Author Archive for phayward – Page 2

THE HAPPY TIME – Robert Goulet’s Tony Award Winner

“Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 23rd January will feature a 50th Anniversary tribute to John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “The Happy Time”, (suggested by the characters in the stories by Robert L. Fontaine), from the 1968 original Broadway cast recording starring Robert Goulet and David Wayne with Michael Rupert, Julie Gregg and George S. Irving. This will be introduced by New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist Peter Filichia. 
 
The programme will conclude with song selections featuring Robert Goulet from the respective U.S. TV musical versions of Lerner and Lowe’s Brigadoon (1966) with Sally Anne Howes; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel (1967) with Mary Grover and Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate (1968) with Carol Lawrence.
 
The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New York time; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angeles time.)

 

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

 

 

50 Years Ago Darling Of The Day opened on Broadway with Patricia Routledge set to win a Tony

Having recently celebrated the musical career of Patricia Routledge and the world of flops on this site it seems fitting to concentrate on a show that starred the great lady and was, unfortunately, to become a Broadway flop. Co-incidentally the show “Darling Of The Day” opened just half a century ago on 27 January 1968 at the George Abbott Theatre.

Arnold Bennett’s class conscious novel Buried Alive was the inspiration for this musical. It was rather a good idea and the novel had previously been made into a play and a film. The plot is very theatrical: a successful painter fed up with the falseness of the art world decides to change places with his butler (who happens to have died) and follow through a relationship his butler had started by letter with a widow. The problem is – he can’t stop painting and eventually gets caught out – but by the time the curtain falls and he has found love and happiness.

Initially the book was allotted to Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall (they would write the book for another Bennett novel turned musical – The Card). While Waterhouse and Hall would go on to write other musicals, at this point they had little or no musical theatre back-ground. The score, however, was to be by Jule Styne and E.Y. (Yip) Harburg. Peter Wood (another Englishman) was to direct.

According to Ken Mandelbaum in his knowledgeable and highly readable book on Broadway flops ‘Not since Carrie’ the original team did not get on and, in particular, Yip Harburg was not happy – so they disbanded. The new book writer was to be S N Behrman and the new director Albert Marre. They did not last long either and then Nunnally Johnson came on board with director Steven Vinaver. By this time the show had been cast and an out-of-town pre-Broadway tour had commenced.

The stars of “Darling of the Day” were Vincent Price and Patricia Routledge (in the part originally cast with Geraldine Page). Price had made his name in the movies and had last appeared on Broadway in 1954 – but he was well known and could be considered a box office draw. The original cast recording shows him to be a quite adequate singer of the material he is given. Patricia Routledge had the reputation of being able to turn iron into gold which she did here but the gold stayed with her more than covering the entire show.

What Price and Routledge, and indeed the rest of the cast, did to keep their sanity during the out-of-town try-out is not documented but they had to deal with the changing of directors and constant re-writes. When the show did arrive in New York there was no billing for the book – the many who had worked on it had run for cover.

No show can survive an inadequate book and a rudderless production. Darling of the Day was no exception. There had also been a title change – in Boston it had been called Married Alive! Yet it did get some critical praise upon its Broadway opening – although the all-powerful New York Times sent its second stringer who did not like it. When their number one critic, Clive Barnes, saw it he was positive but that review was in his ballet column and was too late to save the show. The television and radio reviews were not good although all were ecstatic about Patricia Routledge. It ran for just 31 performances and Miss Routledge was to receive a Tony Award for her performance.

The show was one of the most expensive to be produced on Broadway at the time. The budget was $500k of which $150 came from the record sale to RCA. Luckily, that recording went ahead for it does reveal a score that has many joys.

There have been few revivals and London’s only staged version was at the Union Theatre in 2013 with Katy Secombe stepping into Miss Routledge’s shows. Previously it was seen as a Lost Musical.

RSB                     Illustrations from the Overtures Archive

The Story Behind Rothschild And Sons

Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock had the knack of writing shows that have a long, wonderful international life, the two strongest being “She Loves Me” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. However, their second Broadway show with a Jewish back-ground, “The Rothschilds” that played Broadway in 1970, has only just managed to get to London some 47 years later in a somewhat changed version with a new title.

