Musical News

My Response: Are West End Tickets Too Expensive?

Recently, this topic has been debated a lot, as Andrew Lloyd Webber has backed ticket prices and stated that they are ‘reasonable’. I however am undecided on the issue.

On one hand, the amount of time, effort and money that goes into the creation of West End shows is phenomenal. While local theaters and small scale shows are great, nothing compares to the experience of watching a West End production (and I think anyone who has seen one will agree with me). If you look through a show programme, you will see the names of all the creatives who worked on the lighting, the sound, the music, the people who composed the show, those who wrote it etc. and of course the names of the performers who also work incredibly hard to put on (on average) eight shows per week. When you consider all that these individuals have given to a production and the amount of work they have put in, the ticket prices do seem fair (because you are paying to see high quality entertainment and a work of art). As well as this, some tickets are actually very reasonably priced in my opinion. I’ve been to several West End shows now where the tickets have been under £30 each, which when you can pay £100+ for some tickets, this is a bargain. I think the most I have ever paid for theatre tickets is around the £80-£100 mark, but it was so I could watch shows that I really wanted to see.

On the other hand, I think it is a shame that students and people who don’t have much money have to miss out on experiencing theatre. If you are a massive musical theatre fan such as myself, it is strange to think that some people have never been to see a West End show, or even any piece of theatre at all. For some people, this will be out of personal choice or they never would have considered it before etc. but I’m sure if tickets were more affordable it would open up the opportunity to so many more people. As well as this, I’ve spoken on my blog before about how a lot of people don’t think theatre is very inclusive because training in theatre is expensive and going to the theatre is expensive etc. I don’t think this is the impression the industry should be giving people, as the theatre and performing is all about expressing yourself and capturing life and all the emotions and experiences that come with it. Everyone should have the right to be apart of the amazing theatre community, and with that in mind it shouldn’t be seen as a place for the ‘rich’. If ticket prices were lowered, maybe theatre would be more accessible to the masses.

There are loads of amazing websites with great ticket discounts, and many theaters (on and off West End) that offer discounts and incredibly reasonable tickets, so there are still ways for people to enjoy going to the theatre even if they can’t afford to go and see a West End hit. Below I’ve listed some websites where you can purchase discounted theatre tickets:

http://www.lastminute.com/theatre/

https://www.londontheatredirect.com/discounts

http://www.lovetheatre.com/

http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/buy-tickets/tkts/

Overall I am still uncertain about the prices of theatre tickets. I do feel that they are worth the money, because the quality of the entertainment, the venue etc. is incredible. However, I would like more to be done to enable young people and those who can’t afford to go to the theatre to be able to experience it, as I think art is an important part of life that should be inclusive to all. Let me know what you think about this debate, are ticket prices just far too high? Or do you agree with Lord Lloyd Webber that they are reasonable?

Thanks for reading!

Lots of Love Lucy x

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The Top 10 Shows I Want to See Next

  1. An American in Paris (Dominion Theatre) – A beautiful Gershwin musical that is the talk of the West End, which I cannot wait to see in May!
  2. Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre) – This is a long running show, but I am still yet to see it. I love the film, and all of ABBA’s classic songs, so I think this show would be very entertaining.
  3. Motown the Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre)
  4. School of Rock (New London Theatre)
  5. The Girls (Phoenix Theatre) – After their stunning Olivier Awards performance, I would love to see this show written by Gary Barlow.
  6. Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)
  7. Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) – Who doesn’t want to see this smash hit musical?
  8. Judy! (Arts Theatre)
  9. The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wale’s Theatre)
  10. Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Duke of York’s Theatre)
  11. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 (Palace Theatre) – Technically, this makes my list a top 11, but I couldn’t not include this play that was highly praised at the Olivier Awards!

I hope this list has given any theatergoers some inspiration (if you’re looking for an idea of what to see next). Of course there are tonnes of amazing musicals and plays in London and on tour right now, and this list names but a few. Let me know what shows you’ve seen recently (ones you’ve enjoyed, or even ones you didn’t).

J Is For January

First of all, happy new year! Thank you for just over 900 views, I know my posts aren’t that regular at the moment but I’m hoping to update my blog more often this year. So, here is my list of J themed favourites for this month:

1) Jersey Boys
Currently playing at the Piccadilly Theatre, Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. I have wanted to see this musical for a really long time, as I love the soundtrack and have read excellent reviews of the show. This is on my list of must sees for this year, so fingers crossed I’ll get to see it!

