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WEST END ‘MARVEL’ MARISHA WALLACE HEADS OUT ON DEBUT UK TOUR

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One of the West End and Broadway’s most instantly recognisable voices and beloved leading ladies is heading out on her first ever UK Tour.

Marisha Wallace – the sensational star of such smash-hit shows as Dreamgirls, Waitress, Aladdin, The Book of Mormon and very soon Hairspray – will play a series of unmissable theatre shows in March 2020.

Beginning at Sale’s Waterside (March 8), Marisha will then play Newbury Corn Exchange (March 11), Horsham Capitol (March 13), Birmingham Hippodrome (March 14), Leeds City Varieties (March 16), Lichfield Garrick (March 17), Glasgow Glee Club (March 18) and the Arts Theatre in London’s West End (March 23).

Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday November 1 via www.cuffeandtaylor.com

Marisha, who has just completed a critically-acclaimed run in West End hit Waitress and, starred alongside Will Smith in Disney’s big screen summer blockbuster Aladdin, said: “I’m so excited to be heading out on my first ever UK Tour.

“I fell in love with the UK from the moment I first I stepped on stage here. The warmth and love I’ve received from audiences has been really special and I cannot wait to head out to play theatres around the UK – it’s going to be amazing.”

Following her debut UK tour Marisha will take on the iconic role of Motormouth Maybelle in the eagerly-awaited West End return of Hairspray alongside Michael Ball.

 Marisha – whose power-packed new single ‘Fight Like A Woman’ is out now – was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina. But the small town never held down her big city dreams. From glittering New York, her unbelievable talent has taken her around the world.

On Broadway, Marisha starred in shows including Disney’s Aladdin, The Book of Mormon and Something Rotten and then here, in the UK, as Effie White in the stellar West End hit Dreamgirls before following this up as Becky in the unmissable Waitress.

Described by The New York Post as “a marvel”, Marisha’s spine-tingling rendition of ‘And I Am Telling You’ from Dreamgirls has quite simply to be seen and heard to be believed.

Inspired by the likes of the late, great Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald, Marisha’s voice will pull you from your seat and to your feet. She effortlessly infuses jazz, gospel and R&B with a healthy dose of soul that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted.

Together with her theatre success, this versatile talent has taken on the mainstream music world by performing at the Royal Albert Hall, The London Palladium and Cadogan Hall with such revered international artists as Seal, James Blunt and Gregory Porter.

And Marisha, who released her debut album ‘Soul Holiday’ in 2017, has just enjoyed huge success as Todrick Hall’s special guest at his sold-out shows at The London Palladium and the O2 Ritz Manchester.

Her debut tour is presented by concert promoters Cuffe and Taylor.

Ben Hatton, director of theatre touring for Cuffe and Taylor, said: “Marisha Wallace is an undoubted star of the West End and Broadway and her special talent is one that is rightly winning plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic.

“We are proud to be presenting Marisha’s debut UK tour and we would advise fans of the West End and musical theatre to get their tickets early because these shows are likely to be among the must-see events of 2020.”

KIDZ BOP ANNOUNCES FIRST HEADLINING CONCERT TOUR IN THE UK

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KIDZ BOP, the #1 music brand for kids, in partnership with Cuff & Taylor and Live Nation, is bringing the KIDZ BOP World Tour back to the UK for eight more live concert dates in April 2020.

This marks the first-ever headlining tour for The British KIDZ BOP Kids, who have sold more than 215,000 albums to date.

Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday, 20 September. KIDZ BOP announced that its fifth UK album, KIDZ BOP 2020, will be released on 15 November, with pre-orders available now on KIDZ BOP Shop. For tour dates and ticket information, visit KIDZBOP.co.uk and CuffeandTaylor.com

Following the success of playing their first-ever headlining show at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith last April, The British KIDZ BOP Kids, Ashton, Max, Mia, and Twinkle, will bring the interactive live family-friendly concert experience to iconic venues in the UK including: The Palladium (London), Empire Theatre (Liverpool), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), SEC Armadillo (Glasgow), Royal Concert Hall (Nottingham),  St. David’s Hall (Cardiff) and Bridgewater Hall (Manchester) in April 2020. See venue dates and details in notes to editors.

The British KIDZ BOP Kids will perform some of today’s biggest global pop hits live on stage. The all-new show features awesome set design, costumes, exciting choreography, and tons of cool surprises! Dads even have the chance to show off their best dance moves on stage during the “Daddy Dance Off.”

Fans can pre-order the new album, KIDZ BOP 2020, on KIDZ BOP Shop, to gain access to the KIDZ BOP World Tour pre-sale, before everyone else. Pre-sale begins on 19 September at 10 AM.

Special VIP packages, which include a private party, and a meet-and-greet with The KIDZ BOP Kids will also be available for the KIDZ BOP World Tour.

KIDZ BOP’s fifth album in the UK, KIDZ BOP 2020, will include popular hits including “Someone You Loved,” “Don’t Call Me Up,” “Wish You Well,” and more. On 15 November, KIDZ BOP will release new albums in the U.S. and Canada as well.

2019 has been another outstanding year for the KIDZ BOP Kids. Supported by national TV and digital advertising campaigns, the KIDZ BOP Kids have appeared and performed on popular kids’ TV and radio shows as well as staple ITV chat shows, Good Morning Britain and Loose Women.

Meanwhile KIDZ BOP’s first-ever headlining show at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, in April was one of the hottest tickets in town for families over the Easter holidays and highlighted by press as a “must-see” event. The fun-packed show was attended and covered by an array of national press and parenting & family influencers, with glowing reviews given all-round.

JOHN BARROWMAN ANNOUNCES FABULOUSLY FESTIVE CHRISTMAS TOUR

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It’s the most FABULOUS time of the year – and entertainer extraordinaire John Barrowman will be celebrating the festive season with fans as he returns to the UK with a dazzling new Christmas tour.

The eight-date JOHN BARROWMAN – A FABULOUS CHRISTMAS tour in November and December follows the success of his sell-out summer shows, celebrating his 30 years on stage and screen, and will coincide with the release of his new album of the same name.

Barrowman is a singer, actor, dancer, presenter, judge and author. Last year, UK audiences delighted in supporting him as he made the final three in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here 2018. And he’s recently been announced as the new judge for ITV’s Dancing On Ice, having competed on the show’s first series in 2006.

Speaking about the tour John said: “I had so much fun on my summer tour, bringing my husband Scott and my parents along for the ride, while celebrating 30 years on stage and performing some of my favourite songs from that time.

“It’s been great to get back into the studio recording new Christmas tracks. I love this time of the year, but this is the first time I’ve put together a full album of Christmas and festive music for the most FABULOUS time of the year.

“I cannot wait to be back out there meeting more fans during this festive Christmas tour.”

Tickets go on sale at 10am Friday September 20 from  www.cuffeandtaylor.com

The tour opens at Bristol Hippodrome on Saturday, November 30, and will play the following dates:

SAT NOV 30 BRISTOL, HIPPODROME

SUN DEC 1 GLASGOW, SEC

MON DEC 2 MANCHESTER, BRIDGEWATER HALL

THURS 5 LONDON, EVENTIM APOLLO

FRI DEC 6 HARROGATE, CONVENTION CENTRE

MON DEC 9 PORTSMOUTH, GUILDHALL

THURS DEC 12 SHEFFIELD, CITY HALL

SAT DEC 14 OXFORD, NEW THEATRE

Born in Glasgow, John moved to the USA as a child, and now splits his time between Palm Springs in the USA, Cardiff and London.

 

He rose to fame starring as Billy Crocker opposite Elaine Paige in the musical Anything Goes at the National Theatre in 1989. He has since starred in West End productions of Miss Saigon, The Phantom of The Opera and Sunset Boulevard – reprising the role of Joe Gillis on Broadway. He was Olivier Award-nominated for his role in The Fix, and most recently in the West End he appeared as Albin/Zaza in La Cage Aux Folles in 2009.

