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Saturday, 18 August 2018

THEN AND NOW: Chicago the Musical


Making its return to the West End stage, Chicago is one of the most famous musicals around the world. The show has attracted some very famous names to it including Ruthie Henshall (who is the only Woman to play all three leads), Bebe Neuwirth, Brandy, Jerry Springer, Mel B, Todrick Hall, Wendy Williams, Tase Diggs, Ashlee Simpson, Melanie Griffith, Patrick Swayze and most recently on the West End, Alexandra Burke. In this edition of 'Then And Now' we look back on the original Broadway production, the 1996 Broadway revival, the 2013 revival at the Leicester Curve, the current West End production and we also look back to numerous cast members who have featured in the West End run of the 1996 revival. Take a look and share your favourite moments of the show with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog #PocketThenNow

Roxie Hart 





Gwen Verdon (1975), Ann Reinig (1996), Bonnie Langford (2006), Gemma Sutton (2013) & Sarah Soetaert (2018)
Velma Kelly 



Chita Rivera (1975), Bebe Neuwirth (1996), Leigh Zimmerman (2001), Verity Rushworth (2013) & Josefina Gabrielle (2018)
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Thursday, 16 August 2018

FEATURE: When understudies save the day!



Understudies are a vital part of what keeps shows all across the world going every night. Over the past few years, we've had stories all over the press about understudies taking on lead roles in extreme circumstances and absolutely smashing it. Here are just a few of the recent stories we love (All with happy endings!), we'd like to thank these performers for not only being amazing but also taking the time to chat to us briefly for this article. And make sure to check out the bottom of the page with a breakdown of the past understudies who are astounding audiences all across the UK every night! 

Jennifer Caldwell 


When sickness hits a cast, sometimes dramatic solutions have to happen! Knights of the Rose, a new musical running at the Arts Theatre, had a wave of sickness in the cast and when an understudy is already covering someone else, whats happens?! Jennifer Caldwell was working in the Box Office and was asked for help from the Producer, she agreed to go on at 7pm and by 7.30pm was on stage! 

"When the producer asked if I could possibly step up and perform in the show I was, I think it's safe to say, apprehensive, however, adrenaline and excitement took over pretty quickly. 

The company I had around me are some of the most talented people you could ever meet which could have made things pretty daunting, but, everyone was incredibly supportive and made it so easy to slot in to the show. I couldn't wish for a better group of people to be around."

She has now been made a permanent member of the cast and features as a swing. 

"I think, as performers, we should always be willing to accept any challenge as, in such an unpredictable industry, you never know if this kind of opportunity could arise again."

Steph Parry


Steph recently finished playing Donna in Mamma Mia on the Royal Caribbean before landing the role of the standby for Dorothy Black and Maggie Jones in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She was called upon when Mamma Mia (at the Novello Theatre) needed someone to step in mid show for the lead role, Donna, when the understudy suffered a serious injury. 

"It was such a surreal night, there was a moment just before I stepped out onstage where I thought “what the hell am I about to do?!” But I walked out to such a huge cheer from the audience that I instantly knew they were behind me and it felt so awesome!" 

She completed the show to great acclaim and was promoted from stand by to lead as Dorothy Black in 42nd Street.
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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Motown to close in April after over three years in the West End


In advance of major refurbishments taking place at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Motown The Musical will conclude its run on 20 April 2019 having celebrated over 1330 performances since its London premiere over three years earlier in February 2016. With music and lyrics from the Motown catalogue, book by Motown founder Berry Gordy and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown the Musical tells the story behind the legendary classic hits. In October this year a previously announced UK tour will begin and in January 2019 Motown the record label will mark its sixtieth anniversary.

The production features a fifteen-piece orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, Stop! In The Name of Love, My Girl and I Heard It through the Grapevine. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy, goes from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, discovering and launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation. 
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Saturday, 11 August 2018

THEN AND NOW: Little Shop of Horrors


Little Shop of Horrors opened at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park in a production like we've never seen before. So as part of our new 'Then and Now' series we thought this show would be thee perfect one to kick things off. We decided to look back at the different productions we've been treated to over the years, both here and in the US. Take a look and share your favourite moments of the show with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog #PocketThenNow


Seymour Krelborn



Lee Wilkof (1982), Hunter Foster (2003), Paul Keating (2006), Sam Lupton (2016) & Marc Antolin (2018)



Audrey 



Ellen Greene (1982), Kerry Butler (2003), Sheridan Smith (2006), Stephanie Clift (2016) & Jemima Rooper (2018)
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Thursday, 9 August 2018

REVIEW: The Three Musketeers at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden


On a warm pleasant night in central London what better way is there than to spend the evening in the grounds of the Actors Church tucked away behind Covent Garden street performers being transported by Iris theatre to La Rochelle in France in the 1620's. It is an action packed fun filled promenade performance that clearly appeals to all ages as the children in this audience are drawn into the action from the very first scene. We meet the musketeers in the middle of the siege of the La Rochelle as the Protestant Huguenots supported by the English are attacked by Catholics under Cardinal Richelieu. Two small girls are drafted in with red capes to take on Aramis in a duel. It sets the tone for the evening.


This is a classic retelling of Dumas famous novels of D'Artagnan's desire to join the musketeers, of Athos's secret past life and of the Queen of France's infidelity. But here artistic director and writer Daniel Winder gives it a twist by making D'Artangnan a female in disguise and the duplicitous spy Miliady the narrator. This elevates the female roles to central protagonists of the story , challenging the Cardinal's belief that "all men require from women is unthinking obedience" and breaking free from "scheming male politicians trying to control all women".
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