Listen below to an interview by Rob Morrison with Sheldon Harnick

The story of the Rothschilds, the German Jewish banking family, had been written about in Frederick Morton’s successful biography. It followed Mayer Rothschild’s building of an international financial empire with his five sons. It was a tale that producer Hillard (Hilly) Elkins saw as the basis of a stage musical. He obtained the rights and had British playwright Wolf Mankowitz to write a draft book for the show. Elkins took that to Bock and Harnick in 1963 but they were not impressed and chose to continue working on a show called Tevya which was to become Fiddler on the Roof.

Hilly Elkins, who was married to Claire Bloom at the time, went on to produce two other shows, “Golden Boy” starring Sammy Davis Jr and “Oh! Calcutta!” before returning to The Rothschilds. During this period he had approached screen and theatre writer Sherman Yellen to write the libretto and again took this to Bock and Harnick now living high on the success of Fiddler and having just seen their “The Apple Tree” open. They had also helped on “Baker Street” and had a few songs in the fateful “Her First Roman”. Elkin’s new libretto was now considered to be ‘workable’ and they agreed – a decision which would eventually end their partnership.

It was a bumpy ride from then on. Elkins was unable to capitalise the show (thought to be between $750,000 and a million) and so joined forces with Lester Osterman who brought in more than his partner and so earned the unusual billing of ‘Lester Osterman presents the Hillard Elkins production of’.

The original director was Derek Goldby with Grover Dale being considered as choreographer. Dale was passed over in preference to Eliot Feld who was from the world of ballet. Goldby was British as were the set and costume designer John Bury and lighting man Richard Pilbrow (Elkins was an anglophile and even spoke, at times, with an English accent).

After casting and rehearsals in New York the company set out for Detroit where every aspect of the show appeared to have problems. The original libretto had a theme of auctions going through it that was not clear to audiences. Elkin blamed much of the problems on the director and Derek Goldby was sacked to be replaced by Michael Kidd (he would later also take over the role of choreographer). They then moved to Philadelphia while the book and score were still being worked on, indeed much of the score was rewritten.

“The Rothschilds” finally opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 19 October 1970. It received nine Tony Award nominations but won just two – both to actors. It would run for 505 performances and San Francisco hosted it soon after. There was a successful revival at the American Jewish Theatre in 1990 where it ran for 435 performances.

It was revised for the York Theatre in New York under the title of “Rothschild & Sons” and it is this production that now makes its London debut at the Park Theatre.

As mentioned “The Rothchilds” caused the split of Bock and Harnick and Jerry Bock died in 2010. However, both Sheldon Harnick and Sherman Yellen are still active and together re-visited the piece changing the book to concentrate more on the father and his five sons and reducing the opulent staging. The new more intimate production continues to play at the Park theatre until 17 February.

RSB                       Illustrations from the Overtures Archive

Let’s Take A Look At Australia With Musical Theatre Melodies

“Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 16th January will feature a 30th Anniversary tribute to Martin Armiger, George Dreyfus, David King, Tim Robertson, John Romeril and Don Watson’s Manning Clark’s  “History of Australia” – The Musical, (inspired by the histories of Professor Manning Clark), from the 1988 original Australian cast recording starring Ivar Kants, Terry Bader, Jonathan Biggins, Terry Brady, Tina Bursill, Darryl Emmerson, Michele Fawdon, Geoffrey Jenkins, John McTernan, Linda Nagle, Helen Noonan, Ingrid Silveus, Greg Stone, Carmen Tanti, Kate Turner, Jenny Vuletic and Ross Williams.
 
This will be preceded by a ‘live’ telephone interview with composer/lyricist, writer and Australian Musical Theatre historian* Peter Pinne from Brisbane discussing the background history of the musical.
 
The programme will conclude with an interview with Australian performer and composer/playwright Bradley McCaw discussing the recent studio cast highlights recording of his musical Becoming Bill.
Also you can take a listen here –

ITUNES: http://apple.co/2iTQAGK
SPOTIFY: http://spoti.fi/2n88MAG
 
The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New York time; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angeles time.)

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

 

News…News….News

  • “Motown the Musical” – Berry Gordy’s show will embark on a UK and Ireland tour opening at Birmingham’s New Alexandra on 11th October before moving out across the country and continuing into 2019 while it continues its run at London’s Shaftesbury.
  • “The Grinning Man” – has extended its run at the Trafalgar Studios until 14th April.
  • “Fame – the musical” – returns to tour the UK in the summer opening at Manchester Palace on 20th July and then touring to 2nd February 2019 in Shrewsbury.
  • “Calendar Girls –  the musical” – tour dates following the Leeds opening on 15th August then calling at Canterbury, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leicester, Salford, Southampton and Cardiff.
  • “The Band” – more dates have been added to the current tour which will finish back at Southampton’s Mayflower on 16th March 2019 in what promises to be a star studded final night.
  • “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” – is extending it’s booking period by adding a further six months to its run at London’s Apoll“Chicago” – the production opening at London’s Phoenix on 26th March is to star Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding in the role of Billy Flynn.
  • “Bayside” – a new musical parody based on the popular TV comedy Saved By The Bell makes its UK debut at The Other Palace on 9th March and run through the 17th March. Having extended seven times off Broadway, it brings all the characters from the show to the stage. Penned by Bob and Tobly McSmith, creators of “Friends The Musical Parody”, which is currently playing Off-Broadway. American actor Ben Campbell (A Futile & Stupid Gesture, Netflix) has been cast as Zack Morris, a role made famous by Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
  • “The Secret Garden” – the American musical by Marsha Normand and Lucy Simon will be directed by Dominic Shaw and open at Cirencester’s new Barn Theatre on 19th March (previews from 16th) and run until 15th April.
  • “Heaven on Earth” – performers, creatives and venues are among those owed an estimated £2.6 million (one of the largest ever in relation to a collapsed theatre production) by producers of the musical which was to star Kerry Ellis and Hugh Maynard, which was cancelled in November three weeks before it was due to open at Arena Birmingham ahead of a 5 month UK arena tour.

News….News….News

  • “Bayside” – a new musical parody based on the popular TV comedy Saved By The Bell makes its UK debut at The Other Palace on 9th March and run through the 17th March. Having extended seven times off Broadway, it brings all the characters from the show to the stage. Penned by Bob and Tobly McSmith, creators of “Friends The Musical Parody”, which is currently playing Off-Broadway. American actor Ben Campbell (A Futile & Stupid Gesture, Netflix) has been cast as Zack Morris, a role made famous by Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
  • “The Secret Garden” – the American musical by Marsha Normand and Lucy Simon will be directed by Dominic Shaw and open at Cirencester’s new Barn Theatre on 19th March (previews from 16th) and run until 15th April.
  • “Heaven on Earth” – performers, creatives and venues are among those owed an estimated £2.6 million (one of the largest ever in relation to a collapsed theatre production) by producers of the musical which was to star Kerry Ellis and Hugh Maynard, which was cancelled in November three weeks before it was due to open at Arena Birmingham ahead of a 5 month UK arena tour.
  • “The Last Ship” – Jimmy Nail, who in October when tickets first went on sale was hailed as the star will not be appearing in Sting’s musical which is to have its UK premiere in Newcastle on 12th March. The announcement came from theatre company Northern Stage which stated that his part, as shipyard foreman Jackie White, would now be performed by Liverpool-born actor Joe McGann who will be joined by Charlie Hardwick, Richard Fleeshman and Frances McNamee.
  • Historic West End restaurant J Sheekey has announced a series of in discussion dining events with stars of stage and screen starting on 29 January with BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning actress Leslie Caron, whose film roles include Lise Bouvier alongside Gene Kelly in An American in Paris (1951) and the title role in Gigi (1958), to be followed by an evening with West End leading man Ben Forster. Forster who starred in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Phantom of the Opera and Elf. The final evening will feature Jemma Redgrave who appeared in a West End production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, The Great Game at New York’s Public Theater, as well as her TV roles including Doctor Who and Holby City. Tickets for each event cost £100 per person and include a three-course meal, glass of champagne and half a bottle of wine – feature a discussion with the actors followed by an open Q&A session.
  • Ashley Day (hot from leading the cast of An American In Paris) and Emma Williams will be joining the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to perform “The Great American Songbook” on 31st January at Thailand’s Cultural Centre in Bangkok.
  • “An American In Paris” – will be showing in cinemas around the world on May 16th (except for Japan and the USA) the production was recorded early in its run at London’s Dominion and features the original London cast led by New York’s Robert Fairchild.

Happy 120th Birthday to our Gracie (1898 – 1979)

We mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of Gracie Fields by delving into our archives and retrieving this Christmas broadcast from 1941.

It was recorded in Vancouver, Canada whilst Gracie was on a North American tour and it was produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in conjunction with the BBC for broadcasting across the Empire.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE BROADCAST

 

60 Years Ago – How London’s Theatreland looked in Jan 1958

London’s Theatreland in January 1958 had a very different mix of shows from what’s on offer today. There were fewer musicals, more drama and the last remnants of revue. The Christmas pantomimes didn’t open until Boxing Day, rather than early December, and would run through January and some into March. The musicals running included three British greats , The Boy Friend, Free As Air,  Salad Days as well as Grab Me A Gondola; the only Broadway contribution was Bells Are Ringing.

Dramas and comedies occupied the stages of the Winter Gardens (became the site for the New London), Aldwych, Saville (now the Odeon Covent Garden), Palace, Cambridge, Adelphi, Piccadilly, Phoenix, Strand (now the Novello), Garrick, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Her Majesty’s while revue played the Apollo (Shaftesbury Ave), Fortune, Prince Of Wales, Comedy (Harold Pinter) and Victoria Palace.

Other theatre changes from 1958 are Globe Theatre became Gielgud, New is now Noel Coward, the Princes is once again the Shaftesbury, Scala and Westminster have long since been demolished (although The Other Palace has been created as part of the reconstruction of the Westminster site), Whitehall has become the Trafalgar Studios, Windmill a casino, the only additions are those from the Gaumont cinema circuit Apollo Victoria (New Victoria cinema), Eventim Apollo Hammersmith (Gaumont cinema) and Dominion as well as Prince Edward (London Casino – Cinerama), Peacock (from the Royalty Kingsway cinema) and then the reopening of the Lyceum Theatre in Wellington Street and the Playhouse Northumberland Avenue and new venues such as Barbican, Donmar Warehouse, Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark Playhouse, National Theatre and most recently the Bridge as well as a myriad of fringe venues.

Below are the Theatre Listings for the week of Monday January 7th 1958.

 

 

Illustrations taken from the Overtures Archives

NEWS UPDATE

  • Ashley Day (hot from leading the cast of An American In Paris) and Emma Williams will be joining the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra to perform “The Great American Songbook” on 31st January at Thailand’s Cultural Centre in Bangkok.
  • “An American In Paris” – will be showing in cinemas around the world on May 16th (except for Japan and the USA) the production was recorded early in its run at London’s Dominion and features the original London cast led by New York’s Robert Fairchild.
  • “CATS” – the classical musical is one step closer to the big screen as Andrew Lloyd Webber tells that he has composed a new song for the movie adaptation, which would be sung by the kitten Victoria. The composer is also toying with the idea of adding more new numbers to the score. The film collaborators are exploring techniques which would use live actors with computer generated images. Director of Les Miserables movie, Tom Hooper, is in talks to direct the adaptation for Universal Studios and Working Title, which has to be given the official green light.
  • One of Britain’s most successful and prolific lyricists, Don Black, and award-winning musical theatre star Marti Webb will join a host of West End and Broadway favourites aboard the UK’s first specialist musical theatre festival at sea on board the Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas which launched from Southampton in October. The glittering line-up of talent include double Olivier Award winner Michael Ball; popular musical theatre group Collabro; soul singer turned stage star Beverley Knight; Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera leading man John Owen-Jones; two West End favourites who first found fame on TV talent searches, Lee Mead (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Wicked) and Sophie Evans (The Wizard of Oz, Wicked); and gifted impressionist Christina Bianco. Produced by Floating Festivals with assistance from Royal Caribbean the Stages cruise also features a unique performance of the Olivier Award-winning West End production Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.

