Changing Seasons…..

Standard

So…. the new Jersey Boys West End cast has been announced and naturally, I had to do a blog post about it!
The show means a huge deal to me and ever since it was announced that all four of the seasons (Michael Watson, Jon Boydon, Edd Post, Gary Watson and of course, Sandy Moffat) were leaving, I have been anxious to see who would be replacing them. I have even been that sad case and made up little cast people in my head, none of which I got correct by the way. I then came up with my dream Jersey Boys cast which basically consisted of the current cast plus the West End Rock Of Ages cast which just obviously ain’t gonna happen….. I’ve clearly been going a bit loopy waiting for news of casting. I was completely sane before. Sssshhhh. Don’t look at me like that. I was.

But guess what guys? The new seasons are looking mighty fine.

wp-1454098622984.jpg

I am so excited by this cast!!! With Rock of Ages, I never had to deal with the emotions of Cast Change, as I became a fan in its last year. It would have been proper hard for me to watch someone else other than Sandy as Franz, and I would have needed large amounts of chocolate to get through. (OK , so I did that when it closed anyway but that isn’t the point.)

Then last year on the Jersey Boys cast change , we said Bye Bye (extremely tall and handsome) Baby to the gorgeous Matt Nalton, and I wondered how I would get through a Naltonless JB …. but then Gary Watson came along who is lusher than a hot apple crumble with custard and everything felt right.

But this year is a huge deal. I just couldn’t imagine a Jersey Boys without Michael, Sandy, Edd, Gary…. and especially Jon who has played Tommy for a mind blowing six years. All leaving at once, not one at a time. And I have harped on and on about what joy they have all individually brought me on stage…. (plus that day when Sandy was doing the charity bike thingy and was in shorts because legs….. that was a lovely day……) and how much I am going to miss each of them in their particular roles, but this post is being written to celebrate the new seasons.

Taking over from Michael Watson as Frankie V is the charming Matt Corner. It’s fair to say the role is in good hands, Matt played Frankie V on tour. I follow pretty much everything JB related because I need to get a life, and I have heard nothing but incredible things about Matts Frankie. Also, a friend went to see the show when Matt was playing Frankie and said he was absolutely superb. I also read a review once from someone that has seen many Jersey Boys productions in many different places, and they said that Matt was a stand out. That is all the convincing I need to tell me that he is going to be firmly cemented in the jersey fans hearts in no time. Congratulations to Matt, I can’t wait to hear the high notes on the big three.

 

Simon Bailey has been cast as Tommy DeVito and as you will all know….my beloved Tommy casting was the one I was most worried about. I bloody love Jon Boydons Tommy. Tommy is the man. It would have been weird seeing anyone other than Jon cast as Tommy……but I need to thank the casting wizards right here, right now….because with Simon Bailey, the show is on to a winner (as if it wasn’t already.) I adore Simon Bailey. OK , granted, I have only seen him in one show before now, and that was I Can’t Sing where he played the Dermot O’Leary character. I even wrote a blog post about that theatre trip which you will find somewhere because I am too lazy to post the link here. Also, I’m shit with computer stuff and don’t even know how to do that. But we will go with the lazy thing, it sounds better. Anyways…. Simon Bailey was my favourite from I Can’t Sing (Other than the brilliantly hilarious Simon Lipkin of course…..) . I was talking to my best friend about Simon Bailey for ages. The amount of times she had to hear….. “He was my favourite!! I loved him!!!” She would have been rich. You know when someone just oozes talent and charm? That’s him. And obviously, Simon playing Tommy is a whole world of different to who I saw him play in I Can’t Sing, but I just know that he is going to smash it. I mean…. Look at his head shot guys. He’s already giving me Tommy vibes. He has the look in his eyes. The sexy look. I am so excited to see Simon as Tommy, I have been so wrapped up in thinking how hard it will be seeing another Tommy that I haven’t allowed myself to think just how bloody awesome it will be if they get the casting right. And in this case, I have no doubt that the picking choices are excellent. Well done to Simon, Can’t wait to see his take on Tommy.

Then we have Declan Egan taking over as Bob Gaudio. I’m not going to lie, I know nothing of Declan, but being the little Jersey Boys nerd I am, I have been researching him (I’ll tell you, it’s a hard life having to look at page after page of not too shabby to look at stagey men). Declan seems awesome, talented and fresh faced. I am sure he will do the role of Bobby G brilliantly and I have high hopes for his Cry For Mes!! Congratulations to Declan!!

Last of all, and the news that made me jump off my chair and screech like a kid who just saw ice-cream …… the properly lovely and gorgeous Matt Hunt has been cast as Nick Massi!!!! Guys, we have a little piece of this season going in to next season!! We have a still green leaf going into an autumn day with golden leaves. We have a snowflake burning in the sunshine on a beach day. OK , you know what I mean….. Matt Hunt is a well loved Jersey Boys face among the fans, and I was so stoked to see that he had been cast!! And I never use the word stoked so you can tell I am happy. I have only seen him in the smaller roles in the show, Norm and the occasional Gyp…. and I love him every time. Also, it has to be noted with Matt that when I have taken girls who have never seen the show before (my sister and workmate), they both came away asking who Matt was because they liked him. So he obviously stands out when he isn’t a main, I can’t imagine how much he is going to wow everyone as a season. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. You can tell he has a lot of passion for the show and that will shine through his time playing Nick Massis. I already know he’s going to be adorable during the whole wanting to leave part. Well done and thoroughly deserved to Matt Hunt. Thrilled for him.

There are other new faces joining the show including…..Mark Dugdale, Leanne Garretty, Will Haswell, Mark Heenehan, Joe Maxwell, Nathaniel Morrison and Dan O’Brien.

It looks like we can all sleep tonight safe in the knowledge that the best show in the west end has been superbly cast yet again, and I will most definitely be supporting the show over the next year. Can’t wait to see the new seasons making their mark on the stage. Congratulations to everyone involved and thanks to the casting gods!!

xox

 

 

 

 

‘Everybody Leaves….’

Standard

Unless you have all been living under a rock, you will mostly be aware that many of the gorgeous Jersey Boys West End cast are leaving in March.

Or, I should be more precise and say ALL of the actual Four Seasons.

The announcements started rolling in on Saturday. Being a regular theatre attendee… it is impossible not to hear rumours. And I heard some things here and there at the last few shows I have been to. And wow, am I grateful that I did hear those rumours and hearsays….because I’m not sure my fangirl heart would have held up throughout Saturday.

If you read this blog, you are all going to know my thoughts on Jersey Boys. We all have a show that makes us feel good, makes us feel sad, makes us feel….things. Jersey Boys is that show for me. In case you couldn’t tell. I will never know if it’s the music of which I grew up listening to, the vintage costumes and props or just the fact that the majority of the shows stars are four nice looking men and I’m a bit of a sucker for a handsome face. But the show makes me feel everything and more…..and it is my show. (Not sure Frankie V and Bobby G would be happy with me staking my claim to Jersey Boys….but oh well.)

Of course, it is hard not to be sad. Literally every one of the actors that I love watching on that stage are leaving. All at once. I found it quite emotional saying goodbye to the loveliness that is Matt Nalton when he moved on to Beautiful pastures of new. …..<<< See what I did there? I know. Genius. I promised everyone that I would not be crying during Rock Of Ages last ever show. And that was a promise I would have kept if it had not been for the fact that suddenly….water invaded my face out of literally nowhere. So it looked like I was crying. What bad timing. So probably, what I am trying to say is that I most definitely will not be crying at Jersey Boys cast change. No. Not going to happen.

As emotional as it will all be, and as gutted as I am……I actually wanted to write this post as a bit of a thank you. I will be in no fit state to write a happy positive post after cast change. I will be mourning the loss of Sandy Moffats ‘Begging’ dance…..and that is a pretty hard loss. So while I have the somewhat normal for me brain usage tonight, now is the time to do it.

I followed Sandy Moffat from Rock Of Ages to Jersey Boys. I didn’t camp outside his house or anything. I just waited until he announced he would be playing alternate Frankie Valli. Although it was mainly because I didn’t know where he lived, otherwise I would have packed up my tent, binoculars, hot chocolate flask and pitched up right outside with a banner of a hand drawn picture of him in the leotard. All normal fangirl stuff.

He absolutely did me a favour. I had always wanted to see Jersey Boys but it was having the money and time. And with him moving in to the beautiful Piccadilly theatre, it gave me the best excuse to see the show. I never could have foreseen just how much I would grow to love it. I was like that bunny on the tv….I just kept going and going and going. My best theatre moments have definitely included every single one of Sandy Vallis Can’t Take My Eyes Off You. He gives me chills every time he sings that. It just seems to be his song. Hearing the comments from audience members all around me every time Sandy took to the stage has been bloody lovely and makes me want to shout from the rooftops “Hey, if you think he’s good as Frankie Valli, you should see his legs.” No, wait. I got distracted there. His legs have nothing to with  any of this. What I meant to say was …I always knew Sandy Moffat was talented , but his run as alternate Frankie Valli has completely blown me away. Watching him grow in the role, seeing all the ways he made Frankie his own has just been truly wonderful. It makes me incredibly excited for what is to come from him in the future. The possibilities are endless. Imagine just how talented he could be as the lead in Magic Mike the stage musical. (Seriously guys, when is that even coming to theatres? It’s as if somebody decided all of a sudden that a show about a bunch of guys stripping with absolutely no plotline isn’t a good idea??)

All I know is that I can’t wait to hear what else Sandy has in store for us, and that it is thanks to him, I got to see Jersey Boys. He will be gaining a whole new fan base with anything he does next, and I ….along with many others will be forever cemented in the Moffat fan club. I make everything sound so very creepy don’t I? It’s a talent. Thanks to Sandy who delivered a perfect show every single Tuesday night and Saturday Matinee. Not sure he would say the show where he broke Bob Crewes (Sean Mulligan) toe was perfect, but to me it was. He has given his all to the show the past two years and can leave knowing he did everyone and himself proud. I can’t say enough about Sandy, and actually….not only is he to thank for my love of Jersey Boys, he is to thank for my love of the theatre in general. This has all been very soppy I know, but the post would have been quite short if I had just done my usual trick of writing something along the lines of …..Sandy Moffat – legs.

Going to see Sandy of course led me to discover who Michael Watson was. I was curious about the other Frankie V. I heard whispers he was good, and in the end…. I loved the show so much that it didn’t actually matter who I saw. I mean, what can I even say about Michael without gushing? He has talent coming out of his arse. He hits those high notes so effortlessly and is a complete shining star on the stage. No matter how many different shows he does in the future, I will forever remember him as being an absolute professional on that stage and doing what he does best. The enthusiasm and joy Michael carries around with him is infectious. I ended up seeing Michael probably as many times as I saw Sandy. And Each and every show I saw with both guys were different. They were never boring. Each time, Michael would deliver a line differently to before, or absolutely nail a song to perfection. He renewed my joy at seeing Jersey Boys each time I made the visit, and I will forever be thankful for that. Michael Watson had me hooked right from the first moment I saw him. He has energy and charisma.

I am going to admit something now that I just know I will cringe at if I ever read this back, but it has to be said anyway. These guys, these performers……they do not have to speak to us at a stage door. When I used to go and see Rock Of Ages ….. I could never even speak to Sandy. It was quite embarrassing. I didn’t think I should be there invading their time or space. Then I learnt that actually, these people for the most part are all lovely, and so I learnt to just go to stage door and stand there awkwardly looking like I wanted to die as they exited the building. Obviously Sandy is absolutely lovely. He must get tired of seeing me every so often but he never shows it and for that I am grateful. It isn’t easy going to a stage door, especially by yourself which for the most part at Jersey Boys…. I am alone. I always battle with just going home straight after the show and looking rude, or going to the stage door and being awkward. I know it isn’t in their jobs to be all chummy niceness at a stage door, and so I am genuinely grateful that the guys come out full of happiness to anyone that is waiting.

Michael played a big part in my stage door experience. He made me not worry so much. I think I told him a number of times that I felt like a bit of a loser and he was always so lovely about it, so just for those little stage door moments, the guys have to be thanked again.

I definitely think Michael is destined for big things. Perhaps joining Sandy in Magic Mike. Maybe even going his own way and joining The full Monty. (If you lot have any other shows where minimal clothes are required, please leave it in the comments…..) ….On a serious note…I keep trying to picture what the guys are going to move on to and it is so hard thinking of a role that would be good enough for them. They are absolute stars to me and they need to be in the perfect role to showcase their talent. I honestly think this is the nicest I’ve been for a while, I usually just insult people…..I need to keep this up til the end of the post.

As with Sandy, Michael has found himself a fan for life. I thank them both for bringing Frankie V to the stage every night. Pure talent. I’m a hybrid of a MookyMoff. I just made that up. It works.

Edd Post has been a lovable and endearing Bob Gaudio hasn’t he? There is something about the way he delivers his lines, the way he pronounces certain words. I get lost in what an intelligent and creative man Gaudio is thanks to Edd. I get lost in the story and that is just a nod to how great these guys are on stage. Edd always brings me one of my stand out moments from the show in Cry For Me. I love the way he sings that song and the others harmonise with him. It’s completely magic. It is the first time in the show where the audience are literally holding their breath with the sheer awesomeness going on in front of them. That moment, for me, is when it all comes together. The last piece of the puzzle.

I have nothing but fond memories of any Edd show and he has a bright future ahead of him. It has been a pleasure to watch him pop his cherry every time and I hope he goes on to something worthy of his talent.

Gary Watson. Ah. Gary Gary Gary….. he was a new one to me. When our little but actually very tall Matt Nalton left, I didn’t know what I was going to think of a new Nick Massi. But my goodness did Gary manage to convince me that a new Massi was perfectly OK. The first time I really liked him. The second time I was sold. Just like that, Gary won me over. I did manage to have a look at his previous shows and the CV on that man is enough to prove his talent. He has been in some incredible shows, and now that he gets to add Nick Massi in Jersey Boys to it, his future will only get brighter. Gary may have only been there a year, but he well and truly cemented himself in the Jersey Boys crew. He made me cry tears of laughter when he’s persuading Gaudio to buy a car and when he has his TEN YEARS rant about Tommy. He is an absolute dream boat, a gorgeous soul and I wish him nothing but the best for the future. Just like with the guys above…. I will try my absolute best to get to any future shows. My bank balance will cry, but my cold heart will be happy.

Of course it would be impossible to talk about Jersey Boys without mentioning one particular man who although doesn’t play one of the Four Seasons…. we all absolutely love. Thomas Goodridge. Tom as Barry was everything. He gave joy, laughter and love. He lived for the role and is always such a sweetie to his many fans. He will be hugely missed but fondly remembered as one 0f the if not THE best Barry that any Jersey Boys stage has ever seen.

I actually wanted to leave Jon Boydon for last. I find it hard to put into words what I think about Jon and his talent. I think….what it is, is that for me, Jon Boydon as Tommy DeVito made the show. This man, has given six incredible and bloody hard working years to this role, and if anyone deserves to move on and have a break, it is him!! And yet, he will be one of the hardest goodbyes. Of course, in the grand scheme of things….. it doesn’t matter. Because he’s not going to disappear. (Please don’t!!!) ….. we will see him on stage or doing his albums or whatever it is he fancies doing. But six years in the same role in a West End show is such a huge achievement that he deserves one of those erm….lifetime achievements awards thingys. He is gold. The stage lights up as soon as walks on with “That’s our song” I have lost counts of my visits to the JB house. That is really bad isn’t it? I do know it has passed the 30 mark. What with seeing both Sandy and Michael….the total adds up. And out of all of those shows, I missed Jon once. Just once. out of way over thirty times. So he’s not just the West End casts Tommy, he is my Tommy. And he actually made Tommy become my favourite character. (I will state again, as I always do in my JB blogs that I am aware Frankie, Tommy, Bob and Nick were all real and not characters….but it is just for blog purposes OK? OK. )

For Jon to turn the arrogant, unhygienic, total prick of a guy Tommy into my favourite over the others is huge. I actually had this conversation with Jon once at an awkward stage door…. I said…. I’m not even sure if we are supposed to like Tommy. But I do. He’s misunderstood. He is a bit of a tool, but he was also the glue that held it all together. He did bad things, he did good things. He isn’t as instantly lovable as the other guys and yet he is my favourite. Luckily, Jon seemed to understand what I was saying at the time, I do tend to ramble. I just want to thank Jon for playing my favourite character. And I know that without Jon, one of the others would have been my favourite characters instead. The way Jon plays Tommy is absolute perfection, he has mastered that role with all his years of practice and in my eyes, is truly a West End hero. If I could give him all the awards going, I would. He is so talented and I can’t wait to hear his new album.

I will find it so hard to not only say goodbye to all of these guys, but actually say goodbye to all of them at the same time. They have added to my theatre joy. There are only two shows that I have continually went back to see. Rock Of Ages and now Jersey Boys. I can’t imagine loving another show as much as I do Jersey Boys and of course, I want to make it very clear that although it will be a whole new cast after March, I intend on going back to the Piccadilly when I can to see who is shining on the stage in place of the others. And I know I will love it. I have seen a few social media posts saying that Jersey Boys is over now these guys are leaving and that is daft to say. As much as these guys have become well loved and a lasting legacy, the show will go on with new talent and fresh faces who we will all grow to love. So here is to the future of Jersey Boys….booking until October 2016 people!! Great show, no matter who is in it.

