Latest news from @TheCentre #Cardiff #WMC – September 2017

September 2017 News from Wales Millennium Centre

wmc outsideBELLE & SEBASTIAN ANNOUNCE DATE AT MILLENNIUM CENTRE

Belle & Sebastian, the legendary indie-pop band, have announced a new tour in support of their forthcoming album ‘How to Solve our Human Problems, and will stop off at the Centre in March 2018.

The Glasgow band who found fame in the late 90s with their debut album Tigermilk, caused a shock at the BRIT Awards in 1999 by winning Best Newcomers whilst being on an independent label – breaking through with the critically acclaimed album ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’.

Nine albums later, the group regularly tour worldwide, and have performed at illustrious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, as well as festivals such as Glastonbury and Latitude.

Belle & Sebastian will be in Wales Millennium Centre 8 March 2018

 

WELSH ACTOR CONFIRMED IN LEAD ROLE FOR SHREK THE MUSICAL

Leading the cast as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’ will be Welsh actor Steffan Harri, having previously starred in the first ever UK tour of Shrek the Musical covering the role of Lord Farquaad. Steffan’s West End theatre credits include Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre) and Children of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre). Steffan also played Lyn in Welsh language soap opera Rownd a Rownd.

Call the Midwife star Laura Main will play ‘Princess Fiona’. Also joining the cast will be Marcus Ayton as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Samuel Holmes as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’.

Shrek The Musical is at Wales Millennium Centre between 10 April – 22 April 2018

 

CASTING NEWS – NIGEL HAVERS STARS IN AWARD-WINNING COMEDY, ART

Nigel Havers (Chariots of Fire, Empire of the Sun), Denis Lawson (Bleak House) and Stephen Tompkinson (Trollied) are to star in the Tour of the Old Vic production of Yasmina Reza’s Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning comedy ART.  Based on the original production by Matthew Warchus, ART will be directed by Ellie Jones.

The comedy, which raises questions about art and friendship, concerns three long-time friends, Serge, Marc, and Yvan. Serge, indulging his penchant for modern art, buys a large, expensive, completely white painting. Marc is horrified, and their relationship suffers considerable strain as a result of their differing opinions about what constitutes “art”. Yvan, caught in the middle of the conflict, tries to please and mollify both of them.

This French three-hander caused a sensation on the West End back in 1996. After extended runs in London and New York and a quartet of the world’s most prestigious theatre awards — Molière, Evening Standard, Olivier and Tony — ART has become a monument of 90s theatre.

 

ART is at Wales Millennium Centre between 28 May – 2 June 2018

 NEW SHOW- AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

This brand-new musical is based on the 1982 Oscar-winning film starring Richard Gere which tells the story of Zack Mayo who is in training to become a US Navy Pilot.

The musical includes the hit song from the movie Up Where We Belong along with 80’s classics such as AloneDon’t Cry Out LoudGirls Just Want to Have Fun and Material Girl and features one of the most iconic romantic scenes ever portrayed on screen.

An Officer and a Gentleman- The Musical is at Wales Millennium Centre between 25-30 June 2018

 

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR SUNSET BOULEVARD

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®-winning masterpiece is set to star Danny Mac as ‘Joe Gillis’ when it comes to The Centre next year.

Danny captured the nation’s hearts and received overwhelming support during his incredible time on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing making it all the way to the final. He most recently starred as Gabey inOn The Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. His other musical theatre credits include Wicked and Legally Blonde.

He plays impoverished screen writer Joe Gillis who, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into the reclusive world of Norma Desmond, played by Ria Jones (Les Miserables), and is seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle. Joe becomes trapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, with dramatic consequences.

Sunset Boulevard is at Wales Millennium Centre between 26 February –  3 March 2018

 

CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR WICKED

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), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), will lead the cast of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour when it returns to Wales Millennium Centre.

