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Musicals Extend: Wicked, Mamma, Phantom, Guys

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Long running musicals Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia, as well as the Theatre Royal Stratford East's homecoming run of Five Guys Named Moe, have recently announced extensions to their booking periods.

At the Apollo Victoria, Wicked has added a further six months to its schedule and is now taking bookings through to 29 October 2011.

The Broadway musical, which opened in London on 27 September 2006 (previews from 6 September), tells the “untold story” of the Witches of Oz - popular blonde Glinda, aka the Good Witch of the North, and her spin-victim friend Elphaba – who were both immortalised in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz. The musical has a book by Winnie Holtzman, based on Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. It’s directed by Joe Mantello.

Wicked, which welcomed its three-millionth theatregoer at the evening performance on 4 August 2010 and is now entering its fifth year on the West End, was last year's Whatsonstage.com Award winner in the new category for long-runners, Best West End Show. The London company is currently led by Rachel Tucker as the green-skinned Elphaba and Louise Dearman as Glinda, with Any Dream Will Do victor and former Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat star Lee Mead as Fiyero.

As recently reported, Wicked stars past and present will join a host of other West End names to celebrate the Apollo Victoria's 80th Birthday for a one off gala performance on Sunday 10 October 2010. The show, which is being produced by Wicked’s UK associate director, Petra Siniawski and UK dance supervisor, Adam Murray, will also include a reunion of the cast of Starlight Express which ran at the Apollo Victoria for 7,406 performances from 27 March 1984.

Mamma Mia! has also announced an extension to its booking period, with tickets now on sale until 22 October 2011. The musical, which features the music of ABBA stars Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, had its world premiere at the Prince Edward Theatre in April 1999 and, after five years, moved to the refurbished Prince of Wales in May 2004. The show, which has grossed £185m at the UK box office and over $2 billion worldwide, was immortalised on film in 2008 with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth leading the cast.

Set on a Greek island, the show centres on young Sophie who, preparing for her wedding day, has invited three of her mother's ex-lovers in an attempt to discover the identity of her father. Mother Donna’s former band members come along for the festivities too. The musical's original book, by Catherine Johnson, is interspersed with Abba disco classics such as "Dancing Queen", "Thank You for the Music", "Take a Chance on Me" and the title song.

Following its stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Clarke Peters' revival of Five Guys Named Moe has announced that it will extend its run at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East by a week, with a new closing date of 9 October 2010.

Five Guys Named Moe has returned home to Stratford East 20 years after its original run at the venue. The show, which was written by and stars Peters, now best known to fans of TV show The Wire, opened for a limited season on 7 September 2010 (previews from 3 September). The show played Underbelly's Pasture at McEwan Hall in Edinburgh last month.

The musical, which features the music of jazz legend Louis Jordan, had its original run at Stratford East in 1990 before transferring to the West End – where it ran for four years and won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Entertainment – and on to Broadway in 1992. The revival is directed by Paulette Randall and choreographed by Peters' fellow original cast member and Olivier nominee Paul J Medford.

Finally in extension news, long running musical The Phantom of the Opera has added eight months to its booking period, with tickets now on sale until 29 October 2011. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which is directed by Harold Prince, has now been seen in 124 cities in 25 countries and played to over 100 million people.

The Phantom of the Opera is based on Gaston Leroux's gothic novel about a masked man who falls in love with an ingénue singer at the Paris Opera House. The current cast features Will Barratt (as Raoul), Sofia Escobar (as Christine) and Scott Davies in the title role. The show premiered on 9 October 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, where it continues to run. It was joined in the West End earlier this year by Lloyd Webber's sequel, Love Never Dies which opened at the Adelphi Theatre on 9 March 2010 (previews from 22 February).


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