Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

What's on

Currently running

Les Miserables

Palace Theatre, Manchester
19 February 2019 to 30 March 2019

Killian Donnelly is to play Jean Valjean in the UK and Ireland tour of Les Misérables, arriving at Manchester Palace Theatre February 19 –March 30, 2019.

Donnelly is currently playing Valjean in the West End production. Prior to this he played the Charlie Price in Kinky Boots on Broadway, a role he originated at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in 2015, for which he was nominated for an Olivier.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Motown the Musical

Opera House, Manchester
26 February 2019 to 23 March 2019

Edward Baruwa will play the leading role of Berry Gordy, Karis Anderson will play Diana Ross, Nathan Lewis will play Smokey Robinson and Shak Gabbidon-Williams will play Marvin Gaye when Motown the Musical comes to Manchester Opera House from February 26 – March 23, 2019.

Baruwa’s previous credits include the West End productions of Motown at The Shaftesbury Theatre, Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, Five Guys Named Moe at the Marble Arch Theatre and the UK Tour of Sister Act.

Details: ATGTICKETS.COM/Manchester

David Upton

Word of Warning

Various venues
28 February 2019 to 30 April 2019

Word of Warning, Manchester’s roaming programme of performance, is back with another Pay What You Decide season for Spring 2019.

Kicking off on February 28 with their 100th event: part show, part ritual, part DJ set, Will Dickie’s The Rave Space revisits club culture in the authentic surroundings of Hulme’s NIAMOS –scene of many a mis-spent 90s night-out!

Details: wordofwarning.org

David Upton

Rags

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
02 March 2019 to 06 April 2019

Olivier Award-winning actress Rebecca Trehearn will star as Rebecca in the UK premiere of a new version of the Stephen Schwartz musical Rags at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester March 2- April 6.

She most recently played Charity in Sweet Charity and Julie LaVerne in Showboat, for which she won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Rags tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life. She must decide what matters more to her - staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to 'fit in'. 

Details: www.hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

From Shore to Shore

Various venues
09 March 2019 to 06 April 2019

After a successful sold-out tour in 2017, Mary Cooper and M.W. Sun’s poignant play, From Shore to Shore/Piao Yang Guo Hai is set to return for a national tour from March.

Weaving together three moving stories drawn from different generations of British Chinese communities, it offers a chance to connect with, understand, and reflect upon the Chinese experience in the UK.

Staged in Chinese restaurants, featuring live music, three languages, and accompanied by a two-course Chinese meal, the play starts its tour at the Yang Sing Restaurant in Manchester from March 9 -16 and then tours until April 6. Food and its relationship to love and survival are important themes in the play and the restaurant setting enhances connections. 

Cooper, who has written for BBC Radio 4, Channel 4 and Granada, as well as writing more than 20 plays for touring theatre, and multilingual collaborator M. W. Sun, spent three years researching and recording stories with people in the Chinese communities.

After the Yang Sing it’s at Angel Restaurant, Liverpool (March 19-20); Wong’s Kitchen at Lancaster University, The Dukes Theatre and The Hothouse in Morecambe (March 21-24); Palace Garden, Newcastle (March 26-30) and Chung Ying Cantonese and Chinese Community Centre, Birmingham (April 2-6).

Details: www.fromshoretoshore.co.uk

David Upton


Coming up

Glengarry Glen Ross

Opera House, Manchester
25 March 2019 to 30 March 2019

David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross will embark on a nationwide tour from February 14 visiting Birmingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Richmond, Brighton and Cardiff with further tour dates to be announced.

Taking on the roles of salesmen Shelley ‘The Machine’ Levene and the ruthless Ricky Roma are Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, As You Like It, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hobson’s Choice) and Olivier award-winning Nigel Harman (EastEnders, A Chorus of Disapproval, Shrek the Musical) respectively, with further casting to be announced.

Pitched in a high-stakes competition against each other, four increasingly desperate employees will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most real estate. As time and luck start to run out, the mantra is simple: close the deal and you've won a Cadillac; blow the lead and . . .

It will be at Manchester Opera House March 25-30.