I am looking forward to seeing what this talented bunch of guys has in store for us next. I didn’t think Sandy could beat prancing around in a sparkly leotard….but somehow he did. So I know without a doubt that there will be good things to come. It isn’t goodbye, it is just the end of a era. The changing of a season if you will. The changing of four seasons all at once.

As sad as I will be on cast change weekend, the first thing on my mind will be how great these shows with this cast have been. They have given me lasting memories such as the time a drunk guy spilt a glass of red wine over me in the interval, or the time where I banged my head on the stairs because I have a liking for row A seat 7 ;-)

So thanks to Jersey Boys and the current cast, you all absolutely kick arse. Bob Gaudio Voice – None of this could have happened……..without them.

Don’t be alarmed if after cast change I look worse than I usually do when I see these guys, it will be because I am homeless and poor due to having to see all the different shows they will end up in. Unless of course they all decide to do a one of a kind West End long running show with just them. It could happen. You never know.

 

1: Random Beauty Buys!

Standard

I thought I would kick the new year off with just a quick list of some of the things that I have collected back in 2015 ….(it seems like so long ago now…..) …. and really, the thing I took a bit of a liking for in the last twelve months. Makeup. Cosmetics. All things beauty.

There will no doubt be quite a few more of these posts but for now, it is nearing midnight and I have to be up for work at 6am so I am just going to grab a few recent makeup pictures I found in my phone and explain them.

I like to think I am an honest makeup reviewer. If I don’t like something, I will say. However…. there have been so many great products around recently that I am really just loving everything!!

I would love to sit here and list all my makeup loves and hates but I am on a time crunch. I can’t be late for snooze world.

dsc_4578.jpg

This little L’Oreal bunch was purchased just a few weeks ago in a 3 for 2 deal plus a free nail varnish. I love a freebie! I am a huge fan of L’Oreal products anyway, especially the foundations but I had never tried the Infallible foundation range and thought it was about time I should after hearing so much about it. This shade is vanilla I do believe and I actually don’t love it as much as the other L’Oreal foundations. It makes my skin look a bit too bright and oily….think of a sweaty caspar the ghost. Sweaty Caspar wasn’t really the look I was going for. However, it is winter and I am super pale, the next shade up is too dark for me currently so maybe in the summer when I have a slight tan going on…. I will give it another try.

I haven’t used the blur cream all that much as I still use my L’Oreal magique cream every single day. Seriously guys, you need that product in your life. I mix it with foundation and it makes your skin glow. But in a good way. I also find I don’t break out as much when I use this which is just a plus as I am sure it is not aimed at spot reduction….but it works!! Anyway, I am looking forward to using the blur cream and the purple tube is so pretty! Things as simple as a nice outer packaging do please me when it comes to makeup!

I have forgotten what these range of long lasting L’Oreal lipsticks are called but I love them! This is my fourth different colour in this range and they really do stay put all day. It is crucial (for me) to apply the hydrating balm it comes with, as the lipstick on its own can be drying. My favourite was my bright pink. I might go for a nudey coloured one next, these are well worth the money if any of you are considering it. I think all three products above were listed as £9.99 …. but as I said, I got them on my three for two deal with a three top coat sparkly nail varnish thrown in. (I haven’t used the nail varnish yet so no review on that.)

dsc_4454.jpg

Ah Sleek. Sleek, sleek, sleek. You will probably read about sleek quite a bit from me. I love it. It’s my favourite makeup brand at the moment. The little lipsticks go a long , long way. They are super pigmented and last all day, even after eating. They don’t dry out my lips and I am seriously just in love with the Sleek lipsticks. I can’t remember what this one is called…. Siren Red maybe? But it is a proper classic red. And it’s lush.

I don’t tend to wear gloss that much, and as would be expected, the gloss doesn’t last as long as the lipsticks….but still a decent gloss. Probably would need two coats to really get the colour though. I bloody love Sleek. Can you tell?!

img_20151206_213101.jpg

This little gem is my every day moisturiser. I only stumbled across it a few weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. The scent is gorgeous and my skin really does look hydrated everyday. I have no idea what the benefits of Rose water are but I absolutely love this Garnier Skin Naturals day cream anyway.

photogrid_1448752071464.jpg

I will start with the top corner and go along.

1: MUA Skin Define Hydro Primer….. Initially I loved this, but then… I don’t know. It started making my skin a bit sore I think. It kind of stung when I put it on after a week or so and obviously that’s not great. I used to use Primers all the time but now I just really use a moisturiser on its own and get better results. However, I do love most MUA products and the product did seem to make my skin appear hydrated.

2: B. Pure sensitive Micellar cleansing wipes. ….These are the gems of the face wipes world. I absolutely love them. They are a thick quilted almost texture and the scent is not overpowering at all. It seems a mild and gentle formula and they do seem to wipe off even the most stubborn makeup. I have been through three packs and have three more waiting to be emptied, so yes, I truly love them.

3: Sleek Highlighting Palette Solstice…. OK , so this actually pictured three times in the above picture, but I will only explain it once. Absolutely my favourite piece of makeup I have ever owned. It is gorgeous. It comes in a rose gold tin for goodness sake. As if I couldn’t love it more the packaging is just divine. I have used this product for everything, it has four different highlighters. A creamy pink which can be a brow bone highlighter or I have even used it as an eyeshadow. A shimmery powder pink which I wear on my cheeks every day. The glow it gives is gorgeous.  A yellow highlighter for the middle of your nose, eyes or jawline, and a gorgeous orangey peachy powder for your cupids bow or a warm tone blush perhaps? I love it. I will cry when this runs out and I can’t get anymore because it was a limited addition. Thank you Sleek for perfection!!!

4: MUR eyeshadow palette. Can’t remember what this one is. Make Up Revolution eyeshadows are either highly pigmented or a bit wishy washy, and this palette definitely has a mix. Some of the colours take ages to show but some show up better than an Urban Decay palette. And at only £6-£8 …. I will always be in favour of a MUR splurge. One of my favourite brands along with sleek. Also, I don’t have one pictured here but the MUR £1 lipsticks are an absolute must have. Incredible long lasting quality for something so cheap.

5: L’Oreal Feline mascara. Guys, I have a love hate relationship with mascara. The problem being I hate 95% and love 5% . It is so hard for me to find a good mascara to suit MY lashes. This one sadly didn’t….but it is not a fault of the product. It is the fault of my silly eyelashes. My sister used it and it was perfect for her. Also, just while we are on the subject of L’Oreal mascaras, there are actually two in their range that are in my most loved mascaras ever. I am sure I will post about them another time.

6: Maybelline Colour Tattoo. Oh my goodness. I only have this one colour and I have no clue why I don’t have all the colours. I absolutely love this little pot of eye goodness. I use it as just an eye primer most days and don’t need any other primer with it. If you use a colour tattoo base under any eyeshadow, the end result will be brilliant. *Puts Must get more of these in my super cute new Paperchase diary/organiser*

7: Magique BB cream….. this is the stuff I was going on about before so I probably don’t need to say a huge lot here other than I love it!!

8: Lastly we have the L’Oreal Infallible Matte  in a squeezy tube. Warm Vanilla. This is my guy. I love this foundation. No shine, stays on all day and mixed with the magique BB cream….. it’s an absolute powerhouse.

I’m going to stop there now because I have some sleeping to do. This post was very L’Oreal based wasn’t it? Ha!! I will post more soon about all things makeup. It is definitely my favourite thing to do and I have tons more to go through. Also got a nice little Revlon haul coming up on the blog very soon.

The Only Thing Better Than Hairspray……

Standard

Is not much, actually.

So, once in a blue moon, my little (fairly average sized….)((maybe even biggish)) hometown of Ipswich gets a good, well known touring cast show at their theatre home, The Regent.

Walking to work everyday, I walk past the venue and have known for quite some time that Hairspray would be coming for a weeks stay. Being the theatre lover I am, I naturally wanted to see it, only….as the time got closer, and my working hours went up more and more in preparation for Black Friday sales and Christmas….. I didn’t book any tickets because in all honesty, I didn’t think I would get to a show. Oh….and because I’m a bit crap at things like booking in advance and like to leave things to chance.

So on Tuesday…. an unexpected and very generous offer came up. I won’t go into details as I wouldn’t want everyone to jump on the bandwagon……but I will say a huge from the bottom of my heart thank you to Jenny (hair and wigs) at Hairspray the UK tour. Because of you, me and my littles got to enjoy a very rare and fun night out.

