Freedom Orchestra - An orchestra of Ukrainian refugees will take centre stage at this year's Proms, alongside concerts by Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Cynthia Erivo. The newly-formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra features players who recently fled the war, alongside Ukrainian musicians from European orchestras.
Ukraine is granting an exemption to the military-age male musicians, allowing them to leave the country and play. Conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson said they would "honour those who have died". The orchestra will perform at the Proms on 31 July, two weeks after the season launches.
Off Stage - Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella is to close in the West End after a disjointed 12-month run. The musical, which is playing at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, will close on 12 June, having begun previewing in June 2021. It comes as the creative team of the show prepare to launch the musical on Broadway, where it will preview from February 2023, ahead of a March opening.
Lloyd Webber said in a statement: “I am incredibly proud of Cinderella. Not only did it get some of the best reviews of my career, but we led the charge to reopen the West End, ensuring that theatre and live entertainment remained relevant and in the news. While mounting a new show in the midst of COVID has been an unbelievable challenge, we held the government’s feet to the flames throughout their changes of heart during the pandemic.”
He added: “Now, I am really excited to get to work putting together a new production with [production company] No Guarantees for Broadway. Thank you very much to everyone involved, particularly our UK audiences who have loved and supported the show. See you next March on Broadway.”
Baskerville Bingo - Digital Theatre has announced it is moving into live streaming for the first time. The organisation currently provides Netflix-style on-demand theatre viewing as well as educational resources via its Digital Theatre+ platform. It has now announced plans to host content that is live and as-live, which means it has been pre-recorded but is broadcast at a specific time as if it were a live event.
The first show to be announced is the Original Theatre’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. A pre-recorded version of the production will be streamed on 7 May and live-hosted by comedian Pippa Evans. General manager at Digital Theatre, Stuart Barr, said: "Pippa is going to be interviewing one of the actors and we’re going to make it very interactive on social media with questions and answers and a lot of game playing – we’re playing Baskerville bingo.”
Jazz is Back - After two years of muted, smaller-scale shows, Cheltenham Jazz Festival returns in full for 2022, with 84 concerts over eight weeks, featuring more than 3,000 musicians. Festival organisers and musicians said they were happy to see the event back as it has a "special place in their hearts".
This year's festival, which began on 27 April, will also include a performance commemorating the BBC's 100th anniversary. Local artist Chloe Gorman said it "means the world" to play at the event. She added that it was "amazing" to perform on the same bill as "legends" such as Gregory Porter and Robert Plant.
Farewell - Tributes have been paid to US country music star Naomi Judd, who has died at the age of 76. The Kentucky-born singer was part of the Grammy award-winning duo The Judds, performing with her daughter Wynonna. The pair had a string of hits, including Love Can Build a Bridge, and were due to be inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday. But Judd's death was announced a day earlier by Wynonna and her other daughter Ashley, an actor.
(Jim Evans)
3 May 2022

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