5 Christmas gifts for the uber stagey
Our gift guide will help you decide what to get for the theatre lovers in your life
With Christmas just around the corner, have you decided what to get for your theatre-loving friends or family members?
If you're a bit stumped, have a look at our list below. We reckon any of these will go down a treat with stage-crazed types (such as ourselves!).
1. Essential reading for theatrical bookworms
The script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tickets for JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne's wildly successful hit are like proverbial gold dust, but, as long as the recipient doesn't mind discovering some of the secrets in advance, the script is a great read. It will either whet the appetite for the sheer magic of the live experience, or will prove a wonderful memento of one of the greatest theatrical epics of all time.
Alan Bennett's Keeping On Keeping On
The latest instalment of memoirs by beloved national treasure Alan Bennett, covering the years 2005-2015, and including accounts of the making of the film versions of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van, the script of radio play Denmark Hill, and Bennett's reflections on his long-standing working relationship with Nicholas Hytner.
Hamilton: The Revolution
With Lin-Manuel Miranda's epoch-making Broadway musical set to hit London late next year, get one step ahead of the game with this beautifully illustrated coffee table book charting Hamilton's journey from an initial concert presentation at the White House to becoming a multi award-winning global phenomenon.
2. Tickets to the 17th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards concert
One of the highlights of the theatrical year, the WhatsOnStage awards concert takes place at the Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 19 February 2017, and features a host of exciting performances and a stellar line up of presenters. The awards are special in that they're the only major theatre awards voted for by the general public.
3. Must-have cast albums
Half a Sixpence 2016 London cast recording
This sparkling new production opened to rave reviews recently, including from Ben Hewis for WhatsOnStage here, and this cast recording captures the melodic bounce and energy of the well-loved original score as well as Stiles and Drewe's terrific new numbers.
Lazarus original cast recording
David Bowie's final work is less a traditional musical and more a multi-media thrill ride featuring a mixture of Bowie classics such as "We Could Be Heroes", "Changes" and "Life On Mars" with new songs written especially for this project. This recording is of the New York cast who premiered the piece off-Broadway early this year days before Bowie's untimely death, but the leads are, as in the current London production, Michael Esper and the eerily Bowie-esque Michael C Hall.
Funny Girl 2016 London cast recording
Sheridan Smith's hugely acclaimed central performance is captured for posterity on this recording of what was, perhaps surprisingly, the first ever London revival of Jule Styne's brassy, melodic score. Darius Campbell also features on this album, which includes standards such as "People" and "Don't Rain on my Parade".
The Hamilton Mixtape
Not strictly speaking a cast album (but what self-respecting theatre nut doesn't already own the Hamilton Broadway recording?!), this long-awaited project sees numbers from Lin-Manuel Miranda's breathtaking score reinvented by such music stars as Usher, Kelly Clarkson, Queen Latifah, John Legend and Alicia Keys. An absolute must for Hamilton fans.
4. WhatsOnStage Theatre Club membership
Membership to our own WhatsOnStage Theatre Club is a must for regular theatregoers, offering easy access to discount tickets as well as exciting money-can't-buy extras including cast meet-and-greets and post-show Q&As.
5. Theatrically inclined DVDs
Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Performance
Recorded live at the Prince Edward Theatre and including the star-studded finale featuring much of the original 1989 cast. This exquisitely shot record of the acclaimed revival preserves for posterity the remarkable central performances of Eva Noblezada as Kim and Jon Jon Briones as The Engineer. A tear-stained masterpiece.
Gypsy The Musical
Imelda Staunton gave of the most lauded musical performances in living memory as Mama Rose, and any theatre fan will relish the chance to relive Jonathan Kent's powerful production, captured live at the Savoy Theatre last year.
The Railway Children
Filmed live in performance at Kings Cross, this heartwarming show, which features a real steam engine, is a must for all junior theatrelovers.