I was definitely willing the hours to go quickly at work so I could pick my littles up and get to my second home. My second home being – theatre…any and all. Obviously.

People who have read this blog before or those who know me ….will know that if I could, I would take my littles to any show I can afford. The only problem with that is getting to London is an expensive trip for just me alone, let alone them, then when you add theatre tickets on top it is just too much, so needless to say they haven’t seen any shows in London yet. When an opportunity to go to a high quality show such as Hairspray in your own hometown comes along with no travel expenses….you grab it by the balls. It’s been a very ball filled week actually. Lots of grabbing of balls. That’s another story obviously……

My children may be smarter, prettier and cooler than me ….but they did pick one thing up from their Mother. The love of a good show. They were more excited than a couple of kids on Christmas Eve as we lined up to get our programmes. Two for a fiver is a bit of a bargain, and two kids…. love a good bit of Maths sometimes. That is about as much as I can do with the old Maths though, yet another thing I’m crap at.

I should probably point out before I get on to the show that when Leona was just 2 years old, she knew every single word to Hairspray the film. And I’m not just talking songs. I’m talking every single word. So much so, that when we went on holiday and we couldn’t watch the DVD every single day, twice a day…..she made her own entertainment by re-enacting every scene and song by herself. But as any parent will know, kids are quite quick to grow out of things and now she is at the grand old age of 9….she has only seen the film once or twice in the last few years. The same goes for her brother. They knew the film, but it definitely wasn’t fresh in their minds.

You actually would be hard pushed to find a better moment than seeing the joy on those kids faces every time the announcer man said “Ladies and gentleman, this evenings performance will be starting in five minutes…..” and so on. They were literally counting every second. Leona was also reading her programme thoroughly being the book worm she is, and was informing me of every single play and role every cast member had ever been in!!

From the moment the curtains pulled back and Freya Sutton started singing as Tracy Turnblad , me and the littles were hooked. Right from the start, Freya had us laughing. In just the first song…. Good Morning Baltimore – she injected warmth and character into the role of Tracy. It’s not often you get to love a character in a show in the opening number, but this was definitely the case in this show.

Right from the off, the whole production was vibrant, warm and happy. Leona was absolutely loving all the dresses and hairstyles. Lex thought that the ensemble dancers and back flippers were the best thing he had ever seen.

Hairspray of course, wouldn’t be Hairspray without a particular character. Edna Turnblad. Edna is played by the wonderful and hilarious Tony Maudsley. He had everyone in stitches and definitely got one of the biggest cheers of the night along with his on stage hubby Wilbur Turnblad played by the equally funny and charming Peter Duncan.

The Nicest Kids In Town started up with Jon Tsouras playing Corny Collins and everyone in their seats were jiggling and toe bopping. I mean…. I have a tendency to go to a show all on my own and sit there bopping, so I certainly wasn’t going to stay still for this one.

One of my favourite songs for many reasons was definitely “Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now” …… If you have seen the film version of Hairspray then you will know that this song is only featured on the end credits. Why? I have no idea. No idea at all. Not only was it one of my favourites , it was by miles Leonas favourite song.

Tracy and Edna, Penny (Monique Young) and her Mum. and Amber Von Tussle (Lauren Stroud) and her Mum Velma Von Tussle played by the actually very talented Claire Sweeney (Seriously guys, she was proper funny as Velma…. I really didn’t take to Velma in the film but loved her in the stage show) …. all take to the stage begging their Mums to treat them like big girls. Self explanatory really. But for me, as a Mum to a nine year old going on sixteen year old little drama queen….the song really resonated. And Leona thought the song was perfect. Absolutely perfect. She told me that whenever she wants to do something from now on, she’s just going to sing that song to me. Good luck little one….still no chance!!!

If I were to sit here and mention everyone in the cast who we thought were brilliant….then I would be listing the whole cast. They were all incredible. But I do want to say how much Leona loved Lauren Stroud as Amber. Just like Velma, you weren’t really supposed to like her but did anyway because she was brilliant. And not only that….Leona screeched excitedly when she realised that Lauren had understudied for Glinda in Wicked (See, I told you she had read the programme from front to back….) so it was no wonder that of everyone on that stage, Lauren was definitely Leonas favourite. As the girl actually wants to be Glinda when she grows up….it was always going to be the case. Seriously……

“Leona, what do you want to do when you grow up?”
“I want to be Glinda in Wicked”
“Ah….so you want to be an actress.”
“No….I want to be Glinda.”

Simples.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out who Lex’s favourite was. Step forward Link Larkin….played by the not so shabby to look at Ashley Gilmour. Listen people, I’m not going to lie….. I’m definitely a fan of Zac Efron who plays Link in the film….so I was probably going to be critical of anyone in the role. But I can say without a doubt that Ashley beat Zac. For talent and singing. For charm and comedy timing. He was brilliant. And that my friends, is high praise indeed.

Also, my seven year old little lad has taken a liking to a pinky/red coloured suit that Link wore and has asked for one for Christmas. Righto….that won’t be hard at all. At all…………

The cast ploughed through brilliant song after brilliant song, and by the time Welcome To The 60’s came on, my grin was glued to my face. Couldn’t have stopped smiling if I had tried Seeing the kids faces light up with each new song and twist in the tale was priceless.

And let’s not forget the actual story they are telling. Back then a different era, an era that my kids thankfully have never known. A time where black people couldn’t dance with white people. So not only is the show fun and lively, it holds a strong and powerful message. Basically, Tracy taught my littles that if you want to change the world….well….you can.

Dex Lee played Seaweed, and Brenda Edwards played Motormouth Maybelle. Making up this sweet family was Karis Jack as Little Inez. What a talented little bunch these guys were. I’m sure I don’t even need to state this….but Brenda has some bloody awesome pipes on her!! When the show takes a more serious and perhaps ‘grown up’ with the issue involved route, and Motormouth Maybelle starts singing I Know Where I’ve Been…. it was incredible. The whole theatre pretty much didn’t breathe throughout the whole song. Brenda put us in a trance. Her voice was magnificent and those end notes….wow. My littles looked up at me as they clapped and all they said was …. “Wow.” I know littles, I know. Goosebump central. Of course, for Leona and Lex, living in a world like that is alien to them. They had many questions after the show. Why were times like that? Why would anyone be singled out for the colour of their skin? Why couldn’t they dance together? Questions that obviously, I don’t have the answers to myself. There was no why back then, just madness and racism.

My other favourite song in the show apart from Mama I’m A Big Girl Now was Without Love. It was always my favourite song in the film because it has lines like “Tracy I’m in love with you no matter what you weigh” …. It’s just a brilliant and cleverly written song. It didn’t disappoint.

When “You Can’t Stop The Beat” started up, Leona who had memorised the song list looked at me in horror.

“Oh no…. Mum….it’s the last song. Oh no!!”

That is exactly what I felt too. We didn’t want it to end. Ever. I could watch the show again and again. And isn’t it funny how one little sentence can change a kids whole life? I know it sounds dramatic …..but seriously…… listen to this…..

At the end of the You Can’t Stop The Beat…. Freya Sutton whose energy and talent never slowed down once as Tracy Turnblad looked at the crowd and said something like….. “Come on Ipswich, get up and dance!” ….. Those words will stick forever in the kids mind. I’m being serious. They jumped up and down excitedly…… screamed at me going “Oh my god Mum, she knows us, she said Ipswich….. we are Ipswich….. Oh my God!!!!! I can’t wait to tell my friends….they will never believe it!”

Magical right?

I know I said I wasn’t going to mention the whole cast even though I nearly have…lol…..but I do need to give two shout outs to two of the ensemble. First of all Adam Price as Mr Pinky…. he had my son in stitches, proper laughing out loud. So a winner in my book.

And the second, who I couldn’t take my eyes off….. Layton Williams. I’m a pretty huge fan of Bad Education because it’s hilarious…. and Layton plays Stephen for any of you Bad Ed fans. But never mind that…because he is one of the best dancers I have ever seen. He was very bendy Yes, bendy. Loved seeing him on stage, he had so much energy.

I proper enjoyed myself, but most of all…..the UK tour cast of Hairspray gave my kids a night they are always going to remember. They were singing the songs as they fell asleep, and they were singing the songs as soon as they woke up this morning. It really was an incredible night and I urge anyone to go and see it if it is paying your hometown a visit.

So…..the only thing better than Hairspray is…….not really anything that can beat it right now at this moment. Maybe Hugh Jackman. Maybe Hugh Jackman making me breakfast in bed. But ….other than that…..not much. Thanks all!!!

wp-1448532761183.jpg

I do have another blog coming up later with some beauty faves. I’ve had it in my draft box for a while now because I keep adding favourites to the list being the cosmetics junkie I am, but I will get around to posting it!!

xox

Memphis and a Jon Boydon-less Jersey Boys…..