Amy Ross (Elphaba) has most recently been starring as Nicola in the hit musical Kinky Boots in 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. Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond) starred in the UK & Ireland Tour (joining in 2014) and on the International Tour of WICKED.

WICKED is at Wales Millennium Centre between 31 October – 24 November 2018

 

 

TOUR SUCCESS- MAN TO MAN

Wales Millennium Centre production Man to Man’s UK tour featuring Maggie Bain in the role of ‘Ella’, has been met with success after its preview at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on September 8th.

The success follows the five star reviews it received at Edinburgh Festival earlier this year, and it’s already sold out its New York dates.

Set in Germany between 1930 and the 1980s, Man to Man is based on the fascinating true story of ordinary working-class woman Ella who, in order to survive in the Germany of the Weimar Republic and of Hitler, simply takes on the clothes and the identity of her husband.

Between 12th September 2017 and 28th October 2017 this tour will visit 5 venues in the UK- London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Newcastle upon Tyne and Liverpool, before going to New York in November.

 

Coming to the centre in October

Richard Thompson– Richard Thompson is one of this country’s greatest songwriters and most distinctive guitar virtuosos, capable of breathtaking drama and sublime delicacy, prompting Rolling Stone to hail him as “a perennial dark-horse contender for the title of greatest living rock guitarist.” His songs have been covered by everyone from Alison Krauss to Robert Plant.
15 October

 Slava’s Snow Show- The multi-award-winning international sensation returns to Wales by popular demand. Having wowed audiences in 2007, this truly unique theatrical adventure is filled with heart, humour and stunning spectacle, promising a breathtaking multi-sensory delight.
17-21 October

Hartleypool Monkey- The legend of a monkey who was hanged as a French spy is brought to life through clever puppetry in a timely tale exploring xenophobia
17-21 October

PARADE- Dancers, musicians, artists and a renegade aerial robot unite to reimagine the Ballets Russes’ iconic 1917 staging of Parade, with its pioneering score by Erik Satie featuring a typewriter, foghorn and mop!
24-25 October

As a Tiger in the Jungle- Nepalese child trafficking survivors tell their story in a new circus theatre production.  This powerful and poignant show represents an international production partnership ofSverre Waage,( Cirkus Xanti Norway), Ali Williams (formally Artistic director of nofitstate Wales).  It is a unique fusion of Asian and European performance, circus and music, set to an original score by Per Zanussi.
24-25 October

Beautiful- The Carole King Story– Bronté Barbé will play ‘Carole King’ in the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history.
30 October – 4 November

 

For further information about the Centre please visit: www.wmc.org.uk

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REVIEW: @AddamsFamilyUK @TheCentre #Cardiff #AddamsFamily100

The words, comedy, dark and musical aren’t often used in the same sentence, but when they do, they produce something wonderful & brilliant, as is the case with The Addams’ Family Musical currently at Wales Millennium Centre and tonight was also the 100th performance!

Based on the Charles Addams’ comic strip, and of course, the tv show, not forgetting the two major films from the early 90s – and an MC Hammer interpretation of said theme, he said they were “2 legit” you know.  It’s seven years since the musical made its debut on Broadway, and its lyricist, Andrew Lippa is Leeds born and Motown bred – so you’ve an idea of the pedigree behind this piece.

The look of the production is right on point, basing a lot of imagery on the fact its origins were from a comic strip. The lighting and sound bring you right into the world of Central Park (yes – the Addams’ Family home is in Central Park in NYC) – so much so, when the lights came on at the end, it took me a few minutes to adjust to the Cardiff ambience.

It has some real big stars of musical theatre including Cameron Blakely (Gomez), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Wednesday) and Samantha Womack (Morticia). It’s sometimes difficult to judge whose performance to highlight when the cast and ensemble gel together so well and bring the story to musical life. It’s also tricky to mention people in the order of “importance” – so I’m not going to, I’ll just showcase some of my favourite moments – and then leave it to you to discuss (or argue) the order/opinion.

