2016 In Memorium

2016; What a year!

List of celebrity deaths

January 9 Ed Stewart, 74, Broadcaster, TV presenter
January 10 David Bowie, 69, Rock icon
January 14 Alan Rickman, 69, Actor
January 17, Dale “Buffin” Griffin, 67, Mott The Hoople
January 18 Glenn Frey, 67, Eagles rocker
January 23 Jimmy Bain, 68, Rainbow rock star
January 28 Paul Kantner, 74, Jefferson Airplane guitarist
January 30 Frank Finlay, 89, Acting great
January 31 Terry Wogan, 77, TV & radio legend

February 3 Maurice White, 74, Earth Wind & Fire star
February 15 Denise “Vanity” Matthews, Singer, Prince protege and actress
February 19 Harper Lee, 89, To Kill A Mockingbird author
February 22 Sonny James, 97, Country singer
February 25 Tony Burton, 78, Rocky actor
February 28 Frank Kelly, 77, Father Ted star
February 28 George Kennedy, 91,Movie great

March 1 Tony Warren, 79, Coronation Street creator
March 4 Joey Feek, 40, Country singer
March 6 Nancy Reagan, 94, Actress & First Lady
March 8 George Martin, 90, Beatles producer
March 11 Keith Emerson, 71, ELP rock legend
March 15 Sylvia Anderson, 88, Lady Penelope
March 16 Frank Sinatra Junior, 72, Sinatra’s singer son
March 17 Paul Daniels, 77, Comedy magician
March 23 Phife Dawg, 45, Sammy Appah
March 24 Gary Shandling, 66, Actor and comedian
March 29 Patty Duke, 69, Child star
March 31 Ronnie Corbett, 85, Comedy legend
March 31 Denise Robertson, 83, TV agony aunt

April 6 Merle Haggard, 79, Country legend
April 12 David Gest, 62, TV personality
April 20 Victoria Wood, 62, Comedy genius
April 20 Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, 46, WWE wrestling legend
April 21 Lonnie Mack, 74, Blues guitar great
April 21 Prince, 57, Pop icon
April 21 Guy Hamilton, 93, Bond director
April 24 Billy Paul, 80, Chart star

May 17 Guy Clark, 74, Country legend
May 19 John Berry, 52, Beastie Boys star
May 19 Alan Young, 96, Mister Ed TV star
May 21 Nick Menza, 51, Megadeth drummer
May 24 Burt Kwouk, 85, Pink Panther star
May 31 Carla Lane, 87, Liver Birds, Bread & Butterflies writer

June 3 Muhammad Ali, 74, Boxing legend
June 14 Henry McCullough, 72, Wings guitarist
June 19 Anton Yelchin, 27, Star Trek’s Chekov
June 23 Ralph Stanley, 89, Godfather of bluegrass
June 24 Bernie Worrall, 72, Funkadelic star
June 28 Scotty Moore, 84, Elvis’s guitarist

July 2 Caroline Aherne, 52, Comedy actress & writer
July 2 Michael Cimino, 77, Oscar-winning director
July 16 Alan Vega, 78, Suicide punk pioneer

August 13 Kenny Baker, 81, Star Wars’ R2-D2
August 15 Dalian Atkinson, 48, Villa cup hero
August 19 Lou Pearlman, 62, boy band mogul
August 29 Gene Wilder, 83, Comic genius

September 11 Alexis Arquette, 47, Transgender actress
September 17 Charmian Carr, 73, Sound of Music’s Liesl
September 25 Arnold Palmer, 87, Golfing legend

October 5 Rod Temperton, 66, Songwriter, Musician, Record Producer
October 14 Jean Alexander, 90, Corrie’s Hilda Ogden
October 21 Dave Cash, 74, Broadcaster
October 23 Pete Burns, 57, Dead or Alive chart star
October 24 Bobby Vee, 73, 1960’s teen idol

November 3 Kay Starr, 94, Pop/Jazz singer
November 7 Sir Jimmy Young, 95, Broadcaster/Singer
November 7 Leonard Cohen, 82, Iconic singer & writer
November 11 Robert Vaughn, 83, Veteran actor
November 13 Leon Russell, 74, US rock legend
November 18 Sharon Jones, 60, Jazz/Soul singer
November 24 Colonel Abrams, 67, 80’s chart star
November 25 Florence Henderson, 82, Brady Bunch star
November 26 Ron Glass, 71, US TV star

December 1 Andrew Sachs, 86, Fawlty Towers’ star
December 6 Peter Vaughan, 93, Game of Thrones star
December 7 Ian Cartwright, 52, Wolves’ midfielder
December 8 John Glenn, 95, First to orbit Earth
December 8 Greg Lake, 69, ELP legend
December 10 AA Gill, 62, Writer & critic
December 10 Ian McCaskill, 78, TV weatherman
December 12 Walter Swinburn, 55, Derby winning jockey
December 13 Alan Thicke, 69, Actor and father of singer Robin Thicke
December 18 Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, Actress
December 21 Deddie Davies, 78, Stella and the Railway Children
December 24 Rick Parfitt, 68, Status Quo
December 25 George Michael, 53, Singer/Song writer
December 26 Liz Smith, 95, Actress
December 26 Ricky Harris, 54, Comedian/actor
December 27 Richard Adams, 96, Author
December 27 Carrie Fisher, 60, Actress
December 28 Debbie Reynolds, 84, Actress/Singer/Entertainer

NEWS: @TheCentre announces the world premiere of #TigerBay, a major #Welsh musical in 2017

Wales Millennium Centre announces the world premiere of Tiger Bay, a major Welsh musical

tiger-bay-portraitSurvival, romance and atonement in a diverse community: Tiger Bay, a new musical, takes place in what was once the most cosmopolitan port in the world, Cardiff Bay. A Wales Millennium Centre production in association with Cape Town Opera, this brand new show takes us back to the dawn of the twentieth century at the height of South Wales’s coal trade with characters drawn from the melting pot of Cardiff’s famous docklands.

Wales Millennium Centre has assembled an experienced creative team to craft the production, to premiere in November 2017. Directing is Melly Still, having just directed Cymbeline for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican and renowned for her Coram Boy at the National Theatre and on Broadway, and co-director Max Barton, Artistic Director PIGDOG and recently Associate on Stephen Schwartz’s Schikaneder, with a colourful original score by award-winning Welsh composer Daf James, book and lyrics by Cape Town Opera’s Michael Williams and design by Olivier award-winning Anna Fleischle.

Set at an extraordinary turning point in history, Tiger Bay tells of a time when Coal was King yet grinding poverty confronted opulent wealth. Valley girl, Rowena Pryddy, longs for a future away from David Morgan’s shop floor and its boarding house in central Cardiff. On the outskirts of the city, a man arrives in Tiger Bay looking for an escape from his past to find refuge in the city’s underworld of public houses, immigrants and street urchins. Above them all, in the Zodiac Room of Cardiff Castle, the Third Marquess of Bute grapples with his own seemingly insurmountable troubles and ironically it will be a lowly Water Boy who inspires the richest man in the world to leave a legacy for everyone.

Amongst a cast of unforgettable characters, the role of John Stuart, Third Marquess of Bute, will be played by John Owen-Jones – best known as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables in the West End and on Broadway – with further principals to be announced. Completing the cast will be a diverse ensemble to portray the rich multicultural community of the period plus a talented children’s chorus.

Graeme Farrow, Wales Millennium Centre’s Artistic Director, said “2016 has been a defining year for Wales Millennium Centre having created and delivered several landmark projects. I am immensely proud that 2017 will see us realise our next significant piece of work, Tiger Bay, a musical born from the history of our culturally diverse home in Cardiff’s former docklands which has relevance to the world we live in today. I hope that our latest venture will bring a great Welsh story to the world in a time when arts and culture must be a uniting force in our communities.”

Directors Melly Still and Max Barton said “Expect a gritty spectacular and a real thriller that draws on the lives and losses of the people from Tiger Bay, with a healthy dose of romance thrown in. This is a celebration of all that is unique about an extraordinary community, and we’re delighted to be involved with the community itself. And, doing justice to Tiger Bay’s celebrated music history, there are some belting numbers to boot.”

Michael Williams, writer and Managing Director at Cape Town Opera said, “First and foremost I have honoured the musical as an art form, although much of what found its way into the story is actually based on fact. Inspiration came from the complex mix of class, race and cultural diversity of this unique place in turn-of-the-century Britain. In writing Tiger Bay, the process of embedding myself in all things Welsh was made even more compelling when I uncovered my own Welsh roots; my grandfather worked in the Salvation Army in Cardiff and my mother was born there so, for me, the strong partnership between Cape Town and Cardiff began years ago.”

Alongside Tiger Bay, the Centre will be producing an extensive programme of musical theatre workshops, bringing leading artists to collaborate with young people from Cardiff’s Butetown and the historic Tiger Bay area.

The world premiere of Tiger Bay will be Wednesday 15 November 2017 at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (preview performance on Tuesday 14 November) and the production will run for two weeks until Saturday 25 November 2017.

Booking opens on Monday 28 November 2016. Tickets will be available £7-£39 and can be booked online at www.wmc.org.uk or via the Centre’s Ticket Office in person or by calling 029 2063 6464.


NEWS: New stage for @TheCentre #Wales #Cardiff #WMC

A new stage for the Centre

Wales Millennium Centre is making cultural waves as it releases a whole season of sensational sounds from their iconic building in the Bay.  

Less than six months since Festival of Voice, the Centre is launching a season of live music hosted in their newly refurbished cabaret style space – truly keeping the spirit of their inaugural city wide festival alive.  A creatively engineered programme of jazz, contemporary music and entertainment will further unlock Cardiff’s access to international vocalists and performers.

“The response from the ten day festival in June was incredible and we recognised an appetite to submerge the city in an enriching and eclectic season of entertainment,” says Graeme Farrow – Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre.  “We brought the likes of John Cale, Van Morrison and Laura Mvula to venues across our city and we are delighted to launch our own in-house programme with the sensational sultry tones of Ala.Ni – an incredibly talented performer who supported Rufus Wainwright during our Festival.”

Recognised as one of Wales’ top visitor attractions, the Centre has a vision to deliver inspirational experiences to new and existing audiences, showcasing the talents of Wales and bringing world class quality entertainment to the stage.  This new programme is sure to offer the city something unique and is a great way to bridge the gap between each biennial Festival of Voice.

Every Friday and Saturday night throughout November and December, the Centre’s bar and dining area will be transformed for each performance – recreating a slice of Soho and New York on our doorstep.  The programme, which runs Nov-Dec 2016 and returns Feb-Apr 2017 includes performances from La Voix, Hello Cabaret, The Tootsie Rollers and winner of the Yamaha Jazz Scholars Prize from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama: Huw V Williams.

The Centre’s Managing Director Mathew Milsom says “We have incredible ambition here at the Centre and feel passionately about giving both new and existing audiences access to unique, quality art and culture.  Our live music programme will serve up a new dynamic in entertainment which we know there is demand for and we look forward to welcoming a new wave of visitors as well as familiar friends into this new space.”

To book tickets visit the Centre’s website www.wmc.org.uk/WhatsOn/livemusic/

NEWS: #Disney & @MaryPoppins comes to @TheCentre #Cardiff #Wales

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s International Supercalifragilistic Musical Hit Mary Poppins will fly into Wales Millennium Centre for Christmas 2016

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musical Mary Poppins comes to the Wales Millennium Centre from 14 December 2016 to 14 January 2017; the last stop on its current UK & Ireland Tour.

The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs. The stage version of MARY POPPINS is brilliantly adapted from the wonderful stories by PL Travers and the beloved Walt Disney film, starring Zizi Strallen as ‘Mary Poppins’ and Matt Lee as ‘Bert’.

Zizi Strallen most recently starred as ‘Lana’ in Matthew Bourne’s ‘The Car Man’. Her previous West End credits include: ‘Cats’; the multi award-winning ‘Merrily We Roll Along’; ‘Rock of Ages’; ‘Dirty Dancing’; ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’ at Sadler’s Wells.  She has also appeared in ‘The Music Man’ at Chichester Festival Theatre and as ‘Penny Pingleton’ in ‘Hairspray’ at Leicester Curve.

mary-poppins-zizi-strallen-as-mary-poppins-photo-credit-johan-perssoMatt Lee, one of Australia’s premier “song and dance men”, played the role of ‘Bert’ in ‘Mary Poppins’ in the hugely successful Australian production of the show, his portrayal winning him the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre credits in Australia include ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Rent’, ‘Grease’ and ‘The Boy from Oz’. Matt was also a permanent member of the judging panel for Australia’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

The stage production of MARY POPPINS is co-created by Cameron Mackintosh and has a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and ‘Downton Abbey’ creator, Julian Fellowes. It has a timeless score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman including the songs Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds with new songs and additional music and lyrics by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The producer for Disney Theatrical Productions is Thomas Schumacher.