On screen, John has appeared in five seasons of the hit American drama Arrow – based on the Green Arrow comic books – as Malcolm Merlyn (The Dark Archer), hosted Channel 4’s game show for dogs Superstar Dogs and The Small Animal Hospital, and guest-starred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

Perhaps his most famous TV role to date has been as the sci-fi hero, Captain Jack Harkness, in Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood. The show received BBC America’s best-ever viewing figures and was broadcast around the world.

As a presenter, John has hosted his own prime-time Saturday night BBC show Tonight’s The Night, making people’s performance dreams come true. He also presented The Kids Are All Right, BBC’s Live and Kicking, and Children in Need.

John’s stage stardom saw him served him well as a judge on BBC1’s Saturday night West End talent search shows, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?Any Dream Will Do, and I’d Do Anything. Earlier in his career, John competed in the first series of ITV’s Dancing on Ice and won the 2010 Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing.

Previous UK tours followed albums You Raise Me Up, Another Side, Music Music Music, John Barrowman, and The Very Best Of John Barrowman.

In collaboration with his sister Carole Barrowman, John has published two volumes of his autobiography (Anything Goes and I Am What I Am), the Hollow Earth and Orion Chronicles trilogies, Exodus Code (a Torchwood novel), Station Zero and The Culling (Torchwood comics), The Dark Archer (DC Comics), and Acursian (Legendary Comics).

Local Hero Emma Sayer Calls Time On Career In The Saddle With Memorable Ladies Night Win

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Cumbria’s very own Emma Sayer brilliantly brought the curtain down on her career as a jockey with an emotional and fitting win at Carlisle’s Ladies Night.

There was not a dry eye at the course as Hackthorpe-based Sayer – who is no stranger to Ladies Night winners at her home track down the years – led Redarna to victory in the On Your Marks Get Set Glo Handicap (Pro-Am Lady Riders’ Race).

It was horse and jockey’s second straight win following their brilliant triumph together at Ascot nine days ago.

Surrounded by friends and family, including proud mum Dianne who is Redarna’s trainer, 27-year-old Sayer confirmed her retirement from the saddle immediately after the race.

She said: “I’ve had so many great memories here at this course and to ride a winner here at my final meeting as a jockey, well I really couldn’t ask for more.

“It’s been an absolutely dream summer and I can’t tell you how proud I am of him (Redarna). He has won three time here this summer – what a horse.

“I knew tonight would be the perfect way to end. This is where I’m happiest and I can’t think of a better place than to bow out than at Carlisle.”

Sayer, who will now begin work training with her mother at the family yard, near Penrith, was not the only headline grabber at Ladies Night – the UK’s only all-female jockey race meeting.

Shelley Birkett landed a brilliant double on board Zealous for Alistair Whillans and Redrosezorro for EJ Alston in a closely contested 5f handicap.

Paula Muir was named leading jockey on the night after she landed one winner, two second places and a third in front of thousands of racegoers.

After leading heavily-backed favourite Gale Force Maya home for Michael Dods, Muir said: “It’s always nice to get a win but to get a win at a meeting as special as this really means something.”

In form Megan Nicholls followed up her recent win at Goodwood with an impressive victory on 9/1 shot Moonlit Sands in the 5f Handicap Stakes ahead of Gorgeous General and Faye McManoman.

Nicholls said: “It was great to get the win. It’s a brilliant meeting, there are always packed fields and the paddock is always really busy as it was tonight. I’m really happy with that.”

There were also wins for Becky Smith on Stormin Norman, saddled by Micky Hammond, and Emily Easterby on Breathable who is trained by her father Tim.

Ladies Night was rounded off by a brilliant post-racing ‘Party In Paddock’ hosted by TV style guru Gok Wan. But not before Gok crowned Laura Penman the 2020 Style Stakes award winner.

Laura won a cool £2,000 after she was judged best dressed racegoer and she received her award alongside Ladies Night ambassador Hannah Jackson – Cumbria’s very own ‘Red Shepherdess’ – and Ladies Night’s Inspirational Lady Tracey Gannon, who is manager of Carlisle United Ladies Team.

Molly Dingwall, Carlisle Racecourse general manager, said: “It’s been a brilliant Ladies Night and to see so many racegoers dressed up and having a wonderful time with family and friends was really something.

“We saw some great racing on the track and all these incredible girls really gave it their all. Paula deservedly ended the meeting as our top jockey on the night and I was made up for Shelley with her brilliant double.

“We were delighted for Emma Sayer. She has been such a good friend of the course down the years and for her to ride a winner at her final meeting as a jockey will live with everyone who saw it for a very long time.

“We wish Emma every success in her new career working with her mum and we cannot wait to welcome her back here.”

Racing returns to Carlisle on Tuesday August 13 – the course’s Beer Festival Race Meeting. Gates open 3.10pm. First race 5.10pm. For more information go to thejockeyclub.co.uk/carlisle

80’s Music Festival Cruise Throwback returns with TONY HADLEY, SISTER SLEDGE and UB40

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Legendary 80s pop stars Tony Hadley, Sister Sledge and UB40 will headline Throwback 2019 – the 1980s luxury party cruise.

Final plans are now being made for what will be another unmissable three-night Throwback roundtrip Southampton-Le Havre-Southampton in October.

The inaugural Throwback last year saw headline performances from a string of 80s artists including The Human League, OMD, Erasure’s Andy Bell, and Jason Donovan.

Passengers on the sold-out cruise transported themselves back into the decade and now the fabulous and flamboyant pop music of the 1980s is being celebrated once again as Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas takes passengers on the coolest 80s themed music festival at sea.

Performing alongside the headline acts for Throwback 2019 will be British Eurovision favourites The Fizz (formerly Bucks Fizz) and Brother Beyond frontman Nathan Moore while the 80s favourite DJs Gary Davies and Pat Sharp will provide entertainment throughout the cruise.

As part of the trip, passengers will also get the opportunity to enjoy a great day ashore in Le Havre.

Packages for this full-on music festival at sea are on sale now priced from £589. For more details go to www.FloatingFestivals.co.uk

This luxurious Throwback cruise is produced by Floating Festivals.

Unlike other charter cruises, Floating Festivals replaces the usual cruise ship entertainment programme transforming the ship into a full 1980s experience. From hit movies and TV shows of the time to your favourite DJs and pop acts, passengers are taken right back to the decade of fun pop.

Floating Festivals is the brainchild of cruise entertainment expert Jonathan Blackburn.

Jonathan said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing Throwback back for 2019. The reaction to our first ever Throwback cruise was phenomenal, and it is safe to say our passengers had an absolute blast.

“The ship was awash with passengers who were on a mission to go back in time to the 80s and celebrate the icons and music of the decade.

“Throwback is no ordinary music festival – you don’t have to traipse through mud and worry about your tent getting wet, instead our festival-goers get to enjoy three fabulous days at sea in the lap of luxury while partying like they’re back in the 80s.

“And it’s not just a few headline acts, Throwback is a 100% full-on 80s experience with a schedule packed with events including themed pop quizzes, Q&As with the stars and of course, karaoke.

“Our maiden voyage was fantastic and 2019 will be even bigger!”

As well as being part of Floating Festivals passengers will be able to enjoy all the amazing features of the Explorer of the Seas including a miniature golf course, the unique FlowRider surf simulator, the signature Royal Caribbean Rock Wall, ground-breaking virtual balcony cabins, the Vegas style Casino Royale, luxurious Vitality Spa & Fitness Centre, three pools, six whirlpools, Outdoor Cinema and a selection of luxury Boutique Shopping experiences.

All Floating Festivals packages also include complimentary à la carte restaurant and buffet dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Speciality Restaurants are also available for an additional charge.

Throwback will depart Southampton for three nights from 11 October 2019 and includes a full day in the port city of Le Havre.

For more details go to www.FloatingFestivals.co.uk

Tracy Gannon named Carlisle Racecourse’s Inspirational Woman of The Year

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Carlisle Racecourse is delighted to announce our Inspirational Woman of the Year for Ladies Night 2020 is Tracy Gannon.

Tracy, who is the manager of Carlisle United FC’s Ladies team, was nominated by the readers of the News & Star in recognition of her tireless dedication to women’s football in Cumbria.

Tracy, 52, has been promoting and coaching football throughout the county for the past 30 years and, in the process, has encouraged many girls to take up the sport.

So, the racecourse is delighted Tracy will be at Ladies Night as its very special guest.

She will enjoy a VIP day at the UK’s only all-female jockey race meeting before she watches the running of a race named in her honour – the 8.45 Tracy Gannon Inspirational Lady Glo & Glo Handicap (Pro-Am Lady Riders’ Race).

Tracy and her guests will then present the prize to the winning jockey and trainer.

When Tracy, who also works as a sports development officer engaging with ex-offenders and introducing them to teamwork, heard a race was being named in her honour she did not take it seriously at first.

Tracy said: “I thought the girls were winding me up! It was a complete and utter surprise. It’s not why you do it, but it’s nice to know that the time and effort are being recognised.

“If it gets the message out there about women’s football it’s good for the sport.”

Tracy also has a family connection to the racecourse as her great-great grandfather John Faulkner was an acclaimed jockey.

Carlisle Racecourse General manager Molly Dingwall said: “When we knew Tracy had been nominated by News & Star readers, and we got to find out about what she has achieved for women in sport, it became clear she was the perfect choice for Inspirational Lady 2020.

“Ladies Night here at Carlisle – the UK’s only all-female jockey race night – is a very special event as we celebrate and promote women in sport.

“Tracy has been doing that for many years at Carlisle United and so we are honoured she will join us our Inspirational Woman of the Year.”

Joining Tracy as special guest on ladies Night will be TV fashion guru Gok Wan – who is hosting a post-racing ‘Party in the Paddock’ DJ set – and Hannah Jackson, Cumbria’s very own “Red Shepherdess” who is our Ladies Night ambassador.

To read more about Tracy Gannon being named our Inspirational Woman of The Year 2020 go to www.newsandtsar.co.uk

Tickets for Ladies Night are on sale now via carlisle.thejockeyclub.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3002. Gates open on Monday August 5 at 2.45pm. First race is 5.45pm. Gok Wan’s DJ set will start after the last race.

 

Pop legend Kylie dazzles on Yorkshire coast

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Pop legend Kylie Minogue, last night, performed a dazzling show in front of a sell-out crowd at Scarborough Open Air Theatre.

8,000 fans danced the night away as Kylie delivered a non-stop set of hits which included Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Love At First Sight, Dancing, Step Back In Time, On A Night Like This, Hand On Your Heart, Kids, Confide In Me, All The Lovers before a brilliant show-closing rendition of Spinning Around.

Gok Wan gives his top fashion tips ahead of most stylish night of the year

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International fashion guru Gok Wan is offering Carlisle racegoers some handy hints and tips about how to win in the Ladies Night fashion stakes.

The star of TV’s How To Look Good Naked and Gok’s Clothes Roadshow is the special guest at Carlisle Racecourse’s annual Ladies Night meeting on Monday August 5.

As well as taking to the DJ decks, to lead the not-to-be-missed post-racing ‘Party In The Paddock’, Gok will also crown Cumbria’s most stylish racegoer.

For the second year running the racecourse is holding its Ladies Night ‘Style Awards’ which will see the best dressed racegoer walk away with a cheque for a cool £2,000.

Ladies Night – the UK’s only all-female jockey race meeting – is a hugely popular fixture in Cumbria’s social calendar, one which oozes chic, style, glamour and fun.

So, what are Gok’s top fashion tips ahead of Ladies Night?

 He said: “My top 3 race fashion tips are…

Be comfortable. Being at the races is like being at the biggest wedding of your life so ensure you have some comfortable shoes, even if you want to wear heels on the day, pack some flats.

Do some form of customising. Race day is all about showing yourself off and is one of the biggest catwalks in the world so make sure you look unique and beautiful.

Make sure all your accessories show your personality. Whether that’s a clash of prints, a clash of colour, an enormous hat or the most beautiful demur fascinator – it’s got to show you!

What are your race day essentials for ladies to pack in their bags to ensure they have a stylish day without any fashion disasters?