I’ve followed Carrie’s work since her brother shared some of her Youtube cover versions (Only Exception being one such piece). I’ve always loved her voice, and saw her last year in the UK Tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it was during this time last year that she announced she was on the UK Tour of Addams’ Family – and here we are. Her stand out moments are Pulled and Crazier than you – and if you’ve seen her Youtube channel, you’ll know the latter quite well.

The phrase about not judging a book by its cover was probably written for Les Dennis (Fester). I realise now he’s been in several musical – Hairspray, Me and my girl & Spamalot, but for one moment did I think he could perform? Honestly, I didn’t – but, I’m glad to be proven wrong as he can and did, plus there’s a nice little touch during Act One of something that rarely happens during a musical – if you see it, see if you spot what I’m talking about – all I shall say is breaking down the fourth wall.

 

The sound, the imagery, the ensemble and production just work so well. It’s different from a normal musical, it’s funny, and you’ll take from it a message that being normal is just a state of mind.

Take two hours out of life, and become an Addams’ – you won’t want to leave. They’re creepy and they’re kooky, and you should go and booky a night with the Addams’ Family at Wales Millennium Centre

Review by Patrick Downes

NEWS: @TheCentre casting news and forthcoming shows #Cardiff #Wales

wmc outsideLots of things happening at Wales Millennium Centre  in the coming months;

Here’s just a little taster

Casting news

JIMMY OSMOND TO STAR IN GREASE

Jimmy Osmond is to star in Grease as Teen Angel, having previously played the role in the West End. He joins Tom Parker (The Wanted) who makes his musical theatre debut playing Danny Zuko, Danielle Hope (Over the Rainbow winner) who plays Sandy and Louisa Lytton (Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders) who plays Rizzo.

Grease is at Wales Millennium Centre between 17 and 29 July 2017

 

DARIUS CAMPBELL JOINS SHERIDAN SMITH IN FUNNY GIRL

Darius Campbell will reprise his role as Nick Arnstein, joining Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl. Funny Girl comes to Cardiff in July, after wowing critics and audiences alike in the West End. The iconic musical tells the story of Fanny Brice – whose vocal talents and comedic ability see her rise from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star.

Funny Girl is at Wales Millennium Centre between 4 and 8 July 2017

MISS SAIGON

Cameron Mackintosh is delighted to announce final casting for the UK and Ireland tour of his acclaimed production of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon. The cast includes Red Concepcion as The Engineer, Sooha Kim as Kim, Ashley Gilmour as Chris, Zoë Doano as Ellen, Gerald Santos as Thuy, Ryan O’Gorman as Joh and NaNa-Young Jeon as Gigi.

Miss Saigon is at Wales Millennium Centre between 29 November 2017 and 6 January 2018

CRAZY FOR YOU

Charlotte Wakefield will play Polly in Crazy For You, joining the previously announced Tom Chambers as Bobby and Caroline Flack as Irene. She made her West End debut as Wendla in Spring Awakening, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award and played Maria in the critically acclaimed production of The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre receiving nominations for Best Actress in a Musical at both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards

Crazy For You is at Wales Millennium Centre between 5 and 9 September 2017

 

New Shows coming soon

 

ROB BRYDON ANNOUNCES SHOWS AT THE CENTRE

One of Wales’ greatest comedy exports, Rob Brydon, makes a welcome return to the Centre next year for his first stand-up tour since 2009.

Perhaps best known for the television shows Gavin and Stacey, Would I Lie To You? and The Trip, Rob starred opposite Kenneth Branagh earlier this year in the West End production of The Painkiller.

Rob Brydon: I Am Standing Up is at Wales Millennium Centre between 8 and 10 October 2018

 

SUNSET BOULEVARD COMES TO THE CENTRE

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®-winning masterpiece Sunset Boulevard, starring internationally acclaimed musical theatre star, Ria Jones, as Norma Desmond, comes to The Centre next year.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world and is seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle. Joe becomes trapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free, with dramatic consequences.

