Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein

Menier Chocolate Factory has announced that booking is now open for the first major London revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Tony award-winning comedy-drama, Torch Song Trilogy, directed by Douglas Hodge.

Torch Song Trilogy tells the poignant story of an outsider’s search for love and acceptance. Drag queen Arnold encounters passion, thrills, love and loss. This intimate and powerful play is bursting with courage and sharp wit, as Arnold fights for his place in the world and his right to happiness.

Douglas Hodge returns to the Chocolate Factory in a directorial role after last appearing in his Olivier and Tony award-winning role of Albin in the Chocolate Factory’s production of La Cage aux Folles, which was also written by Harvey Fierstein.

The role of Arnold will be played by David Bedella.  David was last seen at the Chocolate Factory in the European premiere of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Road Show.  His performance as Satan in Jerry Springer the Opera won him an Olivier award.  Other theatre credits include Billy Flynn in Chicago (Garrick) and Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show (West End and UK tour).

The role of Arnold’s mother, Mrs Beckoff, will be played by Sara Kestelman.  Sara has worked extensively in theatre, TV and film.  She is currently appearing in the Donmar Warehouse production of Making Noise Quietly.  Sara’s other theatre credits include Copenhagen (National Theatre and Duchess), Nine (Donmar) and Cabaret (Donmar) for which she won an Olivier award for her performance as Fraulein Schneider.

For more information, please visit: MCF

The Menier Chocolate Factory presents Pippin from 22nd Nov 2011 – 25th Feb 2012

The Menier Chocolate Factory presents Pippin, in a vivid and bold re-imagining of this darkly enjoyable musical…

In this coming-of-age story, Pippin, heir to the throne of Charlemagne, ventures on a quest of self-discovery, but in doing so our hero must face the uncertain worlds of warfare, love, politics and religion.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (composer of Wicked and Godspell ) and book by Roger O. Hirson, The Menier Chocolate Factory’s new version has been completely re-conceived, directed and choreographed, incorporating Bob Fosse’s original Tony Award-winning routines, by Mitch Sebastian.

Harry Hepple (The 25th Annual Puttman Country Spelling Bee at the Donmar) will be playing the title role, Pippin. Ian Kelsey (best known for his television roles in Blue Murder, Where the Heart Is, Down to Earth, Casualty and Emmerdale) will be playing Charlemagne. Olivier nominated Matt Rawle (title role in Zorro at the Garrick and Che in Evita at the Adelphi) will be playing the Leading Player. Tony Award-winner Frances Ruffelle plays Fastrada (best known for creating the role of Eponine in Les Miserables). The cast also includes Carly Bawden, (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – Gielgud Theatre). Stuart Neal, (La Cage Aux Folles – Playhouse Theatre, Piaf – Donmar and The Lord of the Rings – Theatre Royal, Drury Lane); and David Page, (Chicago – Cambridge Theatre). Also in the cast are Ben Bunce, Bob Harms, Holly James, Anabel Kutay, David McMullan and Kate Tydman. 

Book tickets for Pippin at The Menier Chocolate Factory!

Judith Owen’s After Show Concert at Menier’s Chocolate Factory this March

The extraordinary music talent, singer songwriter Judith Owen will perform a special concert after the Sunday matinee performance of Ruby Wax – Losing It, in which she co-stars, on March 13th at 6.30pm. She will be performing songs from that show and from her many popular albums.

Over the past year, Judith has been enjoying a huge success in the UK with the tour of Losing It and now its run at Menier’s Chocolate Factory, the release of her eighth album Beautiful Damage along with its single Emily and sell out shows at The Purcell Rooms and Ronnie Scotts. In addition to this, the artist, described by Jamie Cullum as ”sassy and intelligent – the female Randy Newman”, has recently published her 64 page folio of sheet music entitled The
Judith Owen Song Book.

Last summer she was selected to perform by the great Richard Thompson at his Meltdown Festival at The Festival Hall in his song cycle Cabaret of Souls and in his hit concert 1,000 Years of Popular Music.

“Judith Owen stands out like a clean shirted substitute on a muddy Welsh rugby field. She is one of the great talents of her generation.” RICHARD THOMPSON

“One of the most passionate, mesmerizing, thoroughly creative artists on the scene today.” CASSANDRA WILSON

“Beautiful” k. d. lang

Judith Owen has boldly followed her muse, releasing recordings on Courgette Records that have captivated fans, fellow artists and the most discerning critics.

