After two summers at the Edinburgh Fringe, the award-winning Festival hit Into the Hoods, a hip-hop take on Stephen Sondheim’s 1989 dark fairytale musical Into the Woods, will transfer to London next month for a limited season, from 26 March to 10 May 2008 (previews from 14 March), at the Novello Theatre. Ahead of its West End premiere, 16 of the show’s cast will give a sneak peek performance from the musical at our inaugural Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday 24 February (See News, 31 Jan 2008).

Into the Hoods follows two children lost in the ‘hood’. An evil landlord befriends the children after they’ve played truant from school and they’re offered a room in his tenement block on the condition that they work for him. Reluctantly, the children embark on their mission which leads them to the flats of Spinderella, where they discover gold Adidas trainers; Lil Red, the owner of the bright red hoodie; Rap-on-Zel, the producer of the finest quality long weave (hair extensions) in the city, and Jaxx (who lives in the basement), the owner of a white I-pod.

The musical is performed by a cast of 19 adults and nine children (three on stage). The company, ZooNation, employs its trademark narrative street dance/theatre style against a backdrop of music from Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Prince, Basement Jaxx, Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Black Eyed Peas, Bob Marley, the Chemical Brothers and others.

Into the Hoods is directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, whose credits include TV’s Strictly Dance Fever and various music videos. Many of the professional dancers in the show have worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Nelly Furtado, Pink, Black Eyed Peas, 50Cent, Beyonce and Snoop Dogg, when not performing with ZooNation. Before the show’s performance, comedy rap poet Mister Gee will provide a nightly warm-up act.

ZooNation motivates young people through hip-hop and street dance and then takes their unique dance presentations to a wider audience. The company has appeared on TV programmes including Blue Peter, The Late Edition and Popworld, and made live appearances at events like West End Live, the official Olympic Celebration in Trafalgar Square and the opening ceremony for the Tour de France in London. The company has also taken part in Sadler’s Wells Breakin’ Convention and headlined Breakin’ the Bay at the Wales Millennium Centre. Into the Hoods is presented in the West End by Phil McIntyre and Adam Speers.

Currently at the Novello, the acclaimed revival of William Nicholson’s Shadowlands, starring Janie Dee and this year’s Critics’ Circle Best Actor winner Charles Dance, is due to finish its limited nine weeks on 23 February. It moved into the Novello on 21 December 2007, having already played 11 weeks at the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre (See News, 30 Nov 2007) will transfer to the Novello Theatre where it will reopen on 21 December 2007.

- by Terri Paddock


Ahead of Into the Hoods’ West End premiere, the cast will perform an excerpt from the show at
our first-ever Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert
on Sunday 24 February 2008 – click here to book now!!!