Sunset Boulevard is at Wales Millennium Centre between 26 February and 3 March 2018

 

MILKSHAKE! LIVE COMES TO CARDIFF

Milkshake! Live The Magic Story Book is coming to Cardiff this summer. Starring Milkshake! favourites Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Toyland Detective and Fireman Sam, the show will be presented by Milkshake!’s Olivia Birchenough and Derek Moran. This all singing all dancing musical masterpiece will take the audience on a journey through the world’s favourite fairy tales.

Milkshake! Live, The Magic Storybook is at Wales Millennium Centre on 9 July 2017

 

NEWS: @TheCentre casts local musical theatre graduate in principal role for @TigerBayMusical @VickyBebb #Wales #Cardiff

A Wales Millennium Centre Production06.jpg
in association with Cape Town Opera
Tiger Bay the Musical

Wales Millennium Centre casts local musical theatre graduate in principal role for Tiger Bay the Musical

Wales Millennium Centre is delighted to announce the casting of Welsh musical theatre graduate Vikki Bebb in its most significant production to date, Tiger Bay the Musical. Vikki, a valleys girl from Abercynon and graduate from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, will play the character of Rowena Pryddy, also a valleys girl, fighting for her place in the world, looking for true love and aspiring for prosperity. This will be Vikki’s professional début in a major role in musical theatre.

A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical takes us back to the early 1900s in old Butetown, the docklands and Cardiff city centre at an extraordinary turning point in history, when coal was king and the industry booming.

In this epic tale of opulent wealth and grinding poverty, Rowena longs for a future away from David Morgan’s shop floor and its boarding house in central Cardiff. Drawn to the vibrant cosmopolitan community in Butetown, Rowena rails against the social and racial prejudices held by everyone above and below the canal bridge.

Spotted by producers whilst performing at a special gala concert for The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Vikki was invited to audition for the principal role of Rowena and was overjoyed when the creative team selected her as their leading lady. In her first big break, she will perform alongside an exceptionally talented Welsh cast including award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway actor & singer John Owen-Jones who will play the role of John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute.

Speaking of her new role, Vikki said, “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had landed the role of Rowena. She is such a unique and interesting woman and she comes from the village just a stone’s throw from where I live! Starring alongside one of the biggest names in musical theatre, John Owen-Jones is a dream come true…I doubt he remembers, but I’ve actually sung with him before and I can’t wait to be sharing a stage with him again.”

Vikki, who was awarded a scholarship from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, will take on the role when the musical rehearses and previews at Artscape, Cape Town, South Africa in April and May.

Vivien Care, Head of Musical Theatre, RWCMD said, “We are terrifically proud that Vikki will be starring in Tiger Bay the Musical, and representing our professional Musical Theatre training at Royal Welsh College. Everyone who worked with Vikki thought she was special; she has a glorious voice, acts with integrity and detail, is a hard worker and wonderful person to have around in a company, and she grew up minutes from where this story is set! The casting feels so perfect for her, we’re delighted and so glad she was spotted at our gala evening. The musical theatre training at the Royal Welsh College focuses on being ready for any challenge the industry requires, so we are so excited for this next step in her career and can’t wait to see the show.”

Tiger Bay the Musical is a Welsh story of courage, reconciliation and love built from the multicultural community which still exists in Cardiff Bay today. Set to a rousing score from award winning Welsh composer Daf James – a cast of shop girls, sailors, donkeymen, suffragettes, immigrants and raggedy water boys will bring the atmosphere and sounds of old Tiger Bay to life. The musical recounts the story of growing conflict between the powerful Bute Dock Company and the Butetown community.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre said, “It is really important that we involve the community every step of the way in this production. Hand in hand with that is our desire to cast local actors so the story of Tiger Bay is told authentically, with knowledge and passion. The Centre has a huge role to play in promoting local talent; we want to showcase the best that Wales has to offer to the world. Last month we announced the casting of our two young ‘Iantos,’ Louise and Ruby, both from south Wales and now we are thrilled to have found Vikki who we know will represent Rowena and Wales exceptionally.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff and will preview in Cape Town in April and May.

Tickets are on sale now at wmc.org.uk. For all the latest news, follow @TigerBayMusical or go to www.tigerbaythemusical.com

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NEWS: Welsh schoolgirls land leading role in @TigerBayMusical @TheCentre #Cardiff #Wales

Welsh schoolgirls land leading role in Musical

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Ruby Llewelyn and Louise Harvey

Wales Millennium Centre announced two young locals who have secured one of the leading roles for its next original stage production, Tiger Bay the Musical.

 

Plucked from an open audition process in Butetown in December 2016, Louise Harvey, 9 from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewelyn, 11 from Llantrisant will share the part of Ianto – an orphan boy, who is really a girl, dreaming of a better life.

While Ruby has previous acting experience, this will be Louise’s first ever foray into the performing arts. They will take to the Wales Millennium Centre stage in November for the world premiere following two months rehearsing and preview performances at Artscape Opera House in Cape Town, South Africa.

Louise, who attends Ysgol Y Wern in Llanishen, said “I was so shocked when I got offered the part as it was my first audition. I am so very grateful. I am very excited to visit South Africa. I can’t wait to start the official rehearsals and meet the rest of the cast!”

Ruby, who attends Cowbridge Comprehensive and is a keen musician studying cello at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, said: “I found out I had got the role the night before Christmas Eve, which was the best Christmas present. At first it was like I’d won a competition but it is starting to sink in now that I am going to Cape Town and be in a musical. It’s just a dream come true.”

Tiger Bay the Musical will bring to life the rich cultural history which helped shape the future of the Capital. The role of Ianto is pivotal within the storyline as it explores intergenerational and class relationships in the early 1900s when Cardiff Bay was one of the busiest and multicultural ports in the world.

Graeme Farrow,  Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre said: ‘We held open auditions in Butetown to give local talent a really good chance of attending the auditions. Finding Ruby and Louise who only live a few miles away is a gift to us and will help us tell the awe inspiring story of Tiger Bay in the early 1900s with authenticity and passion.’

Tiger Bay the Musical is being produced in association with Cape Town Opera, maintaining the long-standing relationship with South Africa born from one of the Centre’s original philanthropists, South African businessman, Sir Donald Gordon.

Tiger Bay the Musical will premiere in Cardiff in November 2017. Tickets are on sale now: wmc.org.uk. For all the latest news, follow @tigerbaymusical
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NEWS: @TheCentre announces the world premiere of #TigerBay, a major #Welsh musical in 2017

Wales Millennium Centre announces the world premiere of Tiger Bay, a major Welsh musical

tiger-bay-portraitSurvival, romance and atonement in a diverse community: Tiger Bay, a new musical, takes place in what was once the most cosmopolitan port in the world, Cardiff Bay. A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, this brand new show takes us back to the dawn of the twentieth century at the height of South Wales’s coal trade with characters drawn from the melting pot of Cardiff’s famous docklands.

Wales Millennium Centre has assembled an experienced creative team to craft the production, to premiere in November 2017. Directing is Melly Still, having just directed Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican and renowned for her Coram Boy at the National Theatre and on Broadway, and co-director Max Barton, Artistic Director PIGDOG and recently Associate on Stephen Schwartz’s Schikaneder, with a colourful original score by award-winning Welsh composer Daf James, book and lyrics by Cape Town Opera’s Michael Williams and design by Olivier award-winning Anna Fleischle.

Set at an extraordinary turning point in history, Tiger Bay tells of a time when Coal was King yet grinding poverty confronted opulent wealth. Valley girl, Rowena Pryddy, longs for a future away from David Morgan’s shop floor and its boarding house in central Cardiff. On the outskirts of the city, a man arrives in Tiger Bay looking for an escape from his past to find refuge in the city’s underworld of public houses, immigrants and street urchins. Above them all, in the Zodiac Room of Cardiff Castle, the Third Marquess of Bute grapples with his own seemingly insurmountable troubles and ironically it will be a lowly Water Boy who inspires the richest man in the world to leave a legacy for everyone.

Amongst a cast of unforgettable characters, the role of John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute, will be played by John Owen-Jones – best known as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in the West End and on Broadway – with further principals to be announced. Completing the cast will be a diverse ensemble to portray the rich multicultural community of the period plus a talented children’s chorus.

Graeme Farrow, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director, said “2016 has been a defining year for Wales Millennium Centre having created and delivered several landmark projects. I am immensely proud that 2017 will see us realise our next significant piece of work, Tiger Bay, a musical born from the history of our culturally diverse home in Cardiff’s former docklands which has relevance to the world we live in today. I hope that our latest venture will bring a great Welsh story to the world in a time when arts and culture must be a uniting force in our communities.”

Directors Melly Still and Max Barton said “Expect a gritty spectacular and a real thriller that draws on the lives and losses of the people from Tiger Bay, with a healthy dose of romance thrown in. This is a celebration of all that is unique about an extraordinary community, and we’re delighted to be involved with the community itself. And, doing justice to Tiger Bay’s celebrated music history, there are some belting numbers to boot.”

Michael Williams, writer and Managing Director at Cape Town Opera said, “First and foremost I have honoured the musical as an art form, although much of what found its way into the story is actually based on fact. Inspiration came from the complex mix of class, race and cultural diversity of this unique place in turn-of-the-century Britain. In writing Tiger Bay, the process of embedding myself in all things Welsh was made even more compelling when I uncovered my own Welsh roots; my grandfather worked in the Salvation Army in Cardiff and my mother was born there so, for me, the strong partnership between Cape Town and Cardiff began years ago.”

Alongside Tiger Bay, the Centre will be producing an extensive programme of musical theatre workshops, bringing leading artists to collaborate with young people from Cardiff’s Butetown and the historic Tiger Bay area.

The world premiere of Tiger Bay will be Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (preview performance on Tuesday 14 November) and the production will run for two weeks until Saturday 25 November 2017.

Booking opens on Monday 28 November 2016. Tickets will be available £7-£39 and can be booked online at www.wmc.org.uk or via the Centre’s Ticket Office in person or by calling 029 2063 6464.

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NEWS: #Disney & @MaryPoppins comes to @TheCentre #Cardiff #Wales

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s International Supercalifragilistic Musical Hit Mary Poppins will fly into Wales Millennium Centre for Christmas 2016

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins comes to the Wales Millennium Centre from 14 December 2016 to 14 January 2017; the last stop on its current UK & Ireland Tour.

The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The stage version of MARY POPPINS is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film, starring Zizi Strallen as ‘Mary Poppins’ and Matt Lee as ‘Bert’.

Zizi Strallen most recently starred as ‘Lana’ in Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’. Her previous West End credits include: ‘Cats’; the multi award-winning ‘Merrily We Roll Along’; ‘Rock of Ages’; ‘Dirty Dancing’; ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’ at Sadler’s Wells.  She has also appeared in ‘The Music Man’ at Chichester Festival Theatre and as ‘Penny Pingleton’ in ‘Hairspray’ at Leicester Curve.

mary-poppins-zizi-strallen-as-mary-poppins-photo-credit-johan-perssoMatt Lee, one of Australia’s premier “song and dance men”, played the role of ‘Bert’ in ‘Mary Poppins’ in the hugely successful Australian production of the show, his portrayal winning him the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre credits in Australia include ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Rent’, ‘Grease’ and ‘The Boy from Oz’. Matt was also a permanent member of the judging panel for Australia’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

The stage production of MARY POPPINS is co-created by Cameron Mackintosh and has a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and ‘Downton Abbey’ creator, Julian Fellowes. It has a timeless score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman including the songs Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds with new songs and additional music and lyrics by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The producer for Disney Theatrical Productions is Thomas Schumacher.

