UK Roundup - $124 tickets, Brad Oscar, Alan Rickman

By: Dec. 06, 2004

It was never going to be long before the West End finally reached Broadway prices. This week the announcement has finally come. Acorn Antiques - the musical starring Victoria Wood and Julie Walters (albeit not together, sharing the role) – will charge £65 on a Saturday night, which at current exchange rates comes to $124, actually higher than current Broadway prices. With booking fees included that price for two people is $275. The logic, apparently, comes down to playing in a small house and being a £2m musical – the Theatre Royal Haymarket has just under 900 seats. Tonight's the Night, the Rod Stewart Musical, had a top price of £55 and closed within a year, whilst other musicals – despite not necessarily having the quality product of others - raised the game up to £50 a ticket.

The role of Max Bialystock is infamously a big challenge to any actor – vocally and physically strenuous, it's not a part to be taken lightly. Hardly surprising then that with such little time to recast the role Mel Brooks has called upon Brad Oscar to replace Nathan Lane in The Producers. Once Lane's contract is up on January 8th he will depart to New York to rest before filming the film version of the stage show. Oscar, who replaced Lane in the New York production after Henry Goodman was fired, will step in from the 10th. It's currently playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane after rave reviews hailed Lane's performance, but also the show itself too. It also stars Lee Evans, Leigh Zimmerman and Conleth Hill.

The RoyalCourtTheatre have announced their spring season and the highlights include a play about an American peace activist directed by Alan Rickman. My Name is Rachel Corrie relives the life of 23 year old Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza as she tried to prevent a bulldozer from destroying a Palestinian's house. It will be dramatised in April starring Megan Dodds. Also on the Court's programme is Stoning Mary by Debbie Tucker Green - winner of the Laurence Olivier Award 2004 for Most Promising Newcomer, Breathing Corpses by Laura Wade and Tim Fountain brings his Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit Tim Fountain: Sex Addict to the capital. The new writing venue at Sloane Square is currently presenting their Young Playwrights' Season 2004.

The new Billy Flynn in Chicago is to be former soap star Michael French, best known to audiences for his role in long running soap EastEnders. Star of BBC1's Born and Bred, the actor made his name as David Wicks in the soap, but has also appeared on stage in Art and at the Royal Court. From December 13th he will join musical theatre star Josefina Gabrielle, who starred as Laurey in the Broadway revival of Oklahoma, who returns to play the role of Roxie Hart. Stars Anna Jane Casey, Paul Baker and Sharon D Clarke stay on in their roles as Velma Kelly, Amos Hart and MamaMorton respectively. Meanwhile, next year Marti Pellow will continue to tour in Chicago as Billy, a role he has played both in the West End and on Broadway.

And finally, as with every Christmas, pantomime is underway in the UK. A very British tradition, every Christmas regional theatres are packed out with minor celebrities cross-dressing and singing popular songs to famous storylines such as Aladdin and Cinderella. This year, however, panto has been given a boost in the capital as Ian McKellen, star of Lord of the Rings, will play Widow Twankey in Aladdin with Maureen Lipman (who last appeared in Thoroughly Modern Millie) in a supporting role. Elsewhere in England an array of musical theatre stars can be found including Marti Webb in Malvern, Gary Wilmot in Wolverhampton and Darren Day in Northampton.

 



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From This Author - Jake Brunger

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