Recent Posts

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Where are they now? Over The Rainbow!

This year is the 10th anniversary of the programme 'Over the Rainbow', the TV reality show that searched for the role of Dorothy in the newly staged production of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. This programme follows on from How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria, Any Dream Will Do & I'd Do Anything, the programs that searched for the roles of Maria, Joseph and Nancy. Rival TV shows to these BBC produced series also came up in Superstar (The search for Jesus), Grease is the Word (The search for Danny and Sandy) and Fame: The musical (the search for Nick and Serena). John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen, Zoe Tyler and Bill Kenwright were all judges on the previous series but they were replaced by John Partridge, Shelia Hancock and Charlotte Church with, of course, Andrew Lloyd Webber. If you are a theatre geek like me, you'll remember these TV shows! And if you don't, you'll certainly know some of the contestants. So, where are they now? 

Danielle Hope 

Danielle went on to win the TV show and played the role of Dorothy in the new version of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. After leaving the show, she went on to play Eponine in Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre, a role she returned to in 2015. Her other roles include the title role in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Birmingham Hippodrome & London Palladium); Cathy in The Last Five Years (Greenwich Theatre & The Warren Theatre in Brighton); Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour); Maria in The Sound of Music (UK Tour); Sandy in Grease (UK Tour); Sherrie in Rock of Ages (UK Tour) and most recently Betty Haynes in White Christmas (Dominion Theatre). @DanielleHope26

Sophie Evans 

Although Sophie just missed out on winning the TV show, coming second to Danielle Hope, she did go on to alternate the role of Dorothy at the London Palladium and eventually went on to play the role full time when Hope left. Since then she has appeared in Irving Berlin: From Rags to Ritzes (UK tour), Lord of the Dance (Playhouse Theatre & Lyric Theatre, Broadway), You Won't Succeed on Broadway Without any Jews (St. James Theatre) and most recently has just finished a run as Glinda in the London production of Wicked, becoming the youngest person to play Glinda in the show's history. @SophieEvans

Lauren Samuels

After coming third in the show, Lauren was the first Dorothy to hit the West End after the show, playing Sandy in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre. Her other credits include Cathy in The Last Five Years (Tabard), Scaramouche in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre & World Tour); the title role in Vampirette (Manchester Opera House); Ellie in Water Babies (Leicester Curve); Jenny in Love Story (Bolton Octagon); Jules in Bend it Like Beckham the Musical (Phoenix Theatre); Polly in The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre); Mary in Vanities (Trafalgar Studios); La Ronde (Bunker Theatre); Romantics Anonymous (the Globe's Sam Wanamaker Theatre); Rory in A Hundred Words For Snow (Arcola); Jenny in The Big Corner (Octagon Theatre) and Katherine in Henry V (Barn Theatre). She most recently appeared in the infamous Lyric Hammersmith Pantomime, playing Popsy in Cinderella. @Laurensamuels88

Stephanie Fearon

Stephanie got cast in Smokey Joes Cafe at the Landor Theatre after being eliminated from the show and released an album entitled 'My Parade' Her other credits since the show include Dorothy in The Wiz (Milton Keynes Theatre), Diana Morales in A Chorus Line (Tel Aviv Opera House), Ella in Run (Polka Theatre), Mimi Marquez in RENT (Greenwich Theatre) and Ruth in Molly Wobbly Tit Factory (Leicester Square Theatre) and Lisa in the West End production of Mamma Mia!. She currently runs her own business, Charlies Whiskers, which is a Doggy Daycare, Boarding and Grooming in South East London @stephfearon89

Jessica Robinson 

After the programme, Jessica gained a place at Arts Educational Schools in London to study musical theatre after Over the Rainbow and afterwards became Jessica Daley professionally. Her theatre credits include Ali in Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre); Tess in Tess of the D'Urbervilles (New Wimbledon Studio); alternated the role of Maria in The Sound of Music (UK Tour); Ensemble and cover to the role of Fantine in Les Miserables (Dubai, Manila & Singapore); Frenchy in Grease (Dubai) and Lynette in An Officer and a Gentleman (Leicester Curve & UK Tour). She was most recently seen starring in the title role in Evita in the original, Hal Prince directed, production in the International tour. @jessicacaca7

