5th April – JAMES LAST AND HIS ORCHESTRA
On the stage – for one night only – JAMES LAST & HIS ORCHESTRA – the 8th visit to the theatre of this German composer and big band leader. His trademark “happy music” made his numerous albums best-sellers in Germany and the United Kingdom, with 65 of his albums reaching the charts in the UK alone. His 1999 tour was tied in with the release of his latest studio album ‘Happy Birthday’ marking 50 years in the business, his 70th birthday and another live album ‘Concerts’.
12th April – TAP DOGS
Live on stage – for six days – TAP DOGS – It all started with six guys from a steel town north of Sydney, Australia. One, Australian DEIN PERRY, creator, and choreographer who, from the garage behind his dance teacher’s house in Newcastle, Australia, he and the “Dogs” a young boys learned how to tap. At the age of seventeen, he earned his union papers as an industrial machinist before moving to Sydney where small chorus parts in Broadway-style musicals led to Dein’s big break when he was cast in the long-running Sydney production of 42nd Street. When it closed, Dein decided to create a contemporary show around his industrial work experience with his tap-dancing mates. With a small government grant, they formed ‘Tap Brothers,’ a very early incarnation of TAP DOGS. Then in 1995 TAP DOGS was an instant hit of the Sydney Theatre Festival where it had its world premiere and where Back Row’s founders Peter Holmes à Court and Liz Koops first witnessed the magic of Dein Perry’s revolutionary show. The success was infectious. Bringing the group to London the TAP DOGS were catapulted to international acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival and London’s Sadler’s Wells.
The was the second visit of this amazing dance show to the theatre and at the same time that the founder Dein was creating the choreography for the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
20th APRIL – JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
on the stage – from Tuesday for 17 days (three weeks) – JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR – the 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its Broadway debut in 1971. It had its British premiere at the Palace Theatre in London in 1972. The musical is mostly sung-through, with little spoken dialogue. This was the third season of this musical at the theatre having originally debuted here in 1981. This was the tour of the 1996 West End production which ran for eighteen months at the newly refurbished Lyceum Theatre. The production featured Fred Johanson as Pilate, who reprised his role in the 2000 movie version of JCS. This stage version, directed by Gail Edwards, was a good example of the modern staging.
9th May – READY, STEADY, COOK
Live on stage – for one day only – READY STEADY COOK SHOW – MAYFLOWER – One of Britain’s most successful TV cookery shows Ready Steady Cook was given a makeover for a nationwide tour of live events. Fronted by Chef Lesley Waters, who appeared in over 500 editions of the programme, and featuring some top TV chefs plus Host, Fern Britton, Ready Steady Cook Live included all the favourite elements of the TV show, including the Quickie Bag! Just like in the show, guest chefs prepared a meal, working to a tight deadline, gave tips on how to prepare it, and then gave the audience the chance to vote on their favourite – with the classic red tomato and green pepper!
10th May – GIRLS NIGHT OUT IN IBIZA
on stage – for six days – GIRLS NIGHT OUT IN IBIZA – Dave Simpson’s new comedy musical is a sequel to Girls’ Night Out. Both shows explore the storylines from both sides of the curtain of male strip clubs during an unforgettable hen night. The production features 40 musical numbers. The eight-strong cast includes Diana Davis, best known for her TV role as Mrs. Bates in British soap Emmerdale. Simpson, well-known for his writing on British soaps such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street, was writer-in-residence at the Library Theatre Manchester where he wrote Raving Beauties which has been produced in several regional theatres across the UK. This spin-off, Girls’ Night Out in Ibiza began touring in the autumn 0f 1998. The show was directed and choreographed by Carole Todd whose credits include Elvis The Musical, Ferry Cross the Mersey, Blues in the Night and the recent RNT production of Wild Oats. Girls’ Night Out is produced by Paul Farrah and Bill Kenwright. The show finds Tony and Pete in Ibiza, where Tony is organising a male strip show for the girls of Ibiza. Jane had thrown Pete out back home and he’s arrived looking for work. He soon convinces Tony to allow him in the dance group alongside Nick and Carlos, and the foursome begin work on the ‘Fiesta of Flesh’ floor show. Unbeknownst to them, Ivy has won a holiday competition to Ibiza and she’s joined by Nicola, Jane and Sara on a week of sun, sand and whatever else might come along! Four girls in search of a good time. Four lads who reveal all … well, almost all. Unfortunately, nothing goes to plan for anyone, and soon mistaken identities, disguises and unexpected close encounters cause mayhem. Will Tony and Nicola’s wedding still go ahead, and will Jane take Pete back? How does Sara know Carlos? And most importantly, when it comes time for the floor show finale, can the men still rise to the occasion?
17th May – 4 STEPS TO HEAVEN
on the stage – for six days – 4 STEPS TO HEAVEN – MAYFLOWER, Four of the greatest Rock ‘n’ roll stars The Big 0, ELvis, Eddie and Buddy are on stage in concert for the first time ever in 4 Steps To Heaven, a musical celebration of four of the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll performers of all time. Inspired by the international Eddie Cochran hit 3 Steps To Heaven this new production is the ultimate concert, a concert that could in fact have taken place had fate not played its untimely part in Rock n’ Roll history. It featured the classics Heartbeat, Hound Dog, All Shook Up, Raining In My Heart, That’ll Be The Day, Love Me Tender, Oh Pretty Woman, Only The Lonely, It’s Over, Blue Bayou, Running Scared and many other rock classics. Peter Howarth returns as the Big 0 after wowing audiences in The Roy Orbison Story – Only The Lonely, which played to sell-out audiences across the nation. Alex Bourne plays Buddy Holly direct from his appearances in the West End in Grease and Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. Tim Whitnall plays Elvis and Eddie Cochran following his portrayal of The King in the West End production of Elvis – The Official Musical.
