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Ben Richards joins Priscilla, SRB in Lear @ National, Roger Allam @ Globe, Simon Webbe in Sister Act, Duncan James replacement

Princeton2
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Ben Richards is going from walking the beat on The Bill to shaking his derriere to it, in Priscilla on stage.
The actor, who also played bullying Bruno Milligan in Footballers' Wives, is wrapping up his role as Lothario in blue, PC Nate Jackson, in the long-running drama set in and around the fictional Sun Hill police station.

Flamboyant: Ben Richards, who starred in The Bill, makes an arresting sight in his flip flop outfit in Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert

Ben decided to depart before he knew of ITV's decision to shut down the cop show.
Ben takes over from Jason Donovan in Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert The Musical at the Palace Theatre, London from June 1.
The show's become one of those guilty pleasures that people flock to when they want to let their hair, or whatever, down.
Sun Hill stalwart: Ben Richards as PC Nate Roberts
Ben takes the part of Tick, one of two drag-queen artists who join up with a transsexual (a part originated in the film version by Terence Stamp and, memorably, on the musical stage by Tony Sheldon) and travel in an old bus painted a shade of pink called salmon surprise (seriously) from Sydney across the Outback and beyond to Alice Springs.

Along the way the trio learn some hard-knock truths about others - and themselves.
More important, they squeeze themselves into stunning Olivier-award winning costumes created by Tim Chappel and Lizzie Gardiner, bedeck themselves with baubles, bangles and beads, and put on shows in the Outback, kicking up their mammoth platform heels to a pulsating disco soundtrack.

'The headgear's a bit heavy,' Ben confided.
Even though he started his career on the musical theatre stage and has played in Guys And Dolls, Grease, The Full Monty and Saturday Night Fever, to mention just a few, he's petrified by the job ahead of him.
'If I'm scared, I'm happy. It's a challenge. Can I pull it off, though? Never done drag before; never had hair out to here; never had so much make-up. And it's a gay character and I want to play it right. Hopefully, I can nail it.'
His wife can't wait to see him in stilettos. Don Gallagher and Oliver Thornton will continue with the show when Ben arrives on June 1.

Priscilla heads to Toronto late this year and there are plans to open in New York next year, where a show doctor will help guide it into place.




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1268221/My-officer-arresting-outfit-The-Bill-actor-shakes-derriere-Priscilla.html#ixzz0ltvQe0Ws

Sam Mendes has been persuaded to return to the National Theatre, where he will direct the much-in-demand star Simon Russell Beale as King Lear.

It's a major coup for the National to get Oscar-winning Mendes back to the concrete pile on the South Bank for the first time since he directed a 1998 production of Othello there - with his old friend Beale playing Iago.
The pair last worked together on the first season of the Bridge Project, for which Mendes gathered an Anglo-U.S. company, led by Beale, and staged The Winter's Tale and The Cherry Orchard.
The company started in Brooklyn and embarked on a global tour that included the Old Vic.


Last night, the National confirmed to me that they are in negotiations with both Mendes and his leading actor about mounting a production of Lear at the NT in 2012, although it hasn't yet been determined whether the play will open in the spring or autumn season.

'It will happen in one or the other,' an executive at the NT told me.
The National would like it to be spring, if possible, so the play could be part of the World Shakespeare Festival being organised by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of some Olympic arts endeavour.
Beale, who is having the time of his life playing the dandy Sir Harcourt Courtly opposite Fiona Shaw in London Assurance at the National (the play, directed by Nicholas Hytner, will be shown live on selected cinema screens as part of NT Live on June 28. Visit www.national theatre.org.uk/ntlive for locations), said that he will enjoy spending the next year or so 'mulling over' how to approach Lear.
Before Lear, however, Beale will star in a new revival of Ira Levin's Deathtrap with Glee idol Jonathon Groff, Anna Massey and - here's the skinny - Claire Skinner, of Outnumbered TV fame, who will play Beale's wife in the thriller. Skinner enjoyed a lively theatre career before she became hot on the small screen.
It's almost a pity that Mendes isn't staging Lear at the National now, because as a good friend of Nick Clegg's, he might have given Lear, the story of a ruler carving up his country for his three offspring, some pertinent political significance.
Isn't all the firepower being shot at Clegg making the electorate like him more


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1268221/My-officer-arresting-outfit-The-Bill-actor-shakes-derriere-Priscilla.html#ixzz0ltvbWAEx

Roger Allam is going to play that old drunkard Jack Falstaff at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre through the summer.
The Olivier-award winning actor will join Jamie Parker as Prince Hal, William Gaunt, playing Worcester and Justice Swallow, with Oliver Cotton as Henry IV in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2.
Part 1 begins performances on June 6 and Part 2 from July 3, and then both continue through to October 3.
The Henry IV plays are gripping theatre but I've also always seen them as a coming of age for Prince Hal, where he eventually sees the comical - and often kindly - Falstaff for the crafty villain that he is.

Dominic Dromgoole, the Globe's artistic chief, will direct the plays. His company includes Christopher Godwin, Danny Lee Wynter, Barbara Marten, Lorna Stuart and Jade Williams.
Allam has also just completed work on Tamara Drewe, where he stars alongside Gemma Arterton, Luke Evans, Tamsin Greig and Dominic Cooper, playing one of three men who become bewitched by Tamara.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1268221/My-officer-arresting-outfit-The-Bill-actor-shakes-derriere-Priscilla.html#ixzz0ltvjADBD

Simon Webbe, the singer and music producer who found early fame with the boy-band Blue, will join Patina Miller and Sheila Hancock in Sister Act, which is running at the London Palladium.

