Galas: Woods Cast, Honouring Crawford & NovelloDate: 11 July 2006
Stephen Sondheim’s fairy tale 1989 musical Into the Woods, which will be presented – for two performances only – at the Royal Albert Hall (see News, 27 Jun 2006), will star Vinnie Jones (pictured) and Anita Dobson. The gala event, held in aid of the Children’s Society to celebrate the charity’s 125th anniversary, will take place on Sunday 22 October 2006, with performances at 3.00pm and 7.30pm.
Jones, a former footballer who has also appeared in films such as X-Men: The Last Stand, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Snatch and Swordfish makes his stage debut in the gala. He said: "I am delighted to be part of Into the Woods. A musical role is a new venture for me, and I am truly excited that I will be part of two special performances which will raise funds for the Children's Society and all the work they do."
Dobson’s stage credits include playing Gertrude in English Touring Theatre’s recent production of Hamlet. She received an Olivier Award nomination for Frozen at the National and also received acclaim for her role in The Island of Slaves at the Lyric Hammersmith. Her other London play credits have included Three Sisters, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Kvetch, My Lovely...Shayna Maidel, Charley's Aunt and The Vagina Monologues at the Arts.
Joe Harmston directs Into the Woods. The musical presents a different take on “happily ever after” from composer and lyricist Sondheim and book writer James Lapine, with whom Sondheim also wrote Passion and Sunday in the Park with George, currently revived in the West End care of the Menier Chocolate Factory.
In addition to all the fundraising galas being held at the King’s Head itself (See News, 29 Mar 2006), a star-studded gala will be held in the West End next week in memory of the Islington pub theatre’s late founder, Dan Crawford, who died in July last year (See News, 14 Jul 2005). A Love Letter to Dan takes place at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 16 July 2006, with proceeds donated to the King’s Head’s Raise the Roof Campaign.
More than 50 top artists who appeared in productions at the King’s Head early in their careers will grace the stage for the special event, including: Don Black, Lionel Blair, Steven Berkoff, Peter Bowles, Clare Burt, Sharon D Clarke, Tom Conti, Janie Dee, Anita Dobson, Simon Green, Susannah Fellows, Anna Francolini, Louise Gold, Richard E Grant, Jan Hartley, Patricia Hodge, Michael Howe, Celia Imrie, Lesley Joseph, David Kernan, Bonnie Langford, Denis Lawson, Gavin Lee, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, Ewan McGregor, Susie McKenna, Julia McKenzie, Linda Marlowe, Jessica Martin, Robert Meadmore, Kim Medcalf, Sheridan Morley, Paul O’Grady, Michael Praed, Frances Ruffelle, Angela Richards, Sally Ann Triplett, Samuel West and other surprise guests.
Ticket prices range from £25 to £100, with the top-price seats including access to the after-show party with the cast.
Meanwhile, another concert is to take place at the Novello Theatre in September, celebrating the music of Ivor Novello, who lived in a flat above the newly renamed theatre (formerly the Strand) for 38 years from 1913 to 1951. Glamorous Night: The Musicals of Ivor Novello will be held on Sunday 10 September 2006.
The performance will showcase music from Novello’s most popular musicals, such as Glamorous Night, The Dancing Years, King’s Rhapsody, Gay’s The Word, Careless Rapture, Perchance To Dream, Arc de Triomphe, and Theodore and Company.
Created by George Daugherty and David Lik Wong, the concert stars sopranos Marilyn Hill Smith and Shan Cothi, tenor Rhys Meirion, West End stars Rosemary Ashe and Richard Reynard, compere Frank Lincoln, and violin soloist Gillian Findlay, accompanied by Sinfonia Britannia and conducted by George Daugherty.
- by Caroline Ansdell