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June 2013 - This Month in the West End

This month in the West End: The Queen recognises West End theatrical artists in Birthday Honours, ‘Once’ extends booking to May 2014, West End wonder Matilda the Musical wins four Tony Awards, First glimpses of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before it officially opens in just a week’s time!

The Queen recognises West End theatrical artists in Birthday Honours.

This year has seen a bumper crop of actors being awarded honours by the Queen, such as Rowan Atkinson, Julian Glover, Claire Bloom and David Haig. Theatre directors and producers have also been given some very prestigious accolades by the palace, including ex-artistic director of the Almeida Theatre Michael Attenborough, the co-founder of the Ambassador Theatre Group Howard Panter and Nick Starr, executive director of the National Theatre.

Actor David Haig receives a MBE (Member of the British Empire). Haig’s recent West End work includes The Madness of King George at the Apollo theatre in 2012, Yes, Prime Minister at the Gielgud theatre in 2010, The Sea and The Country Wife at the Haymarket Theatre Royal in 2008 and 2007.

CBEs (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
go to:

  • Actor Rowan Atkinson, best known for his comedy work as Mr Bean and Blackadder, but more recently starred in Quartermaine's Terms at the Wyndham's Theatre and Fagin in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2008-09;
  • West End actress Claire Bloom, best known for her portrayal of Lady Marchmain in the 1981 TV series Brideshead Revisited;
  • Actor Julian Glover, best known for his work in iconic films such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and James Bond: For Your Eyes Only. This is matched by his theatre work in The President’s Holiday at the Hampstead in 2008, Voysey Inheritance at the National Theatre in 2006 and The Dresser at the Duke of York's in 2005;
  • Long-serving theatre director Michael Attenborough. At the helm of so many of the UK’s top theatres, he is probably best know for his 12 incredibly successful years as artistic director of the Almeida theatre in Islington;
  • The National Theatre’s executive director Nick Starr, who, along with artistic director Nick Hytner, has been running the UK’s top theatrical institution for over ten years, but is due to step down next year.

Ambassador Theatre Group's joint chief executive Howard Panter has been given the huge honour of a knighthood. On receiving the news, Panter stated: “I am absolutely delighted and humbled to have been recognised. I also believe the honour is, in part, a recognition of a great British success story: ATG. I would like to thank the incredible people that have worked alongside me, mentored and inspired me throughout my career. I reserve special gratitude to my wife and partner in all that I do, Rosemary Squire, without whom much of what has been achieved would not have been possible."

‘Once’ extends booking to May 2014.

Once Musical The producers of the eight-time Tony award-winning musical Once announced this month that booking for the West End production will extend to 31 May 2014, releasing over 200,000 new tickets for sale at the Phoenix Theatre. The West End production of the hit musical opened in April this year, where it has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.

Based on the much-loved Oscar-winning, Irish-made film, it tells the romantic and tender tale of an Irish busker and a young Czech mother who meet through a shared love of music. This celebration of love, friendship and music is masterfully brought to life by the creative talents of director John Tiffany and writer Enda Walsh, whose sensitive adaptation of the much-loved film has audiences dabbing away tears night after night. Once has proved to be incredibly popular, so get booking your tickets now!

West End wonder Matilda the Musical wins four Tony Awards!

Matilda The Musical New York was abuzz with excitement on Sunday 9 June for the 67th annual Tony Awards, celebrating excellence in theatre on Broadway. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda the musical was up for 12 awards, just behind Broadway newcomer Kinky Boots that had 13 nominations. In the end, Matilda walked away with four awards, including:

  • Best performance by an actor in a featured role in a musical, that went to Gabriel Ebert;
  • Best scenic design of a musical, that went to Rob Howell;
  • Best book of a musical going to writer Dennis Kelly;
  • Best lighting design of a musical going to Hugh Vanstone.

Matilda The Musical is currently running at London’s Cambridge Theatre in the heart of Covent Garden. Adapted from Roald Dahl's much-loved children’s book and with brand-new music by award-winning musician and comedian Tim Minchin, it tells the story of a little girl with an extraordinary imagination. Matilda uses her special powers to teach her horrible parents and the monstrous headmistress Miss Trunchbull a well-deserved lesson.

First glimpses of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before it officially opens in just a week’s time!

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory The creators of the stage version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, directed by Oscar-winner Sam Mendes, have opened the golden doors of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for preview performances of the long-awaited Roald Dahl musical. Audiences have had the first glimpse of the fabled chocolate garden, army of squirrels and the sinister Oompa-Loompas before the production officially opens on 25 June. With a cast led by Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor Douglas Hodge (Willy Wonka), the musical follows the mischievous story of Charlie Bucket and his encounters at the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory. But not everything is as sweet as it seems in this deliciously dark tale.