2) Jesus Christ Superstar
I’ve had the soundtrack of this show on constant repeat since the new year began, and I’d have to say it’s definitely my current favourite CD. So if you’ve never listened to it before, then I’d highly recommend it.

3) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
This is one of my all time favourite musicals. I own the soundtrack featuring Jason Donovan, and I love every single song in the show. Sadly I saw it years ago so I can’t remember too much about what it looked like, so I’m hoping a new production of it will crop up soon.

4) The Jungle Book
This was my favourite Disney film when I was little, and still is to this day. I think this is one of Disney’s best ever films, and I would love to see a musical version of this one day!

5) James Corden and Johnny Depp
The Into the Woods film has been in cinemas for a while now, and I still haven’t seen it, so I’m still really looking forward to it. I’ve heard very positive reviews, especially ones about James Corden’s role in the movie, so this is a must see for this year.

6) Gypsy (not quite a j, but close enough)
The Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Gypsy is due to transfer to the Savoy Theatre in the West End in April, along with the incredible Imelda Staunton continuing her run as Momma Rose.
This will be the first time gypsy has been seen in London for 40 years, and I hope it doesn’t sell out too quickly as this is something I would really love to see! Definitely on my list of must sees for this year.

Into The Woods Film: First Impressions

Due to be released in the UK on Christmas Day this year, Into The Woods is looking good so far. From the trailers that I have seen I think it could be brilliant! Here is one of the trailers so you can have a look for yourself: http://youtu.be/2Byk9Is3TjY

The Witch – Meryl Streep
I love Meryl Streep. I think she has a great voice and is an amazing actress, so I think she’s perfect for the role. She is one of the biggest names in the film, and although I usually dislike the use of celebrities in films just so more people will go and see it, she will be one of the best things about the film I’m sure.

The Big Bad Wolf – Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp is one of my favourite actors, as he is just so versatile! He is an incredible actor, and he has a pretty good voice too. Although his singing isn’t as strong as his acting (in my opinion of course) I think he will be an asset to the movie.

Cinderella – Anna Kendrick
Probably best known for her role in the film Pitch Perfect, Anna has a really good singing voice. Technically speaking, she probably does not have the right kind of voice for musical theatre, but at least she can actually sing.

The Baker’s Wife – Emily Blunt
A great actress, but I have never heard her sing, so I will be interested to see what her voice is like. Again, I do not know if technically she will be as able as a trained musical theatre performer would be, but she is a very good actress so I’m sure she will not disappoint.

The Baker – James Corden
I am a big fan of James Corden’s work, and I believe he went to stage school, so I have a feeling he will be excellent as The Baker. Hopefully he will bring some technique to the singing aspect of the film, and he could end up being one of the best things about the film.

Other cast members include:

Cinderella’s Prince – Chris Pine
Cinderella’s Stepmother – Christine Baranski
Cinderella’s Mother – Joanna Riding
Lucinda – Lucy Punch
Rapunzel – Mackenzie Mauzy
Rapunzel’s Prince – Billy Magnussen
Red Riding Hood – Lilla Crawford
The Giant – Frances de la Tour
Jack – Daniel Huttlestone
Jack’s Mother – Tracey Ullman
Florinda – Tammy Blanchard
The Baker’s Father – Simon Russell Beale
Grandmother – Annette Crosbie

I shall be uploading another post of a more in depth review after I have seen the film, as this is just my brief first impressions. So, watch this space.

N is for November

It’s November! One of my favourite months as it is now the lead up to Christmas, and my birthday is this month. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite “N” things…

1) NeverLand the home of Peter Pan. The Disney animated version is one of my all time favourite films, and the music is gorgeous, so I’ll definitely be getting this DVD out this month.

2) Niall Horan from One Direction. Now this may seem a bit off topic for this blog, but of course people who love musicals also have other music that they enjoy listening to. They are one of my favourite bands and I’ve loved them ever since they were on the X factor, but I’m not a crazed fangirl. I really like their latest song “Steal My Girl” and I’m really looking forward to the release of their new album!

3) Narnia (aka The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe). I adore these films, especially the 1st and 3rd. They are beautifully made, and the soundtrack is amazing! My favourite is the soundtrack to the first film, so I recommend you give that a listen. It’s also very appropriate to the current season as it’s now starting to become winter, so it’s perfect for watching at this time of year.

