Blood Brothers was written by playwright and composer Willy Russell, and has become one of the most successful and beloved British musicals of all time. If you are a fan of the Liverpudlian twins, whose separation at birth ultimately leads them to each other again, with tragic consequences, then you may be considering seeing another show in London, similar to Blood Brothers. So which shows are a must-see if you enjoyed Blood Brothers?
Billy Elliot the musical is fairly new to the London stage, having been performing to audiences since 2005. It was adapted from the 2000 Oscar-nominated movie of the same name, and currently shows at the Victoria Palace Theatre. As well as Blood Brothers, Billy Elliot is a British musical set in the North of England, in a fictional town during the mid-1980s. It tells the emotional story of a boy whose dream is to become a ballet dancer and it follows his journey and struggles as he tries to win the approval of his family who are fighting to make ends meet. There are lots of similarities due to the family nature and the emotional hardships, and although the stories are very different, they are both captivating and expressive, with brilliant scores. Billy Elliot also features some of the West End’s best dancing, and if you enjoyed Blood Brothers, you will certainly like Billy Elliot.
War Horse is a new play that was first staged at the National Theatre in 2007, and subsequently transferred to the West End in 2009. It currently shows at the New London Theatre and will begin a Broadway run from March 2011. War Horse is a deeply emotional and moving tale about a young horse owner who has to sell his beloved pet to the British Army to be used on the battlefields during the First World War. The close bonds of loyalty between horse and owner are expressed on stage using life-sized horse puppets from the Handspring Puppet Company, and if you were moved by the brotherly bonds in Blood Brothers, then you are sure to be similarly moved by the bonds in British play, War Horse.
There is such a wide-range of shows on in London that there is bound to be several others that you will enjoy if you liked Blood Brothers the musical. Billy Elliot and War Horse, however, are two British shows along with the Willy Russell classic that convey deep emotions and a sense of family bonds with moving and expressive music.
If you are thinking of purchasing tickets to see classic British musical Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre, London, then you may be considering the possibility of turning up on the day and looking around the ticket booths at Leicester Square. It can be convenient to just pop in and get a couple of seats last minute, but is it better and cheaper to buy them in advance on the internet?
The disadvantages of buying at a Leicester Square ‘half price’ booth is that tickets are usually the same price or even slightly more expensive than ones purchased in advance online. As you can usually only buy the tickets for a show on the day, there is sometimes limited availability with no choice to select your own seat, and if booking for a very popular show, there is sometimes no availability at all. This can be very disappointing if you have had your heart set on seeing a certain show, leaving you to choose tickets to see something else.
It will be cold, unpleasant and possibly raining if you visit London during the winter months (and perhaps even the summer months!) and so traipsing around through Leicester Square is not the most enjoyable activity in these conditions. You will almost certainly have to be out wandering from booth to booth for a while to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible, as your first offer may seem great but it could turn out to be the most expensive deal after a look around.
Booking theatre tickets online is much more preferable as it allows you to choose your own seats well in advance and ensures that you definitely have tickets to the show. Although it is nice to be spontaneous at times, the excitement and build up to the show can be even better. There are also usually great deals on the internet, selling great seats for very little, with a small or no booking fee at all. Another advantage to booking online means that you avoid standing out in the cold and being sold inadequate seats for the price you are paying. By booking online, you could have some great Blood Brothers tickets booked without even getting out of bed!
Blood Brothers was one of the most successful British musicals of all time, and saw a continued run in London’s West End from 1988 -2012 when the show closed. It became the longest-running show at the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road, as it transferred to the theatre in 1991 having originally been shown at the Noel Coward Theatre, formally the Albery, after a three-year run. The Phoenix Theatre is the musical’s current home, and because of its popularity and longevity, Blood Brothers has seen a host of celebrities take to the stage in various roles in the musical.
The original cast of Blood Brothers included Con O’Neill who won the Laurence Oliver Award for Best Actor in 1989 for his role as Mickey. In more recent years, Mickey has been played by singer Anthony Costa in April 2006 for a run of ten months. Costa had seen previous success as part of British chart-topping boy band, Blue. The role of Mrs. Johnstone, however, is the most coveted, with an array of big names having performed as the leading role. Actresses in the central role have included Kiki Dee, known for her number one duet ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’ with Elton John, Atomic Kitten singer Natasha Hamilton, four of the Nolan sisters, best known for their classic hit ‘I’m in the Mood for Dancing’, Spice Girl Melanie C who went on to receive an Oliver Award nomination in 2009, pop singer Lyn Paul, best known for being a member of the successful pop act, The New Seekers, and former X Factor contestant, Niki Evans. Lyn Paul and Niki Evans have also performed the role on the Blood Brothers musical tour.
As well as celebrities taking part in British productions of the musical, there have also been big names in the Australian and US versions of the show. Oscar-nominated and BAFTA Award Winner Russell Crowe performed as Mickey in the original 1988 Australian production of Blood Brothers, with female rock star Chrissy Amphlet as Mrs. Johnstone. In the Broadway production of the musical which ran for two years from April 1993, many of the original British cast members returned to the stage for their roles, including Con O’Neill. Later on in the musical’s Broadway run, multimillion-selling singer Petula Clark performed as Mrs. Johnstone, with half-brothers David and Shaun Cassidy as her sons. David Cassidy was one of pop music’s most celebrated teen idols in the 1970s, often compared to Donny Osmond.
Recently, Marti Pellow, the lead singer of Wet Wet Wet, took on the role of the Narrator for a limited run. Fans were elated that he then agreed to take up the role on tour alongside Maureen Nolan as Mrs. Johnstone, and he will be performing on a number of dates across the country. There are sure to be more famous names along the years, as Blood Brothers the musical continues its success.
Blood Brothers is one of the most successful musicals currently showing in London’s West End. Having captivated audiences since 1988 and still selling out show after show at the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road, the musical has become one of the longest-running shows ever, and there is no sign of it closing soon. As Blood Brothers is so popular and beloved, it has seen an array of celebrities take to the stage in leading roles, such as singers Melanie C and Kiki Dee performing as Mrs. Johnstone. If you are a fan of any members of the cast or of the musical in general, then it can be exciting to try to meet the cast after a performance, as I did when I met Melanie C in March 2010.
To meet cast members, you will have to find the stage door of the Phoenix Theatre, where Blood Brothers is currently showing, and wait there until the performers exit. The stage door is very easy to find, as it is at the back of the theatre. When you exit the theatre, you will come out of one of two entrances: the main one on Charing Cross Road, or the side entrance on Phoenix Street. Upon exiting on Charing Cross Road, turn left until you see Phoenix Street and the side entrance, and proceed until the end of the street. At the end of the street, take another left into Stacey Street, the road on which the stage door itself is located, and walk until the very end of the street where you will come to a garage door. The stage door will be on your left.
If you are still unsure of how to find the Phoenix Theatre stage door, then view the video below for a guided walk to the door from the theatre:
Once you have found the stage door, you are almost there to meeting some cast members! It can often take a while for some performers to exit the theatre, but most of them do so extremely swiftly. If, however, a big name is playing one of the roles, then they may take longer to leave and barriers may even be put up around the door for fans to gather around, if there are large crowds. When my friend and I met Melanie C after her impressive performance in Blood Brothers, we had to wait for around half an hour before she exited the theatre. She took photos with everyone, signed autographs and chatted for a while before making her way home. It was worth the wait as she was extremely friendly, and it was all the more exciting to see her after she had just finished a fantastic performance.
If you would like to meet any cast member in Blood Brothers, then simply follow these instructions to the stage door. Remember the less famous performers will exit very swiftly after the show, so try to be quick, if you can! The cast of Blood Brothers changes quite frequently, with Nolan sister Maureen performing as Mrs. Johnstone until 22nd January 2011, when former Atomic Kitten star Natasha Hamilton will take over for a limited run until 30th July 2011. Other current cast members include Philip Stewart at the humorous narrator, and Vivienne Carlyle as Mrs. Lyons.
Blood Brothers the musical is one of the most successful British shows in history, having entranced audiences in London’s West End since 1988. Its current home is at the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road, located in the heart of Theatreland, where it has been showing since 1991 after being moved from the Noel Coward Theatre, formally the Albery, after a three year run. It has become the longest ever running musical at the Phoenix Theatre, and its popularity shows no signs of diminishing, with the announcement of tour dates in 2011.
Blood Brothers has been on tour intermittently throughout the UK since 1996, and will continue to tour throughout 2011, with possible later dates yet to be announced.
Wolverhampton – February 14-19
From Monday 14th February until Saturday 19th, the musical will show at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.
Salford – February 21-26
The tour will move on to the Lowry in Salford, Greater Manchester from the 21st to the 26th of February. The Lowry is set along the waterside in Salford and is made up of a number of theatres, studios and gallery spaces, as well as housing restaurants, bars and cafés.
Edinburgh – March 14-19
From 14th until 19th March, the show will travel to Scotland where it is due to play at the Playhouse Theatre in Edinburgh. After surviving a number of threats of closure and demolition, the present theatre has undergone refurbishment and is now one of the most successful theatres in the UK.
Peterborough – April 4-9
From 4th until 9th April the musical will play at the Broadway Theatre in Peterborough. The theatre was originally opened as a cinema but showed its last film in 1991, instead opting to concentrate on theatrical entertainment. The building has won three major awards for its design and construction.
Torquay – April 11-16
From 11th to 16th April, Blood Brothers will journey south to Torquay to perform to audiences at the Princess Theatre. The theatre is known for its annual Summer Season in the tradition of seaside resorts, showcasing classic holiday entertainment and in more recent years touring hit musicals.
Stoke-on-Trent – April 18-23
The tour will travel to the Regent Theatre & Britannia Suite for a week from 18th to 23rd May. Since re-opening in 1999 after being restored back to its original Art Deco style, the theatre has become a successful venue for large touring productions and is currently the home of the northern operation of the world-renowned Glyndebourne Touring Opera.
Oxford – April 25-30
From 25th until 30th April the musical will play at the New Theatre in Oxford. The theatre has been in existence in some capacity since 1836, and over the years has altered to include pop and rock concerts as well as traditional theatrical entertainment. At present audiences can see leading opera and ballet companies, pop concerts, popular musicals and contemporary dance within its walls.
Southsea – May 3-7
From the 3rd until 7th March, the show will travel to Southsea where it is due to play at the Kings Theatre. The theatre has a history stretching back to the mid-1850s, and has hosted a variety of entertainment ever since. Today, the theatre is run by the Kings Theatre Trust and has seen a number of improvements to the building whilst retaining a number of its original features.
The tour will travel to Grimsby Auditorium for a week from 9th to 14th May. The Auditorium is one of the largest theatres in the East of England, and can accommodate up to 1,200 seated or 2,000 standing audience members.
York – May 16-21
The tour will visit the Grand Opera House in York from 16th until 21st May. There are parts of the building that date back as far as 1868 and the venue has a long history of renovations, and today specialises in hosting theatrical and musical events.
Dunstable – May 23-29
Towards the end of May the tour will be making a stop at the Grove Theatre in Dunstable. The theatre acts as an entertainment space hosting a diverse range of entertainement, with film, plays, comedy, live music, talks and the circus all on the agenda for 2011.
Worthing – May 30 – June 4
At the beginning of June the tour will be showing at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing, part of the Worthing Theatres group. Originally built in 1914 as a cinema alone, the Connaught Theatre has grown to accommodate a stage and fly tower, and now boasts a cinema programme that runs alongside its live entertainment.
If you cannot travel to London and the Blood Brothers tour is coming to a venue near you, then please visit our tickets page for information on how to book to see this classic musical. Stay tuned for more information about further dates that may possibly be announced in the coming months.