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Monday, 30 December 2019

Best Understudy and Cover Stories of 2019

Standbys, understudies, alternates and swings are integral to the running of a show. They save the day on a daily bases all around the country in all kinds of shows. In a time where some shows champion their covers on social media and in the actual theatres, some shows still restrict the cast members on the publication of dates and information about their cover dates. But to prove how incredible they actually are, we looked back at the past year with our friends at @WestEndCovers and put together a list of the Best Understudy and Cover stories of 2019!  

"This year the recognition for standbys and alternates has been greater than any before. Some newer shows with smaller casts like Six, Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen rely on their standbys (who do not perform unless on for one of their cover roles) and alternates (who weekly scheduled shows as their cover) rather than the more common understudy and swing model for shows with a larger ensemble. The difference is that understudies may be a member of the ensemble or a swing who steps up to cover a principle role and a swing steps in to cover ensemble tracks." - @WestEndCovers 

And we must mention but our beloved West End Understudies account are in their 5th Year in 2020!  Here's to the next 5 years of celebrating our fantastic covers all across the theatre industry! 

Take a look at some of these extrodinary stories and tweet us any you think we missed out! @PocketSizeBlog

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.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

We Will Rock You announce brand new international tour

Continuing to create and tour world-class theatre both in the UK and abroad, Selladoor Worldwide are pleased to announce a brand new production and major worldwide tour of Queen and Ben Elton’s multi award-winning rock musical We Will Rock You. The musical will be produced in conjunction with Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and Showtime Management SA.

The production will embark on an extensive world tour, opening in Cape Town, South Africa on 29 August 2020, before setting sail on the ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’ and touring to Johannesburg, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel and beyond. Full casting and further dates and venues to be announced in due course.

Telling the story of a group of bohemians in a dystopian future and featuring 24 of Queen’s greatest hits, We Will Rock You will be directed and choreographed by Olivier Award nominee Nick Winston (Annie, Loserville, Waiting for Godot). The production will feature set design by Tom Rogers, costume design by Hayley Grindle, lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound by Ben Harrison.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Ian Carlyle, currently playing Four Eyed Moe in Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre

Ian is currently playing Four Eyed Moe in Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre, his other credits include Showboat (Sheffield Crucible), Jesus Christ Superstar (UK National Arena Tour), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Porgy and Bess (Savoy Theatre), Miss Saigon (UK Tour) and Disney’s The Lion King (Lyceum). He took some time out of his 8 show week and answered some questions for us... 

For someone who might not know, tell us a little bit about Five Guys Named Moe? 

Five Guys Named Moe is about a guy, Nomax, who has hit rock bottom in his life.... he drinks to much, he’s bad tempered, he doesn’t look after himself, and takes everything and everyone around him for granted, especially his long suffering girlfriend Lorraine. As a result, Five Guys pop out of nowhere, and through a series of life lessons, show him the error of his ways and help him to find his way back onto the right path. 

Did you know about the show before auditioning? 

Yes. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this show and I am very lucky and honoured to finally be a part of this major revival after 25 years.

What was the audition process like? 

It was very intense, and also a lot of fun. And a lot of care was made in putting together combinations of 6 guys to find the right balance, camaraderie, and brotherhood that is central to the make up of the Moes and Nomax.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Pocket Size Theatre 5th Anniversary: Our Top 10 Features!

Our features are one of our most popular aspects of Pocket Size Theatre, from fun casting guessing games to first looks at the newest and hottest shows in town. We are known for these and our viewers love them almost as much as we love putting them together. Take a look at our top 10 most popular ones! 

Our '15 hottest...' posts are some of our most viewed posts ever! They have caused some controversy before but they are nothing but a bit of fun and an expression of our secret West End crushes! And we must be doing something right because the top 4 most viewed Features are from the same thread...

This post was said by Mark Shenton to be 'objectifying' the women feature in the post, we stand by our principles and must insist this is pure fun and a celebration of the beauty and talent in our industry. This one was especially hard, too many West End crushes!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Top 10 jukebox musicals

Mamma Mia 

Priscilla Queen of the Desert 


Monday, 26 May 2014

Goodbye WE WILL ROCK YOU! A look back at the productions history...

Having rocked over 6.5 million people in a record-breaking 12 years at London's Dominion Theatre, the smash hit Queen & Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You is due to close on 31 May 2014. Now the longest running show ever at the Dominion by a margin of nine years, the show takes its rightful place in West End history, sitting proudly in the Top 10 longest running musicals of all time.
The show has now been performed in 28 countries around the globe, and has been seen by a more than 16 million people.
From its opening night at the Dominion on 14 May 2002, We Will Rock You quickly became the overwhelming people’s choice of musical in the UK and overseas. In its second year at the Dominion it won top honours in five categories in the Theatregoers Choice awards presented by, including Best New Musical. In 2011, nine years after the curtain first went up, the show won the prestigious Olivier Audience Award, the only category voted for entirely by the public. The show went on to win a number of international awards for productions around the globe.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

We Will Rock You the Musical: Theatre Review

After almost 11 years after it originally opened, We Will Rock You is one of London’s longest running musicals to date. Receiving mostly bad reviews when it first opened back in 2002 it’s proved to be an audience favourite and still rocks the Dominion Theatre night after night. Over the years since its original premier its had loads of productions open all over the world; places include Australia, Japan, Las Vegas, Spain, Germany, Canada, Italy, Norway and plenty of other places with a 10th Anniversary Arena Tour opening at the end of February. 
We Will Rock You follows the story of Scaramouche and Galileo who are outcasts in a world where clones are produced, music is made by computers and all the GaGa kids watch the same thing and learn the same moves. Meat and Brit (two ‘bohemians’) find Galileo and Scaramouche and take them to the heartbreak hotel but they get found out by Khashoggi who is the right hand man to the leader of the iPlanet, the Killer Queen. In the end they find an electric guitar and find real rock music and save the world. 

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.


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hannah Levane | Interview

Hannah Levane trained at the BRIT School of Performing Arts before going on to train at Arts Educational. Her credits include Keisha in Flashdance, Teacher and Alternate Killer Queen in We Will Rock You, Taylor in Disney's Tour of High School Musical and Annie and covering the roles of Bess and Clara in Porgy and Bess. She is currently about to embark on a UK Tour playing Michelle and covering the lead role of Deloris Van Carter. I was lucky enough to catch up with her before the Tour starts for a chat...

You've been performing for a few years now, but what age did you realise that you wanted to perform?
I was taken to all different types of shows as a kid back in the days when kids went free a lot of the time it was a great way of my mum and I enjoying something together, I saw operas and plays, ballets, concerts and big west end shows as well, I remember being about 6 or 7 and asking my mum after seeing a show once "do people earn money doing that" she said yes, and told me that some people make a great life from doing it and are actors all their lives. I remember thinking yes please that's the life for me and I told her so straight away. "mummy I'm going to do that, I'm going to be an actor".

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