Webbe will play the main bad guy and he gets to sing a couple of really good R & B numbers. Sister Act will be at the Palladium till next year, when The Wizard Of Oz will move in.

The part of Dorothy is being picked from a TV casting show. From what I've seen of 'Throw Up Over The Rainbow', as it's known in our house, on BBC TV there's not a single contestant worthy of the lead role in a major West End musical. They're all - and I mean all of them - third division.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1268221/My-officer-arresting-outfit-The-Bill-actor-shakes-derriere-Priscilla.html#ixzz0ltvsvBVd

** RICHARD FLEESHMAN, who will replace Duncan James as the leading man in that pile of goo known as Legally Blonde, which is somehow still running at the Savoy. Mr Fleeshman used to be in Coronation Street, but he can sing.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1268221/My-officer-arresting-outfit-The-Bill-actor-shakes-derriere-Priscilla.html#ixzz0ltw821yd


Princeton2
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I know he is a really great actor, but why is Simon Russell Beale getting cast in what seems like everything thses days, especially at the National.

Cant stand Richard Fleeshman so will definately wont be seeing Blonde after Duncan leaves. Also got to totally agree with Baz on Over The Rainbow, seriously below par this year
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jaqs
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How old is Fleeshman, wont he look fetal next to Sheridan?

Cant imagine Webb bringing much menace in Sister act but I would be curious to see him, am shallow, he's hot.
Updated On: 4/23/10 at 04:36 AM
Beergoggles
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I would have rather then had someone a little bit older to play Warner next to Sheridan. Maybe they've lined a younger Elle up for when she leaves which would make sense.

Over the rainbow isn't great but some of the girls in there are wonderful. I didn't enjoy reading his article to be honest. Seems like a very bitchy queen.
Jesus Loves You... Everybody else thinks you're an idiot!
JamieHT
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Hmmmm! Simon Webbe as Shank?? I assumed he'd be Eddie if anything. I don't believe he can pull off that role, but am prepared to be proven wrong.

I'll also miss Chris Jarman, who I (not so) secretly fancy.
Once you start to spread it, Baby, if you let it, Love comes right on back to you . . .
Updated On: 4/23/10 at 07:35 AM
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songanddanceman2
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He really is a world class idiot, evertime i see his gface i want to scream. Maybe blonde is still running because it opened to positives and raves from eveyone BUT the Mail
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
Princeton2
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songanddanceman2
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He gets info which people have known days ago, ive never looked at his article and gone 'wow, i never heard that'
He and his strange devil face should be sent packing lol
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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MamasDoin'Fine
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He whips up second hand news in theatreland and pops it in the popular press- thats it, its no big news by the time it hits the pages on Friday!
Princeton2
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lol but thats his job, he is a gossip columnist, no more no less.

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TIGGOSAURUS
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Some observations:

1) As someone with no direct connections to the West End, I do occasionally find BB's column newsworthy (which must make it even more so for people who only visit / follow theatrical news occasionally). ?? Better than Riedel's snark in any case!

2) Ben Richards looks FINE!

3) A 'show doctor' for Priscilla? I can hear the sound of knives being sharpened on the Broadway board and ATC already. :-/
Seen some shows in my time....
Updated On: 4/23/10 at 05:36 PM
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Phantom of London
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Baz bringing old news? I beg to differ.

I guess baz has excellent sources of information, if his news is so old why does no one on this board break the story before he does?
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songanddanceman2
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I knew about Fleeshamn last week and Ben Richards a few days ago
Namo i love u but we get it already....you don't like Madonna
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Richard Fleeshman is a good singer, but he would be totally miscast as 'Warner'.
Everything in life...is only for now.
Updated On: 4/23/10 at 06:29 PM
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Weez
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If Baz doesn't bring old news, why is Baz getting all excited about Roger Allam at the Globe when that was announced way back in early March?

It's not that Baz brings news, as such, it's more that everything you read on the boards is gossip but Baz doesn't talk about things until they're definites. So we know things, but a lot of us don't KNOW them until Baz says it, at which point it's definitely true. Ben Richards joins Priscilla, SRB in Lear @ National, Roger Allam @ Globe,
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If Baz doesn't bring old news, why is Baz getting all excited about Roger Allam at the Globe when that was announced way back in early March?

I was wondering that - The Stage and Playbill and other sites are also only just reporting it as news now. I do frequently imagine and dream about Roger Allam-related things, but I was pretty sure that one was for real! Ben Richards joins Priscilla, SRB in Lear @ National, Roger Allam @ Globe,

In Baz's defence, he does seem to still enjoy (some) theatre, which is more than can be said for the likes of Michael Riedel.
Princeton2
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Yeah i dont tend to take anything I read on forums as gospel, but where Baz prints it, its usually reliable at that stage
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Weez
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Yeah, Allam was definitely announced in March. I hope I'm not maligning the thoughts of my lovely family too badly when I say that particular casting news was the best birthday present I got. Ben Richards joins Priscilla, SRB in Lear @ National, Roger Allam @ Globe, Mind you, I guess they're probably reannouncing it now that the Globe is open for business again in case of ... well, idiots and forgetful people or something. XD
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I've wanted to see Ben Richards in something (other than my shower) for ages.
JamieHT
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Yes. I've really wanted to see him in something too, ever since he abused my favourite character from Starlight in Footballers' Wives. I'm really just not sure I can face Priscilla again.

I have to see it with Ray Meagher in it so I guess I'll have to wait till then. Maybe by then I can resurrect a bit of enthusiasm.
Once you start to spread it, Baby, if you let it, Love comes right on back to you . . .
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When is the new sister act cast notice expected?
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