So it took literal years; even before the whole world went to hell, I was ALWAYS stuck overseas at the exact moment any one of My Jellicles booked a new West End job or came anywhere near me on tour and it was driving me crazy. So much of life and circumstance got in the way and I'm not sure the frustration about all the shows I missed is ever going to really fade - having been back to the theatre again now it's stirred up a little bit of irritation in me towards my past self, a kind of "Well you could've made it happen if you'd tried harder" and whether that's true or not it doesn't matter because my resolve to go on to make sure I make it happen to get back to the theatre whenever I can is at an all-time high. Was it the feeling of walking into an auditorium and smelling the dry-ice and spotlights, was it that insane rush of delight that overtook me completely the moment Ben Mundy first appeared on the stage and we had that silly moment of me thinking "HE'S HERE!!" at the same moment there was this little look in his eyes of "YOU'RE HERE!!" or was it the feeling of standing out in the cold autumn air talking all things theatre with someone as delightfully good and wonderful and talented as Lovely Ben? I don't know, it was most likely a combination of all of those things. But I think I started planning my next trip to the theatre before I'd even got done walking away from the Bolton Octagon that night. (It'll be another trip to see Lovely Ben, and I intend to use my time at stage door next time I see him with trying to bribe him to just always tour so I can never be too long without experiencing just how sunlit his whole being is both on and off the stage!) I feel like this first post back after so long should be something more informative or coherant or should go more in depth about The Book Thief as a show, the Bolton Octagon as a theatre and stage door and Ben as a performer (exceptional) and human (radiant) but really I think the biggest and most important thing I have come away from the experience with is a deep and profound appreciation for the theatre, for stage door, for performers and the sound of the air before and after a show and the feeling of glitter sticking to my cheeks. I think maybe I forgot my own advice for a moment back there and I feel the need to keep repeating it to myself over and over again now: the whole world of the theatre is a unique kind of magic, it's a precious spell that gets cast on Monday nights and matinees and in dark, dry-ice-filled air where good and talented people tell winderful and wild stories and it should never, ever be taken for granted that something so special and improbable is right out there within reach, proving magic is real and starlight isn't so far out of our reach.
Not all of my pictures or write-up are on the page yet, but I will be working on it soon so if you're interested then pop back in to the visit page later for more in-depth thoughts and some pretty pictures of Bolton (which was truly a wonderful place and perfect for a theatre trip!)
So, as I hope you will have noticed, the site maintenance/revamping has now been completed and published for you all to explore, with some more content added in places such as the Hints & Tips page and all the profiles for My Jellicles, including the addition of a new member: Mr Benjamin Yates who you should all go and read about and fall in love with too!! I am continuing to work on uploading the many photos and stage door stories which are not yet on the pages as well as adding to the existing pages for all my stage door trips as best I can, but this is a tricky and time-consuming process, so I hope you understand why it might still be some time before every page features the detail of the early stage door pages. In the meantime, I am exciting to let you know about some projects of mine which you will be seeing more immediately, however:
I hope you are enjoying the new At The Stage Door and I look forward to bring you this new content in the near future. Thank you for visiting and reading my site! xxx
I have been extremely busy in the time since the Cats tour ended and the West End revival began, and as a result I haven't been working on maintaining and editing this website the way that I was previously. Over the next few weeks I'm hoping to put that right and update this site a little more, as well as possibly making some changes to the layout and content on some pages. I will also hopefully soon be writing up a blog post to give my full feelings on the Cats revival productions in both London and Blackpool and give a little bit of what my take is on the chances. Hopefully all of this will be done soon - but please try and be patient with me all the same!
At The Stage Door in 2014: featuring Billy Elliot (Dean Maynard), Top Hat (Matthew Caputo & John McManus) &, of course, a whole lot of the Cats UK & Europe (& now London Palladium) Cast, with special mentions to Dawn Williams, Ben Mundy, Adam Lake, Cassie Clare &, of course, my Carbucketty: the incomparable Joel Morris. Thank you to all the amazing, talented, lovely people who helped make the year so very special! 2014 saw some changes to At The Stage Door, with Matthew Caputo, Cassie Clare, Adam Lake and Benjamin Mundy leaping, pirouetting, tap dancing smiling and singing their ways onto their own pages (see: The People or click the names) and of course into the Dream Cast, with a whole host of the UK Tour/Palladium Jellicles also joining them in the dream cast too, I was reunited with my Dream Cast's Skimbleshanks John McManus for the first time in four years, new stories were added to my book and many, many new photographs were added to all the pages on this site. But of course, 2014 was really The Year Of Carbucketty: I said goodbye to Joel Morris as CB in April (cried through all Act Two) and went on to meet two fabulous new Carbuckettys in the forms of Ryan Gover and Dane Quixall. And then, just when I thought I couldn't be any happier...guess who came back to the Cats tour? I danced in the foyer of the Birmingham Hippodrome and cried through all of Act One because Joel was back! And as if there wasn't enough Carbucketty-ness in my life I went to see Top Hat, to see former understudy Carbucketty Matthew Caputo dance up a storm (he kind of stole my heart)! Between Cats, Top Hat & a few trips to see Billy Elliot again before Dean Maynard left in May, 2014 had A LOT of theatre in it, but as magical as the theatre always is, it wouldn't have been even half as fun without the gorgeous people who I was lucky enough to get to know: so thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to John McManus, Dean Maynard, Matthew Caputo, Dawn Williams, Cassie Clare, Benjamin Mundy and Adam Lake, as well as ALL of you UK Tour/London Palladium Jellicles who have made me smile so very much this year. And, I don't normally like to play favourites, but I have to make an exception just this once: thank you, so very much, Joel Morris, because I don't think I have ever danced, smiled or cried so much simultaneously as I have this year, and this is almost entirely down to you. There are not enough thank yous or superlatives to describe any of these fantastic people whose talent and whose gorgeous souls have helped me make so many great memories this year; I don't think I have ever had so very much fun, not even at the theatre. And, if any of them should be reading this, I would like them to know that I don't say you're amazing just because, I say it because I mean it and I wish you all all the best for 2015.
So, Happy New Year everyone from At The Stage Door - here's to hoping for some more adventures to tell you all about in 2015.
A long overdue change has been made to my Dream Cast! Ever since I saw Kathryn Barnes and Benjamin Mundy as Tantomile and Coricopat for the first time back in May in Llandudno, I knew these two were just a whole different class. I'm not one for watching the twins normally, but these two had my attention immediately and I've grown to love them more and more ever since. As indiviuals and as a pair, these two are stunning as the gorgeous Jelilce twins and had already made my Dream Swing section, but really and truly, I couldn't justify keeping them out of the main cast any longer and so this September they both got bumped up into the main Dream Cast with new collages to match!
So this video is a little tribute to the incredible spectacle of the Jellicle Ball, as performed by the beautiful, talented guys and girls who have been part of the 2006-2009 & 2013-2014 UK & Europe tours - and actually, the video also doubles as a tribute to all the amazing dancers who have been part of these tours! Basically I pooled clips from the UK Tour in 2006, their stop in Portugal, Germany in 2008/9 and then the clips of the 2013 cast from the Olivier Awards as well as the 2014 cast launching Cats at the London Palladium. Hope you enjoy the video, which can now be found on the Videos page along with all my other theatre-related videos to date.
Updates To The Dream Cast
Some long-awaited changes have finally been made to my 'Dream Cast' page! I've been waiting a long long time for the good people in charge of the Cats Official Site to release the brand new promotional photographs taken of the show following their April cast change in order for me to be able to move the amazing Adam Lake and the fabulous Cassie Clare from my Dream Cast's swing section and up into the roles that I have come to love them playing: Alonzo and Cassandra! As well as moving these two lovely, talented people into the main body of the cast, I've added a whole load of 2014 UK & Europe Tour Jellicles into the swing section, bringing the swing section up to being 30-people-strong meaning, you guessed it, there are now more swings than characters in the show! But I simply couldn't do without adding Adam Salter, Ben Mundy, Ben Yates, Callum Train, Dane Quixall, Filipo Strocchi, Hannah Kenna Thomas, Kathryn Barnes, Natasha Mould, Ross Finnie, Ryan Gover and Zizi Strallen to the ranks - and my reasons as to why can now all be read on the Dream Cast page. Incientally, because I clearly have far too much time on my hands, I've also named the dance captain, his assistant, the musical director, the resident director and even the company manager! So the question is...do you agree with me?! Enjoy reading and thinking it all over!!
Thank you to all the people I've met and spent time with at the theatre this year; it's been a year of extreme stage doors (back to back West Side Story and Billy Elliot!!!) and of new friends (Dawn Williams, Joel Morris and the Jellicles of 2013's UK Tour Cast of Cats!) and I even got to meet Stephen Mangan! So, thank you 2013 for being such a year of theatre, here's to hoping 2014 will bring even more stage door memories!
Happy New Year Theatre Fans!
Hope we all have some of the best days of our lives at the theatre again soon.xxx
My Theatre Diary