a lighthearted way. That being said, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

CH: I have had lot of fun on stage so it's hard to pick one - possibly the most recent is good. I managed to fall down a steep staircase after an exit in a scene, put my foot through a wall and was not able to get it out as the play continued - the audience and cast found this amusing, I was not hurt and the whole thing was filmed for posterity!

JS: Probably Killian Donnelly doing the whole of the first Managers scene in Phantom with toilet paper under his shoe. He had no idea what we were all laughing about.
 
Can you tell us anything about what song you will be singing?

CH: I am singing a song from a show I did 10 years ago and I have also sung this in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

JS: I’ll be singing a song that is a bit of a classic in Musical Theatre. It’s very well known as a comedy song and it’s a song that I’ve known and been singing for years. When Nadim asked me to sing it, I was thrilled AND it has some backing vocals.

Convince my readers who have NOT bought a ticket yet why they should buy a ticket - in no more than 10 words.

CH: Theatre fans book now - it's a no brainer!

JS: Great Venue, Orchestra, Cast. West End Performers having FUN.

There are still tickets available to see Christopher, Jeremy and a huge array of West End talent - including Simon Bailey, Jamie Muscato, Laura Tebutt, Adam Linstead and many more, take the stage all in aid of Comic Relief - just head over to https://secure.cadoganhall.com/event/playing-our-part-150301/book/?performance=1216 for all the details. You can also find out more over on Twitter @PlayingOurPart1

Coming next - two new additions to PLAYING OUR PART this year, who together form one of my all time favourite on-stage pairings.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

PLAYING OUR PART 2015 "Mini Interview" - Steph Parry and Laura Jane Matthewson

I am once again truly honoured to be supporting the fantastic PLAYING OUR PART, which will this year be taking place on 1st March at the stunning Cadogan Hall all in aid of Comic Relief.

I have also been given the opportunity to chat to some of the phenomenal performers ahead of what is sure to be a wonderful night of music and fundraising that I am certain will exceed the spectacular total raised last year.

Lets start my mini-interviews with two amazingly talented female performers, who are both new to PLAYING OUR PART this year.

From MAMMA MIA and BILLY ELLIOT - the stunning Steph Parry, and from DOGFIGHT - the truly enchanting LAURA JANE MATTHEWSON.

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

SP: I tried my hand at stand up comedy - I did 5 gigs before realising that it really wasn't for me! I'm not very good at "off the cuff" stuff. If I got heckled then my knee jerk reaction was to cry!

LJM: I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Katy Perry. I'm so inspired by her determination and individuality! She's so beautiful. I have some of her lyrics tattooed on my ribs...

This is your first time at Playing Our Part - how did you get involved with this wonderful event?

SP: I did a charity concert with Nadim a few years ago and was very keen to get involved so offered my services and thankfully he took me up on them!

How does it feel to be a part of such a versatile cast of performers - some of whom you know or have worked with before?
 
SP: It's amazing. I'm thrilled to be working with Killian again and I know Louise and Nadim so I'm excited to share the stage with them. It's just so great to be a part of such a talented group of people - I still get star struck. I feel like I've won a competition and my prize is to perform with this lovely lot :-)

LJM: I'm really excited be a part of this cast as they're all outrageously talented and each so unique; everyone will bring something different to the table which will make for a great show. Jamie Muscato is like a big brother to me after playing opposite him in Dogfight so I'm really looking forward to singing with him again, but I'm also looking forward to working with the others just 'cos I'll get to watch them doing their thing! I would pay to see Laura Pitt Pulford, I think she is sensational, so it's a treat to be involved in the same show.

Comic Relief is all about looking at serious issues in a lighthearted way. That being said, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

SP: I've got a few things - my skirts fallen down, I've fallen flat on my face several times but I think the funniest was a night in Mamma Mia where I was on for the role of Donna and during a quick change, my zip got stuck so I didn't make it on stage in time for my wedding. But the whole thing is choreographed so the vicar just married Sam on his own with no bride - I just ran in rather late and proceeded to giggle for the rest of the number. Terribly unprofessional!!
 
LJM: Jamie HATES tomatoes so for the final matinee of Dogfight, me and some of the lads put tomatoes and tomato puree all over the food I was supposed to share with him during the restaurant scene. It backfired because the look on his face entertained me so much that I was the one who couldn't sing for laughing.

Convince my readers who have NOT bought a ticket yet why they should buy a ticket - in no more than 10 words.

SP:
To quote Nike - "just do it!"
 
LJM: GREAT line-up. If I wasn't performing, I would buy a ticket.

There are still tickets available to see Steph, Laura and a huge array of West End talent - including Killian Donnelly, Nadim Naaman, Laura Pitt Pulford, Wendy Ferguson and many more, take the stage all in aid of Comic Relief - just head over to https://secure.cadoganhall.com/event/playing-our-part-150301/book/?performance=1216 for all the details. You can also find out more over on Twitter @PlayingOurPart1

Coming next - two of the gentleman of PLAYING OUR PART, both returning performers from last years concert.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

HOT NEW MUSIC - Dan and Laura Curtis / Paradise Lost

Can I urge every single one of my readers to check out some amazing new music that has been released recently?

Superstar composers - and all round amazing people - Dan and Laura Curtis have recently released an enchanting new song with Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson. "Find the Best of Me" will raise funds for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and is truly a breathtakingly beautiful song.

You can purchase the track - as well as Dan and Laura's beautiful album Love on 42nd Street, featuring Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Barks and Sierra Boggess - from all good music download sources.

Don't forget to check out Paradise Lost - a new musical created by the awesome duo of Lee Ormsby and Jonathan Wakeham. Released through the always marvellous SimG Productions, the album takes the classic John Milton poem and turns it into an epic story of love, war, loss and revenge.

With songs being brought to life by such phenomenal talent as Ricardo Afonso, Charlotte Wakefield, Matthew Wycliffe, Julie Atherton and many more - this is another must have album, and I can only hope it won't be too long before we see this stunning show on a West End stage.

To purchase a copy of this amazing album - check out http://www.simgproductions.com/Records/Paradise_Lost.html for more details.

I guarantee you will not be disappointed by either of these recommendations - mark my words :)

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

OLIVIER 2015 AUDIENCE AWARD - who is your winner?

Details were announced today of Stage 1 voting for the 2015 Olivier Audience Award.

The 16 nominated shows are: -

The 39 Steps
Billy Elliot The Musical
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
The Commitments
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
Disney’s The Lion King
Jersey Boys
Mamma Mia!
Matilda The Musical
The Mousetrap
The Phantom Of The Opera
Stomp
Thriller Live
War Horse
Wicked
The Woman In Black


You can cast your vote over at https://secure2.votebyinternet.com/V2-3-3/(S(c6e4aae0-2d97-4738-a1f6-7d7bd195f696AMI8CMAAAAAAAA=OhOkfbiOuOyeLTdP5RU))/oliviersaudience2015/en/login?bbp=-1&x=-1

You have until 12:00 on 5 March to take part in stage 1 of voting. The top four shows from stage 1 will be announced on 9 March, when voting will reopen to choose a winner.  

I've chosen my winner (GO TEAM PHANTOM!) - but who is yours?

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014 HIGHLIGHT - The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to experience some truly memorable theatre while on visits to the city of Manchester.

Believe me, seeing Kenneth Branagh lead a stellar cast as MACBETH was staged in an abandoned church, and being totally enthralled in a play all about the greatest chess player of all time in THE MACHINE are not things you forget in a hurry.

However, it was on my most recent trip to Manchester - in December 2014 - that I experienced yet another remarkable element to the Theatre scene in this beautiful City.

When one of my closest friends (who also took me to The Machine and Macbeth!) told me that, while on a visit to her home town, we would be going to see a show at The Royal Exchange Theatre, I was extremely intrigued. She had mentioned this theatre as one of her all time favourites on a number of occasions, mentioning in particular the
uniqueness of the performance space.

And as we arrived outside the theatre, my curiosity continued to grow.
 
 
 
Yes - it certainly was a beautiful building, a mix of the old and the new in the heart of the city. But in my head - I had already pictured what it would be like when we got inside.

However, nothing could have prepared me for what greeted me when I actually did step in. Never have what I expected something to be like, and what something was actually like been MORE different!

 
 
My breath was completely taken away at the sight of this stunningly beautiful and enchanting building. The central auditorium (which reminded me of one of those creatures you find in War of the Worlds) was surrounded by bars, coffee shops and spaces for the audience to relax both pre and post show.
 
This vast outside space also allowed the cast of the show - on this occasion, Little Shop of Horrors - to move both themselves and major scenery/props around with ease and considering they were performing in such an intimate space, this did not limit their outstanding performance abilities.
 
The auditorium itself reminded me so much of the Donmar Warehouse, but being in the round only added to the breath-taking atmosphere as I sat down to see Little Shop of Horrors for the first time ever.
 
