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Sunday, 9 September 2018

THEN AND NOW: Wicked the Musical


Wicked has a huge place in the musical theatre hall of Fame now, being an international hit the show still runs on Broadway after 15 years and 12 years in the West End. Although the show hasn't changed very much from the original Broadway production, we look back at the years the show has been running across a few productions. The original Broadway production, one of the first West End companies, the non-replica production in Copenhagen, a few different companies along the West End run and the current cast we have here in London. Take a look and share your favourite moments of the show with us on Twitter! @PocketSizeBlog #PocketThenNow  

Elphaba


Idina Menzel (2003), Kerry Ellis (2007), Maria Lucia (2011), Louise Dearman (2012) & Alice Fearn (2018)

Glinda


Krsitin Chenoweth (2003), Helen Dallimore (2007), Annette Heick (2011), Chandra Lee Schwartz (2012) & Sophie Evans (2018) 
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Monday, 12 February 2018

Best Couples in Musical Theatre!

Elphaba and Fiyero from WICKED



George and Albin from LA CAGE AUX FOLLES 

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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Oliver Savile, about to star in Stephen Sondheim's Company

Oliver is currently in rehearsals for Company at the Aberdeen Arts Centre, where he is playing the role of Bobby. His other credits include Fiyero in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), understudy Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s), Rum Tum Tugger in Cats (No 1 UK tour), Fueilly and understudy Enjolras in Les Misérables (Queen’s), Peter Tork in Monkee Business (UK tour), understudy Sky in Mamma Mia! (international tour) and Simeon and understudy Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK tour). He took some time out of rehearsals to chat to us about this upcoming production. 


How do you feel about spending some time up in Scotland? 

I love Scotland! Last time I was up there was Cats about 5 years ago so I’m really looking forward to being back.

Do you have other Sondheim roles you like to tackle in the future? 
To be honest Bobby is the one I’ve always wanted to play but I didn’t think I’d get a go at it this early in my career. 

You’ve done all the big shows; Wicked, Mamma Mia, Phantom, Les Miserables, Cats (to name only a few…) but which job has been the most special to you so far? 
Wicked will always hold a very special part of my heart but I have honestly loved every single one for many different reasons!
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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Bradley Jaden, currently playing Fiyero in WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Bradley is currently playing Fiyero in the London production of WICKED after having played the role in the international tour of the show earlier this year. His other credits include ‘Enjolras’ in Les Misérables (Queen’s and 30th Anniversary cast), ‘Freddie’ in My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary Celebration (St Paul’s Actors Church), Ghost the Musical (No 1 UK Tour) and Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). He took time out his busy 8 show week schedule and health regime to give us an insight to his life in the smash hit musical. 


You’ve transferred into the London production of Wicked after playing Fiyero in the UK and International tour. What happened when you got the offer to come into town with the show? 

It was a bit of a dream really because when I agreed to do the international tour it wasn’t finishing until January 2018 so to have the opportunity to audition for the town production was out of mind and wasn’t even on my radar, and Oliver Saville was doing such a wonderful job, I don’t think they wanted to lose him so I didn’t even think it was on the cards! So, when I found out there was a chance I could audition for it, of course I wanted to jump on it. 

So you had to go back through the audition process again?

Of course, anything can happen over a year: you can become lazy and complacent and the creative team didn’t want that to then transpire from tour to town and they want to make sure they’re getting the best and if there’s someone else out there that can do it much better than you, I don’t think just because you’ve played the role somewhere doesn’t mean it’s a given you can play it somewhere else. 

Looking back on your time in the show, how has you Fiyero changed? 

I think it changes every night, I’m so pleased I get to work with some incredible actors in the ensemble and the two witches. The girls I had on tour were absolutely incredible but different to the ones who are equally incredible in town. The character relationships have changed and even little things like the set, because it was a touring set, so slightly different little actions and movements can make such an impact on a scene so it has completely changed. I think I’ve got a little more confident in the old dance moves, 'Dancing Through Life' still to this day scares the life out of me. Hopefully we're trying every night to change it and not keep it stale but it definitely has developed from our opening night in Bradford. 
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Monday, 22 January 2018

INTERVIEW: Alice Fearn, currently starring as Elphaba in WICKED at the Apollo Victoria Theatre

Alice is currently playing the lead role of Elphaba in the London production of WICKED, after having previously been the standby for the role. The Woman in White (Palace), Les Misérables (Queen’s), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic); ‘Rapunzel’ in Into the Woods (Regent’s Park), ‘Gingy’ in Shrek The Musical (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), ‘Renee’ in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy) and ‘Nancy’ in Oliver! (Watermill Theatre, Newbury). She took time out of her greenifying to have a little chat with us.

