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: @TheNoelSullivan returns home for @TheCentre homegrown production

Cardiff born singer and actor, Noel Sullivan cast for Tiger Bay the Musical

This November, Tiger Bay the Musical – Wales Millennium Centre’s biggest in-house production to date – will premiere in Cardiff with Welsh singer and actor, Noel Sullivan returning home to join the lead cast.Noel Sullivan during Tiger Bay the Musical previews in Cape Town_Please credit NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

Noel, who hasn’t performed on stage in Wales for almost two years, takes on the gritty role of Harbour Master, Séamus O’Rourke in Tiger Bay the Musical, a story of the notorious underworld of Wales’ capital at the turn of the 1900s.

Playing the ambitious opportunist, exiled from Africa to make his fortune through unsavoury means on Cardiff Docks, will be a change in direction for Noel, whose theatre repertoire includes a string of romantic leads, such as Danny Zuko in Grease and Galileo in We Will Rock You.

Noel, whose grandfather worked on Cardiff’s docks, said: “I am used to taking on roles in productions that are already established, so not only will this be the first time I play the bad guy, it is incredibly exciting to be part of a brand new musical of this scale created in Wales.

“I last performed at the Centre during the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels tour in 2015, plus numerous times before then, so I can’t wait to come home to perform in a show which has come out of a place that helped me in my career.”

Following a short, successful run of previews at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town earlier this year, the featured role of Séamus has now been expanded and developed further within the production, presenting Noel with a stronger, meatier role which plays to his strengths.

Noel continued: “The test run in Cape Town was so inspirational, they have a completely different energy out there which has influenced some changes for when we bring the show to Wales in November. It is going to be nothing like the Centre has seen or done before.”

“Growing up in Cardiff you had to travel to Bristol to see a show so the Centre was a much needed addition to Wales. It is time Cardiff and Wales were recognised on the world stage for its musical theatre talent. A production like Tiger Bay the Muscial, conceived and produced in Wales, deserves all its hopes for a bright future. I’m very honoured to be on that journey.”

A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, Tiger Bay the Musical is set in 1900s Cardiff at a time of unrest between the workers heaving coal in the docklands, known as Tiger Bay, and the Bute Dock Company and merchants of the Coal Exchange they afforded.

A fictional story of revolution, reconciliation, courage and love, the award-winning creative team – composer, Daf James, writer Michael Williams and director, Melly Still – have remained sympathetic to the reality of the era which includes forming a promdominently Welsh cast.

Noel will join award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway performerJohn Owen Jones who plays John Crichton-Stuart, Cardiff’s richest man tormented by loss. 

Rising star Vikki Bebb, a Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate from the south Wales valleys, will play Noel’s love interest, Rowena Pryddy, a shop girl with suffrage ideals. Plus, Welsh school girls Louise Harvey from Rhiwbina and Ruby Llewellyn from Llantrisant will share the role of tenacious water boy, Ianto.

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical will take place on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre and will run until Saturday 25 November 2017. Tickets on sale now at tigerbaythemusical.com

REVIEW: @Greasemusical @TheCentre #Cardiff #UKTour #18Jul2017

20229226_1386632198057407_272362647520683066_n♬♫♪ Stranded at the drive-in, branded a fool, just how will I start, my Grease review….♬♫♪

One of the world’s biggest musicals has returned to Wales Millennium Centre for a two week run as part of its UK tour that stars Tom Parker (formerly of The Wanted), Jimmy Osmond (formerly a teen singing legend), Danielle Hope (Loves Ruby slippers), and Louisa Lytton (formerly Ruby from Eastenders – yes, I’ve seen what I’ve done there)

Pink Ladies Photos by Paul Coltas

The main thing to remember if you’ve not seen the musical version of Grease is to not to think “oh, this is different to the film” – which I will admit to doing a little bit during the performance. The musical came first; the film version of the musical will always be different.

That aside, this production is brilliant, the sets, costumes, the sound, all add to a pretty impressive staging of a musical that began in 1971 and has had the likes of Richard Gere, Patrick Swayze, Craig Mclaughlin and Luke Goss as Danny, and of course Elaine Paige, Samantha Womack, Debbie Gibson and Sonia as Sandy.

How do the two leads fair in this list of alumni, well, Tom Parker in his first stage acting role is pretty impressive. Being in one of the biggest boy bands in the UK certainly put him in good stead for the musical and dance numbers – and he has something most ex boy band members don’t have – comic timing and a personality to boot.

Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul ColtasDanielle Hope’s musical theatre pedigree is undeniably brilliant. Having won “Over the Rainbow” and becoming Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, becoming  Éponine (twice) in the London production of Les Mis and touring with the Sound of Music and Joseph and the amazing Technicolor dream coat, watching her was a joy – just a shame her talent wasn’t showcased further.

The standout moment for me was Jimmy Osmond singing Beauty School Dropout, which further goes to prove there’s no age limit on talent – and class never gets old. A showman, will always be a showman.

Louisa Lytton’s portrayal of Rizzo shows a different side to a character that the film version seems to miss. The song “There are worse things I could do” makes more sense on the stage as the lyrics are being told to another person, not the audience.

Pink Ladies Photos by Paul ColtasOther mentions to Ryan (Doody) and Oliver (Roger) – although not well known outside of theatre circles, both are brilliant vocally and added something a little special – if your only experience of Grease is the film – this will be a special “oh, I didn’t know that” moment.

The ensemble numbers are where Grease truly takes flight. From Greased Lightning, to We go together, I dare you to sit in your seat and not want to hand jive your way around the auditorium.

If you’re a fan of the film, and have never seen the musical – I’d recommend you take a long hard look at yourself and book tickets now. If you’re not hopeless devoted to the film – I’d also recommend booking tickets now because I’ll tell you more, tell you more, for those Summer nights, Grease will sell like lightening, of the greased variety

Grease is currently at Wales Millennium Centre till 29th July 2017

Tom Parker (Danny) and Danielle Hope (Sandy) Photo by Paul Coltas (2)

NEWS: @TigerBayMusical @VikkiBebb cast for #Cardiff premiere and tour with @johnowenjones

Tiger Bay the Musical’s leading lady cast for Cardiff premiere and tour with John Owen-Jones01

Wales Millennium Centre is delighted to confirm that Welsh musical theatre graduate Vikki Bebb has been cast in a leading role in the Centre’s most significant production to date, Tiger Bay the Musical, created by a multi-award-winning team led by composer, Daf James, writer Michael Williams and director, Melly Still.

Following her outstanding performance during previews in Cape Town, Vikki from Abercynon, will join Musical legend John Owen-Jones to lead the cast for the world premiere in Cardiff. Vikki will play Rowena Pryddy, a shop girl from the Welsh Valleys, who journeys to the big city, finding love in her quest for a place in society.

The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama alumna impressed the musical’s creative team and cast so much that her co-star and Broadway actor, John Owen-Jones has invited her to join him on his home coming tour, Bring Him Home: A Collection of Musical Favourites this June.

Vikki, aged 26, said: “It is an absolute honour to play Rowena for the world premiere of this new musical in Cardiff and performing with John on his tour is a fantastic opportunity. I went to Cape Town looking to learn as much as I could from the extremely talented people around me, and being cast for Cardiff is beyond anything I expected.”

Award-winning and record breaking West End and Broadway performer John Owen-Jones, said: “The Bring Him Home tour will travel throughout Wales so it would be rude not to take Vikki along with me and showcase her amazing talent to a home audience before we perform together again in November.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.  Produced in association with Cape Town Opera, 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.

Vivien Care, Head of Musical Theatre, RWCMD said: “Vikki is a star in the making, a wonderful ambassador for our professional Musical Theatre training at Royal Welsh College and deserves her place on the Wales Millennium Centre stage. She wowed the crowds in Cape Town and we have no doubt she will do it again in Cardiff in November.”

The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre. Tickets are on sale now at www.tigerbaythemusical.com

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: New musical from @TheCentre gives platform to local community @TigerBayMusical

New musical from Wales Millennium Centre gives platform to local communitytiger_bay_the_musical

The arts and creative team behind Wales Millennium Centre’s next significant production, Tiger Bay the Musical, has developed an immersive creative learning programme for those who live in Butetown and the wider community.

 Tiger Bay the Musical, produced in association with Cape Town Opera, is a Welsh story of courage, reconciliation and love, built from the thriving multicultural community which still exists in Butetown today.

In keeping with this theme, the Centre will come together with the community over the next nine months to ensure the people of Butetown and Cardiff are involved in the production – starting with Performance Platfform, weekly creative sessions for 10 to 14-year-olds.

Already underway, Performance Platfform is led by industry professionals and teaches young people from the area audition techniques as well as providing them with opportunities to perform as part of Tiger Bay the Musical.

On Sunday 19 March the creative team, key cast and young people from the local community and further afield came together as part of Performance Platfform for a backstage tour and a joint rehearsal session. For many of the young people taking part, this was the first time they had set foot on a stage of such size.

Elan Isaac, Creative Learning Producer at Wales Millennium Centre, said, “This is the first time we have put on a creative learning programme attached to an in-house production, so we are really excited to deliver it with our local community and explore the different ways of involving them in the production.

 “The creative workshops are in full swing and the young people are really enjoying the sessions. We hope to find some raw talent for the production from these sessions, but the main purpose is to give participants an opportunity to learn new life skills, build confidence and resilience through the performing arts.”

 Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, added, “Our ambition is to co-create a programme of activity around Tiger Bay the Musical that explores some of the themes of the show that will be as prevalent today as it was then. We have an opportunity to share experiences past and present, generation to generation so that the project resonates with our local community, Cardiff and Wales.”

 tiger_bay_the_musicalTiger 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.

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.

For information on developments in the Tiger Bay the Musical creative learning programme, visit www.tigerbaythemusial.com. The world premiere of Tiger Bay the Musical is on Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Tickets are on sale now at wmc.org.uk.

tiger-bay-landscape

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

tiger-bay-landscape