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Laughter, love and some tears in Norwich during 2012

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Yet more major musical shows are coming to Norwich in 2012. Before Oliver! from 3 July to 4 August, starring Brian Conley as Fagin, there’s Legally Blonde with Niki Evans, Ray Quinn and Les Dennis (28 February to 10 March) and Sister Act (17-28 April). This comes to the Theatre Royal  direct from its West End season.

Connie Fisher and Michael Xavier are the stars of Wonderful Town between 5 and 9 June. The first national tour of Dirty Dancing is scheduled as the major summer show at the Theatre Royal. It runs there from 29 August until 15 September. Believe it or not, the 2012-13 pantomime has also been announced. It’s to be Aladdin from 18 December to 19 January.

In between, there are several interesting plays on offer. An Inspector Calls makes a return visit from 17 to 21 January and those engaging Horrible Histories  (Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians this time round) occupy the week of 20 to 24 February.

Also of interest to younger audience members will be the Children’s Touring Partnership and the National Theatre presentation of the Bristol Old Vic’s production of Swallows and Amazons between 13 and 17 March. Peppa Pig goes on a treasure hunt on 20 and 21 June for matinée performances only.

On positively its final tour, Calendar Girls is back from 2 to 7 April with a new touring production of Mike Stott’s comedy Funny Peculiar between 30 April and 5 May. Two Shakespeare productions from the all-male company Propeller take the stage from 9 to 12 May – Henry V and The Winter’s Tale.

By way of contrast, Birds of a Feather reunites its television cast of Lesley Joseph, Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson between 11 and 16 June. This is a new show from the Comedy Theatre Company, also responsible for the stage versions of dinnerladies.

Dance, both classical and contemporary, comes from Moscow City Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet (1 to 4 February) and the Richard Alston Dance Company (14 and 15 February). Matthew Bourne’s version of Nutcracker! from New Adventures runs from 27 to 31 March. The Chinese Cirque du Ciel ensemble bring ShangHi to Norwich and the UK for the first time between 12 and 14 April.

Northern Ballet celebrates the music of Gershwin with I Got Rhythm from 29 May until 2 June and the English Youth Ballet sets its Giselle in the early 20th century – think Downton Abbey – from 28 to 30 June. This touring company gives young dancers the chance to perform major roles at the outset of their professional careers. Local auditions will be held on 27 March, for 6-11 and for 12-18 year-olds.

The Ukranian National Opera of Kharkiv offers two perennial favourites between 5 and 7 February. They are Verdi’s La traviata and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. English Touring Opera brings Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (10 April) and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (11 April), both sung in English.

Fireworks of all sorts burst upon Norwich between 11 and 28 May with the 2012 Norfolk & Norwich Festival; the programme has yet to be announced but will include exhibitions, performance of many kinds and a chance for audiences to participate in many events.


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