Norton Premieres First Haircut, Full Blue CastDate: 28 January 2011
TV presenter Graham Norton, who made his theatrical debut in 2009 in the Menier Chocolate Factory revival of La Cage aux Folles, will return to the West End musical stage on Sunday night at the Garrick Theatre for the one-off concert of the work of American composer Lance Horne. Norton will perform the UK premiere of the song “Haircut”, sung on Horne’s just-released debut album of the same name by fellow chat show host – and camp icon – American Ricki Lake.
In Lance Horne: First Things Last joins an all-star line-up that also includes as previously announced, Olivier and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming, cabaret diva Meow Meow (soon to appear in Kneehigh’s West End transfer of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), Hannah Waddingham, Emma Williams, Norm Lewis, Lucy May Barker, Alexandra Silber, Julie Atherton, Paul Spicer, Cassidy Janson and Simon Burke.
Lance Horne is a composer, lyricist and performer who produces and musically directs original works in collaboration with artists from around the world. Featuring a wide array of guests from Broadway and the West End, First Things Last is his "latest exploration of the most engaging sounds from musical theatre".
Lance Horne: First Things Last is produced by Neil Eckersley & Paul Spicer for Speckulation Entertainment, and directed by Daisy Prince, with musical direction by Lance Horne, and sound design by Ben Evans.
In other West End musical casting news, the full company has been announced for new Stiles and Drewe musical Betty Blue Eyes, which premieres on 15 April 2011 (previews from 19 March) at the Novello Theatre. The show, a musical adaptation of the Alan Bennett-scripted comedy film A Private Function, has already announced principal casting of Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith, alongside David Bamber, Jack Edwards, Mark Meadows, Adrian Scarborough and Ann Emery.
Other cast members will include: Ian Conningham, Claire Machin, Kirsty Hoiles, Annalisa Rossi, Rachael Archer, Laura Medforth, Andy Mace, Gemma Wardle, James Barron, Dan Burton, Neil Ditt, Chris Howell, Hollie Taylor, Howard Jones, Holly Dale Spencer, Veronica Hay and Rebecca Louis.
Betty Blue Eyes is directed by Richard Eyre, with musical staging by Stephen Mear, design by Tim Hatley, lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Mick Potter. The musical director is Richard Beadle, musical supervisor Stephen Brooker and orchestrations are by William David Brohn. The musical has a book by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman adapted from an original story and the Alan Bennett /Malcolm Mowbray/Handmade film.
The 1984 film was set in a Yorkshire village after the Second World War, where rationing presents a challenge for the locals who want to celebrate a Royal wedding in style by slaughtering an illegally raised pig for the event. Chaos ensues when the pig is stolen and a food inspector arrives, determined to stop activities circumventing the food rationing. Lancashire and Shearsmith will star as Joyce and Gilbert Chilvers, the roles originated on screen by Maggie Smith and Michael Palin.
And at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 2, Wicked star Alexia Khadime joins Daniel Boys, Julie Atherton and Lee William-Davis in the forthcoming transfer of Adam Gwon’s coming-of-age musical Ordinary Days. The production, which runs from 10 February to 5 March 2011 (previews from 8 February), was first seen at the 50-seat Finborough Theatre in 2008, when it marked the show’s European premiere.
The musical - about “growing up and enjoying the view” - explores how the ordinary lives of four New Yorkers are turned into something extraordinary by the catalyst of one seemingly small event. When Deb (Khadime) loses the notes to her graduate thesis, she loses her most valued possession. The lives of four other individuals are then woven into the story which looks at the connections between people and events.
Alexia Khadime’s musical theatre credits include Leader of the Pack and Whistle Down the Wind on tour and The Lion King in the West End. She’s best known for her appearance as Elphaba in the London production of Wicked, a role she took over from Kerry Ellis. Most recently she has appeared in the National Theatre's production of Welcome to Thebes.