1st Night Photos: Stars Out to Judge BarrowmanDate: 6 October 2009
Since John Barrowman was last on the West End musical stage – in Trevor Nunn’s Whatsonstage.com Award-winning revival of Anything Goes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – he’s spent a good deal of his time on screen judging other aspiring performers’ musical efforts in How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do and I’d Do Anything.
Last night (5 October 2009, previews from 14 September) for the opening of his stage comeback in La Cage Aux Folles at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre (See News, 20 May 2009), several fellow reality TV judges – including Denise Van Outen, David Ian and Craig Revel Horwood – were on hand to give their verdicts alongside assembled critics.
In La Cage, Barrowman stars as drag queen Albin/Zaza, the star attraction at the eponymous St Tropez nightclub, which is run by his lover Georges, whose son brings home his fiancée's ultra-conservative parents - with explosive results.
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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand for arrivals, backstage interval and the La Cage aux Folles curtain call at the Playhouse Theatre, and for the post-show party at Jewel Bar. Other first night guests included Bob Geldof, Michael Barrymore, Susan Hampshire, Suranne Jones, Samantha Bond, Jill Halfpenny and some statuesque transvestites.
The role of Albin/Zaza in Terry Johnson’s multi award-winning revival was originally played by Douglas Hodge, who won this year’s Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical for it. He was succeeded by Barrowman’s reality TV series cohort Graham Norton and then Roger Allam.
Based on the 1973 French play by Jean Poiret and subsequent 1978 French-Italian screen version, the 1983 Broadway musical comedy has music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Harvey Fierstein. The production – first seen in November 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory and transferred to the West End in October 2008 – is directed by Terry Johnson, designed by Tim Shortall and choreographed by Whatsonstage.com Award winner Lynne Page.