The internationally renowned and multi award-winning creative team assembled for MARY POPPINS is led by stage and film director Richard Eyre. Co-direction and Choreography is by Matthew Bourne, with Co-choreography by Stephen Mear. Set and Costume Design is by Bob Crowley with Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Sound Design by Paul Groothuis and Orchestrations by William David Brohn. The International Tour of MARY POPPINS is Directed by James Powell with Original Choreography adapted by Geoffrey Garratt. Musical Supervision is by Stephen Brooker.

The Olivier and Tony Award winning stage production of MARY POPPINS originally opened in the West End in 2004 and ran for three years and over 1,250 performances. The Broadway production opened in 2006 and ran for over six years. The show has subsequently enjoyed great success in Holland, Mexico and Vienna where it is in its second record breaking year. MARY POPPINS has toured Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the UK and has been seen by over 11 million people worldwide.

Mary Poppins comes to Wales Millennium Centre 14 December 2016 – 14 January 2017. Ticket prices range from £24 – £59. Age guidance 5+. For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464.

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REVIEW: @MammaMiaMusical @TheCentre #Cardiff 12.10.16

REVIEW: Mamma Mia!
LOCATION: Wales Millennium Centre
DATE: 12th October 2016

It’s fair to say it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest jukebox musical of all time and it’s currently on tour around the UK with it’s present home of the Wales Millennium Centre. And as a footnote, tonight’s performance was the 3000th of a UK tour!

img_6009What more can be said about Mamma Mia that’s not been said before? It’s one of the biggest selling DVD’s, the music that it’s based around is from the biggest export of Sweden (baring Volvo and Ikea), and did you know Mamma Mia! Isn’t the first attempt at employing the ABBA catalogue for a stage musical. Abbacadabra was originally a French TV special that employed ABBA songs with altered French lyrics to tell classic fairy tales. In 1983, it was adapted to the London stage and ran for eight weeks.

If you’ve lived under a rock since 1999 and haven’t seen the film, this is the general premise;

It’s the story of a former pop-singer turned hotel owner on a Greek Island. On the weekend of her daughter’s wedding, she is reunited with the former members of her girl group and three ex-beaus, one of whom is the father of the bride-to-be. Add to this, the music of Abba, the feel of a summer romance and you have one of the biggest and brightest musicals of the last 20 years.

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When you review something like this there’s a danger of letting each performance be praised when there were particular moments for me to have the hairs stand on the back of my neck. Sara Poyzer’s Winner takes it all was one of those moments as was her number with Jaqueline Braun and Emma Clifford of Dancing Queen. The choreography is just stunning in the group numbers of Lay all your love on me and Gimme Gimme Gimme. Richard Standing as Sam provides the perfect opposite to Sara’s Donna – dot dot dot. And mention also to Lucy May Barker who plays Sophie, with a voice like that it won’t be long till she’s headlining a musical. img_6010

Mamma Mia was the first major musical of its kind, and since then we’ve had the music of Queen (We Will Rock You), Madness (Our House), The Kinks (Sunny Afternoon) and Spice Girls…. Well okay, that’s not the best comparison as it didn’t last too long. So okay, Jukebox Musicals aren’t everybody’ s cup of tea, you can’t put a Wicked against a We Will Rock You, but for a night of pure pop brilliance from one of the music’s best writers, an escape from the humdrum grind of the day to day life, get yourself down to the Wales Millennium Centre as Mamma Mia is there till 13th November.

It won’t cost much Money Money Money, for you to say I do I do I do, just ring ring the box office and you’ll be the winner that takes it all. Go on, take a chance!

(Photos from the Mamma Mia Tour Website)