You were previously the Standby for Elphaba in the London production of Wicked, when did you find out you’d be taking over as the lead?

Well I’d been auditioning for quite a few years for the show, when I’d be able or free to do so I’d be auditioning for it. Weirdly actually, this last time I auditioned, when I got the standby, I said that was my last time I was doing it. I think that might have been my fifth time auditioning, I remember calling my mum and saying “this is the la
st time now, I can’t be put through the wringer if I’m not going to get this.” I thought this was my last time and if I get it great, if I don’t then I can move on. And thankfully I got it, then obviously a year later I got the upgrade to play the lead full time. I think I was in the kitchen with my fiancée, Gavin, who was cooking lunch and my agent called me and I knew it would be about this because I’d auditioned to play the lead again so when I was the standby I had to go back and do all the stuff again so I knew I was waiting for a phone call with a yes or a no. My agent had me on loud speaker so I did think it was something quite important because the whole office could hear, and he said I got the job and I was so shocked and surprised I think I threw the phone across the room towards Gavin and he was saying “What?! What?!” and I just said they’ve given me the part. And immediately we got a bottle of champagne out of the fridge and started pouring it because it was something I wanted for so long. So, it was a pretty good day that day!
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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Best shows to go to this Halloween

The Woman in Black 


One of the classic London thrillers, now in its 25th year and having been seen by over 7 million people this is a must see over the Halloween period. Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story is brought to dramatic life in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation. Robin Herford’s gripping production is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.



The Exorcist 


This new addition to the West End is sure to give you some chills down your spine. Considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Forty-five years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified an entire generation, The Exorcist is unleashed onto the West End stage for the very first time in a uniquely theatrical experience directed by award winning film and theatre Director Sean Mathias.

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First look at the new WICKED UK & Ireland Tour cast


WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is pleased to release new production photography, by Matt Crockett, of Amy Ross as Elphaba, Helen Woolf as Glinda and Aaron Sidwell as Fiyero, who lead the cast, together with Jack Harrison-Cooper as Chistery, of the forthcoming return engagement of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour, which begins a five week season at the Bristol Hippodrome from 31 January 2018.

This production of WICKED will also play a special engagement at Theater 11 in Zürich, marking the musical’s Swiss premiere, from 15 November-31 December 2017 (www.musical.ch/en/wicked).

The full cast is Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq), Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba), Charli Baptie, Jason Broderick, Samantha Brown, Hannah Cadec, Grace Chapman, James Davies-Williams, Howard Ellis, Amy Goodwin, Daniel James Greenway, Jack Harrison-Cooper, Charlie Karlsen, Nicole Lupino, Stuart MacIver, Stacey McGuire, Sara Morley, Emily Olive Boyd, Georgia Rae Briggs, Paul Saunders, James Titchener, Helen Walsh, Amy Webb, Luke Woollaston and Benjamin Yates.
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

WICKED announces full cast for UK & Ireland Tour


WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, is delighted to announce that Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf(Glinda), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) will join the previously announced Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero) to lead the cast of the forthcoming return engagement of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour in 2018.

Amy Ross (Elphaba) has most recently been starring as ‘Nicola’ in the hit musical Kinky Bootsin the West End. She previously appeared in Sunny Afternoon, playing ‘Joyce’, at both the Hampstead Theatre and in the West End; Helen Woolf (Glinda) has most recently been appearing in the London production of WICKED and was also part of the original 2013 UK & Ireland Tour company. She has played the role of ‘Glinda’ on many occasions; Aaron Sidwell(Fiyero) has just finished playing ‘Steven Beale’ in the BBC’s EastEnders, a role he originally played in 2007/08. His many acclaimed musical theatre appearances include Grey Gardens(Southwark Playhouse), American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London) and the leading role of ‘Michael Dork’ in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the West End); still best remembered as ‘Max Farnham’ in BrooksideSteven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond) starred in the UK & Ireland Tour (joining in 2014) and on the International Tour of WICKED. He also played Doctor Dillamond in the West End. Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose) and Iddon Jones (Boq) all recently starred in the International Tour of WICKEDNikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) has recently appeared in the Asian Tour ofGhost The Musical, the UK & Ireland Tour of Shrek the Musical and in Monty Python’s Spamalot in the West End. 
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Monday, 3 October 2016

WICKED 10: Gregor Stewart



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I was in the 2009/10 cast when Alexia Khadime was Elphaba, I was Ensemble and understudy Fiyero.

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I do, I saw it in Previews when Idina Menzil was playing Elphaba, that night one of the big Flat heads (think that's what they are called... Big costume with clown feet) fell over and just lay there for one of the stage management to come out and drag them off stage it was hilarious. Also the Oz Head didn't work and Idina performed a time step and said that's live theatre before walking off for a show stop, it was brilliant.

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?

I remember watching Wicked with my Parents and saying to my mum "I'll play that part one day" and a year later I got the chance, I was so proud that night.

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WICKED 10: Gary Wood


Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company!
I joined the second cast in 2007 as a member of the ensemble and stayed a further two years until 2010 as a crossover swing. That meant I covered all 9 of the male ensemble.

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?

I first saw the show in London not long after it opened. It was a Wednesday matinee and the entire principle cast were on including Idina Menzel. I hadn't listened to the soundtrack before going so I really knew nothing about the show. I just remember sitting, absolutely transfixed by the whole thing. I will never forget the thrill of seeing Elphaba fly for the first time!
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Sunday, 2 October 2016

WICKED 10: Stevie Tate-Bauer



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I was in the ensemble in 2010/2011. I was also 1st cover Elphaba and 1st cover Nessarose and during my time at Wicked, I was lucky enough to go on as Elphaba twice and I lost count of how many Nessarose shows I did! Lots!

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I saw the Original London Cast 10 years ago at the Apollo Victoria and I was absolutely spellbound. From that day onwards, it was my aim to be in the show!

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
Although I had a burning passion to be in Wicked and also get to play Elphaba, it still came as quite a shock when I received the phonecall from my Agent  saying the job was mine!

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
My first show as Elphaba. I had it in my contract that I would go on and so the audience was filled with so many of my family and friends supporting me. I was overwhelmed by the whole experience and felt after that night, I really had lived my dream and felt fulfilled as an actress.
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Saturday, 1 October 2016

WICKED 10: Gareth Chart


Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I played Frex, Elhpaba's father and I understudied and played Doctor Dillamond and the Wizard in 2010 and 2011.

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I remember seeing Wicked for the first time in its first year, I had some friends in the show and I got to see Kerry Ellis and Olly together which was awesome. And the brilliant Martin Ball as Doctor Dillamond.

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
I didn't really imagine being in the show when I saw it because I didn't know what I could really do in it! I danced a bit but nowhere near the level of the choreography of Wicked, i'm not short enough to play Boq I'm not handsome enough to play Fiyero! Of course as it turned out all it took was a shaving of the head and some make up and I just about got away with being in it!
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WICKED 10: Lauren James Ray


Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I first joined WICKED in 2009 as ensemble (fainting girl some people call it) and 2nd cover Nessarose and left in 2011. I rejoined WICKED originally for 5 months during 2014 as ensemble (fainting girl), shared 1st Glinda, 2nd Nessarose. I then continued my contract until 2016 as first cover Nessarose, 2nd cover Glinda. All in all Ive been a part of the show for 4.5 years!

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I do! It was in London 2006 and it was my birthday treat. 

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
From seeing the show, I knew I wanted to do it and I always hoped I’d be in it. I was thrilled when I finally got to be a part of it in 2009 and even more so when I went back in to it in 2014 with a Glinda cover.
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WICKED 10: Christopher Howell


Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
 I played Doctor Dillamond from 2011 to 2013 (22 months) and I had the best time.

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I first saw Wicked when it opened in London. I remember the huge buzz about the show and it certainly delivered. I also remember thinking that I would never be in the show as I could not place myself in it. 

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
My best memories of my time there would be to do with the fantastic cast and audiences' there. I think Rachel Tucker's last night was absolutely incredible as she sung as if her life depended on it and the audience ate it up! I made many good friends there so there are many memories. Also, getting to work with Louise Plowright again was a joy - I miss her.
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Friday, 30 September 2016

WICKED 10: Lillie Flynn



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I played Nessarose in 2012. 