Standard

I have been meaning to write this post for ages, but now I am glad I held off because I have more to write about now!! I’m going to start with my birthday. 11/09/2015…..which of course, I am sure you can all figure out, landed me in the JB house. Torture, I know.

I knew The Moffat wouldn’t be doing his Sandy Valli thing because of the fact he was enjoying his honeymoon. Of course, I would never expect him to cancel his honeymoon, fly home and perform for me because it’s my birthday. I did expect it. I’m gutted.

The fact is, he wouldn’t have been performing on my birthday anyways, as it was a Friday…..but as you all know by now…. I’m partial to a bit of Michael Watson. Fine by me. Not a hardship seeing his face on stage is it?

Anyway, I had to work on my birthday morning, and by the time I arrived in London town, I was actually quite stressed. But after seeing my bestie, stuffing myself with a massive birthday burger (with pulled pork, obviously) and a huge glass of wine, I was ready for my birthday Jersey Boys show. Let’s not talk about the fact I am now 29 and have seen Jersey Boys more times than a one direction fan has screamed when they have seen Harry Styles face.

You all know me by now, I’m a bit of a scatter brain and I’m really not a ‘proper organised’ theatre fan, so as I walked in to the JB house, I forgot to look at the cast board. Didn’t even glance. I guess it doesn’t matter who’s on stage anyway when the whole cast is fricking brilliant.

So it was a surprise when Matt Thorpe ran out on the balcony singing his ‘silhouettes’ …. A nice surprise. When I saw him months ago on his debut, he impressed me. His voice is absolutely incredible. He hits those high notes so easy. Since then, Matt has played Frankie quite a few more times and I was interested to see how far he had come. And wow, he blew me away. It’s that voice again, the way he hits those notes. I was smiling throughout the whole show. We also had a Chris Stoddart Bob Gaudio which I have seen three times now, and a nice little Matt Hunt Gyp. It was a cracking show. I would happily sit through a Sandy, Michael or Matt Frankie Valli. They are all incredible and I suppose it is credit to the show itself and the cast they have that I could watch any of them.

Also, I may have slightly demanded that Matt does his own album….. he actually said he’s working on something so waheyyyy, watch this space.

On the 19th of September, I made my way to London again, this time in celebration of the besties birthday. We were going to see the Memphis matinee (which I will talk about soon) and of course, my new saying has now become ‘When In London,….Jersey Boys’ ………… Because I don’t live in London, and the train fares are fricking steep (Been told I swear too much, so trying to change all my Fuckings to Frickings…. going fucking well so far isn’t it?)….. when I am in London, I like to make the most of my time there, and what better than seeing my favourite show. In a usual situation, I wouldn’t dream of going back so soon. I mean…. I only saw the show a week ago, I know what happens, it is quite unlikely there is going to be a plot twist ;-) But I figured it would be OK because Michael Watson was back on as Frankie V, Edd Post was back as Gaudio and for the first time EVER , in my whole Jersey Boys run….. I knew Jon Boydon was off. So in my eyes, it was really a completely different show. I still cringed a little bit that I was there again so soon. I am a proper fangirl and not shy about it, but twice in eight days when I don’t live in London seems a little obsessive….but you know, it happened.

I heard Michael had been ill the last few weeks, so it was great to see him back on stage. Also lovely seeing Edd back. Bloody hell he’s extraordinarily good looking isn’t he?

Let’s talk about my first ever ‘without’ Jon Boydon show shall we?? Listen guys, I adore Jon Boydon. I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to fluff it up with lying about how I was looking forward to the day I wouldn’t see him, because it’s not true. Tommy is my favourite character in the show, and I do credit that to the way Jon plays him. Basically, there aren’t really many more ways I can state the obvious, I am a Jon Boydon fan. And no guys, I am not being disrespectful to Ben Wheeler. Not at all. Me saying I like Jon does not equate to me dissing Ben like a few have claimed on twitter (seriously guys, calm it…. it’s OK to prefer someone in a role over someone else…..) …..the fact is, I really like Ben Wheeler. He is the dance captain of Jersey Boys and part of the furniture. We all go crazy over the main four, but people like Ben Wheeler, Matt Hunt, Joseph Peters,  and so on are the backbones of the show. They hold it all together. Without them, there wouldn’t be a show and I will state again that every member of that cast is bloody talented.

So what I am trying to say in a really bad way, is that I didn’t know what I would feel about seeing Ben Wheeler as Tommy. But luckily, it was incredible. Because much like the three Frankies…… Jon Boydon and Ben Wheeler play Tommy so differently that you can’t compare them. Ben was amazing guys. You were all right. I had no doubt that he would be, but yes, he was a perfect Tommy and SO different to Jon that it didn’t feel like anything was missing. To the way Ben delivers his lines, to the mannerisms of the character, it was a completely new twist (for me as someone who has seen Jons Tommy a gazillion times)….and it was really, really good. I can’t praise Ben enough. When I was trying to explain it to a friend, I ended up saying that Jon plays Tommy with a cocky arrogance. He does, there is no getting away from it. He is confident and sure of himself, and so insistent that he is in the right that you almost believe him. I also see Jons softer sides which is why I think the Tommy character became my favourite. (Before anyone says they aren’t characters, they are real people….I do know. I have said all this before on my blog. The Four Seasons were real, I get it, I am just talking in show terms.) But Ben played it like…. well, more of an annoying older brother. Where as Jon plays it with no doubt that he is the leader, Ben plays it with a bit of bossiness and I loved the way Ben played the scene in the second half where they are talking and they say they will buy Tommy out. Bens reactions were brilliant and he seemed genuinely shocked that Bob Gaudio would dare suggest such a thing. It really was a treat to watch.

While I am here, I may as well discuss a topic that people have noticed on my twitter and facebook. That topic being….. my fangirling over Gary Watson. As I have been slowly clocking up more and more shows, Gary has been becoming more and more great. I fucking (fricking) adore his Nick Massi and yes, it helps he’s gorgeous. So there, I hope that clears things up. I’m sure I didn’t need to explain, it just boils down to I like men, really, in a nutshell….that is it.

So bravo Jersey Boys, a couple of brilliant performances and a hugely talented cast. Best show in the West End…in case I haven’t said it before. (Sssshhhh, I know I have.)

Now let’s talk about Memphis. As above with the whole Jon Boydon thing, I am pretty honest and I am just going to state that I actually didn’t have an interest in seeing Memphis. That sounds bad when saying it like that. I guess what I mean is, I have limited money and come to think of it, with work and the children and distance playing a factor, little time to see these shows. There were many on my list to see that would come before Memphis is probably a better way of putting it. I still really want to see Beautiful, so that is next on the list…. and I want to see Wicked again, also Kinky Boots looks awesome. So combined with all my JB shows which cost money, I have a lot I want to see and Memphis wasn’t near the top.

However , my friend loves it and has seen it a few times, and just as she didn’t hesitate to come watch Jersey Boys with me on day of Birth, I did the same for her re Memphis.

There is an ongoing debate in theatre land over whether ‘celebs or well known’ people should get starring roles in these shows. Truthfully? My opinion is that I think they have as much right to be there as everyone else IF they have the talent. And being that they are on a West End stage, it is likely they do have the talent. Take our beloved Rock Of Ages…. Shayne Ward as Stacee Jaxx. I never saw him in the role but the majority of the RoA fans did, and they loved him. He has a cracking voice.

I saw Nigel Harman in I Can’t Sing…… he’s a big name from TV but has worked bloody hard to establish himself as a stage actor and he was brilliant.

So that brings us to Matt Cardle in Memphis. I heard grumbles when he was cast. Some people weren’t happy. Killian Donnelly is a talented man and I guess he would be hard to replace in any circumstances. But what I would say to the grumblers is to go and watch Matt as Huey in Memphis, then come back to me and say that the ‘big names’ shouldn’t be cast. He fucking nailed it. It’s like that role had been made for him. His facial expressions, his voice, and the thing that surprised me the most….. his acting. I mean, I knew he could sing. I don’t watch X Factor, but I knew who he was. I would like to think anyone that wins X Factor could sing a little bit ;-) So I had no doubt his voice would be pretty good. (It was holy shit balls amazing. Those belting notes he did made me want to throw my underwear at him, just saying.) But he acted on that stage like he was born to do it. As I said, I don’t know much about him but I think he used to be a painter or something? Well his acting was incredible. He made me sad. He made me laugh. He made me adore him. He made me cringe. He was the perfect Huey and I hope he continues to wow the crowds for quite some time.

I saw Rachel John as the lead. Bloody hell. What a voice. Only comparable to when I saw Cynthia in I Can’t Sing. When you see talent like Rachels, you leave the theatre in a bit of a daze. She definitely has a voice that will stick in my memory for a very long time.

The Memphis story was fantastic and I would definitely see it again after initially not really even wanting to see it. And it was nice to see Carly, a former Rock Of Ages cast member on the stage again. Her dancing brought back how great she was in RoA.

So I’ve had a couple of awesome stagey weeks. Good news people, Sandy is back from his honeymoon holibobs and will be making crowds faint again every Tuesday evening and Saturday matinee. Make sure you see it before I book all the tickets ;-)

After Rock Of Ages……. Where Are They Now?

Standard

For the last two months, I have been hoping someone else would write a post like this, but due to most people having a more exciting life than me, it hasn’t happened. I wanted someone else to do this post mainly because my memory is absolutely awful and I might forget someone, but also because the things that come out of my mouth during these blog posts is mostly garbage and hard to follow. You have been warned.

Rock of Ages has been on my mind a lot recently. It is the show that started it all for me and gave me a huge love for theatre. And I happen to know that Rock of Ages reeled quite a few others in as well, I still say it was the use of a sparkly blue leotard that got most people hooked on the show, but others say it was the whole story in general. We will agree to disagree.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have a little Where Are They Now post….. The cast have most definitely done the fans of the show proud in terms of what they have done since. This is where things/people/sense might get lost. I started going to the show in April 2013…… so therefore I missed the ‘original cast’ with Oliver Tompsett and such. I also missed the whole Shaftesbury theatre run and started at The Garrick, but I will be including the originals as they were the ones that started it all.

Oliver Tompsett

18otw09tompsett_v01

Oliver was the original Drew Boley, and from what I have heard, a bloody good one. I had numerous fans telling me that I had missed a hell of a show in not seeing him perform, and judging by my hours spent pouring over any and every Rock of Ages video on YouTube (Not really, as if I would do that, I have things to do people!!!) it seems that I really did miss quite a bit of talent.  For this role he was nominated for the whatsonstage.com Theatergoers Choice Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Before originating this role in the west end, Oliver played Fiyero in Wicked.
A number of things such as his voice, his rock star presence and the fact he isn’t too shabby to look at led to him being a well loved Drew.

Oliver+Tompsett+Rock+Ages+Musical+Photocall+-Dpt5egmjFnl

Since leaving the role of Drew, Oli went on to play  Galileo in We Will Rock You. For this part he was nominated again for the whatsonstage.com Theatergoers Choice Award for Best Take Over in a Role. He stayed with We Will Rock You until the show closed, and had support from many fans he had wowed in Rock Of Ages.

Oli has continued acting in shows like White Christmas and runs various workshops which you can find out about by following his twitter page https://twitter.com/Ozziology He also has a website at http://olivertompsett.com/Oliver_Tompsett.html

Ross Hunter

191d58625138f13dd10c030615b57944

Ross took over from Oli in the role of Drew Boley and speaking from experience, I can say he was fantastic. From what I could conclude from other fans of the show, they were wary on who would be taking over from Oli, but once they saw the strength in his voice and the talent he had, the wariness disappeared and he was soon accepted as not just ‘Ross who took over as Drew’ but ‘Ross who is Drew’ ……

Rock Of Ages-Recast-25-09-12-Shaftesbury-5503

It wasn’t just Ross’s cheeky grin, comic timing and huge voice that captivated the audience, it was his chemistry with Natalie Andreou (Sherrie). He definitely became a part of everyones heart, and when the final night came round, it was Ross’s teary eyes that had us all in tears.

After leaving RoA , Ross appeared as Robin Hood in a Christmas production and is the only man that has ever made green tights look pretty good.

Ross is currently in Book Of Mormon at The Prince Of Wales theatre in the West End. He is part of the ensemble. He is also an understudy for Elder Price covering sickness and holidays, fans have seen him in the role and been blown away. I am hoping to see him in this role one day soon.  You can book tickets for the show here.

http://www.bookofmormonlondon.com/

Natalie Andreou

goWPUe2a_400x400

Natalie played Sherrie in Rock Of Ages. She took over from Amy Pemberton after she had to drop out due to sickness, so Natalie sort of originated the role for the West End and stayed until the curtain close.

As Sherrie, Natalie was sweet, talented and funny. (It was probably in their contracts that they all had to be funny, because they all were whether they were meant to be or not)….Particular stand out moments as Sherrie for me included More Than Words and High Enough. She shone on the stage and by the time the show ended, it felt like we were saying goodbye to a friend rather than a character.

A scene from Rock Of Ages @ Shaftesbury. Recast photographs(Taken 22-03-12)©Tristram Kenton 03/12(3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

Currently, Natalie is standby Elphie in Wicked, and if you haven’t seen her as Elphie yet, I am telling you that it is the best thing you will ever see on stage. Of course, my opinions are my own, but I very much like to inflict my opinions on other people so just take that statement as a fact. I was absolutely blown away by her Defying Gravity, and hopefully this girl will be on the stage for a very long time.

th94AC6NGW

My daughter also pointed out that Natalie makes a really pretty witch, and I have to agree. Not everyone can look good with a green face. I don’t look terribly great with my actual face so fair play to Natalie.

Natalie has a bridal make-up website (as if she wasn’t talented enough, she wanted to throw in another skill) which you can check out here……http://natalieandreou.co.uk/index.html

You can also follow her on twitter by clicking here https://twitter.com/natalie_andreou She is pretty great in informing you of her Elphie dates, so keep your eyes peeled.

Simon Lipkin

1BKBj6Yh

As if you all didn’t know, Simon played Lonny in the West End run of Rock Ages. To say he had comic timing would be a bit of understatement. Simon has the talent to make you laugh until you cry, even if you are in a foul mood. He also had the ability to make a mullet look sexy. Actually, I’m not entirely sure if the mullet made him sexy or if it was the lunging he liked to do and the way he wore his nipple tassles. Probably all three, I know my list of requirements for a bloke these days definitely includes those three points.

Simon+Lipkin+Rock+Ages+Musical+Photocall+TG39kSawwXsl

Even on the very last show of RoA, Simon had us giggling despite the sad tears streaming down our faces. Since hanging up his mullet (which I bet he took home and gets out from time to time…. I mean, who wouldn’t?) Simon has popped up in quite a few things.

He started off going to I Can’t Sing where he played a dog. Yes. A dog. Barlow. And despite the disappointing early closure of the show, he was absolutely brilliant in it and as always, bonkers. You haven’t seen nothing til you’ve seen Simon sliding around on his knees with his hand up a dogs arse. (Please note: No real dogs were harmed in the run of I Can’t Sing) ….. Also, because I went to see Simon in I Can’t Sing, I got to meet Nigel Harman, and yes girls, he’s as hot in real life as he appears on TV. He is also a complete gent, very humble and sweet.

Then Simon went on to play Touchstone in As You Like It which I also had the pleasure of seeing. If you ever want to see what Shakespeare is like with added craziness, just cast Simon in a role and you are good to go.

Simon Lipkin headshot

Assassins also came along for Simon where he took on a role different to anything he had ever done before. As The Proprietor he made people crap their pants. I unfortunately didn’t get to see this one but I have been told by people who went to see it that he was out of this world good.

He recently finished a run in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change in which he played various roles. I was lucky enough to see a snippet of the show in The Theatre Café one morning, and it looked bloody hilarious. Friends who went to see the show said it was one of the best things they had ever seen, and as always…. Simon was on top funny form.

As well as all his stage appearences, Simon worked on the film Nativity 3 and on a DR Who episode that has yet to be aired, so keep watching for that one.

You can follow Simon on twitter here….. https://twitter.com/simonlipkin

Shayne Ward

Shayne-Ward--shayne-ward-625934_1280_1024

Shayne played Stacee Jaxx in the original West End Cast. I am sure I don’t need to give a huge background on Shayne, X Factor…. good voice…. nice to look at….. success….. probably sums it up. Again, because he was the original cast, I didn’t get to see him on stage, but he did attend the theatre on the last night of RoA, so technically, even though we said no words to each other…. we are besties now.

112-Rock-of-ages-for-paul-0602-Shayne-Ward--Stacee-Jaxx

Since leaving RoA , Shayne worked on a new album called Closer. I brought it and in fact, am listening to it right now as I type this up. Cracking voice. Shayne would probably be most notably famous for winning a role in Coronation Street. He will be playing the role of Aidan Connor. You can follow Shayne here https://twitter.com/shayneTward

Tim Howar

p01bqx0d

Tim took over from Shayne as Stacee Jaxx, and this was who I saw in the role. (Along with a few others who will get mentions later…..) He played the role with hilarity and arrogance…. which in short, made for a brilliant Stacee Jaxx. He too, along with many others of the show had a brilliant voice and I always absolutely loved his Wanted – Dead Or Alive.

Since leaving, Tim has embarked on a tour with Mike and The Mechanics as the co-lead singer, and he is passionate about music and a talented songwriter.

hc-mechanics2-jpg-20150226

You can follow Tim on twitter here – https://twitter.com/timhowar

Justin Lee Collins

article-1348659079613-15358881000005dc-358571_465x519

Justin starred as Dennis Dupree in the original Rock Of Ages line up. From what I heard, he was charismatic and gelled really well with the rest of the cast, especially Shayne Ward. Also, let’s face it…. he really, really looks like a real life Dennis Dupree, so he was perfect for it.

Rock-of-Ages3_2005207b

In 2014, Justin returned to his own weekly show on Fubar radio. He was also cast in a British feature film called The Hatching alongside Andrew Lee Potts.You can follow him on twitter here https://twitter.com/iam_jlc

Daniel Fletcher

danielfletcher

Daniel took over the role as Dennis at cast change. I have a teeny bit of a soft spot for Dan. The soft spot manifests itself as piss taking, but I still love him just the same. He became a firm favourite among fans , and loved the role so much that he signed up to play it in the first UK tour of Rock Of Ages. In fact, as I type this he is on a cruise ship somewhere sprinkling people with gold confetti as Dennis again. His relationship with Simons Lonny kept us all in stitches. He really is, in my eyes…. the ultimate Dennis.

roa3

Between all the various stints as Dennis, Dan also managed a run in Miracle On 34th Street which I was lucky enough to take my little girl to. It was so good seeing Dans talent in another role, and he along with many others from our beloved RoA, is easy on the eye ;-) He made me swoon a little bit during Miracle, but it’s just between us, yeah?

Follow our Dan on twitter right here…. https://twitter.com/DanFletcher101

Sandy Moffat

sandy moffat

Sandy also originated the West End role of Franz and stayed until the final show. (Watch and laugh as I try to write about Sandy from a completely serious point of view and not a crazy fangirl stance……) ((I will fail, apologies in advance….))

Because of his legs, and overall talent…. Sandy won himself a pretty huge bunch of fans. In fact, Beatle Mania was nothing compared to the reaction Sandy got when he used to walk out of The Garrick. he made everyone, swoon, smile and just generally fall in lust as camp German Franz. It was impossible not to want to take him home, introduce him to your parents, and keep him forever. Also, much like Simon Lipkin rocking the mullet, Sandy made the blonde floppy wig and double denim his own. If I say too much about the leotard and legs, it will cause every reader to faint, and it would be a shame to faint when you have made it this far into the post.

4

Naturally, being a bit of a Sandy fan, I did worry when Rock Of Ages closed about when I would get to see him on stage again. I had my fingers crossed that he would go on to something spectacular and he didn’t disappoint. When he announced he would be alternate Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys every Tuesday Night and Saturday Afternoon….. the whole world joined together in celebration. Lanterns were released, a huge fireworks display over the tower bridge captivated everyone and the queen gave him an honour for being so bloody sexy. (Please note: This might have only happened in my imagination, but I am definitely not fibbing about the alternate Frankie Valli part)

UpRRO3nd

Keep up to date with all of Sandys Frankie V dates by visiting his website. http://www.sandymoffat.co.uk/ where you can also drool or sensibly look at his gallery of pictures.

Follow Sandy on twitter here https://twitter.com/sandy_moffat

And if you want to book tickets to Jersey Boys which I am pretty sure you will want to at some point, you can do that here…… http://jerseyboyslondon.com/

Jodie Jacobs

1397657128_7af11

Jodie was the lucky lady who got to play opposite Sandy Moffat as Regina. She also stayed for the whole run, and was much loved by the fans who went to the show. She had a brilliant voice and as I have said about many others throughout this post, delivered her funny moments to perfection. She also rocked a leotard pretty fiercely.

Jodie Jacobs (Regina/Candi) and Sandy Moffat (Franz) during the curtain call on Gala Night for Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, England on 28th September 2011. (Credit should read: Dan Wooller/wooller.com). Paid use only. No Syndication

Since Rock Of Ages, Jodie appeared in Carrie which although I didn’t get to see, heard nothing but good things about it. Currently starring in Legally Blonde, her talent is still shining bright on the stage. You can follow her on twitter here…..https://twitter.com/Show_Jo

Rachel McFarlane

1366295398_51c22

Rachel played Justice throughout the shows entire run. She is credited as having one of the best voices in the West End, the way she could hold her notes was quite unbelievable.

To the fans delight, she signed up to play Justice in the touring production.
You can follow Rachel on twitter here…. https://twitter.com/rachelmcfar1

Rohan Tickell

rohan-tickell

Rohan played Hertz during the run of Rock Of Ages. Him and Sandy made the best father and son team ever. They were absolutely brilliant together!! It was touch and go whether Rohan would make the final day of shows due to an injury, but he did make it and the fans all literally cheered him with delight as he made his way into the theatre…. much to his horror!

A scene from Rock Of Ages @ Shaftesbury Theatre (Opening 09-11) ©Tristram Kenton 09/11 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550 Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

Rohan is currently a teacher senior acting tutor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London. You can follow Rohan on twitter here….. https://twitter.com/Rotick62

Dylan Turner

DYLAN TURNER

Dylan played Primo and is mostly remembered by me for the get up he wore on the last day. Because abs. And because six pack. Which is the same thing as because abs. But anyway……

I was lucky enough to see Dylan as Primo, Stacee Jaxx and Drew. I really enjoyed watching Dylan in every single part he played, he is very talented and versatile. You can follow Dylans twitter here https://twitter.com/DylanTurner_

Currently, you can catch Dylan starring in Beautiful at the Aldwych theatre with a former Rock Of Ages cast member……

Ian Mcintosh

Ian-McIntosh-Pic-298x298

Ian is also starring in Beautiful as Barry Mann, after becoming a much loved staple of Rock Of Ages. During Rock Of Ages I got to see Ian as Primo and Drew.

After Ian left RoA, his star continued to rise as he landed a part in The Commitments as alternate Deco. The reviews he had for the part were truly amazing and he gained new fans every time he played the part. He seems to have carried on the impressive performances in Beautiful, and it is nice to see these two reunited again.

joeys

Catch Ian and Dylan by booking tickets here …http://beautifulmusical.co.uk/

And follow the lovely Ian on twitter by clicking this link https://twitter.com/I_McIntosh

Nathan Amzi

th7MHOS3V1

Rock Of Ages very own Mayor/Paul Gill and alternate Lonny had people laughing every single show. And it has been quite the journey for Nathan since leaving RoA.

Not only has he had roles in shows including “In The Heights’ and ‘Urinetown’ , most notably he took part in BBC1’s massive show The Voice. After a standout audition, he got to be mentored by The Kaiser Chiefs Ricky Wilson. He sadly didn’t make the finals, but has had success since appearing in the show. He is currently in rehearsals for ‘Dinner With Saddam’.

2014-02-16-1901795_494924910612612_797265060_n

Follow Nathan here ….https://twitter.com/theamzi

Cordelia Farnworth

Cordelia_Farnworth-190x225

Cordi made the best understudy Sherrie, and I got to see her delightful performances twice. Well, three times if you count the tour. She is so sweet, a proper girl next door type on and off stage. She went on to play the main Sherrie in the Rock Of Ages tour. I wouldn’t be surprised if this girl crops up quite a lot on a stage in the future. You can follow Cordi here….. https://twitter.com/CordeliaFarn

Jamie Muscato

jamie-muscato-and-laura-jane-matthewson-89345

Jamie has had a varied career on stage since leaving Rock Of Ages. He has worked on the light princess, had a small part in TV drama Cilla, The House of Mirrors and Hearts, and he will be going on to Sweeney Todd the tour. His most spectacular and emotional performance came in Dogfight, which won him many rave reviews. Follow Jamie here …. https://twitter.com/Jamiemuscato

Tim Driessen

tcm17312943_Medium

Tim has sky rocketed in the theatre world since appearing in RoA by stunning crowds as Frankie Valli in the Jersey Boys production in The Netherlands and also, the UK tour. I got to see his Stacee Jaxx once in RoA which was crazy funny. Also, he once posted a shirtless selfie on twitter which kind of made Sandy Moffat want to do the same thing ….. (No, seriously, he was like…..one second away from doing it, I’m sure) So that makes it a pretty good reason to follow Tim on twitter….. https://twitter.com/TimDriesen

Twinnie Lee Moore

elfilm_com-twinnie-lee-moore-157995

Twinnie is now strutting her awesome stuff in Hollyoaks. Follow her here…..https://twitter.com/TwinnieleeMoore

Carly Mercedes Dyer

Carly Mercedes Dyer (Ensemble) attends the after party on Gala Night for Rock of Ages at Freemasons Hall, London, England on 28th September 2011. (Credit should read: Dan Wooller/wooller.com). Paid use only. No Syndication

Carly is currently in the ensemble of Memphis.

