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Musicals Extend: Priscilla, Thriller, Petticoats, LND

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A number of West End musicals - including screen-to-stage hit Priscilla, Disney's The Lion King, rock ‘n’ roll compilation show Dreamboats and Petticoats, Michael Jackson tribute Thriller Live and Phantom sequel Love Never Dies - have recently announced extensions to their booking periods.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical has extended its booking period at the Palace Theatre to 7 January 2012.

Adapted from the 1994 Oscar-winning cult Australian film starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp, Priscilla follows Sydney drag queen Mitzi (aka Tick) and her two fish-out-of-water friends, Felicia (Adam) and transsexual Bernardette, as they head west across the desert to Alice Springs in their battered old bus.

The current cast of the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com award-winning musical is led by Don Gallagher (Bernadette), Ben Richards (Tick), Oliver Thornton (Adam) and Ray Meagher (Bob).

Fifties and sixties compilation musical Dreamboats and Petticoats, which reopened in its new West End home at the Playhouse Theatre in January this year, has announced a 12 month extension to its booking period, with tickets now on sale until 26 November 2011.

The stage musical, which is based around the hits from the compilation album series of the same name, had its West End debut on 27 July 2009 (previews from 22 July) at the Savoy Theatre, where it finished on 31 October to make way for the Broadway import of screen-to-stage musical Legally Blonde.

The show reopened at the Playhouse Theatre on 6 January 2010 where it replaced the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of La Cage aux Folles which transferred to Broadway. The show is also still on UK tour, with dates announced until 4 December.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is directed by Bob Tomson and designed by Sean Cavanagh, with choreography by Carole Todd, lighting by Mark Howett, sound by Ben Harrison and musical supervision by Keith Strachan. It’s produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield in association with the record label Universal Music.

At the Lyric Theatre, Michael Jackson tribute show Thriller Live has extended until 5 June 2011. The show opened on 21 January 2009 (previews from 2 January), initially for four months only, but increased demand after Jackson's death last year has led to numerous extensions in the West End – as well as the launch of a separate, extensive world tour.

Billed as a concert show, Thriller Live includes Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 chart-toppers such as “I Want You Back”, “I’ll Be There”, “Earth Song”, “Blame It on the Boogie”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and, of course, the title song, “Thriller”, from best-selling albums including Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory. It’s directed by Gary Lloyd and written by Adrian Grant, with design by Jonathan Park. The cast is led by three 13-year olds who rotate in the role of Young Michael.

Meanwhile at the Adelphi, Love Never Dies, the follow-up to blockbuster musical The Phantom of the Opera, with a cast led by Ramin Karimloo as the eponymous masked man and Sierra Boggess as his muse Christine, has extended its booking period by six months, taking bookings up until 28 May 2011.

As previously reported, the musical has also announced a four night closure, taking place from 22 to 25 November, so that rewrites developed over the summer could be worked into the show. Last week also saw the official announcement that the next worldwide production of Love Never Dies would open in Melbourne, Australia in May 2011.

Music is by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater. Love Never Dies is directed by Jack O'Brien, designed by Bob Crowley and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.

Finally, at the Lyceum Theatre, The Lion King has added six months to its schedule and is now taking bookings up to 24 July 2011. The Disney screen-to-stage adaptation opened on 19 October 1999 (previews from 24 September). The current company features Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa.

Based on Disney's 1994 animated feature film, the stage adaptation opened first on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1997. The original Broadway creative team, led by director and designer Julie Taymor, reunited for the London production. The Lion King features 15 songs, including the five from the film and new songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional numbers by South African-born Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Hans Zimmer and Julie Taymor. The book is by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi.


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