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Friday, 26 August 2022

15 Celebrities you forgot were in Chicago!

Chicago the Musical remains one of the most iconic pieces in the theatre world, with numerous runs in the West End and a long run on Broadway, the revival production is celebrating 25 years since opening on Broadway! The show has been renowned for casting celebrities in the iconic roles, so we picked out a few that you may have forgotten about!  
Mel B 

The Spice Girls star played Roxie Hart in the Broadway production back in 2017, having previously appeared as Mimi in RENT, she was no stranger to the Great White Way. 

Jerry Springer 

The TV star already had a hit musical made about his talk show but hadn't made his theatre debut until he took on the role of Billy Flynn in the West End company in 2009, not long after he reprised the role on Broadway. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

REVIEW: Chicago at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Chicago proves why it's been around for a while and it is definitely here to stay. This black box production uzes class and establishes itself as a classic musical theatre piece. If you’ve not seen Chicago, where have you been?! This version of the show opened in London back in 1997 and has refused to leave our stages and this production validates exactly why. 

This has to be one of the classiest shows on the circuit at the moment and even though the style of the show could be of an acquired taste, it sure has something for everyone. With impeccable choreography, humour pouring through it and relevance to our lives today this show is what the country needs. 

The light humour in the piece carries through and with the talented cast it's very easy to watch but then when the harder hitting moments come, they hit pretty hard. In a world where celebrities are created through social media and, arguably, have no ‘real’ talents, this shows message and meaning carries through to modern-day. 

Monday, 7 June 2021

COMING HOME: Tanisha-Mae Brown, about to head off on tour with Chicago the Musical

Pocket Size Theatre and Liza Heinrichs (Captured by Liz) have teamed up again and created our new series 'Coming Home'. In this new piece, we look at the reopening of Theatres in London and around the country and celebrate our industry coming back. We got together some performers who will be some of the first to return to theatres and created this piece to bring some positivity to the theatre industry which has been through one of the toughest years in our lifetime. Whilst it is important to acknowledge the hardships we've all gone through, it's important we pull together as a community and celebrate our beloved industry finally coming back! 

The theatre industry has been hit incredibly hard over the pandemic. Performers, creatives and freelancers across the whole entertainment industry have been affected hugely, but a group of people who the industry has pulled together to try and help are the 2020 graduates. Coming into this industry is usually an exciting and scary thing, but for those who entered it during this pandemic, I can’t even begin to imagine what it felt like to come into an almost destitute industry. 

Tanisha-Mae Brown graduated from the Arts Educational Schools last year and although it's been a challenging time for theatre, she has thrived and has an exciting future ahead of her. She was featured in the Garden Theatre production of Pippin last summer playing Catherine. The theatre was built in a pub garden and was one of the first to open up with live productions. Her next venture will be on the UK tour of the smash-hit musical, Chicago. Our photoshoot with her took place at the Cambridge Theatre, one of the many homes to Chicago in its time in London. 

Sunday, 6 October 2019

10 Long running shows that didn't win Best Musical at the Oliviers


The original production of Chicago in 1979 lost out on the Best Musical Award to Songbook. However the revival did win Best Musical revival in 1998. The original production ran for 600 performances at the Cambridge Theatre. The show was also nominated in two other categories at the 1979 Olivier Awards; Antonia Ellis (Roxie) for Best Actress in a Musical and Ben Cross (Billy Flynn) for Best Actor in a Musical. However The Awards went to Virginia McKenna (The King and I and Anton Rodgers (Songbook).

