Britain's Got Talent's Amanda Holden signs deal to star in Palladium extravaganza

Britain's Got Talent's Amanda Holden signs deal to star in Palladium extravaganza


Amanda Holden will be flying around the London Palladium as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.

Oh, yes she will!

The Britain’s Got Talent judge has just signed a deal to star with Paul O’Grady (Wicked Stepmother), Julian Clary (Dandini), Lee Mead (Prince Charming) and Nigel Havers (Lord Chamberlain) in the Palladium extravaganza, which will run for five weeks from December 9.

Amanda Holden will be flying around the London Palladium as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella

Amanda Holden will be flying around the London Palladium as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella

The Britain's Got Talent judge has just signed a deal to star in the Palladium extravaganza, which will run for five weeks from December 9

The Britain’s Got Talent judge has just signed a deal to star in the Palladium extravaganza, which will run for five weeks from December 9

Michael Harrison, the show’s producer, told me that he wooed the actress for several months, and was in negotiations with her until she had settled her commitments to BGT.

Holden is also doing another show — Stepping Out — which luckily finishes in time for her to rehearse for the panto.

Part of her preparation will be to look as if she’s flying effortlessly out from the stage and over the audience.

Costume designer Hugh Durrant will meet with the actress to discuss the sequin count on her gown. ‘It will be a spectacular frock,’ Harrison promised.

The £4 million production will also have Clary doing a loop-the-loop on a pink moped.

Holden is also doing another show — Stepping Out — which luckily finishes in time for her to rehearse for the panto
Holden is also doing another show — Stepping Out — which luckily finishes in time for her to rehearse for the panto

Holden is also doing another show — Stepping Out — which luckily finishes in time for her to rehearse for the panto

Cinderella will be the first panto at the Palladium in nearly three decades and the idea clearly has appeal, because more than £1.4 million worth of tickets have been sold already.

Gary Hind has written some special numbers, including an opening song called On Argyle Street (the Palladium’s address). ‘We’re setting the show on Argyle Street: the place where Cinder-ella lives,’ said Harrison, full of unseasonal Yuletide cheer.

What a batty show 

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell is swooping on to the British stage.

The show, based on the best-selling album — which featured super-sized singer Meat Loaf belting out Steinman’s songs, and which has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide — will run at the Manchester Opera House from February 17 until April 29.

Jay Scheib, who is directing the show, said that Steinman had originally conceived Bat Out Of Hell as a futuristic adaptation of Peter Pan.

Jim Steinman's Bat Out Of Hell featured super-sized singer Meat Loaf (pictured) belting out Steinman's songs

Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell featured super-sized singer Meat Loaf (pictured) belting out Steinman’s songs

‘It was always meant for the stage; and this really works like an opera,’ he said, as he showed me footage of workshops he has overseen in New York.

Steinman said the stage show will primarily be based on the first Bat Out Of Hell album, but may use music from subsequent Bat LPs. There will also be a couple of new songs.

Scheib and Steinman have been busy, cutting the show’s book.

Steinman said the stage show will primarily be based on the best-selling album Bat Out Of Hell

Steinman said the stage show will primarily be based on the best-selling album Bat Out Of Hell

‘The story can be told through the songs. We keep cutting dialogue, because for the most part it’s redundant,’ said Scheib, who enjoys a reputation in the U.S. as an innovative director of theatre and opera.

He explained that Bat Out Of Hell is about ‘never growing up. And never getting old. And always being in love! That’s rock’n’roll.’

I’ve been listening to the album again after a gap of nearly 20 years, and he’s right: it still seems incredibly vital.

The creative team have auditioned hundreds of actors for roles — including Benjamin Purkiss (left) and Christina Bennington (middle) pictured with director Jay Scheib

The creative team have auditioned hundreds of actors for roles — including Benjamin Purkiss (left) and Christina Bennington (middle) pictured with director Jay Scheib

The creative team have auditioned hundreds of actors for roles — including Benjamin Purkiss and Christina Bennington, who are likely to appear in the show, which will be heading down to the London Coliseum next summer, after its Opera-House run.

Tickets for Manchester are available from today at batoutofhellmusical.com.

Watch out for… 

Jimmy Nsubuga, who has directed a gripping short film called Ghosts In Time, which features Karla-Simone Spence as a young woman who, with help from a friend (Leo Bidewell), goes back in time to try to save her mother from being shot. It made me eager to see what Nsubuga will do next. I hope he gets to make feature movies because he has a real talent for story-telling, and he knows how to get the rhythm right. Ghosts In Time will be shown at the British Urban Film Festival in September.

Jimmy Nsubuga (pictured), who has directed a gripping short film called Ghosts In Time, goes back in time to try to save her mother from being shot

Jimmy Nsubuga (pictured), who has directed a gripping short film called Ghosts In Time, goes back in time to try to save her mother from being shot

Sope Dirisu, who will portray Cassius Clay in Kemp Powers’s fictional play One Night In Miami. It’s about what happened following Clay’s historic victory over slugger Sonny Liston in Florida on February 25, 1964. Powers imagines the boxer in a hotel room with Malcom X, the top minister for the Nation of Islam, singer Sam Cooke and actor and sportsman Jim Brown.

In real life, the following day Clay confirmed his membership in the Nation of Islam. Weeks later, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali.

Londoner Kwame Kwei-Armah, who has been directing and running theatres in the US., will direct the play’s UK premiere at the Donmar Warehouse from October 6.

The cast also features Francois Battiste as Malcom X, Arinze Kene as Cooke, and David Ajala as Brown. 

Sope Dirisu (pictured) will portray Cassius Clay in Kemp Powers's fictional play One Night In Miami

Sope Dirisu (pictured) will portray Cassius Clay in Kemp Powers’s fictional play One Night In Miami



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