Jenny Douglas

After the show, Jenny landed the part of Meat in We Will Rock You on the touring production of the show. She has since appeared as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin and the title character in Cinderella (The King's Theatre Royal); the title role in Snow White (Edinburgh Playhouse); Holly in Viva Forever (Workshop); Little Sally in Urinetown and Julia in Willy's Bitches (Edinburgh Festival Fringe); the title role in Cinderella (Gardyne Theatre, Dundee) and most recently starred as Snow White at the Gardyne Theatre, Dundee. She is also part of a vocal and piano duo, The DaCapo Daughters. @Jaydeedouglas

Stephanie Davis 

After the TV series, Stephanie went on to play Sinead O'Connor in the soap opera Hollyoaks. She left the show in 2015 and returned to playing the role in 2018. She also went onto to appear in 'Hollyoaks Later', the spin-off show to the original soap. She has since gone on to appear in Celebrity Big Brother before returning to her acting career. In February 2020, she released her debut single entitled 'Lights Out'. 

Emilie Fleming 

Emilie was the Wildcard Dorothy in the programme, after the show she went on to study Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting. Her theatre credits since include Maggie in Only The Brave (The Wales Millennium Centre); Lucy in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (Birmingham Rep); Elsie in Monster: A One Woman Show (Edinburgh & Camden Fringe); Cosette in Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre); Charlotte in Oliver (The Sheffield Crucible) and Susan in Berlin - The Musical (The Bloomsbury Theatre). She most recently played Maria in the UK touring production of The Sound of Music. @emiliekfleming

Dani Rayner

Dani has graduated from Kings College London with a First Class Honours in English Language and Literature. She went on to play the title role in Sleeping Beauty at the Lyceum in Sheffield and was also seen in Aladdin as Princess Jasmine at the Liverpool Empire opposite Pamela Anderson. She has since gone on to work in marketing for companies such as Netflix and the BBC. @DaniRayner

Bronté Barbé

After being eliminated second in the series, Bronté has gone on to have a huge career in theatre. Her credits include Sharon in Cool Rider – The Grease 2 Concert (Lyric Theatre);, Momentous Musicals (UK tour); Penny in Hairspray (Kuala Lumpur/Singapore); ensemble & cover Princess Fiona, a role she later went on to take over, in Shrek (UK Tour); Jest End (Waterloo East); Nadine in The Wild Party (The Other Palace); Carol King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK Tour) and Light Bulb Seller/ The Little Match Girl in Striking 12 (Union Theatre). She was most recently seen playing Ado Annie in Oklahoma at the Chichester Festival Theatre. @BronteBarbieee

Amy Diamond 

After being eliminated first on the show, her theatre credits include Janet in The Drowsy Chaperone (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Vocalist in Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show (UK Tour); Sue in Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK Tour); Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (The Grange Theatre, Northwich); Shelia in Hair (European Tour & West End Gala); Ensemble and understudy Satan Baby Jane in Tonight's The Night (UK tour); backing vocalist for Josh Groban and Celine Dion (Arena Tour); Vocalist with Giorgio Moroda (World Tour) and most recently, vocalist in Rip it Up (Garrick Theatre). @amydiamondsings


Thursday, 21 August 2014

REVIEW: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin

With lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, ”Joseph" is perhaps one of the world's best known musicals having been staged by a multitude of professional companies as well as by thousands of schools and amateur drama groups throughout the world.  This particular production is the latest Joseph tour to make its way around the United Kingdom and Ireland bringing with it several recognisable faces. 
The show features quite a basic set and at times it felt a little like watching a pantomime. With inflatable sheep, a wooden camel head and a pull along goat on wheels it did sometimes feel quite amateurish. The costumes were a little underwhelming and, though I’m not sure why, the white sports shoes stood out the entire time and didn’t seem to fit with the costumes of the brothers. 
The lighting provided the show with lots of colour throughout and was definitely one of the best technical aspects of the show. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

