Antiques, Footloose & Fame Confirm Spring ToursDate: 30 November 2006
The show, written and directed by Wood (the West End production was directed by Trevor Nunn), will have a run in Manchester this Christmas (See News, 8 Mar 2006), as 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 will visit High Wycombe (22 – 27 Jan 2007), Cambridge (29 Jan – 3 Feb), Ipswich (5 – 10 Feb), Brighton (12 – 17 Feb), Woking (19 – 24 Feb), Birmingham (26 Feb – 3 Mar), Warwick (5 – 10 Mar), Liverpool (12 – 17 Mar), York (19 – 24 Mar), Preston (26 – 31 Mar), Leeds (2 – 7 Apr), Sheffield (9 – 14 Apr), Darlington (16 – 21 Apr), Richmond (23 – 28 Apr), Nottingham (30 Apr – 5 May), Reading (14 – 19 May), Bournemouth (11 – 16 Jun), Southend (25 – 30 Jun) and Cardiff, where it will conclude on 7 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.
The touring cast includes Ria Jones (High Society, Cats and in the West End, Anything Goes on tour) as Mrs Overall, Sara Crowe (The Constant Wife West End and tour, The Safari Party on tour, A Right Royal Farce at the King’s Head) as Babs, Lisa Peace (Witches of Eastwick, Jailhouse Rock) as Berta, Kim Ismay (Mamma Mia! Lautrec) as Bonnie, Teddy Kempner (Solid Gold Cadillac, Kiss Me Kate, City of Angels) as Clifford, Alistair Robins (Les Miserables West End, Richard II Old Vic) as Tony, Beverly Rudd as Mimi and Michael Melmoe as Hugh.
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.
The musical will undertake its third UK Tour in early 2007, having previously toured in 2004 and 2006. Exact dates and venues are yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, plans are already underway for the show to return to the West End in the near future.
The story of Footloose centres on city boy Ren who moves with his mother to a small town in middle America where rock music and dancing are outlawed for religious reasons. Sparks fly when Ren and the minister's teenaged daughter Ariel rebel.
The 1984 film version starred Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer. Derek Hough and Amy Pemberton play Ren and Ariel in the West End, with Seventies pop stars David Essex and Cheryl Baker as Ariel’s church-going parents. From 9 September, Michael Howe takes over as Reverend Shaw from Essex, who leaves at the end of his limited three-month contract (See News, 12 May 2006).
Footloose has a book by Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford, who wrote the original screenplay. Its hit songs from the film include “Holding Out for a Hero”, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and the title number.
After more than ten years in the West End, the Runar Borge stage production of Fame - based on Alan Parker's 1980 Oscar-winning film and the American TV series of the same name - will embark on a UK tour in January 2007. (Exact dates and venues yet to be announced.)
Fame first opened in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre in 1995, when it was nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Choreography. It returned in 1998 for a run at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
It’s latest West End run began in October 2000 at the Victoria Palace (its second outing at that venue, where it also played in 1997) before transferring back to the Cambridge in September 2001 and then to the Aldwych in 2002, where it gave its last performance on 22 April 2006 to make way for Dirty Dancing (See News, 24 Feb 2006).
Abi Finley will star as aspiring actress Serena Katz, alongside fellow reality TV personalities, Strictly Dance Fever champions Hollie Robertson and Darrien Wright, who previously appeared in Footloose (See News, 7 Jun 2006).
Following one group of students from auditions to their graduation ceremony, Fame takes audiences through the highs, lows, friendships, romances and sheer hard work that is daily life for the star-struck pupils in their quest for success.
- by Caroline Ansdell