30th May – LENNY HENRY
Live on stage – for one night only – LENNY HENRY – MAYFLOWER, Lenny Henry, a British stand-up comedian, actor, singer, writer, and television presenter, making his fifth appearance at the theatre. During the nineties Henry diversified taking his talents into many different areas, he starred in the Hollywood film True Identity, in which his character pretended to be a white person (using make-up, prostheses, and a wig) to avoid the mob. He starred in a BBC drama alongside Robbie Coltrane called Alive and Kicking, in which he played a heroin addict, which was based on a true story. Also he starred in the Christmas comedy Bernard and the Genie alongside Alan Cumming and Rowan Atkinson. Henry is known as the choleric chef Gareth Blackstock from the 1990s television comedy series Chef! He tried his hand at soul singing, appearing, for example, as a backing singer on Kate Bush’s album The Red Shoes and, backed by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, at Amnesty International’s Big 3-0 fund raising concert. In 1985 he co-founded the charity Comic Relief and has been instrumental in its long term success.
6th June – A NIGHT TO MAKE YOUR HEARTBEAT
Live on stage – for one night only – A NIGHT TO MAKE YOUR HEARTBEAT, a charity show in aid of Wessex Heartbeat. The show was one of a number hosted by the theatre in support of this local charity. The show was co-hosted by Tim Rice and local comedian Jim Davidson. The show featured Conner Reeves, the British singer/songwriter who had just supported Whitney Houston on her European tour. Hale & Pace an English comedy double-act whose television show had been running for ten years. Vocalist, Jane McDonald who had just come to the public’s attention after featuring in the BBC tv series The Cruise, and John Owen Jones & cast members of Les Miserables.
9th June – SOUL TRAIN
On stage – for four days – SOUL TRAIN, a show celebrating the legendary hits of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Temptations, The Three Degrees, Sam & Dave, Marvin Gaye and many others. It includes songs such as ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’, ‘When Will I See You Again’, ‘Under The Boardwalk’, ‘Soul Man’, ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, and many others. The show is devised by Mark Clements and Michael Vivian, and actually started life under the title ‘The Grapevine’ at the Derby Playhouse in 1998.
Without doubt this show is for soul music fans only. The cast gets through some 44 songs, which are performed dynamically by a very talented cast. This is also a show with lots and lots of audience participation, so if you don’t like getting involved beware! Soul Train stars Sheila Ferguson, Prince Charles’s favourite singer. Sheila is a true professional with all her star qualities coming out in this show. She has the ability to sing slow, quiet songs as well as pounding out high notes on powerful songs. Sheila is not the only star of the show. The whole cast performs incredibly well, each with their own charm and character on stage. Notable mentions are Sharon Benson, Melanie E. Marshall and Jason Pennycooke.
15th June – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA
On the stage – for five days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA. The 1999 summer visit of Welsh National Opera brought three productions to the Mayflower. On Tuesday and Thursday they performed The Magic Flute; on Wednesday and Friday, the traditional pairing of Cavalleria Rusticana with Pagliacci and ending the week on Saturday evening with Tristan und Isolde.
The company lacked a permanent base in Wales, but generally used Cardiff’s New Theatre. In 1987 it decided to make its English base at the newly refurbished Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The company tours nationally and internationally, with a repertoire of up to eight operas each year, Its most frequent venues other than Cardiff and Southampton are Llandudno in Wales and Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Plymouth.
22nd June – GREASE
On the stage – for TWO weeks – GREASE – MAYFLOWER. The second of many productions of Grease to play the Mayflower. Grease is a 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as greasers, the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School (based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois) and follows ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love. The score borrows heavily from the sounds of early rock and roll. It was first performed in 1971 in the original Kingston Mines nightclub in Chicago (since demolished). From there, it has been successful on both stage and screen, but the content has been diluted and its teenage characters have become less Chicago habitués (the characters’ Polish-American backgrounds in particular are ignored with last names often changed, although two Italian-American characters are left identifiably ethnic) and more generic. At the time that it closed in 1980, Grease’s 3,388-performance run was the longest yet in Broadway history. It went on to become a West End hit, a successful feature film, a popular Broadway revival in 1994 and 2007The second of many productions of Grease to play the Mayflower. Grease is a 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as greasers, the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High School (based on William Howard Taft School in Chicago, Illinois) and follows ten working-class teenagers as they navigate the complexities of peer pressure, politics, personal core values, and love. The score borrows heavily from the sounds of early rock and roll. It was first performed in 1971 in the original Kingston Mines nightclub in Chicago (since demolished). From there, it has been successful on both stage and screen, but the content has been diluted and its teenage characters have become less Chicago habitués (the characters’ Polish-American backgrounds in particular are ignored with last names often changed, although two Italian-American characters are left identifiably ethnic) and more generic. At the time that it closed in 1980, Grease’s 3,388-performance run was the longest yet in Broadway history. It went on to become a West End hit, a successful feature film, a popular Broadway revival in 1994 and 2007.
Starring Luke Goss as Danny Zuko, Jasmine Jeffrey as Sandi and Alex Bourne as Kenekie. The stage show original score added four songs written for the film adaptation: “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “Sandy”, “You’re the One That I Want”, and the title number.