 
 
What greeted me over the next 2 and a bit hours was one of the most bonkers shows I have ever seen - but I absolutely loved every second of it! It would be totally wrong for me to single anyone of the phenomenal cast out, but along with the superb creative team - they have a production of absolute sheer brilliance on their hands, and a definite must see whether you are 4, 44 or 84!
 
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE - http://youtu.be/VvJ99WXsdRA
 
The show runs until the 31st January 2015, and I can't recommend it enough! You can get your tickets at: - http://www.royalexchange.co.uk/whats-on-and-tickets/little-shop-of-horrors

I cannot say enough good things not only about the show, but also about this beautiful venue and everyone who works there - especially as they were so gracious, patient and friendly dealing with this non-Mancunian who kept losing her way!

I would encourage every single one of you to visit the Royal Exchange Theatre as I can guarantee it will be one of the most unique theatre experiences you will ever have. It was one of my 2014 Theatre highlights and I certainly can't wait to get back there!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

PHOTO FEATURE! My 2014 Theatre Year - and what a year it was!

2014 has been quite a year for me in the Theatre World. A year of first time visits new productions and theatre overseas - how do I even try to summarise what my highlights of the year have been?
 
Well, here goes! As I couldn't narrow them down, may I present to you, my lovely readers - in no particular order - my 2014 Theatre Year highlights . . .
 
1) Seeing Porgy and Bess at Regents Park Open Air Theatre.
 
 
2) Taking my 10 year old sister to see her first West End show - Phantom of the Opera.
 

 
3) Meeting the brilliant Gavin Creel at Singular Sensations, holding an actual Olivier Award - and having quite possibly the BEST post show photo ever!
 
 
 
4) Discovering a renewed love for JERSEY BOYS, including seeing original Frankie John Lloyd Young perform the role live, and seeing the show in Las Vegas.
 

 
 5) Les Mis vs Phantom is always such a brilliant day! My second visit to the annual event, played this year in the memory of the beautiful Melanie Oakley Dow, included a Team Phantom win, and a hauntingly beautiful performance of "Bring Him Home" by the Four Valjeans in her memory - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F63ilGRpVko&list=UUkMYAxrbhrQWcyjRuLxVyFw

 
6) Meeting the legendary Douglas Hodge after his phenomenal performance as Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

 
7) My first ever visit to the Donmar Warehouse to see Tom Hiddlestone and Hadley Fraser in "Coriolanus." (As an English teacher by day - this moment particularly blew my mind!)
 
 
 8) ONCE is always a highlight for me - it was so sad to see the phenomenal original cast leave, but the new casts, including Guys Arthur Darvill and David Hunter kept the standard so high!
 
 
 
 
10) Seeing WEST SIDE STORY for the first time ever, as it toured the UK.
 
 
11) I know it wasn't a highlight for many - but I loved I CAN'T SING and truly feel, even now, that it wasn't given the chance it deserved. The most bonkers 2 hours I have ever spent in a theatre - but my days - it was hilarious!
 
 
12) Seeing URINETOWN (and absolutely loving it!) at the wonderful St James Theatre and at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
 
 
13) My first ever ballet - Matthew Bourne's LORD OF THE FLIES.
 
 
14) The utterly brilliant IN THE HEIGHTS at Southwark Playhouse - really hoping there is a future life for this wonderful show in 2015.
 
 
15) My first ever visit to Trafalgar Studios 2 to see the enchanting DESSA ROSE.
 
 
16) The ROCK OF AGES UK Tour - God, I miss this show!

  
17) Meeting Beverley Knight after witnessing her final show at THE BODYGUARD, and having this picture as one hell of a memory :)
 
 
18) Shakespeare in Love being as utterly mesmerising as I hoped it would be. 

 
19) Seeing Kerry Ellis as ELPHABA in WICKED and finally understanding all the hype.
 
 
20) The Menier Chocolate Factory does it again! Forbidden Broadway was just amazing! (And theatre trips with my best mate Emily (left) are always amazing!)
 
 
21) Seeing LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS for the first time ever at the stunning Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, thanks to another one of my amazing best friends Selena.
 
  
22) MEMPHIS totally blowing my mind with its utter awesomeness and sheer brilliance.
 
 
23) Last, but not least - seeing the sensational CITY OF ANGELS at the Donmar Warehouse.
 
 
There were so many more shows/events/performers that I could have chosen - it has been that sensational of a year! What were your highlights? I would love to hear! Why not leave a comment? Or head over to my Facebook page and tell me there - it would be lovely to see you there :)
 
May I take this chance to wish you a very Happy New Year and wish you all so much joy, love and blessings for 2015.
 
Signing off - until next year!
 
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx