Our region has plenty on offer this month to get your hands clapping and your feet tapping; the best way to stave off the winter chill. Below are the key January openings.
Running 14 January - 16th February, Opera North (Leeds)
Egypt, ancient times. Cleopatra uses all her considerable wiles to persuade Caesar to join her in an alliance against her brutish brother Ptolemy, with whom she rules the country. Murder, battles, plots and counter-plots ensue before Caesar and Cleopatra emerge finally triumphant in both love and war.
Written at the height of his success, Handel’s sumptuous music is most admired for its brilliant characterisation and power, especially in his lavish music for the role of Cleopatra.
A highly talented cast is directed by Tim Albery, who has directed some of Opera North’s most successful productions over the past few years, including Fidelio and Cosi fan tutte, as well as a recent critically-acclaimed Tannhäuser at the Royal Opera House.
Running 17 - 21 January, Lyceum (Sheffield)
THE KING AND I
The heart-warming story of the British governess brought to the court of Siam to tutor the Kings many children is told using one of the most beautiful scores ever written with sweeping melodies such as The March of the Siamese Children, Shall We Dance, I Whistle A Happy Tune, Hello Young Lovers and the unforgettable Getting To Know You.
This breath-taking new production from Leicester’s Curve, directed by Paul Kerryson, is a lavish, grand-scale spectacle. With giant gold Buddhas, sumptuous costumes, a chorus of adorable children, acrobatic dancers and live music this beautiful production guarantees standing ovations.
The King and I stars Ramon Tikaram as The King of Siam, whose West End credits include Bombay Dreams, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and TVs This Life and Josefina Gabrielle as Anna whose musical successes include The Witches of Eastwick, Sweet Charity and the lead in Oklahoma at the National Theatre. She returns to Sheffield after playing Lady Jacqueline in Me and My Girl last Christmas.
Running 19 January - 25 February, Hull Truck (Hull)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN WIGAN
"Northern? Once you get it... no going back."
It's 1976 and for 18-year-old Eugene life should just be starting; but with a humdrum job, no romance and living in a grey Northern town, there's little prospect of adventure until Eugene gets a taste of Northern Soul - and suddenly what seemed like existence becomes more like living...
Footloose and fancy free, Eugene is transported into a world of sassy soul and bold blues where bodies back flip and fleet fly. But amongst the heat of the dance floor there is someone even more electrifying - Maxine. Will their eyes meet across a crowded room? And can Eugene pull off the moves to win her soul? A play about rhythm, romance and rocking your world. Hull Truck's revival of Mick Martin's modern Northern classic will take your breath away.
Running 23 - 28 January, Lyceum (Sheffield)
SAVE THE LAST DANCE FOR ME
From the producers, directors and writers of Dreamboats and Petticoats, Save the Last Dance For Me will take you back through the music and magic of the early ’60s, a time when each passing week brought another classic Rock ‘n’ Roll track.
This nostalgic, feel-good musical journey will transport you back to music’s golden era as we follow two teenage sisters, Jennifer and Marie, through the summer of 1963. Full of freedom and high spirits they embark on a family holiday to the coast and a traditional seaside town. The young siblings soon discover much more than just sea and sand when they meet a handsome American airman, who invites them to a dance at the nearby United States Air Force base. But young love and holiday romance is never that simple and the sisters soon realise that while the world around them is still watching itself in black and white, life and love can be much more colourful.
Running 28 January - 17 February, Opera North (Leeds)
A rollercoaster of passion, war and destiny. Norma leads her people in a desperate struggle to protect their Pagan beliefs and traditional way of life from the unstoppable rise of the industrial revolution. But she has a terrible secret – Pollione, the father of her children, is the man leading the destruction of the very fabric of her society. Norma is torn, but it is only when he betrays her love that she urges her people to rise up and fight for their freedom. Battle looms, and Norma and Pollione’s destinies seem inextricably entwined to the last...
Marking the climax of the bel canto (beautiful singing) repertoire, Norma is an opera of extremes. Full of long, lavish melodies, lush orchestration, spellbinding arias and achingly beautiful duets, its emotional music has the power to move audiences to tears. Due to its technical difficulties, the title role of the heartbroken druid priestess, is notoriously hard to cast. Having made legends out of Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland, Norma has always been the maker of global opera stars.
Running 31 January - 4 February, Lyceum (Sheffield)
THE WINTER'S TALE
Shakespeare’s The Winters Tale tells the story of a man consumed by an inexplicable jealousy that destroys his family, his kingdom and himself. Wracked by guilt, Leontes sets off a chain reaction of events leading to a miraculous climax and the chance of redemption. The greatest playwright writing at the height of his powers, this is poetry in motion.
Internationally acclaimed all-male company, led by Director Edward Hall, Propeller return to Sheffield following their critically acclaimed productions of Richard III and The Comedy Of Errors. Renowned for combining a rigorous approach to the text with an exciting, physical aesthetic Propeller engages its audience's imagination and brings fresh understanding to classic plays.