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Monday, 28 June 2021

COMING HOME: Michael Afemaré, appearing in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre

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! 

Michael Afemaré was due to perform in the transfer production of Evita. The show was revived in a brand new production at the Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre in 2019 and was meant to be taking over the Barbican in the summer of 2020. But, with the closure of theatres, the production, unfortunately, didn’t go ahead. What that meant for Michael was that he had lost out on a wonderful job. But, we mustn’t focus on the negatives because the day before we met Michael, it was announced that he would be joining the original London company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella. Having previously been in the original London cast of Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre, he is no stranger to a West End premiere! 

Over the past year, so many issues have been brought to the surface and highlighted in our industry. So many important conversations have been going on and with theatre now planning on reopening, this is the time for the change and progress we’ve been campaigning for. Michael feels incredibly passionate about the lack of representation of ethnicity within the industry, in particular artists of Indian and Asian heritage. Something interesting that he also brings up is, this isn’t just about the casts and people we see on stage, it goes way beyond that, “I am always trying to fight the fight for more equal opportunities, but these opportunities also need to exist beyond theatre casts. I would love for there to be a world where representation and diversity can be noted and appreciated in more positions of power; creative teams, directors, choreographers, casting directors - the list is endless.” 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

INTERVIEW: Emma Hatton, star of Wicked, Evita & Cats on Launching her new Podcast

Leading Lady of the West End, Emma Hatton, is probably best known from her run in Wicked playing the role of Elphaba in the West End and as Eva Peron in Evita on tour and also in London. Her other credits include Grizabella in Cats (Kilworth House); Fantine in Les Miserables in Concert (Milton Morrissey); Maisey in The Distance You Have Come (Cockpit Theatre); 1st cover Scaramouche/Meatloaf in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Donna in Dreamboats & Petticoats (UK tour) and as a lead vocalist for Postmodern Jukebox and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As well as being a West End superstar she has also had success as a solo artist in the music industry, she even opened for Jools Holland at the Royal Albert Hall! She is launching her new podcast '"Dear Music..." and we got the chance to speak to her about her upcoming adventures!

How are you and Hendrix the cat holding up during Lockdown 2.0?

To be perfectly honest, I think Hendrix is pretty fed up of me being at home all the time! Lockdown this time around feels very different to the first one. I thought the first lockdown wouldn’t last too long so I took advantage of a bit of downtime to breathe and reflect but as things have gone on much longer than we anticipated, I, like most people, have started to adjust and am now quite busy. I try to just take things one day at a time otherwise I get a bit overwhelmed.

Your performing career to date has covered some of the most iconic music of all time; from Queen to ‘Wicked’, Soft Jazz to ‘Evita’, Blues to ‘Cats’ and so much more! What music do you normally find yourself gravitating to when you choose a playlist?

It completely depends on my mood but Jazz FM is my go-to radio station which is usually on in my house. Or the UK Jazz playlist on Spotify.

Monday, 14 October 2019

INTERVIEW: Emma Kingston, about to star in London Musical Theatre Orchestra's A Night At The Musicals

Emma Kingston has just finished playing the title role in the international touring production of Evita, under the direction of original director Hal Prince. She is also about to star in A Night at the Musicals on tour starting with the Royal and Derngate in Northampton on 22nd October. Her other credits include Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre); Naomi in 21 Chump Street (Tristan Bates Theatre); Vanessa in In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse); Clara in The Light in the Piazza (Bernie Grant Arts Centre); Ensemble/cover Éponine in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); Diva 1 in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Miss Lynch/cover Jan in Grease (UK tours); Honeymoon in Vegas (London Palladium) and Something Wonderful (Royal Festival Hall).

You’re appearing in A Night at the Musicals with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra on tour very soon, tell us a bit about how this opportunity came about for you. 

I have had some amazing opportunities to work with LMTO previously. It all started around 3 years ago when I went to my first LMTO Playthrough, now called “SITZ” . Since then Freddie and I have worked a lot together, one thing being my solo cabaret at Zedels, he was my MD. So when he asked if I was available for this concert, I jumped at the chance.

Tell us a bit about this upcoming show, A Night at the Musicals. 

It’s going to be a musical extravaganza. All your favourite contemporary musical pieces in one show with a 30 piece orchestra.

What kind of songs can we expect you to sing at London Musical Theatre Orchestras A Night at the Musicals? 

You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out! 

