Brucie Bonus: Strictly's effect on theatre
Since the first series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, a new wave of dance shows has hit theatres across the UK. Here, we look at the current crop of shows that can attribute their continued success (at least partly) to the Bruce Forsyth-fronted phenomenon...
Burn the Floor Headlined by Strictly Come Dancing stars Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff (pictured), this dance spectacular is currently enjoying its second spell at the West End's Shaftesbury Theatre. It was actually first conceived many years before Strictly brought ballroom back to the mainstream; it originated as a special performance at Elton John's 50th birthday celebration in 1997. Two years later Burn the Floor made its world premiere in the UK (in Bournemouth) and has since played in over 30 countries, including a run on Broadway. Catch it at the Shaftesbury until 30 June.
Midnight Tango Choreographed by and starring Strictly Come Dancing professionals Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace, Midnight Tango is set in a late-night bar in downtown Buenos Aires, and features a cast of ten other tango dancers. It recently finished its run at the West End's Phoenix Theatre but is currently on tour to venues across the UK. And the Strictly connection doesn't end with Simone and Cacace - former judge Arlene Phillips is attached as producer.
Top Hat Adapted from the iconic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie, this tap spectacular recently won three Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. Although its success isn't directly attributable to Strictly, it did originally star former Strictly winner Tom Chambers, whose replacement Gavin Lee (pictured above with Kristen Beth Williams) recently told Whatsonstage.com: "I think we all have to be very grateful for those shows that have brought dancing, and in a way musicals, back to the TV. It's just fabulous the amount of dancing that's on the TV, and that the public at home are so interested in it and they want to go and see it live. I love that the genre I've done all these years, 1930s-style dance musicals, is making a comeback." Hear, hear!
The company of Some Like it Hip Hop (photo: Francis Loney)
Some Like it Hip Hop This Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Award-nominated production from ZooNation (of Into the Hoods fame) and Sadler's Wells unites dancing with a Shakespeare-influenced narrative. With a nod to Billy Wilder's film and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, it tells a comical tale of love, mistaken identity, cross-dressing and revolution; all played out in ZooNation's trademark style of hip hop, comedy and physical theatre. So what's the Strictly connection? Well, cast members Tommy Franzen and Lizzie Gough were series finalists on BBC stablemate So You Think You Can Dance?, which also featured the show's director and choreographer Kate Prince. She told the Guardian recently: "Not all the dance we get on TV is my cup of tea, but it's encouraging people to grow a passion for dance again." Some Like It Hip Hop returns to the Peacock Theatre tonight (7 May 2013, previews from 3 May) and continues until 30 June.
Don't miss Strictly Come Dancing host Bruce Forsyth's solo show Bruce Live, which is visiting the Lowry, Salford (23 May 2013), Birmingham Symphony Hall (30 May) and the Royal Albert Hall (3 June)