Hamilton announces London dates—and plans to beat the scalpers.
The London bow for Hamilton has announced dates that will see it begin performances at the Victoria Palace Theatre November 21, prior to an official opening December 7.
The London producers, led by Cameron Mackintosh and original Broadway lead producer Jeffrey Seller, have also announced plans to aggressively curb opportunities for the re-sale market to operate in, as it does with apparent impunity on Broadway, inflating prices to absurd levels. Together with principal ticketing partners Ticketmaster U.K., it is planning to operate a paperless ticketing system, with patrons asked to swipe the payment card they used to originally buy the tickets to gain admission to the theatre.
Mackintosh has stated, “By not issuing physical tickets in advance, we aim to dramatically reduce the ability to resell seats at a hugely inflated price on secondary ticketing websites.” Ticketmaster U.K. managing director Andrew Parsons has further commented, “The producers have been very clear that they want all Hamilton tickets to get directly into the hands of real theatre fans, not touts [scalpers], and we are incredibly excited that our proven Paperless technology will play a pivotal part in making this happen.”
U.K.’s pantomime empires join forces.
Qdos Entertainment, Britain’s largest independent pantomime producer—who for the 2016-2017 season produced over 20 pantomimes throughout Britain, including the star-studded return of the form to the London Palladium for the first time in nearly 30 years with Cinderella (which shutters there January 15)—is to become even larger. It partners with Britain’s leading theatre chain Ambassador Theatre Group.
ATG had previously created its own pantomime division, First Family Entertainment, in 2005, but is now dissolving it and will outsource its annual pantomimes to Qdos Entertainment. In an interview with The Stage, Qdos managing director Michael Harrison said of the new arrangement, “We’re looking forward to doing brand new shows for them and putting some existing shows, with some of our big stars and big productions, into those huge theatres. We [Qdos] have great relationships with major independent venues so there’s no reason why we can’t have a great relationship with ATG. It’s a great time for pantomime, it’s very strong at the moment. We’ve had a terrific year, and of course the cherry on top of the cake has been an outstanding success at the Palladium, which I think has really turned eyes on to what pantomime means in the industry.”
Qdos also previously announced that they will return to the London Palladium for the Christmas 2017 season, when they will produce a new production of Dick Whittington.
West End’s Aladdin to head into 2017 with open auditions for London cast members.
When Disney’s Aladdin opened in the West End last May, seven of its 38-strong company were secured from open auditions that had been held in London, Manchester, and Birmingham.
Now, the company has announced that another round of open auditions for the 2017-2018 cast is to be held in London January 16, for both male and female singers, and dancers to play ensemble and featured roles.
According to the casting call, they are looking for “athletic, technically-trained dancers with very strong technique in all styles, including tap, as well as excellent singing voices. Male dancers with acro, gymnastic and/or tumbling skills is a plus but not essential. Singers should be excellent and be able to dance well in order to make up the ensemble. Attendees must be aged 18 years or older, eligible to work in the U.K. and have a playing age of 20s-30s. Actors of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds are strongly encouraged to attend.” For further details, visit AladdinAuditions.co.uk.
Artistic directors in London and Manchester…
The leading new writing company Out of Joint, co-founded by Max Stafford-Clark and producer Sonia Friedman 23 years ago and currently helmed by Stafford-Clark and producer Martin Derbyshire, is seeking a joint artistic director. The new artistic director will be charged with developing and directing new work for the company, discovering and nurturing new voices, and forging relationships with artists and organizations in the theatre industry. For further details, visit OutOfJoint.co.uk.
Meanwhile, in Manchester it has been announced that Mark Ball, currently CEO and artistic director of the biannual LIFT festival in London, is to become the associate artistic director at Manchester International Festival. Ball will focus on the creation and delivery of the artistic program for Factory, Manchester’s new flagship venue for large-scale performance and different art forms, on the former site of Granada TV Studios, working alongside artistic director and CEO John McGrath. LIFT will begin the recruitment of a successor to Ball in February for the next festival, which is to be held in June 2018.
For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com, and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.