FIRST LOOK: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring Lloyd Daniels and Danielle Hope

With a crash-of-drums-and-a-flash-of-light X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniels makes his musical theatre debut in the title role of the UKs longest running musical JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. The youngest contestant in 2009’s competition, Daniels got to the final 5 out of 250,000 entrants and performed in front of 10 million TV viewers. Since then he has performed to sold out arenas on a 56 date X Factor tour and released popular single Suburban Girl.

Danielle Hope captured the hearts of the country when she won BBC Television’s Over the Rainbow and made her professional debut as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. Now, following a hugely successful year as Eponine in Les Misérables in London’s West End she joins the cast of Joseph as Narrator.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

LLOYD DANIELS and DANIELLE HOPE star in touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Lloyd Daniels, Former X Factor contestant, and Danielle Hope, Winner of BBC's Over the Rainbow will star in  Bill Kenwright's touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as Joseph and the Narrator. Ex-EastEnders actor Matthew Lapinskas will also star as Pharaoh. 

Joseph started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. By the time it received its Broadway premiere in 1982, it had been expanded into a full two-hour show. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, Joseph’s popular score includes the songs "Any Dream Will Do", "Close Every Door to Me", “Go, Go, Go Joseph”, “Those Canaan Days”, “Benjamin Calypso” and "One More Angel in Heaven".


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Marianne Benedict | Interview

Marianne Benedict is currently gracing the stage as The Wicked Witch of The West in The Wizard of Oz in which she took over the role from Hannah Waddingham, She was part of the original ensemble in the show and was recently promoted to full time Wicked Witch. She graduated from Arts Educational, Her credits range from playing Vivian in Dirty Dancing, Understudying the role of Killer Queen in We Will Rock You and Debbie in Debbie Does Dallas. Her other include Miss Mackintosh in The Sunshine Boys, Catherine in The Girl Dusty, Gloria and resident MD in Return to the Forbidden Planet, Sophie in the Misfits (film workshop), Alice and understudy Bonnie in Loveshack, Stella and understudy Polly Baker in Crazy for You and singer in West End Musical Theatre Celebration. I was lucky enough to catch up with her and talk to her about her career...

When and how did you realise that you wanted to perform for a living? Very early on in life, I never stopped singing and dancing around at home and putting on shows.

You attended Arts Educational, what did you learn from them that you still practise or use in your career today? So so much. It really is a fantastic college and I still hear words of wisdom from the staff ringing in my ears.

Is there anything that you didn't learn whist in training that you think is important for young performers to know? You can't possibly learn what it's really truly like to work in this business. Only by getting out there and doing it will you know.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Wizard of Oz the Musical: Theatre Review

The Wizard of Oz opened on March 1st2011 with previews beginning on February 7th. The show looked for their leading role, Dorothy, through a reality TV show which found the current leading lady Danielle Hope. The story is loved by everybody and is known to be the best family film ever made. The plot follows Dorothy and her journey through Oz to get the Witches broom stick and present it to the Wizard so she can get home, along the way she meets the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Lion. They all become friends and eventually Dorothy gets back to Kansas and realises the true meaning of Home.
This recent adaptation of the show is brought to the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber who collaborated with Tim Rice for the first time since 1986; they have spotted some caps in the film where songs need to be put in, like for example Glinda and The Wicked Witch of the West both have songs now. The new score really works, I listened to the soundtrack before hand and really wasn't looking forward to seeing it on stage, however on stage it works but still keeps the original feel that the film had. The stage show was very much like the film but Andrew Lloyd Webber and his team has defiantly put their own touch on it by adapting the costumes and the actors have played with the characters but still all have the original essences of the characters that we all love. However I do feel there was still that extra sparkle missing, The Wizard of Oz must be one of the hardest shows to stage but there was still something missing.

Blog Design by pipdig