Blue Man Group, the cult Off-Broadway hit which finally made it to the UK this past autumn, has extended its run at the West End’s New London Theatre by five months (See News, 14 Nov 2005). The show opened on 14 November 2005 (previews from 10 November) and had initially been booking to 25 March 2006. It will now continue until 3 September 2006.

The silent, blue-skinned, bald-headed trio (in fact, now many trios around the world) take audiences through a multi-sensory experience combining theatre, percussive music, art, science and vaudeville.

Blue Man Group has developed a sizeable following since its Off-Broadway debut in 1991. In addition to the long-running New York production, there are now shows in Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston. The group has also released two albums, Audio and The Complex, and created installations, "happenings", "unusual ads" and a number of TV-specific performances. The group was founded by long-time friends Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton and Chris Wink.

Meanwhile at the West End’s Queen’s Theatre, Tracie Bennett will take over from Claire Moore as Madame Thenardier in London’s longest-running musical, Les Miserables, from 17 January 2006.

Bennett's many stage credits include Sex, Chips & Rock 'N' Roll at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, and High Society at the Open Air Theatre in 2003, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Based on Victor Hugo's humanitarian novel about a persecuted man in 19th-century revolutionary France, Les Miserables celebrated its 20th anniversary in October (See News, 7 Oct 2005). The West End production currently stars former Phantom John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean (his second time in the role). He’s joined in the cast by Cornell John as police nemesis Javert, as well as Kerry Ellis, Shonagh Daly, Julia Moller, Shaun Escoffery and Hayden Tee (See News, 22 Jun 2005).

- by Caroline Ansdell