Tour: Acorn Antiques, Ellison Travels with ChicagoDate: 27 June 2006
Following the announcement that comedian Victoria Wood’s debut musical, Acorn Antiques (based on her 1980s TV series of the same name), will have a run in Manchester this Christmas (See News, 8 Mar 2006), a full 24-date seven month UK tour schedule has been confirmed. The £2 million musical, which premiered at the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket in February 2005, opens at The Lowry on 11 December 2006 for a run to 6 January 2007.
Following its Manchester engagement, the musical – this time directed by Wood herself (the West End production was directed by Trevor Nunn) – will visit High Wycombe, Cambridge, Ipswich, Brighton, Woking, Birmingham, Coventry, Liverpool, York, Preston, Leeds, Sheffield, Darlington, Richmond, Nottingham, Canterbury, Reading, Bath, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Blackpool, Southend and Cardiff, where it will conclude on 2 July 2007.
At this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, Celia Imrie won Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for her role as antiques shop owner Miss Babs (See News 26 Feb 2006).The West End production also featured TV originals Julie Walters, Duncan Preston and Wood herself (who alternated with Walter in the part of Mrs Overall) as well as Josie Lawrence, Neil Morrissey and Sally Ann Triplett. No cast has yet been confirmed for the tour.
A show within a show (within a show), Acorn Antiques follows Miss Babs’ struggle to keep the antiques shop open in the face of competition from multi-national chains, in particular the Guilty Bean coffee shop.
After completing her second stint as murderess Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago (See News, 8 Jun 2006), Jennifer Ellison will lead the show’s third national UK tour, kicking off at Birmingham’s Alexandra Theatre on 27 September 2006.
The tour will visit Edinburgh, Manchester, Sunderland, Southport, Nottingham, Grimsby, Southampton, Plymouth, Oxford, Glasgow, Stoke-on-Trent, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Belfast, Bristol, Sheffield and Canterbury. Ellison will star for the first eight regional dates, finishing in Liverpool on 5 May 2007. Full casting is yet to be announced.
Ellison is best known for her role in Brookside. She previously starred as Roxie in the West End in autumn 2004, and will take over from Bonnie Langford at the Cambridge Theatre for five weeks from 10 July to 12 August 2006.
Chicago won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical. The 1975 musical, about a wannabe jazz star turned murderess, is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
The current stage revival is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography is by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. It opened at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre (where the original London production of the Kander and Ebb musical opened in April 1979 and ran for 603 performances) on 28 April 2006, after a record-breaking nine years at the Adelphi Theatre, where it opened in November 1997.
- by Caroline Ansdell