ShentonSTAGE Daily for WEDNESDAY September 1

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Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily.

Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily. This daily theatre newsletter is e-mailed to subscribers every weekday, usually before 10am. It then appears on line here.

To subscribe to receive it in your e-mail inbox, please send an e-mail to:

There will be a hiatus in the daily weekday delivery of this newsletter after today, up to and including Sunday September 19. It will resume publication on Monday September 20. I’ll be in Barbados from tomorrow, and plan to take a break from most things theatre-related. So I won’t be writing my usual columns either.

I will continue to tweet, though, as and when there are significant theatre announcements. (But mostly I intend to tweet pictures of Caribbean beaches).

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These are the major London press nights I’ll be missing:

Thursday September 2

  • Rockets and Blue Lights (National’s Dorfman Theatre) August 25-October 9, press night September 2. Winsome Pinnock’s play is co-produced with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre where the play had to close in March 2020 having played only three previews.

Wednesday September 8

  • Frozen (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), from August 27, opens September 8. Michael Grandage brings his Broadway stage version of the Disney film to the West End, with a cast led by Samantha Barks as Elsa and Stephanie McKeon as Anna. Press contact: Kate Morley PR.

Thursday September 9

  • The Memory of Water (Hampstead Theatre, September 3 to October 16, press night September 9). Alice Hamilton will direct a new production of Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning play that first premiered at Hampstead in 1996, before transferring to the West End and later being adapted into the 2002 film Before You go. Press contact: Clare McCormack at Hampstead Theatre.

Monday September 13

  • Back to the Future — the Musical (Adelphi Theatre), from August 20, press night September 13. The film’s co-writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis adapt a stage musical version, with a cast led by Olly Dobson as Marty McFly and Broadway’s Roger Bart as Doc Brown. With original music by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard (Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror), alongside hit songs from the movie including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time, it is directed by John Rando. Press contact: Amanda Malpass PR.
  • Indecent (Menier Chocolate Factory) September 3-November 27, press night September 13. Paul Vogel’s Tony winning play receives its European premiere, with original director Rebecca Taichman directing a cast that comprises Cory English, Beverley Klein, Finbar Lynch, Molly Osborne, Alexandra Silber and Joseph Timms. The production was in previews in March 2020 when the arrival of the pandemic shut it down.

Wednesday September 15

  • Camp Siegfried (Old Vic, September 7-October 30, press night September 15). Patsy Ferran and Luke Thallon star in the world premiere of Bess Wohl’s story of two teenagers embarking on a first relationship at a summer camp run exclusively for American youth of German descent. Press contacts: Hannah Stockton, Kitty Greenleaf, Jo Allan at Jo Allan PR.
  • The Lodger (Coronet Theatre) September 10-October 9, press night Sept 15. Geraldine Alexander directs Penny Downie, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Matthew Tennyson and Iniki Mariano in the world premiere of Robert Holman’s play. Press contact: Sharon Kean.

Thursday September 16

  • Is God Is (Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, September 10-October 23, press night September 16) Royal Court associate director Ola Ince directs the UK premiere of Aleshea Harris’s revenge taler about two women seeking justice and taking control of their own narratives, that has previously won an Obie Award in New York.

A Theatrical Provocation…..

Twitter, of course, is a place where people let off steam…. and not everything said there should be taken seriously, or amplified more than it already is. But I was very struck yesterday by a thread posted by young(ish) producer and theatre maker Adam Lenson, who recently oversaw the transfer of a new musical he produced to the West End (Public Domain, after a prior digital-only version was live-streamed from Southwark Playhouse).

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He has just published a vigorous defence of musical theatre itself, called BREAKING INTO SONG, that is subtitled “Why you shouldn’t hate musicals” (published by 

But he’s ready to pour serious scorn on the two most prominent figures behind the success of British musical theatre in the last fifty years — who’ve parlayed that success into becoming the two most dominant theatre owners in the West End as well, which makes the powerful figures to cross, as well.

And yet he fearlessly tweeted this thread:

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It’s true that when either of them speak, people listen. And that means that there’s less room to hear anyone else. It’s not entirely true that they “don’t give it back” — both have foundations that give out a great deal of money to theatrical causes, whether visibly (in the case of Lloyd Webber’s donations to ArtsEd that have seen its theatre named after him) or behind the scenes (in numerous scholarships and bursaries they’ve funded).

But a lot of the frustration Adam expresses comes from how unguardedly both have (mis)spoken recently: Lloyd Webber in failing to recognise that others have produced new musicals during the pandemic, and Cinderella is far from the first and only new show in town; and Mackintosh, with his apparent casual dismissal of the casting of trans performers as a “casting gimmick”.

Both could be said to be theatrical dinosaurs, relics from another age that they dominated for over four decades, but is now moving on. Though Lloyd Webber toys with his own social media channels — posting videos to twitter and Facebook — they are in urgent need of addressing their ways of handling their crisis management.

It doesn’t work to portray themselves as the sole victims of the pandemic, as Lloyd Webber’s frustration with the government over the opening of his production of Cinderella was played out, or making misguided statements on a very hot topic that Mackintosh finally claimed in his Monday evening tweet had been misinterpreted.


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SEE YOU NEXT HERE ON SEPTEMBER 20…But if you can’t wait that long, you may find me on Twitter (only intermittently, I hope) between now and then: