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London Theatre News Today: Tuesday 16 March

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai Published 16 March 2021

Back To The Future The Musical to open in August

Producer Colin Ingram (Ghost – The Musical) and Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the creators of the Back To The Future film trilogy, have announced that BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical’s performances at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End will now begin on 20 August 2021 and we cannot contain our excitement!

The musical’s out-of-town opening at Manchester Opera House in March 2020 received an incredible reaction from critics and the public alike, but was cut short when theatres were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic exactly a year ago.

Roger Bart and Olly Dobson will play the roles of ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively. Hugh Coles performs as ‘George McFly’, Rosanna Hyland as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Cedric Neal as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Aidan Cutler as ‘Biff Tannen’, Courtney-Mae Briggs as ‘Jennifer Parker’, Will Haswell as ‘Dave McFly’, Emma Lloyd as ‘Linda McFly’ and Mark Oxtoby as ‘Strickland’.  Also in the cast will be Rhianne Alleyne, Amy Barker, Matt Barrow, Joshua Clemetson, Jamal Crawford, Bessy Ewa, Ryan Heenan, Cameron McAllister, Alessia McDermott, Laura Mullowney, Nic Myers, Shane O’Riordan, Katharine Pearson, Oliver Tester and Justin Thomas.

Olly Dobson and Roger Bart in Back to the Future at Manchester Opera House. Photo by Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.

Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager who is accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr Emmett Brown.  But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.

The cast of BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical will appear in a special performance on Comic Relief, which will air on BBC 1 this Friday 19 March.  The bespoke sketch created by Bob Gale and specially commissioned for Comic Relief has been directed by Richard Curtis.

Colin Ingram said, “I’m delighted to announce today that our spectacular new musical theatre show Back To The Future will premiere in the West End on August 20th at the Adelphi Theatre.  We look forward to welcoming our audience back to the theatre after so many months of being starved of live entertainment, with this heartening, hilarious story set to multi-Grammy winners Silvestri and Ballard’s fantastic new songs, alongside the original classics from the movie”

BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (Urinetown, On The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), lighting design by Tim Lutkin, lighting consultant Hugh Vanstone, Gareth Owen (sound) and Finn Ross (video), with choreography by Chris Bailey, musical supervision and arrangements by Nick Finlow and Illusions by Chris Fisher. Orchestrations are by Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, with dance arrangements by David Chase. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.

Sony Music Masterworks will release this summer the Original Cast Recording of BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical. Grab your tickets to see this must-see show now!


The Old Vic releases a special video to mark one year since theatre closures

Today marks the one-year anniversary of theatres being forced to close across the U.K. To mark the date, The Old Vic have released a special video showcasing the incredible work they have created in the last year despite their doors being closed.

Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus said:

“It was a year ago this week that we closed The Old Vic’s doors to the public, cancelled the last few week’s of Samuel Beckett’s ENDGAME, and postponed the highly-anticipated new production of Amy Herzog’s 4000 MILES.

“At the same time we also made a commitment to do everything possible to maintain some kind of meaningful connection with you, our audiences, during this difficult time.  We had no idea, of course, that those initial weeks of lockdown would turn into a year of hardship, challenge and great loss.

“Thanks to our incredible team of staff and associates, and exceptional philanthropic and government support, plus many many video conference calls, we have not only been able to uphold that commitment, in fact, we’ve connected with more people than I could have imagined, right across the globe.

“And now it seems we are all finally at a turning point where the hopeful glow on the horizon is no longer just a mirage but a real destination to set our sights on. The theatre industry has had a severely bruising year but what hasn’t dimmed is its eagerness to step up and play its crucial role in rebuilding live connections and shared experiences. Delivering uplifting and mind-expanding stories, in a safe and joyful way, after more than a year dominated by separation, fear, anger and sadness, is utterly vital and it’s something we can’t wait to resume.

“Thank you from all of us at The Old Vic for your extraordinary and unwavering support, and for joining in, over the last year, with all that we have been able to offer. I very much look forward to welcoming you back through our doors before long, and to sharing exciting, daring and magical live performances. Most importantly, I look forward to us being back together.

“For now, I will leave you with this small celebration, framed in gratitude, of all that we managed to achieve together at the Old Vic, despite so much time spent apart.”


Hampstead Theatre announces it’s first live productions for 2021

Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce its first live productions for 2021.

Alfred Fagon’s darkly compelling, The Death of a Black Man will run from 28 May until 10 July having originally premiered at the theatre in 1975.  46 years on, this rare revival from the Black British playwriting canon, raises many of the same questions we face today surrounding identity, capitalism and sexual politics.  Dawn Walton, former Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, makes her Hampstead Theatre directorial debut.

Hampstead Downstairs will also reopen with the world premiere of Raya, by Deborah Bruce from 11 June until 24 July.  This funny and tender new play will be the theatre’s Artistic Director Roxana Silbert’s first Downstairs production.

Both productions will be staged with social distancing in place for the duration of their runs.  Tickets will go on sale from Wednesday 24 March at 10.30am at hampsteadtheatre.com.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of Hampstead Theatre said: “I am delighted to announce these productions for many reasons.  I’m excited to share Alfred Fagon’s powerful, brilliant play with audiences, look forward with tremendous anticipation to Dawn Walton’s production in her Hampstead debut and, I am counting down the days until we are in a rehearsal room with Deborah Bruce’s beautiful play Raya, my first production Downstairs.  COVID makes planning a challenge.  However, if all goes well, our autumn season is overflowing with remarkable established and new artists including Katie Mitchell, Marsha Norman, Mufaro Makubika, Tom Wells and Tennessee Williams.  We are desperate to get going again and, in doing so, support our wonderful freelance colleagues to do what they do best: make live theatre.  It’s been a year since we shut our doors and we are ready to switch on the lights and welcome everyone back in.”

Playwright Alfred Fagon

Dawn Walton, Director of The Death of a Black Man said: “I am so looking forward to making my directorial debut at Hampstead Theatre with this fascinating, complex play.  Alfred Fagon is a name so many of us are familiar with due to the legacy of the Alfred Fagon Award and yet people rarely get the chance to see his work.  The Death of a Black Man is an opportunity to see why this playwright was such a trailblazing artist of his generation.”

Deborah Bruce, playwright of Raya said: “I can’t wait to return to the rehearsal room and back to Hampstead Theatre, the venue that produced my first play ten years ago.  Raya is a play about two people reconnecting after a long time, which has a particular resonance at this moment, when only a year ago feels like a lifetime away.  I’m excited to share the story with audiences.”

The Death of a Black Man first premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1975 directed by Roland Rees.  This rarely produced play by one of Britain’s leading black voices from the 20th century remains compelling viewing 46 years on.  Fagon was one of the first British black writers to have his work produced in the UK and a hugely influential playwright.  He arrived in Nottingham from Jamaica, joined the army and was also a boxing champion and a welder, before becoming a very successful actor, poet and playwright.  He died at the early age of 49 (1986) and was controversially buried in a pauper’s grave when police claimed they could not identify him.  The Alfred Fagon Award is the leading theatre award for black British writers, set up after his sudden death in 1986, which has supported unique voices within the UK theatre industry.

The Death of a Black Man will be Dawn Walton’s directorial debut at Hampstead Theatre.  Her most recent productions include The Gift (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Red Dust Road (National Theatre of Scotland) and Black Men Walking (Royal Court).  She will be joined by designer Simon Kenny, lighting designer Jo Town, sound designer Richard Hammarton and composer Duramaney Kamara. Further details about casting to be announced.

Playwright Deborah Bruce (Photo credit: Lesley Bruce)

The world premiere of Raya by Deborah Bruce will mark the reopening of Hampstead Downstairs.  Directed by Roxana Silbert, Raya will be Silbert’s second production at Hampstead Theatre since joining as its Artistic-Director in 2019, following the critically-acclaimed espionage thriller The Haystack by Al Blyth in 2020.

Raya is a funny and tender new play which questions whether it is possible to turn back time – even if it’s just for one night.  Raya is Bruce’s second play at Hampstead Downstairs following Godchild.  Other credits include The House They Grew Up In (Chichester / Headlong) and The Distance (Orange Tree).

Acclaimed stage and screen actors, Claire Price, Bo Poraj, and Shannon Hayes will perform in this new play with design by Moi Tran and sound design and composition by Nick Powell.

Bo Poraj will play the role of Jason.  Poraj returns to Hampstead Theatre following the sell-out hit Gloria (2017) and Acceptance (2018).  Television roles include Mike Jackford in the popular BBC One comedy Miranda and Bonacieux in the BBC period action drama The Musketeers.  Other recent theatre credits include What’s in a Name (UK tour, 2020) and Rasheeda Speaking (Trafalgar Studios, 2018).

Claire Price will play the role of Alex.  Television roles include DS Siobhan Clarke in the ITV adaptation Rebus, based on Scottish author Ian Rankin’s famous crime series and Miriam Brindsley in the ITV’s World War II TV series Home Fires.  Film work includes The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hereafter and Jump.

Shannon Hayes will play the role of Alannah.  This is her debut at Hampstead Theatre.  TV roles include, Ted Lasso, Undercover and Cold Feet.  Recent theatre work includes The Gift (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Ridiculous Darkness (Gate Theatre).

In the event of the productions being postponed due to UK Government advice, full refunds or credit vouchers will be offered.

Click here to find out more about the Hampstead Theatre’s productions.


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