Starlight Express

This long running show at the Victoria Apollo ran for 7,409 performances over 18 years. The show is currently the ninth longest running West End show in History and remains the Apollo Victoria Theatres longest running show. The musical lost out on the Best Musical Award to 42nd Street in 1984. Lon Satton, who played Poppa in the original London production, was also nominated for Best Actor in a Musical but the award went to Paul Clarkson for The Hired Man.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Mazz Murray, currently starring as Donna in Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre

Mazz Murray is best known for her run as the Killer Queen and longest serving cast member in the West End musical, We Will Rock You. She is currently playing Donna in Mamma Mia at the Novello Theatre after having previously played Tanya in the same production. She has also not long finished playing Mama Morton in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre. She made her theatre debut playing Patsy Cline in The Roy Orbison Story across the UK and has appeared in Rent, Smokey Joe's Café, Fame, Only The Lonely, Boogie Nights and Pippin.

You’re returning to MAMMA MIA! after having previously played Tanya. What made you want to return to this show? 

The opportunity to play Donna.

And how is it seeing the show from a different characters perspective? 

It’s like a completely different show and experience. 

What are your favourite moments from the show to perform as Donna and which ones did you love doing as Tanya? 

It’s so new at the moment - I’m enjoying all of it, especially singing the songs.

What have you enjoyed most about returning to this show? 

Gosh, seeing the wonderful friends again that are still here – both backstage/ onstage and front of house.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

What is closing in the West End in January?

Kinky Boots | Final Performance on the 12th January 

After almost 3 and a half years in London's West End, Kinky Boots closes its doors at the Adelphi Theatre on the 12th January to make way for the Broadway transfer of Waitress. But do not fear, Kinky Boots is currently strutting around the UK on tour so its not saying goodbye just yet! 

Bat Out of Hell | Final Performance on the 5th January 

After runs at the Manchester Opera House, the London Coliseum, Toronto and finally the West Ends Dominion Theatre, Bat Out of Hell will rock out for the last time on the 5th January. To make way for what I hear you ask? Well you'll have to wait and see. 

The Inheritance | Final Performance on the 19th January 

Playing a sold out run at the Young Vic earlier this year, this play has won the hearts of the theatre going public and has been monumental for gay writing. The closure of this play is to make room for the production of All About Eve before the much waited Broadway transfer of Dear Evan Hanson. 

Chicago | Final Performance on the 5th January 

Making this the fourth West End venue the musical has played (After the Adelphi, the Cambridge and the Garrick) we say goodbye to the musical again on the 5th January at the Phoenix Theatre to make way for the Broadway transfer of Come From Away. 

Dreamgirls | Final Performance on the 12th January 

After over two years in the West End, the Dreamgirls will be saying goodbye on the 12th January. There will be a soul spaced hole in the West End after its closure but will be replaced by the long over due production of 9 to 5. Turns out, Dreamgirls do leave you! 

42nd Street | Final Performance on the 5th January 

Just shy of two full years in one of the West Ends biggest houses, this production of 42nd Street will close on the 5th January to make way for some much needed refurbishment in the Theatre. What will replace it? Well, we here it might get a little colder in there! Lets hope they install some central heating. 

Snow White | Final Performance on the 13th January 

Now this show hasn't even opened yet, but we are so pumped to get into the Christmas mood so had to include this! Opening on the 12th December with a star cast, this show closes almost exactly a month later on the 13th January at the London Palladium. 


Tuesday, 2 October 2018

REVIEW: Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre

Kander and Ebb’s long running musical ‘Chicago’ returned to the West End earlier this year and recently introduced a new set of leads into the cast. The show is famous for a long list of hit songs including “All That Jazz”, “Mr Cellophane” and “Razzle Dazzle” to name only a few. Fans may be familiar with the 2002 film version, which remains fairly faithful to the stage show. Top billing in this instance is given to Alexandra Burke as wannabe vaudeville star, ‘Roxie Hart’ and Duncan James as the silver tongued prince of the courtroom, ‘Billy Flynn’. Stunt casting receives a lot of criticism in the press, however I am pleased to report that the current stars of ‘Chicago’ have stagecraft enough to make the show an enjoyable couple of hours.

