A musical retelling of Disney’s magical Beauty and the Beast tale is coming to Manchester for what looks set to be a huge run next year.
Based on the hit 1991 film, the new musical production features some iconic songs from the smash-hit animation, including Be Our Guest, Belle and Beauty and the Beast whilst also uniting some members of its original Broadway team.
The show has already kicked off in Liverpool this week as part of a huge UK tour. It will be coming to the Mancheter Palace Theatre in the new year, running from Thursday 31 March 2022, through until Saturday 4 June.
Spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology fuse with the classic story, as the timeless romantic tale is brought to life on stage like never before, with all the charm and elegance audiences expect from Belle and her Beast.
Courtney Stapleton and Emmanuel Kojo will play the iconic lead roles. Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Six, Les Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Emmanuel is best known for performing in Oklahoma!, Girl from the North Country, Show Boat and The Scottsboro Boys.
Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical, Les Misérables) plays Lumiere and Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance, Eugenius!) is Gaston.
Sam Bailey (The X-Factor winner 2013, Blood Brothers) plays the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Cogsworth.
Martin Ball (Les Misérables, Wicked, Top Hat) takes the role of Maurice, Samantha Bingley (Martha In The Secret Garden) is Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains, 42nd Street, Funny Girl) is Babette and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!) plays Le Fou.
The full company is completed with Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Matthew Dawkins, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, Thomas- Lee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.
Among the many new features is an exuberant tap dance within the legendary production number Be Our Guest, created expressly for Gavin Lee, recognised as one of the great tappers on either side of the Atlantic.
The structure and tone of the story and score as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history.,
This new Beauty, while retaining the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony®-nominated score will be heard afresh with new dance arrangements by David Chase, allowing original choreographer Matt West to re-visit his work.
The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001.
Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win.
It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 26 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest-running shows in Broadway history.
Beauty and The Beast is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.
Tickets for the new production go on general sale in Manchester From Tuesday 12 October and can be purchased here.
Feature image- Johan Persson (c) Disney
The 2023 Davis Cup is coming to Manchester’s AO Arena this September
After nearly three decades since it was last played here, the Davis Cup is returning to Manchester later this year and we can’t wait.
The international tennis tournament hasn’t visited Manchester since Team GB played Romania in the Europe/East Africa group tie back in 1994, but now the AO Arena is set to a group stage for the 2023 Davis Cup Finals in September, with the three other European hosts still yet to be announced.
Great Britain failed to advance into the knockouts of last year’s competition and will have to do without Andy Murray this year after the 35-year-old was omitted from the squad due to injury concerns.
Nevertheless, with the likes of Cam Norrie, Dan Evans and rising star Jack Draper named in the five-man squad, they stand a great chance of going far in this year’s tournament.
Team GB’s Davis Cup squad for 2023 is completed by the ATP’s world number one and four double players player Neal Skupski and Joe Salisbury.
The Director of Major Events and Digital for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), Chris Pollard, said: “It’s particularly important to us to take these major events around the whole of Britain… therefore opening up our sport to more people and helping change perceptions of tennis across the country.”
With the AO Arena matches being played between 12-17 September, the draw to see which of the 16 qualified nations will fall into each of the four groups is set to take place tomorrow (29 March) at 3pm GMT and streamed live on the ITF YouTube channel.
City Council Leader, Bev Craig, called the AO Arena’s Davis Cup games “a major coup for Manchester which further underlines our credentials as a great sporting city. We look forward to giving top-class tennis players and fans of different nations a warm Mancunian welcome.”
She went on to say that the event is not only exciting for tennis fans but it will serve as “a boost for the city’s economy” and “provide a legacy of inspiration which will encourage more people to get out there, use our city’s high-quality facilities and maybe even become the Davis Cup stars of the future”.
That’s what we like to hear.
The final eight teams will progress to the knockout stages in Malaga on 21-26 November; here’s hoping our Brits are amongst it!
Featured Image — Cameron Norrie/Jack Draper (via Instagram)
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 27 March – 2 April 2023
We can’t believe how fast this year has gone already, but it’s time to wave goodbye to March and welcome April this week.
With schools breaking up for the holidays this week, and not long left to go before Easter rolls around once again, the Greater Manchester events calendar is absolutely packed this week, so we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits happening across the region this week for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Manchester City Centre
Monday 27 March – onwards
Manchester’s gaming scene continues to get bigger and bigger every year, and now one of the UK’s biggest VR arcades has opened in the city centre.
Promising some of the best and most immersive ‘alternative’ activities you’ll find anywhere in 0161, DNA VR’s arcade is packed out with an impressive library of games, over 100 virtual arcade challenges and even virtual escape rooms.
The new venue is right in the city centre and just a 15-minute walk away from Piccadilly Station.
Have you had the chance to visit Manchester Museum yet after it finally reopened to the public after an ambitious £15 million transformation project?
After an 18-month refurbishment, the cultural institution – which is part of the University of Manchester – has expanded into a modern new two-storey extension, with new exhibition spaces and inclusive facilities added into the space.
New spaces inside include a brand new Exhibition Hall, which has opened with the blockbuster exhibition Golden Mummies of Egypt, where visitors get an unparalleled access to more than 100 objects and eight mummies in a UK debut, while the new extension also includes the South Asia Gallery, which will be the UK’s first permanent space to explore the lived experience of South Asian diaspora communities.
There’s a new dinosaur in town too, joining the museum’s legendary T-Rex Stan.
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel has made access to their state-of-the-art gym facilities completely free to the general public for the rest of March.
As part of a new initiative by Technogym called ‘Let’s Move for a Better World‘ – which is aiming to get people back exercising in 2023 – the fitness, gym technology, and wellness brand is encouraging gyms across the UK to open up their doors free of charge to local communities.
Running until 31 March, Mancs can get moving and make the most of Technogym equipment for free and join them for a series of fun events – including a 12-hour ‘MOVEathon’, as well as various circuit classes.
Corn Exchange has installed a book vending machine inside its stunning atrium space.
Whether you’re in need a book for your commute into the city, want to update your bookshelf at home, grab a page-turner for your holiday, or simply have a good read over a coffee or glass of something at Corn Exchange, the new vending machine has you covered.
Book lovers are invited to head on down with their old books, grab a token for the machine, and Read. Swap. Repeat.
With the aim to help the environment and reduce waste for book lovers, the machine includes a mix of pre-loved books of all genres, and you’ll just need to simply bring in a pre-loved book and swap it for a token with one of the Corn Exchange hosts to access the machine and choose your next read.
Families are encouraged to make the most of Manchester‘s new ‘sky park’ on Castlefield Viaduct during the school holidays.
The New York-inspired elevated urban park on the giant Grade II-listed 330-metre steel viaduct has been closed since December to allow time for the team of National Trust gardeners, volunteers, and community partners to prune, plant, and create new and exciting areas.
On top of the work to add a variety of seasonal planting displays created by, four plots on the viaduct have also been handed over to local community groups and partner organisations to create their own unique gardens for visitors to enjoy.
Manchester’s very-own cookery school Food Sorcery is giving you the chance to transport yourself to the bars of Spain with class dedicated to Spanish tapas and pinchos.
During this three-hour class, chef Jan Cron will guide you through how to create a selection of authentic dishes, including Spanish Tortilla, Padron Peppers, Croquetas de Jamón, and more – all of which you can eat through the class, and take home any left overs.
Suitable for all ability levels, it’s not only a great chance to learn new cooking methods and recipes, but it’s also a great social occasion with like-minded people.
There’s a special Wine & Dine Night at Platzki this week.
Hosted by special guest Polish sommelier, Adam Michocki, the beloved Great Northern Warehouse-based independent restaurant has crafted a comforting four-course set menu, with each dish paired with a Polish wine that perfectly complements the authentic cuisine.
Setting guests back £77 each for the full menu, Adam will guide you through the wines and explain the delicious pairings in more detail.
Fancy catching the last of all the March deals, discounts, and offers in Manchester’s cafes, bars, and restaurants?
Quite a few of the city’s best-loved independents have decided to extend their food deals into March, and this is your last week to make the most of them.
While there’s still some great offers to make the most of, we’re going to keep promoting them, and fortunately for us, there are some awesome set menus, lunch deals, and general discounts going around this month.
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite this week, we’ve rounded up some of the best Manchester restaurant deals to take advantage of.
A live West End recording of one of the best-loved musicals of the last decade is to be screened in two of Greater Manchester‘s biggest cinemas this week.
And you only have one night to catch it.
Theatre lovers and musicals fans will probably want to make their way down to Vue in the Printworks, or Odeon at the Trafford Centre, this Tuesday 28 March as the smash-hit Broadway and West End production, Heathers: The Musical, will be screened for one-night-only as part of a special nationwide cinema event.
Manchester’s largest street food hub’s annual celebration of East Asian street food, desserts, and drinks returns for 2023 this weekend.
Taking place from 5pm this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, five of the city’s very best East Asian street food traders – Korean Grub Club, Osaka Local, Phat Rollz, Wong Dumplings, and Mary’s Cakery Makery – will be cooking all weekend long.
And as per the usual GRUB tradition, all food will be completely plant-based on the Sunday of the three-day annual event.
Pong & Puck is hosting its first-ever bingo night this week – but it’s not like any other, as this one’s a bottomless drag bingo party.
First things first, it’s still the same game of bingo with prizes to play for and the rest of it, only this one comes with the added bonus of bottomless drinks, pizza, a comedy show, sing-offs, catwalks and more – all of which will be hosted by legendary Manchester drag queen and comedian, Miss Ginger Hunter.
The Bottomless Drag Bingo Party will be happening down at the Great Northern-based venue on Friday 31 March from 7pm, with tickets setting you back £40 per person.
A massive “gaming extravaganza” is happening down at the Science and Industry Museum this month.
An ideal way to keep the little ones educated and entertained while schools are out, the museum has organised a packed programme of gaming, animated adventure, and digital discovery events inspired by its hugely-popular ongoing interactive gaming experience, Power UP.
From Saturday 1 to Sunday 16 April, visitors will be transported inside their favourite games as part of the Actual Reality Arcade – a life-size nostalgic gaming experience that’s promising to “unlock memories” players star in real-life versions of some retro favourite games, including Invaders and Breakout.
Young gaming lovers can also explore a special Pac-Man floor maze, and families can level up together with some super-size gaming too.
The Alternative Indie Wedding Fair is here in Manchester this weekend.
Hosted by ALT Events Co, The Alternative Indie Wedding Fair will see over 20 independent alternative vendors set up shop in the Royal Exchange Theatre in the heart of the city centre on Sunday 2 April, making it the perfect place to get a feel of how you want your special day to be, all while being budget-friendly.
While event organisers say the show is completely sold out, walk-ins are welcome on the day between 1-2pm and 3-4pm if the capacity of the room allows it – but it’s first come first served, so you’ll want to get there on time to avoid disappointment.
A giant outdoor funfair full of vintage fairground rides and a circus is heading back to the Trafford Centre this week.
After several hugely successful runs in both 2021 and 2022, the UK’s third largest shopping centre has announced that its outdoor space is “springing to life” once again as April begins, and will be back with a whole host of thrilling rides, a glittering circus, and lots of delicious treats for the whole family to enjoy.
Spring Escape is returning to the Trafford Centre just in time for the school Easter holidays on 1 April, and as usual, will be popping up outside the Great Hall.
Chester Zoo’s launching an Easter egg hunt with a twist this weekend.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained and educated at the same time while schools are out this Easter, the UK’s largest charity and conservation zoo’s ‘Really Wild Egg Trail’ will see giant 3D eggs hidden over the 128-acre site.
Tut the catch is, each of the six hidden eggs all belong to animals that you might not expect to hatch from eggs.