12 latest West End blockbusters to stream at home
- Credit: JOHAN PERSSON
Entertain the family with some top quality theatre which is currently being streamed online. Here are a dozen of the latest and best updates from London, New York and a couple of classics from Colchester!
Disney on Broadway
When: from Saturday April 18 for 7 days
Disney celebrates its quarter century as musical force on Broadway this weekend with a spectacular concert which you can enjoy on YouTube for the next week.
The 25th anniversary Broadway concert unites some of the biggest and best Broadway performers including Gavin Creel, Whoopi Goldberg, James Monroe Iglehart, Ashley Park, Marisha Wallace, Sierra Boggess and more.
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Disney hits presented on stage include Hercules, Newsies, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan and, of course, the ever-popular Mary Poppins.
The Phantom of the Opera
Where: The Shows Must Go On
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When: Friday April 17
Theatrical lord Andrew Lloyd Webber will stream the anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera on his new YouTube channel from 7pm on Friday.
This 25th-anniversary concert production, was filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011 and features Les Mis star Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom and Sierra Boggess as Christine. For those unable to catch on transmission, the recording will be available for 24 hours afterwards.
The epic 2011 production, inspired by Hal Prince and Gillian Lynne’s original staging and directed by Laurence Connor, featured a cast and orchestra of over 200, plus some special guest appearances.
Where: National Theatre at Home
When: Thursday April 16 and for then for a week afterwards
Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny brought to life in this thrilling new stage adaptation.
It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and her dangerous voyage begins.
Filmed live on-stage by National Theatre Live, see Olivier Award-winner Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke) play Jim and Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) play Long John Silver in this rip-roaring adventure for the whole family.
Where: Curtains website
Jason Manford stars in this musical who-dunnit which is available to stream for £7.50 raising money for theatre charities. The musical by Cabaret and Chicago writers Kander and Ebb opened with a brief run in the West End last autumn before what was to be an extensive UK tour.
The Coronavirus lockdown cancelled plans for the tour but the show was filmed before the company was disbanded and is now available to view online.
Jason Manford plays lead detective Frank Cioffi in the whodunnit showbusiness piece, which follows what happens after a murder occurs during a production destined for Broadway.
The cast also includes Ore Oduba as Aaron Fox, Carley Stenson as Georgia Hendriks, Rebecca Lock as Carmen and Samuel Holmes as Christopher Belling.
What the Butler Saw
Where: Leicester Curve webpage
When: From Sunday April 19 at 7pm
Fresh from his success as Toad in Wind in the Willows, another theatrical triumph from funnyman Rufus Hound is being revived during the Coronavirus lockdown: his critically applauded performance in Joe Orton’s farce-like black comedy What The Butler Saw.
It was staged at the Leicester Curve in March 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Leicester-born playwright. Directed by Nikolai Foster, the production also starred Dakota Blue Richards, Catherine Russell, Jack Holden, Jasper Britton and Ravi Aujla.
Audiences are warned that the performance does contain explicit content.
Although viewing is free, the Curve are asking for donations to help support the theatre and theatrical charities.
Where: BBC i-player
Wise Children is both a performance and a company, created by former Globe Theatre director Emma Rice. While they wait for lockdown to come to an end they have formed a partnership with the BBC to screen their eponymous first show, an adaptation of Angela Carter’s last novel.
In Brixton, Nora and Dora Chance – twin chorus girls born and bred south of the river – are celebrating their 75th birthday. Over the river in Chelsea, their father and greatest actor of his generation Melchior Hazard turns 100 on the same day. As does his twin brother Peregrine. If, in fact, he’s still alive. And if, in truth, Melchior is their real father after all…
A big, bawdy tangle of theatrical joy and heartbreak, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope. Expect show girls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity – and butterflies by the thousand.
Where: Mercury Theatre Colchester on YouTube
When: Until Sunday April 19
Colchester’s Mercury Theatre created their stunning pantomime in a tent this year because of building work being carried out in their auditorium – the panto was live streamed to vulnerable groups during the run and now a recording of that transmission is available to watch until this weekend.
Hugely entertaining, four and five star reviews across the board, this is a show that brings back fun memories of a time before we had heard of the Coronavirus. Mercury regulars Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville are back and firing on all cylinders as the Ugly Sisters. This is a real treat for all the family.
For those wanting a little more Mercury magic, a recording of the premiere of their musical Pieces of String is also available for streaming on the Digital Theatre website, although this is not free and requires a £9.99 per month payment or a £7.99 per screening fee.
Pieces of String follows three generations of one family with the action moving between the 1940s and the present day, telling the story of a World War II soldier who returned with a secret that he would carry until the day he died.
Much Ado About Nothing
Where: Digital Theatre
David Tennant and Catherine Tate cemented their Dr Who fame with this dazzling West End performance in Shakespeare’s famous comedy.
In Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick are adamant in their mutual dislike, while Claudio and Hero are deep in love, and the two stories take an unexpected course. This production was captured at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre. Screening subject to £9.99 subscription or £7.99 screening fee.
21 Chump Street
One of the greatest theatrical stars to have arrived in recent years has been Lin-Manuel Miranda writer and star of West End hit Hamilton. But, long before Hamilton there was the speedy 21 Chump Street, starring Anthony Ramos and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Ramos himself is about to take on the leading role in Miranda’s forthcoming In the Heights movie. The 18 minute performance, based on a true story of trainee police officers going undercover at a Florida High School, is available to watch on YouTube posted by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A small nugget of theatrical gold.
Tim Crouch is something of a legend and a regular visitor to the theatres of Suffolk. He’s also a massive Shakespeare fan, conjuring up an array of one-man shows which are quirky and thoroughly entertaining. His Vimeo catalogue several performances of I Malvolio you can choose from along with I, Banquo and I, Peaseblossom.
His children’s film I, Cinna (The Poet), exploring Julius Caesar, staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company is also available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=6xQAr5le0UU&feature=emb_logo).