4) New York. Now, I have never been to New York but I can tell you this; it looks stunning at Christmas time! I am hoping to go in a few years time for a visit (mainly to see Broadway), but also just to be amazed by the scenery. For now though, I can just flick through photos of it and dream that one day I’ll make it there.

5) Newsies, with music by Alan Menken. I love this show! The soundtrack is great, and although it’s not one of my favourite musicals ever I still love to listen to it’s music now and again.

6) Next to Normal, with music by Tom Kitt. I have never seen this musical, but I have heard many a person rave about how good it is. So this month I’m going to listen to the soundtrack to see what all the fuss is about, and maybe I will have some new songs to add to my musical favourites playlist.

7) Lindsay Lohan (there is an n in Lohan I promise). Now you may think this one is cheating, but I just couldn’t resist adding this in. She is starring in David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow, which originally featured Madonna. Now when I first heard this news a while ago, I wasn’t sure what to think. I love her in films such as “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen”, but I didn’t know if theatre was for her. But it appears her West End debut is the talk of the town, and the Observer’s review even states that Miss Lohan is the best thing about the production! So maybe, I will give her a chance, and go and see this spectacle this month.

8) Nicole Scherzinger. This is similar to the last one, but Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of Cats is due to open on the 6th of December 2014 and Nicole will be playing Grizabella. I am not the biggest fab of her work, although I do admit she is a good singer. But I worry she will not have the same technique that a trained musical theatre performer will have, even though she is a talented pop artist. Also, she is no Elaine Paige. But I may be being too quick to judge, so I will wait until her reviews come out, and then decide if I will go and see the show or not.

So that’s all for now, although I do have many more things I could have included in this post, but I do not want to go on for too long.

My blog is nearing 700 views, which may not seem like a lot, but I’m so happy with this! I started this blog just as a space to publish my thoughts, but I love the fact that people read it, so thank you. I will start posting more regularly, and I would love to take requests as to what I write about. So if you have a topic you want me to cover, please comment on this post, tweet me (@justamusicalgal), or email me: justamusicalgal@gmail.com

I Look forward to hearing from some of you! Happy November.

Tony Award Nominees 2014

The nominees for the 68th annual Tony Awards 2014 have been announced today! Hosted by Hugh Jackman, the event will be spectacular as ever. Here is a full list of the nominees, with a few YouTube clips thrown in to help you decide who you think should win.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical:

Ramin Karimloo – Les Miserables: http://youtu.be/kAp-V-Sb85w

Neil Patrick Harris -Hedwig and the Angry Inch: http://youtu.be/7y7X6_GVsUw

Andy Karl – Rocky: http://youtu.be/Gymga2GZs2M

Jefferson Mays & Bryce Pinkham – Both nominated for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder: http://youtu.be/Ih_leBr6DlE

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical:

Mary Bridget Davies – A Night with Janis Joplin:

Sutton Foster – Violet:

Idina Menzel – If/Then:

Jessie Mueller – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical: http://youtu.be/w4NKI8wEhyc

Kelli O’Hara – The Bridges of Madison County:

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a play:

Samuel Barnett – Twelfth Night
Bryan Cranston – All the Way
Chris O’Dowd – Of Mice and Men
Mark Rylance – Richard III
Tony Shalhoub – Act One

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a play:

Tyne Daly – Mothers and sons
LaTanya Richardson-Jackson – A Raisin in the Sun
Cherry Jones – The Glass Menagerie
Audra McDonald – Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Estelle Parsons – The Velocity of Autumn

Best revival of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
A Raisin in the Sun
Twelfth Night

Best revival of a musical:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Violet
Les Miserables

Best play:

Act One
All the Way
Casa Valentina
Mothers and Sons
Outside Mullingar

Best Musical:

After Midnight
Aladdin
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best book of a musical:

Chad Beguelin – Aladdin
Douglas McGrath – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Woody Allen – Bullets Over Broadway
Robert L Freedman – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best original score (music and/or lyrics) written for the theatre:

Aladdin (Music: Alan Menken, Lyrics: Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin.
The Bridges of Madison County (Music and lyrics: Jason Robert Brown.)
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Music: Steven Lutvak, Lyrics: Robert L Freedman and Steven Lutvak.)
If/Then (Music: Tom Kitt, Lyrics: Brian Yorkey.)