“A top-up of makeup, a change of lipstick for the evening because you’ll usually end up staying for the party. Flat shoes, some form of cushion pad or plaster for the balls of your feet, and of course your race programme.”

Do you have any top tips for men attending the races who want to make a style statement?

“Depending on where you go, and how strict the dress code of the race meetings are, the lining of your suits, your socks, your tie, and all your accessories will become the biggest part of your expression. Keep it colourful, keep it bright and if I was you, I would clash the hell out of it.”

 What are your top three songs to play on Spotify when getting ready for a big event such as the races?

“Rosie Gaines, Closer Than Close, Sandstorm, and Free From Desire.”

What are you most looking forward to at Carlisle Racecourse? What makes DJ’ing at racecourses different to any other gig?

“Racecourses for a DJ are an absolute dream; you have a ready-made party of hundreds or thousands of people who are there purely to have fun. There is nothing better than being a DJ and looking out into the crowd when they are jumping to your tunes.”

Tickets for Ladies Night are on sale now via carlisle.thejockeyclub.co.uk or by calling 0344 579 3002. Gates open on Monday August 5 at 2.45pm. First race is 5.45pm. Gok Wan’s DJ set will start after the last race.

 

Huge Line-Up for 2019 Musical Theatre Cruise

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The line-up for critically acclaimed musical theatre cruise Stages reads like a Who’s Who of the West End and Broadway.

This October will see the second outing for the UK’s only full on musical theatre festival at sea celebrating glitz, glamour and iconic hits.

And as limited availability remains for Floating Festivals four-day musical theatre extravaganza final preparations are being made before the red carpet is rolled out to welcome guests onboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.

Classical Brit Award winner Alfie Boe, Olivier and Bafta Award winner Sheridan Smith and the world’s most successful musical theatre group Collabro will headline this year’s Stages.

They will be joined by Smash hit West End and Broadway musical AVENUE Q whose shows are exclusive to Stages and will be the first time this hilarious show has ever been performed at a festival, let alone at sea!

Elsewhere passengers will learn the secrets behind brand new musical The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole when Pippa Clearly and Jake Brunger, the composers and writers of the West End’s newest musical, will provide an exclusive insight into this exciting new production.

Comedian and theatre/TV star Joe Pasquale will perform a stand-up show and Q&A, and award-winning UK Musical Director Nick Barstow will present a series of events including RE:Arrangement starring current Alice Fearn (Wicked), Noel Sullivan (Hearsay and West End star), Andy Coxon (West Side Story) and, Kelly Mathieson (Phantom of the Opera). All will be performing a series of shows and solo performances across the cruise and there will also be a not-to-be-missed group performance celebrating everything from Hammerstein to Hamilton.

For classical music lovers, West End stars Steph Parry (Mamma Mia!) and Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Alyn Hawkes (Follies) and Emma Housley (The Wizard of Oz) will present songs from the musicals of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

For musical theatre lovers who want to join in and take part, Stages is introducing the Stages Academy – a fully interactive programme of seminars, workshops and events getting into the backstage and behind the scenes element of the West End and Broadway.

Theatreland’s anonymous cult figure West End Producer is also back onboard, there will be a series of Q&A events with industry experts and media and each evening the West End’s best Cabaret Bar SingEasy will provide open mic sessions with all the stars, plus guests will be able to sing-a-long to their musical theatre favourites.

The four-night Stages roundtrip cruise Southampton-Dublin-Southampton takes place onboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas from October 14 – 18. For more information go to www.floatingfestivals.co.uk

This luxurious Stages cruise is produced by Floating Festivals.

Unlike other chartered cruises, Floating Festivals does not just replace the usual cruise ship entertainment programme, it transforms the ship into a full Musical Theatre floating resort.

Jonathan Blackburn, the brainchild behind Floating Festivals, said: “We are delighted with the line-up for Stages 2019.

“This is our second Stages festival. Last year passengers were blown away with the amount of entertainment and activities we had onboard and this year we are creating even more content.

“We have a fantastic line-up planned with performances from huge West End and Broadway stars, exclusive shows, the most hilarious musical theatre comedy with AVENUE Q, fascinating Q&As, the launch of Stages Academy and much more.

