UK Roundup

Will she 'Glitter' onstage? Yes, diva Mariah Carey is said to be having lessons in voice projection, diction and how to walk elegantly in the run up to a proposed West End debut as Elsie in The Sleeping Prince by Terrence Ratigan. Elsie is the role made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1957 movie The Prince and the Showgirl opposite Laurence Olivier. The Rattigan estate has confirmed the plans and it will be produced by Bill Kenwright, currently represented on Broadway by Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Mariah is expected to sing in the play too but only time will tell whether her acting matches her singing. The Sleeping Prince is hoped to open in March.

Also in final negotiations for a West End role is Calista Flockhart, set to take the title role in Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie - nothing less for the Ally McBeal actress. More on this after confirmation.

Hot on the heels of her Tony nominated Broadway bow in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Victoria Hamilton this week opens alongside actress Jane Horrocks (best known for the film Little Voice) in a revival of Stephen Poliakoff's Sweet Panic. A modern thriller about a child psychologist stalked by the mother of one of her clients, Sweet Panic also comprises a cast of John Gordon Sinclair and Daniela Denby Ashe, both well-known TV faces in the UK. Poliakoff also directs the play at the intimate 650 seat Duke of York's Theatre.

Now into rehearsals for her latest role in All's Well That Ends Well is Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench, most recently seen in stage play The Breath of Life, a role of which she will not transfer to Broadway with. In a run that will begin at the Royal Shakespeare Company's home in Stratford and then transfer to a commercial London theatre, Dench plays the Countess in Shakespeare's deeply sexual black comedy.

The RSC has recently come under fire after being exposed by an insider to a British website over its plans to scrap London transfers due to cash shortages, but has also been plagued by many other cash crisis problems.

AWTEW runs at the Swan Theatre from December 3rd - 7th February, though this is heavily sold out, and then plays a strictly limited season from 18th February - 24th April 2004 at the Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.

The music of Jason Robert Brown finally comes to London, though alas not with one of his shows but in the form of a celebration evening that looks at contemporary US musical theatre. At the intimate Arts Theatre, the concert Notes from New York plays just one performance and includes music mainly by Brown and Andrew Lippa. Songs from Lippa's upcoming Broadway show A Little Princess will make up part of the evening whilst JRB's musicals The Last Five Years and Parade are also programmed for appearances. The four-hander show is staged (and also performed) by actor Paul Spicer who was last seen in the West End in The Witches of Eastwick before successfully touring with Fame.

Finally this week, I managed to catch two of London's latest offerings - the transfers of Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. The critics gave Millie mixed reviews, mainly blaming the show itself for having no memorable numbers or a decent book. Having already known the music, I really enjoyed seeing how it was staged at the tiny Shaftesbury, with limited space for the cast to dance away on. Amanda Holden got good reviews, mainly for being a singing revelation, but her voice isn't in the same league as Sutton Foster's - still incredibly to watch though.

Anything Goes was an unprecedented hit with the critics, but for me Millie was way in front as far as entertainment and enjoyment goes.

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From This Author Jake Brunger

Jake is currently studying at Bristol University and hopes to eventually pursue a career in the theatre industry as a writer/director. His favourite writers include (read more...)

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