West End leading lady Maria Friedman will join a host of London’s established and emerging musical theatre stars when she leads the cast of annual festive celebration Christmas In New York.
Friedman will be joined by Avenue Q’s Julie Atherton, Wicked’s Oliver Tompsett and Ashleigh Gray, Monty Python’s Spamalot’s Michael Xavier, Hairspray’s Adrian Hansel and Zoe Rainey, Blood Brothers’s Richard Reynard, and Lorna Want, formerly of Footloose and Evita, in the third one-night only tinsel-wrapped, chestnut-roasting concert at the Lyric theatre on 7 December.
Christmas In New York originated in 2006 as a yuletide concert mixing the best seasonal songs from musicals with a collection of more traditional carols to bring a sprinkling of snow and a dash of Christmas magic to the West End. It is presented by the Notes From New York team whose concerts have introduced the work of many new American and British composers to the London stage. The series of concerts, which have included Notes From New York, Not(es) From New York and Notes In Heels, is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary with a staging of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years starring Notes regulars Atherton and Paul Spicer.
As part of its commitment to supporting new talent, both on stage and behind the scenes, Notes From New York has commissioned a new song for this year’s Christmas show, to be written by Michael Bruce, who will also help orchestrate and arrange other material. Bruce won last year’s Notes For The Stage competition to find a new Christmas song for the 2007 show.
Musical star Friedman is a three-time Laurence Olivier Award winner, with two awards for Best Actress in a Musical (Passion 1997, Ragtime 2004) and one for Best Entertainment (Maria Friedman – By Special Arrangement 1995). Among her many credits on the London stage are Chicago, Lady In The Dark, Sunday In The Park With George and The Woman In White.
Currently playing at the Lyric is Latin dance extravaganza Flamenco Flamen’ka. This is followed, between 17 November and 12 December, by the return of comedian Eddie Izzard to the London stage with his show Stripped.