Details: atgtickets.com/manchester

David Upton

Pepperland

The Lowry, Salford
29 March 2019 to 30 March 2019

The Beatles’ ground-breaking Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is the inspiration behind Mark Morris Dance Group’s Pepperland, presented by Dance Consortium and making its The Lowry debut March 29-30 as part of a major UK and Ireland tour.

Pepperland is a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic LP. Hailed as the first-ever ‘art rock’ album and widely regarded as the best rock and roll album of all time, it spent 27 weeks at number one and won four Grammy Awards.

Morris created Pepperland to pay homage to The Beatles, the album and its landmark anniversary. World premiere performances kicked off Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival in May 2017.

It features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson, inspired by some of the album’s hits.

Arrangements will be performed live by MMDG Music Ensemble - Pepperland‘s unique chamber music group - and is interspersed with six original Pepper-inspired pieces.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

The Girl On The Train

The Lowry Salford
01 April 2019 to 06 April 2019

Samantha Womack stars in a new production of The Girl on the Train, the thriller based on the the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins and the Dreamworks film.

It comes to The Lowry April 1 - 6.

Womack plays Rachel Watson who longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love.  Or so it appears.

She has starred extensively in television, film and theatre and is best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in BBC1’s EastEnders.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Die, Mommie, Die!

Kings Arms, Salford
16 April 2019 to 21 April 2019

Alex Reid is joining the UK premiere cast of the off-Broadway Charles Busch comedy/melodrama Die, Mommie, Die! At the Kings Arms in Salford in April.

Reid will join the cast as Hollywood lothario Tony Parker who has a BIG secret, and will be joining Dale Vicker who returns to his role as the fallen star Angela Arden. The cast also features Emma Morgan (Noir) as Bootsie, Anna Hickling (Porno Chic) as Edith, Benjamin Gray (Fake News) as Lance with more cast to be announced.

Die, Mommie, Die! takes audiences to 1960s Hollywood to meet fallen star Angela Arden and her dysfunctional family. Angela is trapped in a hateful marriage to film producer Sol Sussman, bored with her life, she finds herself a little plaything, Hollywood wannabe Tony Parker.

It’s in Salford April 16 – 21 and move to Upstairs at The Gatehouse Theatre, London from July 16.

Details: http://www.vertigotheatreproductions.co.uk

David Upton

Beauty and the Beast

Stockport Plaza
18 April 2019 to 22 April 2019

Beauty and the Beast comes to Stockport Plaza for Easter.

The panto version of the fairytale runs from April 18 – 22 and will star Channel 5 Milkshake’s Kiera-Nicole Brennan as Belle.

Trying to win her heart is Philip McGuinness as the brutish Gaston. Lewis Devine will be causing mayhem and mischief as French Frank, while adding extra sparkle will be Sarah Walker as Fairy Rose and Si Foster completes the cast as Potty Polly.

Details: www.stockportplaza.co.uk

David Upton

The King And I

Opera House, Manchester
26 April 2019 to 11 May 2019

The King And I, after enjoying a record-breaking season at the London Palladium will open a major UK tour at Manchester’s Opera House.

Reprising his Broadway performance as The King will be Jose Llana and performing as Anna will be Annalene Beechey. 

This production will play at the Opera House from April 26– May 11, then goes on to Dublin, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hull, Milton Keynes, Liverpool, Bristol, Woking and Southampton.

A cinema release of the live production from the Palladium, has become the biggest live event in cinemas of 2018.

In the UK, the film reached the number one spot, with more than double the box office of the next film, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Something About Simon

The Albert Halls, Bolton
27 April 2019

A new show celebrating the life and talent of singer songwriter Paul Simon is heading to Bolton.

Something About Simon comes to The Albert Halls in Bolton on Saturday April 27.

It recently premiered in Liverpool with a two-night pilot run at the Epstein Theatre.

Details: www.somethingaboutsimon.com

David Upton

Educating Rita

The Lowry, Salford
29 April 2019 to 04 May 2019

A new stage production of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita will tour in 2019, starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank, and introducing Jessica Johnson as Rita.

It opens at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick on April 18, and will then visit The Lowry in Salford, Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Theatre Clwyd in Mold, Bath Theatre Royal, Salisbury Playhouse, Exeter Northcott, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Wolverhampton Grand, Theatre Royal Wakefield, and Sheffield Lyceum. Further venues to be announced.

The play was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played at the Warehouse Theatre, London in 1980, starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston. Walters reprised her role in the film opposite Michael Caine.

Details: educatingrita.co.uk

David Upton

The House On Cold Hill

Opera House, Manchester
13 May 2019 to 18 May 2019

The work of author Peter James returns to Manchester’s Opera House from May 13 – 18 with the world premiere of the stage play The House on Cold Hill.

Adapted from his 2015 novel and based on the author’s own real-life experience in a haunted house, the play will star BAFTA nominated actor and winner of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing 2017, Joe McFadden as Ollie Harcourt.

Joining him, as his wife Caro, will be award-winning actress Rita Simons, who played Roxy Mitchell in Eastenders, as well as award-winning actors Charlie Clements (Bradley in EastEnders) as Chris and Persephone Swales-Dawson (villainess Nico Blake in Hollyoaks) as Jade, making her professional stage debut.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

Little Miss Sunshine

The Lowry Salford
27 May 2019 to 01 June 2019

Selladoor Productions present Little Miss Sunshine, the off-Broadway hit musical which comes to The Lowry (May 27 - June 1) as part of a UK tour following a European premiere in London.

Based on the Academy Award-winning film it is created by Tony-winning team James Lapine (who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park with George) and William Finn (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Falsettos).

The Hoover family has more than a few troubles, but young Olive has her heart set on winning the Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest. When an invitation to compete comes out of the blue, the Hoovers must pile into their rickety, yellow VW camper van.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet

The Lowry Salford
11 June 2019 to 15 June 2019

New Adventures announces full casting for the world premiere of Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet which will open at The Lowry in Salford on June 11, as part of a UK tour to 13 venues.

Romeo and Juliet will feature emerging male and female dancers from around the UK. The search began last April with a call-out for young dancers currently in training aged between 16 and 19. Attracting more than 1000 applications and following a UK-wide audition tour, Young Cast members will perform at each venue alongside the New Adventures company.

Matthew Bourne says: “As we enter our fourth decade as a company I’m finding the development of young talent ever more important and fulfilling. Our new company features a staggering 98 young dancers making their debuts; some joining as part of their third year of training, others through company initiatives. I have been overwhelmed by the talent we have had and am particularly happy to be working alongside young associate choreographer Arielle Smith.

Joining the full time cast in Salford will be six young regional cast members making their debut with New Adventures: Katie Agarwal, Georgia Collier, Orla Collier, Brandon Hunter, Patrick King and Kayde-Samuél Wright.

David Upton

Manchester International Festival

Various venues
04 July 2019 to 21 July 2019

Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta are part of next year’s Manchester International Festival programme, which runs July 4-21.

Each commission is set to offer a distinctive and very personal take on how we relate to today’s world.

Yoko Ono invites audiences to gather in Cathedral Gardens for the opening event; Tree is a journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa; and Skepta hosts a series of intimate and immersive experiences.

Details: www.mif.co.uk

David Upton

Early Doors

The Lowry, Salford
24 July 2019 to 03 August 2019

Early Doors Live is returning  to The Lowry for a limited run from July 24 until August 3.

The show premiered on The Lowry's stage in August 2018 and was awarded a prize for best theatre show at the CityLife Awards 2019.

Ken’s got love on his mind, but will barmaid, Tanya, ring the landlord’s bell? Old Tommy would play Cupid. Crime is on the rise but fear not, as local cops Phil and Nige are getting stuck in...

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Jerry Springer The Opera

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
08 August 2019 to 31 August 2019

A revival of Jerry Springer The Opera is coming to Manchester in August – almost 15 years since the show was last performed in the UK.

The controversial musical will have a four-week run at Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats, from August 8-31.

It caused a storm when it came to the UK stage in 2002, and in this new revival it promises the same raucous energy!

From tap-dancing KKK members, to a provocative dancing stripper, to the ultimate battle between God and the Devil, nothing is off limits.

It is brought back to the stage as a first show from new production company Northern Ricochet formed by James Baker (Parade, Yank), Tom Chester (Parade, Mamma Mia) and Bill Elms (Epstein The Man Who Made The Beatles, Twopence To Cross The Mersey).

