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Norwich showcases dance, plays and musical theatre for all tastes for 2012 into 2013

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Norwich’s Theatre Royal seems on occasion to host some of the biggest and best musical shows – of all genres – in East Anglia. This autumn’s line-up, not to mention the programme planned for the first months of 2013, is no exception. 28 August ushers in the first national tour of Dirty Dancing; it continues until 15 September. Close on its heels comes Cabaret with Michelle Ryan as Sally Bowles and 2002 Pop Idol winner Will Young as the MC for the week 17 to 22 September.

The style of music and dance shifts with Northern Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast, choreographed by David Nixon from 2 to 6 October. Then it’s back to 42nd Street between 9 and 13 October with Marti Webb and Dave Willetts. Glyndebourne on Tour sells out quickly for its seasons here; on 30 October, 1 and 3 November you can see Le nozze di Figaro. There are also two performances of Dvorak’s Rusalka on 31 October and 2 November.

Back comes Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers from 12 to 17 November; the cast  this time is led by Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone and Marti Pellow as the narrator. Matthew Bourne’s The Sleeping Beauty is subtitled as A Gothic Romance. Using Tchaikovsky’s original score, the period is shifted from the 17th to the late 19th century for the first scene and from the 18th to the late 20th century for the remainder. It runs from 20 to 24 November.

Then it’s the turn of Ballet Rambert with Labyrinth of Love by Marguerite Donlon; the programme also includes L’Après-midi d’un faune, What Wild Extasy and Monolith. There are two evening performances only – 29 and 30 November with a matinee on Friday 30 November. The second half of December and first half of January are, of course, panto time. This year it’s Aladdin with Lucy Dixon in the title role and Richard Gauntlett (definitely not for the first time) playing Dame. 18 December to 19 January, if you haven’t already booked.

A new Dolly Parton musical comedy – 9 to 5 – runs from 25 February to 2 March with the Richard Alston Dance Company returning with a programme which includes a revised version of The Devil in the Detail on 12 and 13 March. Midnight Tango with Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone also makes a re-appearance for the week 18 to 23 March. This production has acquired a passionate following for its authentic tango routines.

Two well-known operas – Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra are presented by English Touring Opera on 25 and 26 March respectively. 27 March sees a real rarity – L’assedio di Calais by Donizetti (yes, it is about the 1347 siege and the burghers' sacrifice, and no, the English are not the heroes). You couldn’t have a greater contrast than with Starlight Express which rolls in for the two weeks 9 to 20 April, complete with 3D effects and followed by a return visit by Northern Ballet, this time with Dixon’s version of the F Scott Fitzgerald novel of The Great Gatsby from 30 April to 4 May..

Plays slot in between all these spectaculars. The official Agatha Christie Theatre Company brings its well-received Murder on the Nile from 24 to 29 September – you will have to wait until 22 to 27 April for the 60th anniversary tour of Christie’s The Mousetrap. Between 16 and 20 October, the Royal Shakespeare Company presents Gregory Doran’s African-set Julius Caesar with Patterson Joseph, Cyril Nri, Ray Fearon and Jeffrey Kissoon.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia with Duncan Preston as the distraught father trying to establish the facts behind his musical prodigy daughter’s death is from 5 to 10 November. Rufus Hound is the star of Richard Bean’s National Theatre hit One Man, Two Guvnors between 4 and 8 December.

The all-male ensemble Propeller come to Norwich for a short season, from 24 January to 2 February. There are two Shakespeare plays on offer, both exploring being in love with the wrong person. The Taming of the Shrew is on 24, 25, 26 and 31 January with a matinee on 1 February. Twelfth Night has evening performances on 29 and 30 January and 1 and 2 February with a matinee on 2 February.

She’s not a lady to trifle with – The Woman in Black, that is. Find out why between 11 and 16 February, if you dare. The Ladykillers are less lethal, as Sean Foley’s production of [Graham Lineham’s adaptation of the Ealing comedy film makes clear during the week of 4 to 9 March. The three productions especially for children and family audiences – apart from – are Room on the Broom (26 and 27 October), Angelina Ballerina (21 to 23 February) and James and the Giant Peach (14 to 17 March).


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