That being said… there is no doubt that Burke is talented, but her soulful vocals feel somewhat out of place in 1920’s Chicago and she never really convinces us of any kind of struggle or character journey throughout the show. She moves well, but next to the dazzling Laura Tyrer as a pitch-perfect Velma Kelly, she struggles to demonstrate the sharpness and specificity needed for Anne Reinking’s fosse- inspired choreography. Fans of the singer will surely enjoy her performance, and it makes for an interesting change from the usual portrayal of Roxie but not necessarily appropriate to the piece as a whole.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Denise Van Outen to take over the role of Velma in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre

Denise Van Outen, who has previously played the role of Roxie on the West End and Broadway, will return to the show at the Phoenix Theatre as Velma Kelly according to the Daily Mail. 

Her other theatre credits include Tell Me on a Sunday, Rent Remixed and Legally Blonde. She is also a judge on Irelands Got Talent. 

Denise said ‘I’m really excited about it. I remained very good friends with the producers of the show, because when I did the show on Broadway I actually lived in their apartment.

It’s one of those things, it was such a big piece of my life. I was the first celebrity to do Chicago, so it was quite a big gamble for them and because it kind of worked out and went well and I was well received in New York by the Press and the critics, I’ve always had that real love for the show.’

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)

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Mazz Murray Joins Martin Kemp in CHICAGO, With New Booking Period Announced

Mazz Murray will join the West End cast of CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre, playing the title role of Mama Morton from Monday 2 July. Also joining the cast on 2 July will be the previously announced Martin Kemp as Billy Flynn. They will join Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle and Paul Rider as Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and Amos Hart respectively.

Martin Kemp will be staying in the London production of CHICAGO until 2 September 2018, with Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle, Mazz Murray and Paul Rider staying until 11 August 2018.

A new booking period opens today, Tuesday 26 June, with tickets available for performances from Monday 8 October to Saturday 5 January 2019. 

Mazz Murray’s previous theatre credits include nine years as Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Tanya in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Mabel in Fame (Victoria Palace), Grandma Bertha in Pippin (Bridewell Theatre) and Dusty Springfield in A Girl Called Dusty (Duke of York’s Theatre). On television, she has appeared in EastEnders and Footballers’ Wives, and on film in John Boorman’s Hope & Glory and the soon-to-be-released Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. She has toured with Earth Wind & Fire and Billy Ocean as part of the band Woman the Band, and with Il Divo as a solo artist. Her debut solo album, Midnight Mazz, was released earlier this year.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

REVIEW: Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre

Chicago still remains to be one of the sexiest shows on the West End. Not surprisingly, this musicals themes seem more relevant today, than ever. The celebrity obsessed culture, media twisting news telling and the American sense of patriotism are very reminiscent of our times. 

Its simplistic style and theatrical devises are cleverly used and are still as fresh as ever in this West End revival. Keeping in the true Bob Fosse style, Ann Reinking brings a fresh take to the musical, still keeping the essence of the original production but bringing a fresh energy with a star cast who ooze everything this musical is supposed to be. 

Leading the band, we had Ian Townsend. Now this band, slapped right bang in the middle of the action, showed us why we love live theatre. It reminded us of the hard work and beauty that goes on behind (or under) the scenes that we usually don’t see. The orchestration of this score in this production was wonderful and I couldn’t take my eyes off this talented bunch of musicians. 

Friday, 6 April 2018

FIRST LOOK: Chicago returns to the West End at the Phoenix Theatre

Following a successful UK and international tour, and after a 5½-year absence from London, the multi award-winning Kander & Ebb musical CHICAGO, winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, will begin performances at the Phoenix Theatre in London on Monday 26 March, with a press night on Wednesday 11 April and an extended booking period until 6 October 2018. 