Details: hopemilltheatre.co.uk

David Upton

Red Dust Road

HOME, Manchester
01 September 2019 to 14 September 2019

Scottish writer and poet Jackie Kay’s personal memoir, Red Dust Road, is to play at HOME Manchester in September.

The National Theatre of Scotland and HOME, Manchester presents the world premiere.

Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, Red Dust Road will open at the 2019 Edinburgh International Festival, before playing at HOME, Manchester, and touring to the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling, and Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, in autumn 2019.

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realises her skin is a different colour from that of her mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her Highland mother and Nigerian father birth parents, Kay’s journey in Red Dust Road is one of twists, turns and emotions.

Details: www.homemcr.org

David Upton

& Juliet

Opera House, Manchester
10 October 2019 to 12 October 2019

& Juliet is the new West End musical that asks: what if Juliet’s famous ending was really just her beginning? What if she decided to choose her own fate?

With the music of Max Martin, songwriter of some of the biggest pop anthems of the last 30 years, the show is to star the award-winning Miriam-Teak Lee, awarded Best Actress in a Musical at The Stage Debut Awards for her role of Claire DeLoone in On The Town. She was also one of the stars of the original London cast of Hamilton.

The production will play a limited season at Manchester Opera House, October 10-12, before performances in London at The Shaftesbury Theatre.

Details: www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk 

 

 

David Upton

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Palace Theatre Manchester
25 November 2019 to 30 November 2019

Mark Goucher joins forces with first time producer Jason Donovan to create a new production of hit musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

The show makes a perfect vehicle for Donovan to begin his life as a producer, having performed in the cast of the original West End production and two subsequent UK tours.

The production will open in Dartford next September 2019 and will then tour throughout the UK and Ireland, arriving In Manchester on November 25, 2019.

Details: PriscillaUKTour.com

David Upton

SIX

The Lowry, Salford
03 December 2019 to 05 January 2020

SIX the musical will return to The Lowry next year for a five week Christmas run.

The musical theatre story of Henry VIII’s six wives is a 75-minute celebration of sisterly heartbreak

Powered by an all-female band and with songs including Ex-Wives, Haus of Holbein and Don’t Lose Ur Head, this musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss has been one of the most successful West End shows of 2018.

Details: www.thelowry.com

David Upton

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Opera House, Manchester
06 December 2019 to 29 December 2019

Manchester Opera House will next year stage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, starring Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as the Wicked Queen.

He recently returned to his roots as a performer in musical theatre, starring as Miss Hannigan in the West End production of Annie. Craig also choreographed and directed the recent UK tour of Sister Act starring Alexandra Burke, directed and choreographed the new Dusty Springfield musical Son of a Preacher Man, and choreographed the feature film Paddington 2.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will once again be produced by Qdos Entertainment, continuing their partnership with Manchester Opera House following this year’s Cinderella.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

The Bodyguard

Palace Theatre Manchester
10 December 2019 to 04 January 2020

Alexandra Burke will play Rachel Marron in the The Bodyguard when it returns to Palace Theatre, Manchester.

Following its sell out run in 2015, the musical will play a festive season from 10 December 2019 – 4 January 2020.

Burke returns to the role having played it in both the West End and the subsequent sell out 2015/2016 tour. She first rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor. She will perform the role of Marron at evening performances only.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The Lowry Salford
10 December 2019 to 05 January 2020

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical - the New York Christmas sensation – is to play Christmas 2019 season at The Lowry.

Featuring songs You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch and Welcome Christmas, Max the Dog narrates the show, as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is ‘two sizes too small’, decides to steal Christmas away from Holiday-loving Whos.

The show broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway. The announcement of the tour of the musical comes as a new movie of The Grinch – starring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch and Angela Lansbury – reaches a new generation at cinemas.

The musical runs from December 10 to January 5.

Details: thelowry.com

David Upton

We Will Rock You

Opera House, Manchester
27 January 2020 to 08 February 2020

Following 2010 and 2011 UK theatre tours and 2013 10th anniversary world arena tour, the Queen and Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You has been ‘reimagined’ for 2019 and will embark on a new tour, showing in Manchester from January 27 –February 8, 2020.

It follows hot on the heels of the release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Since 2002 more than 15 million theatregoers in 17 countries have seen We Will Rock You.

Details: www.atgtickets.com/Manchester

David Upton