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a play:

Reed Birney – Casa Valentina
Paul Chahidi – Twelfth Night
Stephen Fry – Twelfth Night
Mark Rylance – Twelfth Night
Brian J Smith – The Glass Menagerie

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a play:

Sarah Greene – The Cripple of Inishmaan
Celia Keenan-Bolger – The Glass Menagerie
Sophie Okonedo – A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose – A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham – Casa Valentina

Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical:

Danny Burstein – Cabaret
Nick Cordero – Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry – Violet
James Monroe Iglehart – Aladdin
Jarrod Spector – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best performance by an actress in a featured role in a musical:

Linda Emond – Cabaret
Lena Hall – Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Anika Larsen – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Adriane Lenox – After Midnight
Lauren Worsham – A Gentleman’s guide to Love and Murder

Best scenic design of a play:

Act One
The Glass Menagerie
Machinal
The Cripple of Inishmaan

Best scenic design of a musical:

Rocky
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Bullets Over Broadway
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bullets Over Broadway

Best costume design of a play:

Act One
Machinal
Casa Valentina
Twelfth Night

Best costume design of a musical:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bullets Over Broadway
After Midnight
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Best lighting design of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Machinal
Of Mice and Men
The Glass Menagerie

Best lighting design of a musical:

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Rocky
After Midnight
The Bridges of Madison County

Best sound design of a play:

The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Act One
Machinal

Best sound design of a musical:

After Midnight
Les Miserables
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Best direction of a play:

Tim Carroll – Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage – The Cripple of Inishmaan
Kenny Leon – A Raisin in the Sun
John Tiffany – The Glass Menagerie

Best direction of a musical:

Warren Carlyle – After Midnight
Michael Mayer – Headwig and the Angry Inch
Leigh Silverman – Violet
Darko Tresnjak – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Best choreography:

Rocky
Aladdin
Bullets Over Broadway
After Midnight

Best Orchestrations:

Bullets Over Broadway
The Bridges of Madison County
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Lifetime achievement in the theatre:
Jane Greenwood

Regional Theatre award:
Signature Theatre, New York

Isabelle Stevenson Award:
Rosie O’Donnell

Tony honours for excellence in the theatre:
Joseph P Benincasa
Joan Marcus
Charlotte Wilcox.

Frozen The Musical?

Yes some of you may have already heard about this, but I wanted to research and find out the latest developments on this story.

But for those of you who do not know, the new much loved Disney film Frozen is going to become a Broadway musical! I am thrilled at this news as I think the film is fantastic, and the soundtrack is beautiful.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, The film made more money in it’s debut weekend than the first showings of any other Disney animations, so it seems a musical would also prove very popular.

The cast of Frozen includes Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff, who are all Broadway stars, so in theory they already have a talented cast. Kristen Bell, who played the voice of Anna, has said she is hoping to make her Broadway debut in this musical, if she is asked to join the cast, which could be very likely.

The film won a Golden Globe for best animated film, so it really has been a huge hit. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger revealed the plans for this new show, but as of yet there is no creative team or timeframe set in stone.

But will this be a good move for Disney? They had so much success with the Broadway show The Lion King, which is spectacular and if you ever get the chance to see it then do! So will Frozen the musical ever be as successful? Will the casting directors ever be able to find an Elsa as talented as Idina Menzel? Or anyone who can sing Let it Go flawlessly in eight shows a week? How are they going to bring Sven and Olaf to the stage? We shall see.

I would love it if Frozen was a success on Broadway so it could transfer here into the West End, so fingers crossed!

No matter how long the creative process takes I think there is hope that this musical will become a reality, as they announced the news in January 2014 so some plans may be circulating soon!

Also Disney have created a website where you can sign up to receive emails about news of the show, so I will help you out with a link: http://www.frozenthemusical.com

The Frozen soundtrack, composed by Christophe Beck, is what really makes this film special in my opinion. The orchestral pieces are fantastic, and the songs I find to be very uplifting, almost like a ready made musical score!

But there has been talk that if the cast of the movie are asked to join the show, they need to solve the “Jonathon Groff problem”. The problem is that Jonathan’s character kristoff only has one very short song in the film – Reindeers are better than people. So if Frozen the musical does become a reality, another song will have to be written for his character, which could be risky as the current songs have been so well received.

So to conclude, here are my top 5 frozen songs:
5. Love is an open door (track 4)
4. In summer (track 7)
3. For the first time in forever (track 3)
2. Fixer Upper (track 9)
1. Let it go – Idina Menzel version (track 5).