Monday, 24 June 2019

Full casting and extra performances added for EVITA at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Chicago-based Samantha Pauly makes her UK debut in the role of Eva Peron, direct from her performance in SIX (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) and as Valkyrie in Bat Out Of Hell (US Tour). She appears alongside Ektor Rivera, also making his UK debut, having recently played Emilio Estefan in On Your Feet! on Broadway and US Tour. In addition to lead roles in Rent,Hairspray and High School Musical, Ektor was selected by Jennifer López to be one of the lead singers in the US Television and Live show Q’Viva! The Chosen, which was seen by over 30 million television viewers.

An original Broadway cast member of Disney's Aladdin - where he has been performing on and off for the last 5 years - Trent Saunders returns to the UK in the role of Che following his appearance as St. Jimmy in Green Day's American Idiot (Hammersmith Apollo). Nominated for an Olivier Award for her role as Kylah in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Frances Mayli McCann plays the role of The Mistress. Having appeared in Les Miserables, Sunset Boulevard, Urinetown and Sweeney Todd, Adam Pearce plays the role of Augustin Magaldi. 

The rest of the cast includes Alexander Barria, Felipe Bejarano, Alex Cardall, Russell Dickson, Lauren Drew, Hannah Fairclough, Chris Fung, Chloe Hart, Travis Kerry, Jessica Lee, Dale Mathurin, Peter Nash, Sarah Naudi, Mireia Mambo, Marsha Songcome, Bree Smith, Monica Swayne, Oliver Tester, Amy Thornton, Jon Tsouras and Rodney Vubya. Children include Saffia Layla, Ava Masters, Chanai Owusu-Ansah and Ellicia Simondwood

Monday, 17 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Lucy O'Byrne, currently starring in the UK tour of Little Miss Sunshine

Lucy O'Byrne is becoming one of the top leading ladies of musical theatre of our time, with leading roles including Eva Peron in Evita, Maria in The Sound of Music and Fantine in Les Miserables. We last spoke to Lucy when she was in the West End production of Les Miserables and recently we caught up with her as she heads out on tour with the new musical production of Little Miss Sunshine. 

The last time we spoke to you, you were playing Fantine in Les Miserables at the Queens theatre. Since that show until now you’ve done quite a few shows, looking back what have you learnt as a performer? 

I learnt so much at Les Mis from watching my colleagues perform to rehearsal process and etiquette to team work in the building. Every day was a day at school - and I loved school. The most important thing I learnt though was to be kinder to myself. I used to think West End performers were infallible so I thought I had to become some kind of invincible robot but working there really showed me we are all human and sometimes we have to go easy on ourselves and listen to our mind and body like everyone else.

Since then you’ve played one of the most iconic musical theatre roles for a female, Evita. How was it taking on a role like that? 

It was more fun than I could have imagined or hoped for.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Pocket Size Theatre | Whats opening in 2019

There's a lot of things going on next year in the world of theatre; revivals of much loved shows, Broadway transfers, UK transfers, returns of shows previously in London, new writing and so much more! So here's our guide to the theatrical highlights of 2019! Get your diaries out... 

Aspects of Love | Southwark Playhouse | 7th January 

Six the Musical | Arts Theatre | Opens 16th January


Thursday, 19 July 2018

REVIEW: EVITA at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

The New Victoria Theatre hosted opening night of the new UK Tour of Lloyd Webber’s classic “Evita” this week with Lucy O’Byrne (The Voice) as Eva Peron. This sensational musical takes us back to 1940's Argentina for us to witness the dramatic ascension of Juan Domingo Peron and how his wife, Eva Duarte becomes an international icon for not only his reign but for their country. Featuring classics such as "Oh, What A Circus", "Buenos Aires" and "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" this production is a spectacle from start to finish. 

The Phoenix Theatre in London recently held this new production before jetting off on an International Tour. I was thrilled to see the stunning set is virtually unchanged from its residential stint - a stunning combination of moving staircases and balconies, not least the iconic ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ one which received a mid-song applause. The lighting is also matched in exemplary fashion adding a new level of intensity to the show which I didn't feel before. 

O'Byrne is new to her role as Eva and her wariness was initially apparent but this Sound of Music and Les Miserables allum is a revelation in this show. Her Eva grows so dramatically throughout the show, taking us on this journey of a street-smart actress who becomes one of the most demanding and manipulative political figureheads in history. “You Must Love Me” was so poignant, the auditorium was absolutely still admiring the performance. This soprano dances on her higher register, but in numbers like "Buenos Aires" and "Goodnight and Thank You", her lower harmonies were almost inaudible however I'm happy to accept this may have just been a mic balancing issue. On opening night of a UK Tour, there were bound to be one or two teething problems.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

EVITA: A look back at the history of the great women who have played the icon

EVITA is currently playing a limited run at the West Ends Phoenix Theatre, it celebrates its 40th Anniversary next year having first opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1978. As a celebration of the show, we look back at some of the woman who have played this icon around the world. Click here to book tickets.

