UK Roundup - Avenue Q Confirms, Christian Slater Returns + Sunday in the Park Transfers
In the musical Avenue Q we're told 'the Internet is for porn'. Cameron Mackintosh has other ideas he hopes the Internet will spread strong word-of-mouth about the West End production of the hit Broadway show, which has now announced dates and a venue. Opening at the Noel Coward Theatre (currently the Albery), Avenue Q begins previews on June 1st, opening on the 28th. Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mackintosh acknowledged that it's 'totally a gamble' adding 'I'm not going to spend much on ads, there's no point - it's purely word of mouth'. Though he says tickets are going to be priced as cheaply as possible during previews, exact prices have not yet been revealed. The website with new logo - can be found at www.avenueqthemusical.co.uk and tickets go on sale on March 13th
Christian Slater is to return to the West End in March, though not in Sweet Bird of Youth as was once rumoured last year, but in a returning production of his smash hit One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Originating at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004, the production transferred to the West End for four months until January 2005. It will now have another limited season from 21st March to 3rd June at the Garrick. Joining him as Nurse Ratchett will be ER's Alex Kingston, replacing Frances Barber who played the role last year. No other casting has been announced but it is expected that the cast will be comprised largely of stand-up comedians, as was the case last time.
The Menier Chocolate Factory have secured a West End transfer for Sunday in the Park With George. The critically acclaimed production recently announced that it was looking for a home after its extended limited season ends on March 12th. It will now open at the Wyndham's on May 23rd supported by producers including Cameron Mackintosh, Broadway's Boyett Ostar and Neal Street Productions (Sam Mendes' company). The musical will have a new Dot in the shape of Jenna Russell, fresh from Guys and Dolls, who will also be heard on the cast recording. Anna Jane Casey, who played the role at the Menier to rave reviews, will not transfer with the production but Daniel Evans (as George) will. Tickets are priced £18.75 £48.25 (that's including 'a booking fee and Restoration Levy')
There's a new cast down at Guys and Dolls from March 6th. Sally Ann Triplett (recent RNT Anything Goes revival), Adam Cooper (On Your Toes, Singin' in the Rain) and Neil Morrissey (TV's Men Behaving Badly, Acorn Antiques in the West End) will replace Sarah Lancashire (Adelaide), Nigel Harman (Sky) and Nigel Lindsay (Nathan Detroit) respectively. Lancashire has been out of the show since January 4th with a chest infection and will not return before the change - producers hope she may be able to return to the role later this year. The first cast boasted an A-list celebrity (Ewan McGregor), the second a popular TV star (Nigel Harman), and now the third cast is made up of more unknown musical theatre stars. Who's up next? Like Chicago, it looks like regular recasting could be the attraction of this revival.
In other news - successful song series Notes from New York is returning for a special UK themed concert. Joanna Riding, Paul Spicer, Julie Atherton and Richard Dempsey will showcase new musical theatre writing from Britain at the Duchess Theatre on Sunday 19th March. More details can be found at www.notesfromnewyork.co.uk. The current UK tour of Footloose, directed and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Karen Bruce, will go into the Novello Theatre from April 8th. Starring Cheryl Baker and Johnny Shentall, the musical ran for two years on Broadway and first embarked on a UK tour in February 2004.