“Stages is no basic themed cruise, it is a true music festival at sea celebrating the crème de la crème of the West End and Broadway and gives our guests a 100% showbiz experience in the lap of luxury.”

As well as being part of Floating Festivals passengers will be able to enjoy all the amazing features of the Explorer of the Seas including a miniature golf course, the unique FlowRider surf simulator, the signature Royal Caribbean Rock Wall, ground-breaking virtual balcony cabins, the Vegas style Casino Royale, luxurious Vitality Spa & Fitness Centre, three pools, six whirlpools, Outdoor Cinema and a selection of luxury Boutique Shopping experiences.

All Floating Festivals packages also include complimentary à la carte restaurant and buffet dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Speciality Restaurants are also available for an additional charge.

Stages will depart Southampton for four nights from 14 October 2019 and includes a full day in Dublin.

For more details go to www.FloatingFestivals.co.uk

Q&A With Kerry Ellis As The West End & Broadway Star Gets Ready To Join Rock Tribute Royalty

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She is one of the UK’s biggest musical theatre stars – and has forged a career in music with the guidance and mentoring of Queen’s Brian May – and now Kerry Ellis is preparing for a brand-new show which will premiere at Scarborough Open Air Theatre this summer.

The all-new show Queen Machine Symphonic featuring Kerry Ellis will see Queen’s greatest hits performed by leading European tribute band Queen Machine accompanied by the London Symphonic Rock Orchestra and conducted by Matthew Freeman, creating an unforgettable night of rock anthems.

Kerry Ellis is the UK’s leading lady of musical theatre, who originated the role of Meat, in Queen musical We Will Rock You. Since then, she’s forged a long-standing musical relationship and friendship with Queen guitarist Brian May, who describes the stage star as having “Britain’s most beautiful voice”.

Brian produced Kerry’s debut album Anthems, and they jointly released the follow up Golden Days in 2017, as well as extensively touring the UK and Europe together. The Scarborough Open Air Theatre premiere on August 31 comes ahead of the UK tour in April 2020.

We caught up with Kerry for a chat about her long-standing relationship with Queen’s music, preparations for the Queen Machine Symphonic show, and open-air performances.

 

HOW DOES A MUSICAL THEATRE LEADING LADY END UP LINKED TO ONE OF THE GREATEST ROCK BANDS OF ALL TIME?

I met Brian May a long time ago. Before I auditioned for We Will Rock You I was in My Fair Lady and he ask me to audition for the show. I met him and Roger Taylor and worked with them closely, developing the musical. I have gone on to work with Brian for almost 15 years now, touring the UK and Europe, writing songs, putting albums together. I feel comfortable, grateful and special to be singing those songs in that environment, and that I have Brian’s blessing to do it.

SO, TELL US ABOUT QUEEN MACHINE SYMPHONIC…

There are orchestral versions of Queen’s music out there, their music has been translated for an orchestra, and people do concerts celebrating Queen – but this set up hasn’t been done before; an orchestra, the rock band and then me singing. I’m so excited about it.

It’s going to be really unusual. It’s going to be something quite special, and I can’t wait to get started. When the offer came along, it sounded interesting and like a unique experience, and I love singing these songs and in different environments, and with passionate groups of people – which I know the band and orchestra will be.

YOU’VE DONE A LOT OF WORK WITH BRIAN MAY, HOW DOES HE FEEL ABOUT BANDS PAYING TRIBUTE TO QUEEN’S MUSIC? HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO HIM ABOUT THIS SHOW – AND WILL HE BE COMING ALONG TO SOAT?

When the Queen Machine Symphonic opportunity came up, I let Brian know about it and asked what he thought. The Queen Machine guys have played for one of the Freddie celebrations and are very much welcomed in the Queen family. They’re very well established, and they are huge in Europe.

Brian enjoys that people play their music still today and embraces that tribute bands are able to take it out there around the world. And that’s another reason why the music is so timeless – that so many people are still performing it and honouring Queen.

I hope Brian will be coming. He does come and support a lot of what I do, whatever he can get to, so I’m sure if the schedule permits, but it’s often a nightmare – with touring the world.