Follow her here….. https://twitter.com/CarlyMDyer

Zizi Strallen

star-zizi-strallen

Zizi has been in many things including Cats and will be in a touring production of Mary Poppins this year. Follow her here https://twitter.com/ZiziStrallen

Selina Hamilton

selina-163x163

Selina was in the cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Also Dirty Dancing. Follow her twitter right here…… https://twitter.com/selina_Hamilton

Amy Thornton

amy thornton

Amy is the choreographer on Matilda.

Twitter handle here….. https://twitter.com/MissAmyThornton

Scarlette Douglas

254986_3790811

Since leaving Rock of Ages, Scarlette has appeared in plenty of shows such as the touring Ant and Decs Saturday Night Takeaway, I Can’t Sing and even danced for England on Eurovision!! Her twitter is https://twitter.com/scardoug

So I think what we can conclude from that is that everyone who ever appeared in the West End Rock Of Ages is a bloody talented human. Apart from Dan Fletcher. He’s awful. (Awful as in proper good, obviously)
It turns out the internet doesn’t actually have answers for everything and I did have some helpful little nudges of show remembrance from Ali….so thanks for that….. *Told you I would credit you, Ha!!)

All images were taken from good old google, and I can’t be credited with one single picture. Not even the Sandy ones. As much as I would like to claim I am his private photographer, I sadly am not. The restraining order prevents me from taking photos. Damn it.

The Littles Take On London!! 15/08/2015 (And a teeny bit of JB….)

Standard

As you know, I don’t mind the odd trip to London now and again. Fine, I probably go to London too much, but it really is my getaway. I love it. So it is rather surprising then, that my littles only went to London for the first time ever this weekend!!

I have been wanting to take them for ages now. But it’s having the time, having the money, them being old enough to cope with all the travelling and walking and such. It’s quite a daunting task deciding to take them to London, because I would be on my own and it’s bad enough getting myself through the big city without injury (re:the time I got my wrist stuck in the ticket barriers or fell over as I got off an escalator….. oooops) let alone two littles.

Anyway, I’m going to cut a long story short….. it turned out that I wouldn’t have to go it alone. A family member volunteered to come and help me out with the adventure and we spent a few weeks planning. We decided to do Buckingham palace, the boat ride down the Thames, some parks, picnics and finish it all off with a dinner somewhere on Bond Street. All the touristy things. The kids were counting down the days. So was I. Then, on Friday, the evening before the big day….. I had a message from my boss. To put it simply, he messed up on the rotas and added me in a week ago to work on Saturday… I didn’t bother looking at the rotas to see I had been added in and it turned out that a 50/50 cock up on both our parts resulted in me having to work Saturday morning. Of course I stamped my feet and tried like hell to get out of it. I asked everyone at work if they could cover for me just this once (I have NEVER let work or anyone at work down before…. I will know not to be so easy in future) and I had no luck.

So I had to break it to the littles and family member that I had work from half eight til half twelve. We were all stressed and upset at not being able to go but then we came to a compromise. We decided that I would go and meet the littles in London after I finish work. That way, they wouldn’t be let down and could make a day of it, and I would still get to experience seeing their faces in London.

It was still a huge let down. Firstly, I am their Mum. I do everything with them. I hated the fact I wouldn’t get to see their first tube journey (which was a big deal as Leona isn’t great on transport but she did OK) , I wouldn’t get to see the palace with them or go on the boat ride. It was also a huge deal trusting somebody else with them in London. It’s me that takes them on all their trips, I am always with them for whatever they do. But instead, I had to trust that they would have fun and be looked after. (They did and they were….so yay for that!)

I spent the morning at work dealing with rude, snobby customers then rushed to get the train to London. I didn’t get in London til nearly three and by the time I had met the kiddies, they had ticked off pretty much everything on their to do list. I could see that they had an early start and were really starting to get tired, so we agreed to get a meal and then send them home. I was upset that I missed the whole day but sometimes, these things happen and the fact that the kids had the time of their lives and got to see the magic of London is what is important.

We went to Duke street just off Bond street which holds significant memories for me. When I was younger and had my hole in my heart, I was in a London hospital. After I had my surgery and was let out of hospital, we all went for a meal in Duke street. Then when I was pregnant with Leona, I also had to go to a London hospital. They wanted to see if the baby had the same condition as me via scan, so once I got the all clear from the scan, me and my sister who was with me at the time …. (going it alone even back then!!!) headed to Duke Street for a celebration meal. So that was our choice of place this time.

We went to a little Italian restaurant called The Spaghetti house. It was lush. And I’m not just talking about my waiter ;-) 11913304_793568957432370_539836929_n

We all absolutely stuffed ourselves, and I got an Italian Espresso which absolutely blew my brains out. Who needs wine when you can have a shot of that and be done?

11912890_793569137432352_1427870615_n

We made our way back to Liverpool Street Station, and I got to see the Littles on the tube. Ha!!! Hahahahahahaha!!! Lex loved it, because he’s a proper man and stuff. But Leona….. oh goodness. The fear in her eyes. She hated everything about the tubes, from the escalators, to the heat, to the noise of the train. I have picture evidence. You can see the fear in her eyes despite the smile!! She’s such a good girl though, she didn’t complain once. She definitely sucks things up and gets on with it.

11872958_793568950765704_989054000_n

So I only really got to take pictures of them at the restaurant and the station. Still can’t believe I missed the majority of their day in London!!!

The family member who took the littles insisted that I stay on in London for a few hours. I didn’t get there until three so it would have been a complete waste of forty bloody quid to go back home at half five!!! I panicked for a moment about the kids going home without me but then I came to the sucky realisation that they had managed all day without me so they could get home just fine. They wanted to go home, they were tired. But they loved London. And I am so glad they got to experience it.

11911867_793569070765692_1595611377_n11872613_793569060765693_236932268_n11913086_793569167432349_1425623824_n11896882_793569004099032_1747825785_n

That last picture cracks me up so much!!! Leona had just told Lex that the train had left without them. What a stinker.

But after all that, what exactly is a girl like me to do in London all on her lonesome?? Yeah, you guessed it. I took myself off to the Jersey Boys house didn’t I?

I am bloody glad I did. Sandy Valli on a Saturday night. He was incredible. I know this is going to sound weird, because both Michael and Sandy play the part of Frankie Valli and obviously have to sound like/imitate him…..but you guys….. Sandy gave me chills during Walk Like A Man. You might remember me saying ages ago that when I was younger, I liked Frankie V and The Four Seasons, I listened to the CDs, I loved the music….Walk Like A Man is obviously one of the big three songs, and other than immensely enjoying it every time, It doesn’t affect me like my faves do such as My Eyes Adored You and Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (all very eye related there…..)

But during this song on Saturday night, my jaw was almost on the floor as Sandy sang. Frankie V is known for his high notes obviously , but he also has a VERY distinctive voice. If I had closed my eyes during the verses of Walk like a man, I would have sworn it was the man himself. I seriously got shivers at how good Sandy sounded. The show just got better from there , and when everyone stood up during Who Loves You, it told its own story that the guys had given one of their best ever shows.

In case you are all wondering, I haven’t broken my Jon Boydon as Tommy streak yet. Every single time. He is a rock star.

I ended up sitting next to a couple of girls from Finland during the show. They were energetic and dancing, they loved every minute of the show. And next to them were a lovely couple who also enjoyed it and were chatty and friendly. Basically, the front few rows of the Piccadilly were bloody awesome.

I did stage door. Probably best I leave that part out of this blog though. *holds head in hands and cries with shame*

11881000_793206307468635_1872859955_n

I know that I am a bit of a sad fangirl for the whole Jersey Boys thing, but please, if you haven’t seen it then you must!!! The show is just amazing, the songs are great, the boys are fit, the cast and crew are all just lovely and it is the best night out in the West End. Yes, I followed Sandy to the show, and I will follow him to whatever he does next (That sounds very sinister…. run Sandy!!) ….. But I will always go back to Jersey Boys no matter who is in it. It has properly made me love it. As if you didn’t know!!!

Anyway, that is about it for now. I have to get back to the very important task of listening to the Wicked soundtrack and doodling peanut heads.