The cast for the first booking period, from 26 March to 30 June 2018, is led by Cuba Gooding Jr, Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabriell, Ruthie Henshall and Paul Rider. This cast will also feature Alan Richardson, Michelle Antrobus, Natalie Bennyworth, Nicola Coates, Frances Dee, Zoe Gappy, Emma Harris, Chelsea Labadini, Joanna Rennie, Abramo Ciullo, Francis Foreman, Luke Jarvis, Matt Krzan, Charles Ruhrmund, Todd Talbot, Callum Macdonald, Chris Warner Drake and Matthew Wesley. 

Casting for the new booking period will be announced nearer the time.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Full cast announced for London production of CHICAGO

Joining the previously announced Cuba Gooding Jr, Sarah Soetaert, Josefina Gabrielle and Ruthie Henshall in the multi award-winning CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End, will be Paul Rider as Amos Hart. Following a successful UK and international tour, and after a 5½-year absence from London, CHICAGO, the winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, will open at the Phoenix Theatre on Wednesday 11 April 2018, following previews from 26 March. 

Paul Rider previously played Amos in Chicago at the Adelphi and Cambridge Theatres. His recent theatre work includes A Woman of No Importance (Vaudeville), The Tempest, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, The Duchess of Malfi, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V (Shakespeare’s Globe), and Wilbur in the UK Tour of Hairspray. His television credits include Dinnerladies, Victoria Wood with all the Trimmings, French and Saunders, The Catherine Tate Show and EastEnders. Films include Topsy-Turvy and A Cock and Bull Story.

The cast will also feature Alan Richardson, Michelle Antrobus, Natalie Bennyworth, Nicola Coates, Frances Dee, Zoe Gappy, Emma Harris, Chelsea Labadini, Joanna Rennie, Abramo Ciullo, Francis Foreman, Luke Jarvis, Matt Krzan, Charles Ruhrmund, Todd Talbot, Callum Macdonald, Chris Warner Drake and Matthew Wesley.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Pocket Size Picks: 12 Shows to look forward to in 2018!

Little Shop of Horrors at Regent's Park, Open Air Theatre

From 3rd August to 15th September 

Chess at the London Coliseum 

From 26th April to 2nd June 

Tickets from £18!

Monday, 24 October 2016

REVIEW: Chicago at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking

Chicago is a musical which the world has adored for many years. Brought to the masses in the Academy Award winning film (2002) starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellwegger and Richard Gere, this show is all about murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery…all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts… and so begins the international award winning Broadway and West End musical, Chicago!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Minimal vs Actual art work!

Inspired by our feature last week, we thought it may be interesting to compare the Minimal Musical designs against some of the real designs used by the shows. Do you prefer the alternative version? Tweet us which one is your favourite, or if you like a particular design from a different production of the show then share that too! 


2012 London revival vs Minimal Musicals 


Monday, 17 December 2012

Chicago the Musical: Theatre Review

The original production of Chicago first played on Broadway in 1975 with Chorography by Bob Fosse; it then opened at the Cambridge theatre in London in 1979. The show was revived on Broadway in 1996 with the production opening at the Adelphi Theatre in 1997; it then transferred to its original home (The Cambridge Theatre) in 2006 with it recently transferring again to the Garrick Theatre.The musical still has the original essence that Bob Fosse wanted, thanks to Ann Reinking's choreography. The show is timeless, the mix between the modern aspects of the show and the classic 1920s elements are wonderful.
The orchestra were absolutely fantastic, perfectly placed in the middle of John Lee Beatty's simple but beautiful and fitting set. But the thing that impressed me the most about this production was the brilliant lighting design by Ken Billington, absolutely incredible. I don't take notice of things like lighting design usually but in this production it was stunning. The production which re-opened on November 7that the Garrick Theatre is staring Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera. America brought a new flavour to Roxie Hart, the role has been played by so many people that it could be hard to find new life in her but she done this fantastically. She played the role with sweetness and a beauty that made you love her; I do wish she could have played the role with a little more sass though. America has a good voice (however may need to work on her movement) and although she did have a strong cold, still sounded good.
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