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Top quality drama, cutting edge dance, sublime music and must-see musicals, plus a lot of belly laughs along the way are all on the programme as Norwich Theatre Royal announces its new line-up running through to Spring next year.
The new season announcements start with the stunning critically-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet from the Royal Shakespeare Company, which hits the Norwich stage from January 29 to February 2. Described as ‘fresh, fleet, blade-sharp’ by The Telegraph, it is directed by Erica Whyman who brought A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Norwich in 2016 and, as with that production, there will be some young actors from local schools cast. RSC associate designer Tom Piper has placed the story into the modern-day and rising young stars Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick, who are currently playing the star-crossed lovers on the Stratford stage, will reprise their roles.
BAFTA award-winning star of stage and screen, Anthony Andrews will star in Tom Stoppard’s comedy Rough Crossing from March 25-30. One of the playwright’s funniest plays, it features two playwrights stuck on an ocean liner heading for New York , feverishly trying to rehearse their latest show but being constantly distracted by their composer attempting to end it all after overhearing his lover confess her feelings for the play’s leading man.
Peter James’s murderous thrillers are a firm favourite with Norwich audiences and the author’s work returns in the shape of The House on Cold Hill. The theatre has previously hosted his tales Dead Simple and The Perfect Murder, and this latest ghostly story is also guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. It runs from March 11-16.
Dance fans will be delighted to learn that Matthew Bourne returns from April 2-6 with his acclaimed Swan Lake, featuring a male ballet corps of swans. His contemporary interpretation has accrued an Olivier Award and three Tonys on Broadway, and is not to be missed. A future dance classic arrives from April 23-24 in the shape of Mark Morris Dance Group’s Pepperland. Morris has been hailed by the New York Times as ‘The most successful and influential choreographer alive, and indisputably the most musical’. Pepperland, presented by the Dance Consortium, is a unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with an original score by Ethan Iverson, interspersed with special arrangements of some of The Beatles’ best-known hits.
And Richard Alston Dance Company returns from February 22-23, celebrating 50 years of Alston’s choreographic career with a triple bill consisting of his newest work Brahms Hungarian Dances, a revival of Proverb which is set to the music of Steve Reich, and Mid-Century Modern which celebrates Alston’s half century of making dance.
Plus former Strictly favourite Brendan Cole will return with his combination of Ballroom and Latin dancing on March 23.
On the musicals front, 2019 will see the return of the blockbuster hit The Bodyguard, which wowed audiences in summer 2016. On stage from April 30 to May 11, it features the breath-taking music of Whitney Houston, who played in the role in the 1992 movie about a superstar singer who falls for her bodyguard.
Club Tropicana The Musical is a new feel-good show which from February 25 to March 2 will transport audiences back to the 1980s with a tale about a bride and groom who get cold feet before their big day and jet off separately to sunnier climes, only to find themselves booked into the same hotel. Expect lots of comedy and chart-topping 1980s anthems such as The Look of Love, Fantasy Island, Relax and Take On Me.
Following on from their success earlier this year with Top Hat, the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society returns from January 22-26 with Guys and Dolls, a show boasting fantastic songs such as Luck Be A Lady Tonight, Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat and I’ve Never Been In Love Before.
Comedians Jason Manford and Julian Clary both have dates to get Norwich audiences chuckling. Jason Manford brings his captivating Muddle Class tour to the stage on January 17 and 18, while Julian Clary’s outrageously camp show Born To Mince will arrive on June 6 next summer, so keen fans should book ahead.
For music lovers, there is an eclectic choice from Mahler to Bowie and more. Britten Sinfonia brings Brahms and Mahler to the Theatre Royal on January 19 as part of its ongoing classical music concerts series. The Sinfonia will be under the baton of conductor Sir Mark Elder and the concert will feature mezzo-soprano Anna Stéphany.
Other exciting one-nighters will showcase popular music such as: Live On Mars The Very Best of David Bowie on November 5; the best of Broadway and West End musicals with Beyond The Barricade on January 2; an Elvis Presley Birthday Special with A Vision of Elvis on January 8; The Classic Rock Show UK 2019 on February 17; Mike and the Mechanics on February 20; Barbara Dickson in Concert on March 10 and Rumours of Fleetwood Mac Anniversary Tour on April 13.
On March 20, audiences can take a leap into the unknown with the Banff Mountain Film Festival, showing extraordinary short films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival featuring footage of adrenaline packed action sports from around the globe.
Finally a much-loved children’s show will return when Milkshake Live! presents its Monkey’s Musical with two performance s on February 18.
Judy Foster, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “We have a very eclectic mix of shows heading for our stage as we move through into next year, with some brand new productions complemented by a number of returning favourites. We’re thrilled to welcome the RSC back with a new acclaimed and exciting version of Romeo & Juliet which is sure to delight both the traditionalists and those who like to see their Shakespeare given a little current twist. Add in lots of dance, musicals, music and comedy, and there’s plenty to meet all tastes for live entertainment going through to next year.”
The on-sale dates for all shows are:
Thursday July 26 – Gold Friends & Corporate Club booking opens 9.30am (online, phone, in person).
Friday July 27 – Friends booking opens 9.30am (online, phone, in person).
Friday August 3 – Public booking opens 9.30am (online, phone, in person).
To book call the Box Office on 01603 630000 or visit theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk.