What’s Hot in London: August 6-12

News   What’s Hot in London: August 6-12
Harry Potter does boffo business at the bookshops as well as theatre, Lloyd Webber wears a triple crown on Broadway and 42nd Street returns to Drury Lane.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child beats multiple records
When a new batch of 250,000 tickets were released for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child August 4, they sold out in a single day—meaning the show is now sold out through December 2017. The night of the official premiere July 30, the play script was also officially released—and that’s been doing boffo business, too.

According to trade paper The Stage, U.K. sales of the script have hit 847,886—worth £8.76 million—outstripping the total number of drama texts, plays and screenplays sold last year (690,557). It is also now the best-selling play since records began in 1998, beating the Penguin Classic edition of Romeo and Juliet—which has sold 127,726 copies—into second place.

The bookseller has also reported that it is the fourth fastest-selling title of all time, becoming the biggest selling title of the year in a single week. It states, “This is by far the biggest single-week volume of any title in nearly a decade, beating E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey’s (Arrow) biggest week in summer 2012 by nearly 200,000 copies. However, Rowling has done a fairly neat job of destroying everyone else’s records while keeping her own intact: the last three Harry Potter titles—Deathly Hallows, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince—all sold faster, shifting well over a million copies apiece in their first weeks on sale, with Deathly Hallows (Bloomsbury) taking the all-time record for the biggest-selling single week title, shifting 1.84m copies (and a further 790,622 copies sold of the adult edition).”

Lloyd Webber’s triple Broadway triumph lead us wondering: Could London be next?
Andrew Lloyd Webber currently has three titles running simultaneously on Broadway, all of which featured in the Top Ten grossing shows of last week (ending August 7), with both School of Rock and the newly-opened revival of Cats both in the millionaire’s club (with grosses of
$1,211,127 and $1,083,009 respectively), and Phantom of the Opera grossing $961,265. This is the third time that Lloyd Webber has had three Broadway shows running at once: in 1990, Phantom and the original Cats were playing side-by-side with Aspects of Love; and in 1994, they were playing side-by-side with Sunset Boulevard. Lloyd Webber has said, “It’s a feeling I never thought I would have again, but it’s wonderful.”

In London, Phantom of the Opera is currently playing alongside a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar (at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park); and School of Rock arrives at the New London Theatre from October 24. Jesus Christ Superstar is currently only enjoying a summer run through August 27; but it is heavily tipped to move to an indoors run. If and when it does, Lloyd Webber will have three titles playing on both sides of the Atlantic again.

Come and meet those dancing feet: 42nd Street returns to Drury Lane.
While Cats (that premiered in the West End in 1981 and then on Broadway in 1982) is back on Broadway, 42nd Street (that premiered on Broadway in 1980 and came to the West End in 1984) is also headed back to London. It will begin performances at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane—its original London home—March 20, in a production that reunites the creative team of the 2001 Broadway revival: director (and original co-book writer) Mark Bramble, choreographer Randy Skinner, designer Douglas W Schmidt and costume designer Roger Kirk. It is being produced by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, the duo behind the English National Opera’s recent productions of the musicals Sweeney Todd (with Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson) and Sunset Boulevard (with Glenn Close reprising her original Broadway performance).

Print is dealt another blow as spotlight casting directory goes online.
Spotlight, the U.K. bible for casting directors seeking actors, has been publishing annual directories for nearly 90 years since 1927, but is now ceasing the print edition; it will only be available digitally from now on.

In a statement reported by The Stage, Kate Poynton, head of publishing at Spotlight, commented, “It’s really important to us that we provide the best tools to connect casting directors with performers and agents. Since we started printing our directories in 1927, we’ve tried to do this in many ways—through various ways of indexing the print editions, CD-ROMs, the website and now new tools, such as the digital directories, to access Spotlight on a mobile. We’re incredibly proud of our history printing the directories and we’re excited about this change to digital because it makes performers on Spotlight even more accessible to casting directors.”

For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com—and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage, for rolling news updates as they happen.

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