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
The first time I saw Wicked was way back in 2008 in London and I loved every second of it!

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
I had no idea that I would but I sure as hell wanted to be! There are very few shows that have had that impression on me.

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
The amazing cast I had the pleasure of working with at the time. They were all so brilliant and we made a good team! It was also my very first principle role so that first night was a pretty special one.
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Thursday, 29 September 2016

WICKED 10: Alex Louize Bird



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I was in the ensemble (pineapple hair track!) and I stayed for 3 contracts! So about 2 and a half years. 

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I remember everyone at college being so obsessed with Wicked that I didn't want to see it! But as third years our head of company was the resident director (Petra Siniawski) so we went to see it and my jaw was on the floor for the whole show! 

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
Wicked was the one show I wanted to make it into. And I was so overwhelmed that it was my first west end show as an adult at 21 years old! 

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
My best memory is the fact I got to learn the choreography from the original choreographer Wayne Cliento. It was such an incredible experience and one I will never forget. 
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

WICKED 10: Harry Francis



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I did the show in 2012. I understudied Boq, but I also played the role of 'the rat'. The rat is possibly the most important role in Wicked. He appears on three occasions working as a servant to the humans. The thought that my rat would eventually lose the ability to speak would break my heart every night. It was sometimes impossible to break character. I then dressed up as many other characters including Averic, Fiyeros lovable chauffeur

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
It was actually a bootleg dvd when the show first came out (slapping my wrist as I type)! I was at a full time theatre school and we were all obsessed. The first I saw the show live was on Broadway with Eden Espinosa and Megan Hilty. It blew my mind! 

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
It was definitely one I wanted to try and be in. 
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

WICKED 10: Sabrina Carter



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I was Phfanee and 1st cover Elphaba. I was part of the company for 2 contracts (just short of 18 months). 
Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?
I hadn't actually seen the show until I was auditioning for it. I think it was my before my 2nd audition (of 3 recalls). 

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?
Well, you can but hope. I remember hearing defying gravity for the first time and thinking how magnificent it was. At college I used to sing it all the time and then the chance came out of the blue to audition for it. 

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
It was my 1st big (London) professional job. The whole thing was such an eye opening experience. As a performer you dream of working in the West End so to be there and covering one of the biggest parts in musical theatre was extraordinary. My favourite ever moment was when I got to play Elphaba from start to finish (as my 1st show was mid way through a matinee) but that night it was my part. Retrospectively, it was such a massive moment for me. To share that stage with Dianne Pilkington (who in my opinion is one of thee finest actresses I've ever worked with) and my friends in the ensemble was a dream. 
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Monday, 26 September 2016

WICKED 10: Dale Rapley



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I played the Wizard and Dr Dillamond in the first year of the UK and Ireland tour 2013/14. 

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?

I first saw Wicked at the Apollo Victoria in the spring of 2013, when I knew I was likely to have an audition for the show later that year. 

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?
My best memory was the amazing audiences at the rather cramped, but more intimate, Kings Theatre Glasgow, where I think the show worked best, even though they had to almost re-build the theatre to fit the set in. And even then, we didn't manage to get it all in! 

Tell us one embarrassing story from your time in the show…

The most embarrassing thing that happened was while I was playing Dr Dillamond in Dublin, when the blackboard completely collapsed onto the stage, after I'd tried to spin it round, and my next line was, 'Who is responsible for this?' It did get a laugh - not least from all the Shiz students who were facing me with their backs to the audience! 
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Sunday, 25 September 2016

WICKED 10: James Gillan



Firstly, tell us what part you played and what year(s) you were in the company! 
I played the role of Boq the first 2 years of the run. 

Do you remember seeing WICKED for the first time? When and where was it?

Yes my dearest friend Ashleigh Gray and I where on a break from the UK tour of Taboo, so we decided to go to New York, we saw wicked (not long opened) and said we both wanted to be in it and we where! It was magical. 

Did you ever think you’d be in the show one day?

I knew when I saw it on Broadway I wanted to play Boq. I was thrilled to be the original in London and I loved using my Scottish accent, that was all my idea, I just thought he suited it. 

What is your best memory from your time at WICKED?

Just the whole buzz with Idina (Menzel) coming over, all the principles got to meet the night before rehearsals for a meal with some of the creative team just to say hi ,and I think welcome Idina. But I've lots of great memory's, too many to go into. 
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