Elaine Paige
The original Eva Peron

Patti Lupone 
The Original Eva Peron on Broadway


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

REVIEW: Evita at the Dominion theatre

Evita returns to the West End stage nearly 36 years after making its debut in London, the production ran from 1978 to 1986 and a Broadway production opening in 1979. The musical was revived in 2006 with . The touring production comes into a newly refurbished Dominion Theatre for a limited run of 55 performances, playing until 1st November. 

The show tells the story of the Argentinian and ‘leader of the people’, Eva Peron (Madalena Alberto). Starting when she is just 15 and going through to her death at 33; it shows her raise to fame, her struggles and battles with illness and her romantic life. 

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score is one of the most iconic in the world, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina has to be up there as one of the most famous musical theatre hits. Although the score sometimes has some strange moments and often shows resemblance to some of the other Rice and Webber shows, its glorious and powerful. The orchestrations are wonderful in this production, beating straight into your heart. Although, it would have been nice for them to have turned up the microphones of the actors because we struggled to hear them for half the show. David Steadman (Musical Director) has really lit a fire under the music, bringing it up to date and filling the huge Dominion Theatre. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

FULL CAST announced for EVITA at the Dominion Theatre

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s EVITA returns to London’s West End for a strictly limited season. 

Opening on Tuesday 16 September at the recently refurbished Dominion Theatre, the musical considered by many to be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s masterwork will play for 55 performances only in the West End, with musical theatre and pop icon Marti Pellow playing Che, extraordinarily talented newcomer Madalena Alberto in the title role and ‘Superstar’ winner Ben Forster as Agustin Magaldi. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

BEN FORSTER joins the West End cast of EVITA

Superstar winner Ben Forster will play Agustin Magaldi - Eva Peron's first love - when Evita returns to the West End later this month.
Forster, who rose to fame in 2012 after winning the ITV show, will star alongside Marti Pellow, who plays Che, and Madalena Alberto, who portrays Argentina's iconic First Lady.
Evita charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, from her humble beginnings through to extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Madalena Alberto | Interview

Madalena has starred as Eva Peron in the UK Tour of EVITA since May 2013, when the production, directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright, opened at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London. Her other credits include Fantine in the acclaimed 25th Anniversary production of Les Miserables (UK tour & Barbican Theatre), O2 Arena concert of 'Les Miserables', playing the title role in PIAF at the Curve Theatre, in Leicester, Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde (Union Theatre), Lucy in 'The Threepenny Opera' (Lisbon, 2005), Carmen Diaz in 'Fame' (UK Tour, 2007) and Hunyak in 'Chicago' (Kuala Lumpur, 2007). Madalena was part of the original cast of the West End production of 'Zorro the Musical' (Garrick Theatre, 2008), and she had the chance to play the role of Luisa. In Summer 2009 Madalena played the role of Sam in Christopher Hamilton’s new musical 'Over the Threshold' at the Edinburgh Festival, and then in London; and in the Spring 2011 she played Sonia in GODSPELL at the Union Theatre (London). 

The Bird College spotted you and gave you a scholarship to attend their performing arts school when you were younger. As a 17 year old, was that scary? Having to move away from home to study something you hadn’t initially planned on?

Actually, I was still 16 when The Bird college first saw me and invited me to come to England. So I had a year to think about. Although I’m not that there was much to think about. It was an opportunity I couldn't miss and because it all happened so naturally I didn't have any thoughts of being scared. When I was younger I used to come over to England and do a 5 day Easter dance course. And to me that is what is was, a very long 5 day Easter course.


Friday, 27 June 2014

EVITA will play a limited run at the Dominion Theatre

Evita is to return to the West End this September, starring Marti Pellow as Che and Madalena Alberto in the lead role.

The musical, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, will reopen the multimillion pound refurbished Dominion Theatre with 55 performances from September 16. Press night is on September 22.
Following the closure of We Will Rock You at the venue in May, the theatre has been dark while technical and environmental improvements have been made to the building.

The show is currently touring the UK until July 19, where its run ends at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, before transferring to the Kursaal Oostende venue in Belgium.
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