New Season: Autumn season preview at Milton Keynes Theatre

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SOME of the most famous musicals on the circuit along with dance, drama and Christmas fun feature in the Milton Keynes Theatre’s autumn season.

Here are some of the highlights...

MUSICALS

SOME of the most popular shows ever to grace the West End come to the venue this autumn along with something new.

Chicago is the first to take to the stage, visiting the theatre from Monday, September 10 to Saturday, September 15.

The tale featuring “murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery” stars Ali Bastian as Roxie Hart, Stefan Booth as Billy Flynn, Tupele Dorgu as Velma Kelly and Bernie Nolan as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton.

Then in October Blood Brothers, starring Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame, alongside Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone, visits from Tuesday, October 2 to Saturday, October 6.

Written by Willy Russell, Blood Brothers tells the tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences.

The score includes Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and Tell Me It’s Not True.

It has recently celebrated its 23rd year in London.

Later in the month, new musical Soul Sister, inspired by the life and times of Ike and Tina Turner, comes to the stage from October 8 to October 13. It features all the classic Tina Turner hits including: What’s Love Got to Do with It, Proud Mary, Private Dancer, River Deep Mountain High and Simply The Best.

Audiences will be taken through the highs and lows, passions and heartbreak, of Ike and Tina as their careers soared and their marriage crumbled.

Then for five weeks Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera arrives at the theatre from Thursday, October 25 to Saturday, November 24, as part of a national tour.

It is a new staging by Laurence Connor, director of the recent acclaimed 25th anniversary celebration at the Royal Albert Hall and with new choreography by Scott Ambler. The production is overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh.

DRAMA

THREE plays come to the theatre throughout September starting off with Dry Rot from Monday, September 3 to Saturday, September 8.

Based around a crooked bookie, he and his two accomplices devise a cunning plan to “get rich quick,” to kidnap the odds-on favourite horse and replace it with their own decrepit nag.

But Honest Alf, Flash Harry and Fred find more hurdles than they bargained for on their way to the final post - a comatosed horse, a blossoming love affair and a bewildered French jockey, all see chaos reign under the roof of the eccentric Colonel Wagstaff and his wife.

The comedy features an all-star cast including Liza Goddard, Susan Penhaligon, Gareth Hale and Norman Pace, Neil Stacy and Derren Nesbitt.

There’s more crime when Rough Justice visits from Monday, September 17 to Saturday, September 22.

Tom Conti makes a welcome return to Milton Keynes in this play which is both a murder story, courtroom drama and suspenseful thriller.

Television journalist James Highwood has made his career out of challenging the British Justice system in his documentary programmes.

Now, suddenly, he finds the system challenging him as he is brought to court on a charge of murder. With more than its share of surprising twists and turns, it will keep you guessing until the end.

And there’s even more murder on the cards when The Mousetrap plays from Monday, September 24 to Saturday, September 29.

With almost 25,000 performances and an incredible 60 years on stage The Mousetrap is famous around the world.

The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country house cut off by the snow discover that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be?

One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until the last moment when the identity and the motives are finally revealed.

Expect Dame Agatha Christie at her best.

DANCE & MUSIC

BALLET lovers can see fairy tale The Sleeping Beauty brought to life by the English National Ballet when it visits from Wednesday, October 17 to Saturday, October 20.

Set in the magic world of enchanted world of castles, curses, forests and fairies, The Sleeping Beauty features luxurious staging, dance and music including Tchaikovsky’s much-loved Rose Adagio and Once Upon a Dream used in Disney’s version of this popular classic.

Ballroom fans can look forward to ‘Strictly’ star Brendan Cole as he returns for one night only on in his brand new show Licence to Thrill.

Then Glyndebourne on Tour presents a duo of stunning operas; Mozart’s classic, Le nozze di Figaro and Dvorak’s take on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid Rusalka, at the theatre from Tuesday, November 27 to Saturday, December 1.

COMEDY

AFTER more than a decade since his last stand-up show and following a hugely successful tour of Australia in 2011, Alan Davies, famed for the iconic television series Jonathan Creek, makes a return to live stand up this autumn, visiting the theatre on Sunday, October 7.

Then on Sunday, September 2 comedian, novelist, actor and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, brings Sandi Toksvig Live! My Valentine to the stage, as she embarks on her first major UK solo tour in years to celebrate her new novel Valentine Grey.

Host of R4’s News Quiz and Excess Baggage and regular QI panellist, Sandi promises a witty evening of stand-up and stories.

Then for something slightly different there’s Jason Byrne The People’s Puppeteer on Sunday, September 23.

His latest show follows the success of his Cirque Du Byrne Tour.

CHRISTMAS

ENDING the season is Milton Keynes Theatre’s family Panto Cinderella with TV personality Louie Spence heading a cast which includes Daybreak presenter Anna Williamson in the title role and comedy star Kev Orkian as the loveable Buttons.

It comes to the stage from Friday, December 7 to Sunday, January 6, and includes a live orchestra and real Shetland ponies, among the fun.

For tickets call Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes.