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Birmingham Hippodrome Kicks Off 2012/13 with THE KING AND I Tonight, 5/1

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The Birmingham Hippodrome today announced full season information for its forthcoming 2012/13 season, which includes Cape Town Opera's PORGY AND BESS and Cameron Mackintosh's new production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE KING AND I, WONDERFUL TOWN, DIRTY DANCING, SISTER ACT and BLOOD BROTHERS.

"Birmingham Hippodrome’s 2012/13 season features a packed programme of world class productions and international performers, entertaining audiences both on and off stage," said Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive of the Birmingham Hippodrome. "American musicals are a big feature and we are particularly delighted to have been chosen as one of only a few venues to present The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess performed by the acclaimed Cape Town Opera. One of the major highlights for 2013 is Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera with priority booking for Hippodrome Friends opening 8 May."

THEATRE

Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes a host of American classics this spring/summer - a homage to some of the most famous composers and theatre-makers in the history of film and musical theatre.

We present a new Leicester Curve Theatre production of The King and I (1-5 May) starring Ramon Tikaram and Josefina Gabrielle. Regarded as one of the greatest musicals of all time, it features music and lyrics by American duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II including "Shall We Dance", "Hello Young Lovers" and "Getting To Know You".

Connie Fisher stars in a new production of Leonard Bernstein’s multi award-winning musical Wonderful Town (22-26 May). Presented by the unique partnership of Manchester’s Royal Exchange, The Halle Orchestra and The Lowry, Wonderful Town is set in 1930’s New York and features a 40-strong company and magnificent music from the writer of West Side Story.

The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (6-9 June) performed by South Africa’s globally-renowned Cape Town Opera can be seen in Birmingham for the first time as part of a limited UK tour. Porgy and Bess has emerged as one of the great icons of American music theatre and known around the world as ‘the people’s opera’. It features some of the most stirring and ever-lasting songs including "Summertime", "I Got Plenty of Nuttin"; and "It Ain’t Necessarily So". Birmingham Hippodrome is delighted to be featuring this American classic in the 75th Anniversary year of George Gershwin’s tragic early death.

The American theme continues big style with the smash hit Dirty Dancing opening appropriately enough on 4 July, US Independence Day, and running right through the summer until 25 August. With the 1980s film having been seen by millions across the globe, Dirty Dancing tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny and features breathtaking dancing, with songs including "Hey Baby", "Do You Love Me?" and the heart stopping "I’ve Had The Time Of My Life". Dirty Dancing will be the last production to appear on Birmingham Hippodrome’s 30-year old stage before it is ripped out and replaced in a £1m programme of backstage improvements.

Sister Act (9-20 Oct) completes the Hippodrome’s 2012 season of US musicals. Produced by Whoopi Goldberg and based on the movie of the same name, this fabulous family-friendly feel-good show is packed with songs inspired by Motown, funk, soul and disco written and composed by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater.

Direct from his West End triumph, stage star and Wet Wet Wet frontman Marti Pellow will join the cast of Willy Russell’s legendary Blood Brothers for just two weeks only (22 Oct-3 Nov). Marti – seen most recently here in Jekyll & Hyde and in The Witches of Eastwick - will play the role of The Narrator in Bill Kenwright’s acclaimed production.

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will be presented at Birmingham Hippodrome in March/April 2013.

DANCE

2012 marks the third International Dance Festival Birmingham (IDFB). This award-winning city-wide festival, co-produced by Birmingham Hippodrome and its partners DanceXchange, attracts artists and companies from all over the world.

The official opening of IDFB2012 is with Royal Ballet Flanders (25 & 26 April) who perform the groundbreaking William Forsythe ballet Artifact in Birmingham for the first time. Main stage performances also include the dynamic and sensual Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (8 & 9 May). This internationally-renowned company perform the world premiere of Carmen?! by award-winning choreographer and influencer of modern dance Itzik Galili; and the incredible Mambo 3XX1.

Ballet star Sylvie Guillem and dancer/choreographer Russell Maliphant (11 & 12 May) perform at Birmingham Hippodrome for the first time with a mixed programme entitled Push; plus the critically-acclaimed hip hop festival, Breakin’ Covention (14 & 15 May) returns to Birmingham with live performances, DJ’s and MC’s in the foyers combined with International Artists on the main stage including Clash 66 (France & Korea), the double world champions Vagabond Crew (France) plus performances from ILL-Abilities (International).

Lastly, Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes the sensational Circolombia (16-18 May) who perform their gritty production, Urban, fusing electrifying circus, South American hip hop and reggaeton dance www.idfb.co.uk

The Hippodrome’s resident ballet company Birmingham Royal Ballet have a busy year ahead. Highlights include the return of David Bintley’s Far From the Madding Crowd (20-23 Jun) adapted from the famous novel by Thomas Hardy; the return of Sir Peter Wright and Galina Samsova’s production of the timeless Swan Lake (2-6 Oct); and David Bintley’s finest creation to date, the stunning family ballet Cinderella (21 Nov-9 Dec) which signals the start of the Christmas season.
A particularly exciting inclusion is the UK premiere of David Bintley’s Aladdin (15-23 Feb 2013), created for the National Ballet of Japan, with its background in the Arabian Tales of 1001 Nights and links to ancient stories. The 2013 season is completed with Peter Wright’s Coppélia (4-8 June 2013) an ideal ballet for all the family; and Galina Samsova’s and David Bintley’s popular full length production of Giselle (19-22 Jun 2013). Tickets go on general sale for BRB’s 2012/13 season on 12 April (BRB Friends 10 April) on 0844 338 5000.

New for the Hippodrome’s autumn season 2012 is the first ever visit to the UK by Batsheva Ensemble (13 & 14 Nov) as part of a Dance Consortium tour. The younger wing of Israel’s outstanding and world class contemporary dance group Batsheva Dance Company, it is led by choreographic supremo Ohad Naharin. The company will perform their iconic Deca Dance set to a sensational compilation of music ranging from The Beach Boys to Vivaldi and Dean Martin.

OTHER EVENTS

Birmingham Hippodrome is delighted to be producing The Voyage (21-24 Jun nightly at 10pm) a spectacular FREE outdoor event in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. The Voyage is a major cultural project which forms part of the opening weekend of the London 2012 Festival. It’s a global collaboration between Australia’s leading physical theatre and aerial company Legs on the Wall and the UK’s leading outdoor dance company Motionhouse, based in Warwickshire.

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