Equal parts musicality, personality and wit, Owen’s music combines pop, rock, jazz, classical, R&B and theatrical influences. Variety effusively described her as “a charmer and a seducer, a rocker and a jazz chanteuse.” The Los Angeles Times has portrayed Owen as “a drier, hipper Norah Jones who is whip smart, soulfully cool and deeply introspective.” And from a recent Boston Globe Arts cover story: “Owen’s voice is gorgeous. It’s a phenomenally forthright instrument that whispers when necessary and wails when the moment calls for candor.” Judith is best known to UK audiences as the exquisite voice of Richard Thompson’s ‘1000 Years of Popular Music’ and ‘Cabaret of Souls’.

Owen’s live performances brim with humour and theatrics, distinguishing her from other female singer/songwriters. With worldlywisdom beyond her years, Judith turns suffering into divine lyrical melodies, as she draws on her life-long battle with depression and lays this as the foundation of her latest release, The Beautiful Damage Collection which features songs from Ruby Wax-Losing It.

For more information on Judith Owen visit

London Premiere of Jack Rosenthal’s SMASH! at Menier Chocolate Factory

SMASH! by Jack Rosenthal will open at the Menier Chocolate Factory from (Previews: 24th March – 30th March) until 8th May 2011. All-star cast includes Tom Conti, Kerry Shale and Natalie Walter… with more to be announced soon!

According to Stephen Sondheim, “Musical comedies aren’t written – they’re re-written”.

Smash is Jack Rosenthal’s hilarious but scathing look at the journey to get a musical from page to stage, complete with a cantankerous composer, a fantasist lyricist, a neophyte female novelist turned playwright, a cocksure director and a bombastic producer.

Based on his own experience of turning his hit tv play Bar Mitzvah Boy into a (less-than-successful) musical, this is the London premiere of one of Rosenthal’s wittiest and, until now, rarely seen, plays.

JACK ROSENTHAL, one of Britain’s greatest TV dramatists died in 2004 leaving behind a legacy of plays, films and television series, that include some of the finest dramas ever broadcast on television. He penned acclaimed BBC dramas such as Spend, Spend, Spend; The Knowledge; Bar Mitzvah Boy and devised the popular fire-brigade saga London’s Burning. He was also a regular contributor to Coronation Street.

Of his eight feature films Yentl, with Barbara Streisand was his best known. He also contributed un-credited work on the blockbuster smash Chicken Run.

Jack was awarded a CBE in 1994 for services to drama.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love at Menier Chocolate Factory for Limited Run!

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love is coming to Menier Chocolate Factory from 7th July – 26th September 2010.

Music is given by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black & Charles Hart – based on the novella by David Garnett.

Trevor Nunn returns to the Chocolate Factory to direct the first major London revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart’s Aspects of Love starring Katherine Kingsley and Michael Arden.

Based on David Garnett’s novel of the same name, the musical tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their companions set against the background of 1940’s France and Italy. Alex Dillingham, a young student travelling through France, falls in love with the alluring actress Rose Vibert. As the pair embark on a passionate affair, the unexpected arrival of Alex’s uncle changes their lives forever. A love story spanning twenty years binding six people and three generations as they come to appreciate that love changes everything.

First produced at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on 17th April 1989, where it ran for 1,325 performances before finally closing on 20th June 1992.


Michael Arden
Martin Ellis
Katherine Kingsley
Louisa Lydell

Creative Team

Director – Trevor Nunn
Designs – David Farley
Musical Supervisor – Caroline Humphris
Choreography – Lynne Page
Lighting – Paul Pyant
Sound – Gareth Owen
Orchestrations – David Cullen
Musical Director – Tom Murray

Book Tickets for Aspects of Love at Menier Chocolate Factory!

Sweet Charity will transfer to Theatre Royal Haymarket in April

The Sell-out Menier Chocolate Factory Producttion will transfers to Theatre Royal Haymarket from 23rd of April.

Tamzin Outhwaite, who plays the title role of Charity Hope Valentine, will lead the cast in the West End transfer of the Tony Award-winning musical, Sweet Charity.

Sweet Charity follows the misadventures of love encountered by the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a woman who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man. Cy Coleman’s score features favourite hits such as Hey, Big Spender; If My Friends Could See Me Now and The Rhythm of Life.

With book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields, is directed by Matthew Wright, choreography is by Stephen Mear, set design by Tim Shortall, costume design by Matthew Wright, musical supervision and direction by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by Chris Walker, lighting by David Howe and sound design by Gareth Owen.

Book Tickets for Sweet Charity at Theatre Royal Haymarket, London!

The Willy Russell Season at The Menier Chocolate Factory

The Menier Chocolate Factory will present the first major London revivals of Willy Russell’s award-winning Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine from 26th March – 8th May 2010.

Jeremy Sams will direct Larry Lamb and Laura Dos Santos in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita.
Much to the dismay of her husband Denny, Rita, a young, brash hairdresser, has recently discovered a passion for English literature and enrols with the Open University. Her fresh, unschooled reaction to the classics challenges the attitudes of the University and her lecturer Frank who begins to question his own understanding of his work and himself.

Educating Rita, originally commissioned by Liverpool Everyman Theatre, transferred to the West End in 1974. In1983 Russell’s semi-autobiographical play was made into a film starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine. Educating Rita was the recipient of the Oliver Award for Best Comedy as well as receiving Academy, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations.

Glen Walford will direct Meera Syal in Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine.
Meet Shirley: a middle-aged Liverpudlian housewife who talks to the wall whilst preparing her husband’s egg and chips. She’s in a rut. What has happened to her life? When her best friend wins an all-expenses-paid vacation for two to Greece she packs her bags, heads for the sun and starts to see the world and herself rather differently….

Shirley Valentine received its world premiere on stage in Liverpool in 1986 before the production opened in the West End two years later with Pauline Collins playing the title role, directed by Simon Callow. Shirley Valentine was the recipient of the Olivier Award for Best Comedy and as well as being BAFTA nominated the film won the Evening Standard Best Screenplay Award.

Hannah Waddingham Performing Live at the Chocolate Factory

Ms Hannah Waddingham, the Olivier Award Nominated actress will be performing a cabaret show at the Menier Chocolate Factory for ONE WEEK ONLY!

Best known as Desiree Armfeldt in our very own A Little Night Music as well as the showstopping Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, don’t miss your chance to spend an intimate evening with this West End and Broadway star!
Backed by a superb 6 piece band, Ms Waddingham will be performing a selection of stunning songs – everything from swing and show tunes to pop and jazz with musical direction by Chris Walker.

Sweet Charity Now on Sale!

Following in our tradition of hugely successful Christmas season musical revivals, this year we are delighted to announce that Tamzin Outhwaite will star as Charity Hope Valentine in the acclaimed musical Sweet Charity.

Sweet Charity follows the misadventures of love encountered by the gullible and guileless Charity Hope Valentine, a woman who always gives her heart and her dreams to the wrong man. Featuring favourite hits such as Hey, Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Now and The Rhythm of Life.

Originally directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, Sweet Charity premiered on Broadway in 1966, where it ran for over 600 performances. The production was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning best Choreography in 1966.

This revival is directed by Matthew White (Little Shop of Horrors, The Last 5 Years), Choreography by Stephen Mear (Little Mermaid – Broadway, Hello Dolly!) with Musical Supervison by Nigel Lilley (La Cage aux Folles, Talent), Set Design by Tim Shortall (La Cage aux Folles, Rookery Nook) and Costumes by Matthew Wright (La Cage aux Folles, They’re Playing Our Song).

Nov 21st 2009 – March 7th 2010

Book by Neil Simon
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields

Cast includes:

Josefina Gabrielle, Tiffany Graves, Paul J Medford, Ebony Molina, Tamzin Outhwaite and Mark Umbers.

Full cast to be announced shortly.

Creative Team:

Director – Matthew White

Choreographer – Stephen Mear

Musical Supervision – Nigel Lilley

Set Design – Tim Shortall

Costume Design – Matthew Wright

Lighting Design – David Howe

Sound Design – Gareth Owen

Orchestrations – Chris Walker

Book Tickets for Sweet Charity at Menier Chocolate Factory

Forbidden Broadway 25th June – 13th September

New York’s longest running comedy revue, Forbidden Broadway lands at the Chocolate Factory this Summer, bursting with brand new material and a sensational, hugely talented cast.

Forbidden Broadway has been an unstoppable force in New York theatre since 1982 when Gerard Alessandrini created the first parody lampooning the Broadway shows and stars of the day. It is a favorite among theatre lovers as well as Broadway stars (Kathleen Turner, Raul Esparza, Christine Ebersole, Patti LuPone, the cast of Spring Awakening, Cheyenne Jackson, Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing, Stephen Sondheim, Cameron Mackintosh, and Hal Prince among others), who have been known to stop by and laugh at themselves!

Forbidden Broadway has won numerous awards in its history including the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue, the 2006 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, six additional Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards. A theatrical institution, FORBIDDEN BROADWAY has received national and international notoriety, racking up over 9,000 performances in more than 200 US cities as well as engagements in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney.

This updated version of the show, from Broadway’s director Phillip George, showcases some of the best productions from both Broadway and the West End, including The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Avenue Q, Jersey Boys and La Cage aux Folles!

Book Tickets for Forbidden Broadway