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Musicals Extend: Betty Blue Eyes, Billy & Brothers

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Betty Blue Eyes, the musical adaptation of the Alan Bennett-scripted comedy film A Private Function, has extended its booking period by three months, with tickets now on sale to 28 January 2012 at the Novello Theatre.

The show, which opened at the Novello Theatre on 13 April 2011 (previews from 19 March), is directed by Richard Eyre with the action set in a Yorkshire village after the Second World War, where rationing presents a challenge for the locals who want to celebrate a Royal wedding in style.

Looking to slaughter an illegally raised pig for the event, chaos ensues when the pig is stolen and a food inspector arrives, determined to stop such activities.

The cast includes Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith, David Bamber, Jack Edwards, Ann Emery, Mark Meadows and Adrian Scarborough.

The show, the first completely new musical produced by Cameron Mackintosh for over a decade, features a book by Americans Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman with music and lyrics by George Stile and Anthony Drewe.

Now in its seventh year at the Victoria Palace Theatre, musical Billy Elliot has extended its booking period to 15 December 2012, releasing 630,000 new tickets for sale.

Based on the Oscar nominated film, Billy Elliot opened in 2005 and follows the dreams of a young boy in the North East in the 1980s. Despite the political turmoil surrounding him, Billy has found a passion of his own – as a ballet dancer – and he hopes to follow his dreams to the top.

The stage production reunites the creative team behind the 2000 film: director Stephen Daldry, writer Lee Hall and choreographer Peter Darling. It features an original score by pop singer-songwriter Elton John, with lyrics by Lee Hall.

Finally in extension news, West End long-runner Blood Brothers has announced that tickets are on sale for a further 12 months, through to 24 November 2012 at the Phoenix Theatre.

Written by Willy Russell, the musical premiered in the West End in April 1983 at the Lyric Theatre and closed in October 1983. Bill Kenwright picked up the rights to the musical in 1987, and a re-vamped Blood Brothers was revived at the Albery Theatre in July 1988 before transferring to the Phoenix Theatre in November 1991.

Set in Liverpool, the show is the story of the Johnstone twins, separated at birth. The twins' different backgrounds take them to opposite ends of the social spectrum, one becoming an Oxbridge-graduated councillor and the other unemployed and in prison. They both fall in love with the same girl, causing a tear in their friendship and leading up to a tragic conclusion.

Blood Brothers is directed by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright. The design is by Marty Flood and the musical director is Rod Edwards.

- Matt Hannigan


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