Lazarus Lives On (Virtually)
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum has, for the last 25 years, recorded theatrical performances through its National Video Archive of Performance, much like the New York Public Library of Performing Arts does. It now holds over 350 recordings, including the 2016 London production of David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s Lazarus. As part of the museum’s annual Performance Festival, beginning April 21, there will be an opportunity for audiences to see part of the Lazarus recording through VR headsets. For further details, visit VAMam.ac.uk/.
Audra McDonald speaks up for advocacy at London launch of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
The West End prepares for the reprise of Audra McDonald’s Tony-winning performance in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, originally scheduled for last summer and then postponed when she unexpectedly fell pregnant. Now that her second daughter Sally James is six months old (while her older daughter Zoe is 16), she is bringing the show to London this summer, beginning performances June 17 at Wyndham’s Theatre.
At a press launch on April 13, McDonald spoke up for advocacy. For anyone who says actors should just do their work and leave the rest behind, she said, “I don’t see how one can, especially where we are with the state of the world right now. Maybe it’s because my uncle and my parents were always very involved with the civil rights movement, so I just grew up and was raised that you have to speak out and look out for your fellow man, woman and child.” She described the current state of her home country as “turbulent” and said: “Some days I don’t recognize my country and other days I see people being vocal and passionate and I think: ‘There’s my country.’”
Audience brawl during Manchester run of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
A woman was arrested after a brawl broke out during a performance of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance on April 11. Eight people were reported to have begun fighting in the orchestra seating area at around 9:20 PM that night, just over an hour into the production. Police arrested a 48-year-old theatregoer on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, and for assaulting a police constable.
Duncan Sheik hints that American Psycho could return to London
Ahead of the opening of his new musical Whisper House at London’s Other Place Theatre, Duncan Sheik told The Stage newspaper that American Psycho, which originally premiered at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2013 before a short-lived run on Broadway last year, could return. He had met with the show’s original director Rupert Goold and said: “We’re hatching plans to bring it back to London, knock on wood. It’s not dead yet.”
And of the Broadway run, he said: “I think we’d be a bigger part of the conversation if we were on now instead of last year. Not that we’d have necessarily won more awards, but because American Psycho is a critique of late-capitalism and the Trumpian ethos.”
Production and casting news
The original London cast recording of Dreamgirls will be released May 12, it has been announced. “Listen,” a new song written for the 2006 film and added to the West End production, will be released as a single April 28. It is performed by Amber Riley and Liisi LaFontaine. Those who pre-order the album will be able to download Riley’s recording of “And I Am Telling You” beginning April 21, three weeks ahead of the album release date.
Tony-nominated Broadway star Matthew Morrison (Light in the Piazza) is to appear in concert at the London Hippodrome for three performances May 16–17.
Three years ago English National Opera teamed up with commercial producers the Grade Linnit Company for a series of semi-staged productions of classic musicals at the London Coliseum.
In 2015 they imported Sweeney Todd, previously seen at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with Bryn Terfel in the title role and Emma Thompson as Mrs Lovett; and in 2016, Sunset Boulevard was revived with Glenn Close reprising her 1995 Tony-winning performance—a production that has now also returned Close and the show to Broadway, where it is currently running at the Palace Theatre through June 25.
The latest show in the series is Carousel, directed, like the previous two, by Lonny Price. The production stars opera crossover Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins as Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan respectively. The orchestra is 42-strong, with an ensemble of 25 supplemented by 24 members of ENO’s Chorus joining the 12 principals. The show opened officially April 11.
In The Guardian, Michael Billington writes: “It is a pleasure to hear singers of the calibre of Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins in the lead roles and to luxuriate in a 42-piece orchestra bringing out the rich colors of Rodgers’s score.”
In the Diary Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen opens by asking: “Well, was she any good? That’s bound to be the first question anyone asks about this revival starring glamour girl Katherine Jenkins in what appears to be her first professional theatrical role. The answer is yes. As the ingénue Julie Jordan, she looks lovely and acts sweetly in a June Allyson girl-next-door way that never becomes simpering. Her singing is good too—both her big numbers, “If I loved you” and “What’s the use of wonderin?” are shaped with warmth and feeling.”
In the Evening Standard, Henry Hitchings writes: “The story’s emotional complexities aren’t fully explored. When the characters sing, the show soars. A lot of the time, though, they’re not singing.“
For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.