Our local theatres are posting out their Summer brochures this week. If you don’t happen to be on the mailing list, here’s a look at a few of them….
A sizzling season of entertainment through the Summer and into the Autumn at Royal & Derngate
The Royal & Derngate offers a bumper crop of in-house productions, a host of top touring shows, great music from the world of pop and classical, and some of the biggest names in comedy. The theatre’s Made in Northampton season gets underway with the romantic classic Cyrano de Bergerac, a unique staging of Shakespeare’s King John and the world premiere of Arthur Miller’s The Hook. The long-running Agatha Christie favourite The Mousetrap tours to Northampton later in the year, along with a brand new production of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. The all-singing, all dancing musicals Anything Goes and Hairspray take to the Derngate stage over the coming months.
There are more stirring concerts from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and visits from The Overtones and UB40, with Jools Holland and Gareth Malone among the musical highlights later in the year. A line up of top performers including Alan Carr, Reginald D Hunter, Dara O Briain and Ruby Wax offer something to suit all comedic tastes, while the master of psychological illusion Derren Brown returns. A busy schedule of children’s events includes CBeebies favourites The Octonauts and Mister Maker. Looking ahead to Christmas, this year’s spectacular Derngate pantomime is Cinderella, with a mischievous new version of The Snow Queen casting a wintry spell over the Royal.
Visiting drama includes Jonathan Harvey’s witty urban love story, Beautiful Thing, which comes to the Royal stage in May, truly capturing what it is to be a teenager and to fall in love. This Autumn sees the return of the famous and suspenseful murder mystery The Mousetrap, back in Northampton by popular demand, while the timeless story of Rebecca is brought to life in a new production conjuring Cornish romance and theatrical magic, by celebrated theatre company Kneehigh. Made In Northampton productions for the latter part of the year include the world premiere stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s futuristic novel, Brave New World, and Patrick Hamilton’s classic mystery thriller Gaslight.
For musical lovers this Summer comes an acclaimed new production of Cole Porter’s magnificent and uplifting musical comedy, Anything Goes, performed by a sensational cast including Shaun Williamson (EastEnders, One Man, Two Guvnors). The Supreme Fabulettes – Viva Las Divas! tells an outrageous tale of rags to riches in a night of glitz, hits, fun and kitsch, and the legendary rock musical Godspell, in concert, performed by a spectacular ensemble of West End stars including X Factor’s Andy Abrahams, and featuring Royal & Derngate Community Choir.
Looking ahead to the Autumn a week of the smash-hit musical comedy Hairspray. In November David Hasselhoff stars in Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, and, just announced for 2016, the Broadway and West End phenomenon Jersey Boys will take to the Derngate stage for a fortnight.
Celebrating its 20th year, the acclaimed Richard Alston Dance Company return to Northampton this Autumn, with a programme including the brand piece, Nomadic.
The theatre continues to attract top comedians to Northampton’s Derngate stage, with dates all but sold out already for Alan Carr, Milton Jones and Jimmy Carr. Still to come, there is the chance to see Britain’s favourite publican, Al Murray, a newly Suited & Booted Lee Nelson, the acerbic Stewart Lee, the laid-back American comic Reginald D Hunter, charismatic Irish comedian Dara O Briain and humourist and writer David Sedaris, along with a return visit from Paul Merton and his Impro Chums.
The multi-award-winning master of psychological illusion, Derren Brown is back with a brand new show, Miracle, for a weeklong run in June, following on from his previous sell-out tours.
The widely varied music season includes performances by top British folk singer Kate Rusby, the doyenne of Irish music Mary Black (on her farewell tour), legendary British reggae band UB40, the long-lasting R&B and soul band The Drifters and acclaimed close harmony group The Overtones. Looking further ahead to the Autumn, highlights include Jools Holland with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra continues its season of concerts with top soloists including internationally acclaimed violinist Pinchas Zukerman playing Elgar’s Violin Concerto, and the world-class cellist Natalie Clein performing Dvorak’s magnificent Cello Concerto. The RPO season is brought to a brilliant conclusion with a celebration of the music of prolific film composer John Williams, including music from Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. The Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra performs with soprano Alison Roddy in a fundraising evening for Cynthia Spencer Hospice, and a highlight for the Autumn will be the nation’s favourite choir-master Gareth Malone starting his latest tour in Northampton with his choir Voices.
Looking ahead to Christmas, this year’s spectacular family pantomime will be the magical rags-to-riches fairy tale Cinderella. Meanwhile the Royal stage will be transformed into a mysterious frozen land for a mischievous new version of the timeless story The Snow Queen, packed with memorable new songs and hilarious characters.
For more information about any of these events, or to book, call the Box Office on 01604 624811 or online: www.royalandderngate.co.uk.
* * * * *
No matter what the weather is like outside, it’s going to be a sizzlingly, hot summer at Milton Keynes Theatre!
The greatest show on earth is one big claim; but that’s exactly what’s coming our way when Brian Conley hits town with Barnum, the lively musical that follows the roller-coaster life of Phineas T. Barnum.
There’s more heavenly musical magic from two all-time family favourites this summer.
The Von Trapp family singers defy the Nazis and make history in a lavish new production of The Sound of Music while Jesus Christ Superstar, the first great rock opera, has a story as compelling today as it was when the musical was first produced more than 40 years ago.
If laughter really is the best medicine (and they do say that it is) then everyone should be prescribed a hearty dose of Spamalot. The multi award-winning comedy musical gallops into Milton Keynes to the sound of a medley of coconut shells.
The King of rock ‘n’ roll lives again through 25 of his best-loved songs in Love Me Tender, a new musical inspired by the chart-busting hits of Elvis Presley.
Our big summer blockbuster, Shrek the Musical, is a must-see show for the whole family and it’s going to be taking OGRE Milton Keynes for three whole, big, bright and beautiful weeks!
You can’t beat a good, old-fashioned murder mystery and we’ve got double helpings of chilling thrills with best-selling author Peter James’ stage adaptation of Dead Simple and a return of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company in And Then There Were None.
And if quality drama is your idea of a great night out there’s still time to book for the highly praised production of The King’s Speech starring Jason Donovan and Raymond Coulthard.
Dance fans can immerse themselves in Northern Ballet’s passionate adaptation of the classic story, Wuthering Heights but the company has something wonderful for younger fans of dance too with Elves & the Shoemaker, their delightful ballet for children.
Royal Ballet, Ballet Rambert and South African legends, Ladysmith Black Mambazo join together in a unique artistic collaboration that has won a whole host of awards. Inala is a cultural explosion of music, song and dance that promises audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre a spiritually uplifting live experience – and an unforgettable night out at the theatre.
With an amazing line-up of one night shows including comedy from Milton Jones and Jimmy Carr, live music from The Proclaimers and Russell Watson, psychic entertainment from Colin Fry and the very best from tribute bands performing music by Queen, The Eagles and The Carpenters the summer season at Milton Keynes Theatre really is hot stuff!
Looking a little bit further ahead, the days may be getting shorter but the nights at Milton Keynes Theatre will be just as bright with shows such as The Glenn Miller Story, starring Tommy Steele, The National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and three operas from the internationally acclaimed Glyndebourne Tour in the autumn programme.
To book any of these events at The Milton Keynes Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes