Three West End musicals - Chitty, Blood Brothers and We Will Rock You - have announced extensions to their booking periods.

The £6.2 million stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, based on the famous 1968 children's film, had its world premiere at the Palladium on 16 April 2002 (previews from 19 March) and was taking bookings up to 25 September 2004. It’s now extended its schedule by another six months and is booking up to 13 March 2005.

The musical is adapted by Jeremy Sams with original music by the Sherman brothers. It's directed by ex-RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, choreographed by Gillian Lynne and designed by Award winner Anthony Ward. The original children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was written by Ian Fleming.

The cast currently includes Gary Wilmot as Caractacus Potts, Scarlet Strallen (as Truly Scrumptious), Christopher Biggins (Baron Bomburst), Louise Gold (Baroness Bomburst), Lionel Blair (the Child Catcher) and Tony Adams (Grandpa Potts). Although Jason Donovan will be returning to reprise the role of Caractacus from 7 September for an, as yet, unspecified time (see News, 23 Mar 04).

Meanwhile Queen musical We Will Rock You continues to defy critics with packed houses and booking extensions. Today, the £7.5 million musical announced added another eight months to its booking period, taking it up to 30 April 2005.

Set in the future, We Will Rock You tells the story of a world in which globalisation has meant the death of real music in favour of computer-produced cyber stars, a status quo which the rebel Bohemians, harking back to the Golden Age of rock (embodied by Queen), are trying to overthrow so that they can write and perform their own music.

We Will Rock You stars Mig Ayesa and Hannah Jane Fox, as rebel lovers Galileo and Scaramouche, with Mazz Murray as the evil Killer Queen, Clive Carter as her lackey Kashoggi, Jenna Lee James as Meat and Mark Arden as a hippy librarian.

The production is directed by Ben Elton and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, with costumes by Tim Goodchild, sound by Bobby Aitken.

The final extension news is that Willy Russell's Liverpudlian musical about twin brothers separated at birth, Blood Brothers, has extended its booking period until the 4 April 2005. It first opened on 27 August 1988 at the Albery Theatre before transferring to its current home at the Phoenix in November 1991. Lyn Paul currently stars the twins' tragic mother, Mrs Johnstone, a role that's previously been played by the likes of Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Petula Clarke, Siobhan McCarthy and Denise Nolan.

- by Hannah Kennedy