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Step Out to the Beat of Norwich's Theatre Royal

It’s music for much of the way through the rest of 2011 and well into 2012, if the Norwich Theatre Royal programme is anything to go by. No less than nine block-buster musicals have been scheduled – and that’s quite apart from ballet and opera, not to mention some interesting plays and, of course, the annual pantomime.

First of the musicals is the Broadway success Jekyll and Hyde with Marti Pellow in the title roles from 6 to 11 June. Then it’s The Sound of Music from 9 to 20 August. Verity Rushworth plays Maria in a large-scale production with 30 adult and 21 child performers, not to mention a 13-strong pit band.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat display themselves again between 30 August and 3 September. 5-10 September has Tracie Bennett playing Judy Garland in The End of the Rainbow as part of a national tour following a West End season.

Another show making a second appearance in Norwich is David Essex’s All the Fun of the Fair from 18 to 22 October. Top Hat is probably one of the best-loved {Fred Astaire] and Ginger Rogers films with its Irving Berlin score. A stage version starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen premieres on 25 October and runs until 5 November before touring nationally.

Later in November, from 22 until 3 December, Grease is another returnee by popular demand to the Theatre Royal. Performers from the West End revival include Danny Bayne as (who else?) Danny and Carina Gillespie as Sandy.

Fast forward well into 2012, and the Cameron Mackintosh production of Oliver! will run for the month of 3 July to 4 August. Brian Conley will play Fagin. Finally in the musical marathon comes Dirty Dancing from 28 August to 8 September 2012. This is part of the UK tour following a sell-out London season.

Back to the year we’re still in and Midnight Tango with Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace displays all the verve of this most hypnotic of Spanish dances from 4 to 9 July. Northern Ballet offers David Nixon’s Cleopatra to a score by Claude-Michel Schönberg in the week 11 to 15 October. The Rambert Dance Company has a triple-bill on offer on 10 and 11 November.

Glyndebourne on Tour at the Theatre Royal has become something of an autumn fixture, building an enthusiastic East Anglian audience. Three productions are offered between 15 and 19 November, beginning with David McVicar’s modern-dress La Bohème.

A new production follows, this time by Mariame Clément, of Don Pasquale. Handel’s Rinaldo staged by Robert Carsen is the third opera; Carsen directed last year’s much-praised L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Two Alan Bennett plays are also in the programme. The Lady in the Van with Nichola McAuliffe is on stage between 20 and 25 June. David Haig takes the title role in The Madness of George III from 19 to 24 September. Offering perhaps slightly premature Season's Greetings from 12 to 17 September is the Bill Kenwright production of Alan Ayckbourn's play.

In between you can partake of Dinnerladies: Second Helpings from 27 June to 2 July and reach your own conclusion on Agatha Christie’s Verdict between 1 and 6 August. The David Walliams children’s book Mr Stink from 27 to 30 October will keep the young ones entertained before the arrival of Sleeping Beauty on 14 December.


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