STAGE TUBE: First Look at Birmingham Hippodrome Season - PHANTOM, LION KING and More!

Birmingham Hippodrome has announced details of one of its busiest years ever, with no fewer than three West End blockbusters, a ballet premiere, new opera productions and the return of several popular favourites.  BroadwayWorld has a first look at the season in the video below.

Birmingham Hippodrome’s £1m Stage Appeal has also come to a successful close with substantial donations from grant-making Trusts including The Monument Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation and The JP Getty Jr Charitable Trust. Members of the audience have made generous contributions totaling over £130,000, but those who still wish to make a donation can do so until the end of January on 0844 338 5000.

A particularly exciting inclusion in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2012/13 season is the UK premiere of David Bintley’s Aladdin (15-23 Feb 2013) with its background in the Arabian Tales of 1001 Nights. Sir Peter Wright’s Coppélia (4-8 Jun 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) complete the season.

The all-male divas of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (or “The Trocks” to their friends) return to Birmingham Hippodrome (1 & 2 Feb 2013) following their previous acclaimed visits. With one foot in farce and the other in classical ballet, their dedicated tootsies are shoe-horned into size 10 pink satin pointe-shoes for an evening of unforgettable and hilarious dance.

Matthew Bourne, Britain’s favourite choreographer celebrates 25 years with his dance company New Adventures with a brand new production of Sleeping Beauty (5-9 Feb 2013). This gothic tale will receive its London premiere at Sadler’s Wells in December 2012 before its Midlands premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Following sell-out performances at Birmingham Rep as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham 2010, celebrated Flemish/Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui presents his acclaimed SUTRA (7 & 8 May 2013). Inspired by the skill, strength and spirituality of Buddhist monks it features 17 monks from the Shaolin Temple in China with designs by Turner Prize winner Antony Gormley.

Birmingham Hippodrome is the only venue outside Cardiff where audiences can see all Welsh National Opera’s full repertoire. The forthcoming 2012/13 season marks the first for new WNO Chief Executive and Artistic Director David Pountney. Highlights include David’s first themed season – Free Spirits - which brings together his new production of Lulu (5 Mar 2013) and his classic production of The Cunning Little Vixen (7 Mar 2013). This is followed by the company’s celebration of the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth featuring the first fully-staged performance in the UK of Wagner Dream (12 Jun 2013), Jonathan Harvey’s fantasy on Wagner’s final days and unlike anything audiences will have experienced at the opera before.

An all star cast features in a brand new stage production of The Full Monty based on the famous film of the same name (26 Feb- 2 Mar). This long-awaited stage production has a new script written by the original Oscar-winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen). Kenny Doughty (Sean in Sky TV’s Stella) is Gaz; Craig Gazey (winner of the National TV Award for Graeme Proctor in Coronation Street) is Lumper; Simon Rouse (DCI Jack Meadows in The Bill, a role he played for almost 20 years) is Gerald; Kieran O’Brien (Matt in Michael Winterbottom’s infamous film Nine Songs) is Guy; Roger Morlidge (The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love) is Dave and Sidney Cole (Macduff in Macbeth directed by Max Stafford Clarke, Absolutely Fabulous ) is Horse.

Sean Lock returns to the Hippodrome in a brand new stand up show for 2013 ‘Purple Van Man’ (10 & 11 May). Filled with gags, opinions, deft observations and some silly voices, this is Sean Lock doing what he does best, spouting inspired jibber jabber as he crosses the country in his purple van.

The world’s largest pantomime productions can only be found at Birmingham Hippodrome and this year’s festive feast is no exception. Robinson Crusoe and The Caribbean Pirates (15 Dec-27 Jan) starring pantomime favourite Brian Conley and Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph is set to be great family fun, featuring stunning sets and costumes, breathtaking special effects and a few unexpected twists!

And we are delighted to announce that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be the 2013/14 Pantomime running 19 December 2013 to 2 February 2014 – priority booking now open! Star casting to be announced.

Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera (13 Mar-4 May) opens in March 2013; with acclaimed reviews, a famous score and sumptuous costumes, this production will no doubt be one of the year’s theatrical highlights. Earl Carpenter returns to the role of the Phantom and Katie Hall will play the role of Christine. The mesmerising score includes ‘The Music of the Night’, ‘Think of Me’, ‘All I Ask Of You’ and the title song ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.

Music & Lyrics (who toured the sell-out award-winning success The King & I last year) bring Cole Porter’s classic High Society back to Birmingham (14-18 May). This brand new production adapted from the hit 1956 film starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra features a host of memorable songs including ‘True Love’ ‘Well, Did You Evah’ and ‘You’re Sensational’. The cast is headed by Michael Praed (Robin of Sherwood and The Sound of Music), Carolyn Pickles (Emmerdale) Teddy Kempner (Acorn Antiques the Musical), Daniel Boys (Any Dream Will Do) with Sophie Bould (The Sound of Music).

The West End’s favourite musical comedy Hairspray returns to Birmingham Hippodrome for a two week season (21 May-1 Jun) boasting a spectacular star studded cast headed by stage and screen star Mark Benton as larger than life Edna Turnblad. Mark is joined by EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin (Velma Von Tussle), the popular 2011 X Factor finalist Marcus Collins (Seaweed Stubbs) and newcomer Freya Sutton (Tracy Turnblad).

Disney’s The Lion King will be the city’s major summer event in 2013 running for a spectacular three month season as part of its first ever UK tour (29 Jun-28 Sept). With a talented cast of over 50 singers and dancers from over 17 different countries, the story of The Lion King is miraculously brought to life using masks, puppets and striking costumes to tell the story of young Simba.

In autumn 2013 Birmingham Hippodrome welcomes the ‘theatre event of the decade’ War Horse (17 Oct-9 Nov). Presented by The National Theatre and based on a First World War novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship.

This powerfully moving and imaginative drama is filled with stirring music. Presented in Birmingham in partnership with Pertemps, it is a show of phenomenal inventiveness that is currently playing to packed houses in London and New York. At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, that bring to life breathing, galloping horses strong enough for men to ride.

Hippodrome Friends priority booking and VIP packages are on sale now. Groups and schools can book from Thursday 10 January with online booking from Monday 14 January and Phone and Counter sales from Tuesday 15 January 2013.

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