HOW ARE PREPARATIONS GOING FOR THE SHOW?

It’s not easy to put all that together, a band and orchestra will naturally pull in different ways, so it’s going to be challenging but really interesting as we get into rehearsals. And then there’s putting a rehearsal schedule together for everyone to come together… It’s a logistical nightmare, but there’s already a huge amount of work going into everyone’s preparations and pre-production and I can’t wait for it to come together.

YOU’VE BEEN SINGING QUEEN’S SONGS FOR MANY YEARS NOW. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE?

The song that is very close to my heart is No One But You. I sang that in We Will Rock You way back when and have recorded it and performed it with Brian around the world. We did it on our tour and at one point he said to me ‘It’s your song now, love it and enjoy it’. I’ve just got so many connections with it now – and it works brilliantly with an orchestra, so I’m sure we’ll be creating new memories with it in this show and tour.

WERE YOU A FAN OF QUEEN’S MUSIC BEFORE WE WILL ROCK YOU CAME ALONG?

I grew up with it; my dad was a fan and played a lot of rock music, and I listened to bands and acts like Meat Loaf, Status Quo, Bon Jovi, but also artistes like Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion. I was brought up with it but it became such a part of my life.

But really, everybody knows Queen’s music. The interesting thing today, is there’s a new generation of people interested in the music, because of the Bohemian Rhapsody film, with Queen touring with Adam Lambert, and the music is always used in films and adverts – you’re always hearing it.

I’m very proud that have a very deep connection with the music and the band and I’m very grateful for that. I always feel honoured and privileged to be doing their music with their blessing.

It’s been a big thing for me too; I always had a music career alongside musical theatre, but it probably wouldn’t have happened in the same way without that connection with Brian. He has influenced me in so many ways. Performing together on tour, and in the studio, he has educated me on putting an album together, something I had never done before. He’s been a kind of mentor to me and has helped me use the tools to make my own music.

HAVE YOU VISITED SCARBOROUGH OPEN AIR THEATRE BEFORE AND DO YOU ENJOY OUTDOOR SHOWS?

I’ve done a few open-air shows in the past and really enjoy them. It’s quite a British thing; we like braving the elements and hoping for the best. It’s exciting as a performer too, I don’t get to do them too often though. One which sticks in my mind was Lytham Festival a few years ago, and the heavens opened as I was singing Defying Gravity from Wicked – it was just a crazy moment, and so many people seem to remember it. I haven’t played the Open Air Theatre in Scarborough yet – but I’ve looked it up, and it’s beautiful so I can’t wait.

BESIDES PREPARING FOR QUEEN MACHINE SYMPHONIC, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WORKING ON?

I’m working on some new music. I’ve not done an album of all originals before, so I’m working with writers again now. And I’m in talks with Brian again about touring or new music. A lot of concerts are in the diary throughout the summer, and I’m off to Japan again next year – I went earlier this year and it was magical, as well as the Queen Machine Symphonic tour.

ALONGSIDE WE WILL ROCK YOU, THE OTHER SHOW YOU’RE BEST KNOWN FOR IS WICKED; AND A FILM IS IN THE MAKING…

Wicked was a huge show for my career. It took me to Broadway – that was on my bucket list but I never thought I would actually get to do it. And to be the first British girl to play Elphaba, amazing. It has been a big part of my life, and it’s a show and role which resonates with fans all over the world, who go on supporting you for years after too; it’s a worldwide phenomenon. I’ll always be grateful to Stephen Schwartz and to director Joe Mantello for that opportunity; people still want me to sing that song [Defying Gravity] even though I left the show years ago.

I would love to get involved with the film! I’m sure it will be cast in America, and of course they are young girls at school – and I’ve just had a big birthday so maybe it’s not going to happen, but maybe a little cameo would be wonderful.

Tickets for Queen Machine Symphonic at Scarborough Open Air Theatre are on sale now via www.scarboroughopenairtheatre.com or in person from Scarborough Open Air Theatre Box Office (01723 818111) and the Discover Yorkshire Coast Tourism Bureau (01723 383636).

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