Three West End musical productions – Broadway imports Wicked and Monty Python’s Spamalot and long-running dance extravaganza Stomp - have recently announced extensions to their booking periods.

At the Apollo Victoria, the four-time Whatsonstage.com Award-winning Wicked - which had its UK premiere on 27 September 2006 (previews from 7 September) (See News, 16 Dec 2005) - has extended its booking period by another nine months to 29 March 2008.

Wicked tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The show has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

In this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the production scooped all four of its nominated categories, including Best New Musical, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Miriam Margolyes, who finishes her contract at the end of this month) and Best Set Designer (Eugene Lee). The production, directed by Joe Mantello, is currently led by Kerry Ellis as Elphaba and Helen Dallimore as Glinda, along with Adam Garcia, Nigel Planer and Martin Ball.


At the Palace Theatre, Broadway import Spamalot - which had its UK premiere on 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) - has extended its booking period by another three months to 3 November 2007 (See News, 26 Jun 2006). “Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.

Spamalot has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who has also co-written the music with John Du Prez. The London production reunites the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley. The three-time Tony Award-winning Spamalot opened in March 2005 at Broadway’s Shubert Theater, where it’s still running.

Its London accolades include two Whatsonstage.com Awards – Best Actor in a Musical for original King Arthur Tim Curry and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Tom Goodman-Hill. In addition to Goodman-Hill, the current cast also feature Simon Russell Beale, Hannah Waddingham, David Birrell and Robert Hands.


Meanwhile, at the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre, Stomp is now taking bookings up to 14 October 2007 (it was previously booking to 27 May 2007.) The award-winning show, which originated in Brighton in 1991 and has previously played at the Roundhouse and Sadler’s Wells, has toured all over the world. It started its first West End run at the Vaudeville Theatre in September 2002 and has now been seen by more than ten million people.

Stomp transforms the junk and clutter of urban life into a source of rhythm and dance. In 100 minutes, a cast of eight performers use boots, bins, garbage, zippo lighters, plumbers' plungers and everything including the kitchen sink to hammer out a symphony.

- by Terri Paddock