Celebrating one of Britain’s Great Dames – Patricia Routledge

Patricia Routledge has recently become a Dame for her work in the Theatre and for charity. Her theatrical career has spanned seventy years however, she is now best known as the terrible snob Mrs Bucket (pronounced BU KAY) in the successful television series Keeping up Appearances.

But here we remember Dame Patricia’s Musical Theatre career for that is where she originally made her name and made her a star both in the UK and the United States. Blessed with perfect comic timing and a golden voice her career has brought many awards including a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.

Patricia Routledge was born 17 February 1929 in Birkenhead, the famed town overlooking Liverpool across the water. Her early career was in repertory – first in Liverpool and then the Bristol Old Vic during the time that Julian Slade was writing incidental music for plays and beginning to write full length pieces. Her early career was very much built on Julian’s work. She was in the cast of his version of The Duenna in which she made her London debut in 1954. She also appeared in his adaptation of A Comedy of Errors (1956). Upon leaving Bristol she played Aunt Mabel in Zuleika and Henrietta in the Love Doctor – both shows were outstanding flops.

Julian Slade’s adaptation of his own Christmas in King Street, retitled Follow That Girl for London had her perfectly cast in the comic role of the girl’s mother (she tended to play older characters than her actual age). This was modestly successful and led to her winning the title starring role in the off-Broadway import of Little Mary Sunshine – which like the way of virtually all Off-Broadway transfers to London was another flop. But it had her noticed and she was on her way to stardom.

Dame Patricia was equally at ease in the legitimate theatre as she was on the musical stage. Her television success came late in her life and the big screen had offered little to remember. But as a loyal member of the Royal Shakespeare Company she proved her worth and successfully build a powerful stage career.

The British musicals and revues she starred in were Virtue in Danger, A Nightingale Sang and Cowardy Custard. Her remarkable vocal range earned her the title role in La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein and the old lady in Candide for which she won the Olivier Award in 1988. In 1993 she played Nettie Fowler in the National’s production of Carousel.

However, it was in the States that the most interesting roles appeared. She first appeared on Broadway in 1966 in the comedy How’s the World Treating You? which had opened at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton, before a brief outing in London’s West End ahead of its Broadway transfer.

It led to her being offered the co-lead in Darling of the Day with Vincent Price. It was a short lived flop but it earned her the Tony.

The Broadway heading Love Match (a Queen Victoria musical) managed an out-of-town tour and then closed. In 1976 Leonard Bernstein chose her to play the American First Ladies in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Although it managed to get to Broadway it was not to become the expected hit. There was a hit however with Joseph Papp’s Central Park production of Pirates of Penzance. The show transferred to Broadway but she chose not to go with it her replacement being Estelle Parsons. It was filmed in the Park and so she can be seen in that role on DVD.

The reason she did not transfer was because she had been offered the star role of Mary Colle Chace in the musicalisation of the play (and film) Harvey retitled Say Hello to Harvey. It closed in Toronto (1981).

Patricia Routledge returned to the UK and built a solid television career with the odd return to the theatre. She performed her one woman show at the Playhouse in London and has recently been seen around the country talking about her career.

RSB                                                                  Illustrations from the Overtures Archive

Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty’s RAGTIME marks its 20th anniversary

“Musical Theatre Melodies” broadcast on 96.5 FM on Tuesday, 9th January will feature a 20th Anniversary tribute to Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s “Ragtime”, (based on the novel by E. L. Doctorow), from the 1998 original Broadway cast recording starring Marin Mazzie, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Peter Friedman, Judy Kaye, Mark Jacoby, Lea Michele, Lynnette Perry, Steven Sutcliffe, Jim Corti, Mike O’Carroll, Larry Daggett, Alex Strange and Tommy Hollis.


 

The musical had its world premiere in Toronto, where it opened at the Ford Centre for the Performing Arts (later renamed the Toronto Centre for the Arts) on December 8, 1996, produced by Canadian impresario Garth Drabinsky and his Livent Inc., the Toronto-production company he headed. The US premiere was at the Shubert Theatre, Los Angeles in June 1997. The musical opened on Broadway on January 18, 1998 as the first production in the newly opened Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Directed by Frank Galati and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, Ragtime closed on January 16, 2000 after 834 performances and 27 previews. The original cast included Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marin Mazzie, Peter Friedman and Audra McDonald, who were all nominated for Tony Awards.

The production received mixed reviews, with critics noting that the dazzling physical production (with a $10 million budget, including fireworks and a working Model T automobile) overshadowed problems in the script. Ben Brantley’s review in  was headlined “A diorama with nostalgia rampant.” It led the 1998 Tony Awards with thirteen Tony Award nominations, but Disney’s The Lion King won as Best Musical. The musical won awards for Best Featured Actress (McDonald), Original Score, Book, and Orchestrations. According to The New York Times, “The chief competition for The Lion King was Ragtime, a lavish musical.” The New York Times also noted that “The season was an artistic success as well, creating one of the most competitive Tony contests in years, with a battle in almost every category capped by the titanic struggle for the best musical award between Ragtime with 13 nominations and The Lion King with 11.” The Broadway production was not financially successful, and some Broadway insiders consider its lavish production to have been the financial “undoing” of Livent.

Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime tells the story of three groups in the United States in the early 20th century: African Americans, represented by Coalhouse Walker Jr., a Harlem musician; upper-class suburbanites, represented by Mother, the matriarch of a white upper-class family in New Rochelle, New York; and Eastern European immigrants, represented by Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia. Historical figures including Harry Houdini, J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford are represented in the stories.

The programme will feature ab introduction by New York-based theatre critic and Internet columnist Peter Filichia. 
 
The broadcast will go “to air” between 9 – 11 p.m. EDT local Melbourne time; (= 10 a.m. – 12 noon GMT in Britain; = 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. NZDT; = 5 – 7 a.m. EST New York time; = 2 – 4 a.m. PST Los Angeles time.)

For those listening in via the Internet on 96.5 Inner FM’s website the webpage link for the Inner FM Web Radio player is http://right-click.com.au/rcPlayer2/index.php?c=innerfm or go to the Inner FM homepage at www.innerfm.org.au and follow the links from “Listen Live” on the top menu.

 

HAPPY NEWs YEAR

  • The Queen’s new year’s honours list – recognises key figures in the arts including Rosemary Squire, Hugh Laurie and Michael Morpurgo. Squire, who was founder, co-owner and joint chief executive of The Ambassador Theatre Group is already an OBE, has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to theatre and to philanthropy. Author Morpurgo is given a knighthood for his services to literature and charity. His works include War Horse, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and Private Peaceful (all adapted for the stage) and between 2003 and 2005 was the third British children’s laureate. Comedian and actor Laurie is made Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama. Musical theatre star Julia McKenzie and the Emmy Award-winner Susan Hampshire are both also made Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Playwright and screenwriter Peter Nichols (A Day in the Death of Joe Egg) receives the same honour, also for his services to drama. Director John Tiffany, who directed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the recent National Theatre production of Pinocchio, is made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama. Writer and playwright John Godber (Up ‘n’ Under, Teechers, Shafted) and Jane Claire, a producer at the English Touring Theatre both receive the same honour. Kinky Boots star and singer Matt Henry, who won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Lola, is made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to musical theatre. Scottish actor James Cosmo receives the same honour for his services to drama.
  • Strictly Ballroom” – The opening of Baz Luhrmann’s musical will be delayed by two weeks with the first preview will now taking place on Thursday 28th March, with opening night of Thursday 24th April, due to an unforeseen schedule conflict.