The Venue Resurrects Players with Weekly ConcertsDate: 21 November 2003
Leicester Square's The Venue - which went dark last month with the rapid closure, just two days after opening, of Money to Burn (See News, 13 Oct 2003) - has announced a new series of weekly Sunday concerts, including a resurrection of the Players Theatre's Victorian music hall performances.
The Players, formerly based in its own premises in Hungerford Arches under Charing Cross rail station, closed its doors last year (See News, 12 Mar 2002). The company was founded in 1936 as a private Covent Garden club and, during its 1950s heyday, the likes of Hattie Jacques, Bill Owen, Ian Carmichael, Clive Dunn, Ian Wallace and John Hewer appeared regularly on the Players' bill.
At The Venue, the Players Theatre will celebrate 65 years and some 20,000 performances with its weekly presentation of The Very Best of British Old Time Music Hall, running each Sunday at 4.00pm. The show is produced, directed and introduced by Dominic Le Foe with piano accompaniment from Derek Taverner, who will be joined over the course of the season by some 45 different West End performers.
Showtime, the evening show running Sundays at 8.00pm, will also draw on the wealth of the West End, with a host of different performers singing songs from popular stage and screen musicals. The programme is conceived, produced and directed by Tom Pearce and Linda O'Donovan in association with The Venue.
In other West End musical news, Siobhan McCarthy has returned this week to the role of Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell's long-running Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre. Her limited three-week stint finishes on 6 December 2003.
- by Terri Paddock