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BWW Feature: Count Down To Christmas With Our 2020 BWW UK Advent Calendar

We look back on an unforgettable year of theatre with an advent-twist!

BWW Feature: Count Down To Christmas With Our 2020 BWW UK Advent Calendar

It's been a bit of a year, hasn't it? To see out the last of 2020, we shared 24 theatre memories from this year on our Instagram account (if you're not already following us, come on over!) to count down to Christmas. Here is the entire calendar in all its glory with some links to our favourite articles from 2020.

1 December

It's the first day of advent! "ONE show more!" was the rallying cry sung by the casts of Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Mary Poppins during the final of Britain's Got Talent on 11 October. Did you catch Sir Cameron Mackintosh chatting to Ant & Dec while sporting a "The Show Must Go On" t-shirt?

2 December

TWO hander musicals with tiny casts such as Marry Me A Little have soared in popularity for producers trying to stage COVID-safe shows as restrictions have allowed. Did you catch the revival starring Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester?

3 December

The number THREE made us think of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's electric play Emilia, for two reasons: first, Adelle Leonce, Clare Perkins and Saffron Coomber, all play Emilia Bassano during the show at various stages of her life; and the three Olivier awards they won this year - Best Sound Design, Best Costume Design and Best Entertainment or Comedy Play.

4 December

Fans of Jason Robert Brown's song cycle, Songs For a New World, have enjoyed two outings of this show, one online and one at the London Palladium fronted by a QUARTET of West End stalwarts including Rachel Tucker, Rachel John, Cedric Neal, Ramin Karimloo, David Hunter, plus Shem Omari James too. The show will appear again at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2021.

5 December

It's been a bumper year for Jason Robert Brown with multiple high profile outings of his intimate, COVID-safe show, The Last FIVE Years. We were treated to an online production starring Lauren Samuels and Danny Becker; the Minack Theatre production starring Emma Kingston and Waylon Jacobs and the reimagined Southwark Playhouse version that has Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson not only singing but also accompanying each other on the piano.

6 December

Six were behind door number 6 in last year's BWW advent calendar, but they certainly deserve mention again this year. The show made history on 5 December as the first fully staged musical to return to London's West End since lockdown in March. The hist-remix is currently booking until April 2021 at the Lyric Theatre but sadly had to close again when London moved into Tier 3 and 4 restrictions.

7 December

The Olivier Awards were certainly a little different this year! The show that won Best Musical this year was Dear Evan Hansen which was nominated for seven awards. Sam Tutty also took home the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical during the broadcast on 25 October. The Olivier for Best Original Score/New Orchestrations also went to Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Alex Lacamoire.

8 December

By the time you read this (at time of posting), eight months (nearly nine!) will have passed since theatres up and down the country closed on 16 March when the UK Government advised the public to avoid entertainment venues like theatres. We've seen snippets of theatre popping up since then, but we can't wait for the day when theatre auditoriums can be full again.

9 December

A lot of our reviewers are noticing new layers of depth in shows when viewing them through the COVID lens. Check out our website to see what we mean. Jokes and gags about an abundance of toilet paper in Come From Away, set during the few days after the NINE/eleven terrorist attacks, will never be received by audiences in the same way again!

10 December

There were so many shows we could have picked from in terms of those who would be celebrating their tenth anniversary this year but, since its Christmas, we had to mention Elf the Musical. The festive favourite following Buddy the Elf on his quest to bring his family together at Christmas was adapted for the stage and opened on Broadway in 2010.

11 December

We love a good ELEVEN o'clock number at BroadwayWorld. For those unfamiliar with the term, it's a big, show-stopping song that occurs late in the second act of a two-act musical, in which a major character, often the protagonist, comes to an important realization. Our favourites include "No Good Deed" from Wicked and "I'm Here" from The Colour Purple. What are yours? Check out our interview with the cast of Wicked when we asked them!

12 December

"If music be the food of love, play on..." TWELFTH Night has made quite a few appearances during lockdown, from the RSC's #AlmostLiveFromTheRSC Twelfth Night Watch Along, to a showing to an encore showing of the Tamsin Greig-fronted production at the National and more!

13 December

We were thrilled to find out in February 2020 that Neil Meron is going to produce a film adaption of Jason Robert Brown's 13 The Musical for Netflix. The producer behind the Live TV versions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, The Wiz and The Sound of Music on US TV. The project recently resumed casting for the movie.

14 December

The FOURTEENTH amendment made to the US Constitution granted citizenship to "all persons born or naturalised in the United States". Heidi Schreck riffs on the importance of this amendment among others during her hit political play, What The Constitution Means To Me, which was released on Amazon Prime this year.

15 December

Sadly 15 December marked yet another day where producers, having done all they can to put on shows for live audiences in a COVID-safe manner, were forced to close by a sudden change in the UK social restrictions. Many venues haven't reopened since March while others are taking financial risks in a bid to bring some theatre magic to audiences in this turbulent time.

We feel particularly for A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre who just had their press night the night before.

16 December

We knew we could rely on our National Theatre to provide us with some excellent theatre content to keep us occupied during the height of lockdown 1.0. National Theatre at Home became a fixture on Thursday evenings in many households with people dressing up and making their own tickets and programmes to revisit SIXTEEN classic NT Productions like Richard Bean's One Man Two Guvnors starring James Corden.

17 December

While most of the The Shows Must Go On! series on YouTube featured performances from UK stages, we were treated to the 2013 NBC Live version of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood as Maria Von Trapp. The beloved Rogers and Hammerstein show features the song "Sixteen Going on Seventeen".

18 December

Broadway theatres shut their doors on 12 March, meaning that when the decision was taken to proceed with the 2020 Tony Awards, only EIGHTEEN plays and musicals were eligible for the awards. Last year, that number was 34.

19 December

"I'm only NINETEEN, but my mind is older...", an infamous lyric from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. The show was released on Disney+ in July, bringing the revolutionary musical to homes around the world.

20 December

So much for the beginning of the roaring '20s this year. Today we raise a glass to 2020, the year that never quite was what we hoped it would be. On a similar '20s note, we were thrilled to find out this week that the immersive version of The Great Gatsby Party in London is extending to August 2021!

21 December

"21 Guns" is a song by Green Day. The jukebox musical, American Idiot, based on the album of the same name toured the UK last year. The West End and touring casts reunited in May 2020 to perform a Green Day Medley to raise money for the Barn Theatre and The Ben Kinsella Trust.

22 December

22 years was how old Susan Egan was when she played the role of Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. A new UK production has been announced for 2021, and we have everything crossed that the "tale as old as time" will make it to our stages.

23 December

On the penultimate day of our advent calendar, we pay tribute to the Bard whose work we have seen in many forms this year both on stage and online as restrictions have permitted. William Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 and died exactly 52 years later on 23 April 1616.

24 December

It's Christmas Eve! We had to end our Very 2020 BroadwayWorld Advent Calendar with a tribute to Hope Mill Theatre's highly-anticipated revival of Rent. The show which opens with the lines "December 24th, 9 pm, Eastern Standard Time..." was disrupted multiple times by COVID restrictions.

Thank you for joining us on our countdown to Christmas. What's been your theatrical highlight of 2020?



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From This Author Fiona Scott