The internationally renowned and multi award-winning creative team assembled for MARY POPPINS is led by stage and film director Richard Eyre. Co-direction and Choreography is by Matthew Bourne, with Co-choreography by Stephen Mear. Set and Costume Design is by Bob Crowley with Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Sound Design by Paul Groothuis and Orchestrations by William David Brohn. The International Tour of MARY POPPINS is Directed by James Powell with Original Choreography adapted by Geoffrey Garratt. Musical Supervision is by Stephen Brooker.

The Olivier and Tony Award winning stage production of MARY POPPINS originally opened in the West End in 2004 and ran for three years and over 1,250 performances. The Broadway production opened in 2006 and ran for over six years. The show has subsequently enjoyed great success in Holland, Mexico and Vienna where it is in its second record breaking year. MARY POPPINS has toured Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the UK and has been seen by over 11 million people worldwide.

Mary Poppins comes to Wales Millennium Centre 14 December 2016 – 14 January 2017. Ticket prices range from £24 – £59. Age guidance 5+. For more information visit www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464.

wmc outside

REVIEW: @MammaMiaMusical @TheCentre #Cardiff 12.10.16

REVIEW: Mamma Mia!
LOCATION: Wales Millennium Centre
DATE: 12th October 2016

It’s fair to say it’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest jukebox musical of all time and it’s currently on tour around the UK with it’s present home of the Wales Millennium Centre. And as a footnote, tonight’s performance was the 3000th of a UK tour!

img_6009What more can be said about Mamma Mia that’s not been said before? It’s one of the biggest selling DVD’s, the music that it’s based around is from the biggest export of Sweden (baring Volvo and Ikea), and did you know Mamma Mia! Isn’t the first attempt at employing the ABBA catalogue for a stage musical. Abbacadabra was originally a French TV special that employed ABBA songs with altered French lyrics to tell classic fairy tales. In 1983, it was adapted to the London stage and ran for eight weeks.

If you’ve lived under a rock since 1999 and haven’t seen the film, this is the general premise;

It’s the story of a former pop-singer turned hotel owner on a Greek Island. On the weekend of her daughter’s wedding, she is reunited with the former members of her girl group and three ex-beaus, one of whom is the father of the bride-to-be. Add to this, the music of Abba, the feel of a summer romance and you have one of the biggest and brightest musicals of the last 20 years.

When you review something like this there’s a danger of letting each performance be praised when there were particular moments for me to have the hairs stand on the back of my neck. Sara Poyzer’s Winner takes it all was one of those moments as was her number with Jaqueline Braun and Emma Clifford of Dancing Queen. The choreography is just stunning in the group numbers of Lay all your love on me and Gimme Gimme Gimme. Richard Standing as Sam provides the perfect opposite to Sara’s Donna – dot dot dot. And mention also to Lucy May Barker who plays Sophie, with a voice like that it won’t be long till she’s headlining a musical. img_6010

Mamma Mia was the first major musical of its kind, and since then we’ve had the music of Queen (We Will Rock You), Madness (Our House), The Kinks (Sunny Afternoon) and Spice Girls…. Well okay, that’s not the best comparison as it didn’t last too long. So okay, Jukebox Musicals aren’t everybody’ s cup of tea, you can’t put a Wicked against a We Will Rock You, but for a night of pure pop brilliance from one of the music’s best writers, an escape from the humdrum grind of the day to day life, get yourself down to the Wales Millennium Centre as Mamma Mia is there till 13th November.

It won’t cost much Money Money Money, for you to say I do I do I do, just ring ring the box office and you’ll be the winner that takes it all. Go on, take a chance!

(Photos from the Mamma Mia Tour Website)