2020 January to March

continuing until 4th January – PETER PAN

8th January – BUDDY

On the stage – for four days – the musical celebrates its 30th Birthday with this, its 10th visit to the theatre. This musical was the Mayflower’s first foray into the world of funding a future West End show, so successful was the venture that the producers invited the theatre’s participation in the investment for a touring production and the resulting tour opened at the Mayflower in May 1992 and has hardly rested since.

Telling Buddy Holly’s story is an early example of the “pop” jukebox musical, Buddy ran in London’s West End for over 12 years, playing 5,140 performances. It has since played Broadway, five U.S. National Tours and numerous other productions around the world. The show was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Musical. It was the first West End production to tour the UK while still running in the West End, a second record was broken with the tours 243 weeks of continuous touring, or 4 years 35 weeks on the road. The show has performed weekly engagements of 12 weeks at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal; 18 weeks at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre; 19 weeks at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre; 15 weeks at Manchester’s Palace Theatre and repeat weeks at the main number one theatres in every major city and town throughout the UK and Ireland. Buddy has now toured the UK for 17 of the past 24 years.

This production brings a multi-talented group of actor-instrumentalists, featuring AJ Jenks and Christopher Weeks (who alternate the role of Buddy Holly), Jordan Alexander, Miguel Angel, Joshua Barton, Harry Boyd, Joe Butcher, Cartier Fraser, Josh Haberfield, Rhiannon Hopkins, Sasha Latoya, Hannah Price and Ben Pryer. Together they present a sensational two hours of live musical theatre (“an unashamed, rabble-rousing fiesta” – The Sunday Times), featuring over 20 of iconic rocker Buddy Holly’s greatest hits, including such timeless classics That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy and Rave On.

Here’s the tour promo

12th January – WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

Live – one night only – WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? – Elesha Paul Moses has paid her dues in the entertainment world; she’s been working in the music business for 20 years, and now, she’s taking her singing career to a new level starring in the mammoth tribute show tour What’s Love Got To Do With It?, celebrating the music and life of rock, soul legend Tina Turner. Local Hampshire girl Elesha, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction and winner Matt Cardle. She then reached the battle rounds – twice – on The Voice, with will.i.am in a duo in 2013 and Tom Jones as a solo act a year later.

In recent months she toured the UK and Europe as the understudy Whitney Houston in Whitney: Queen Of The Night, a show she will also star in as the late, great vocalist during 2019 – including a sell-out West End premiere at the Savoy Theatre. Brought to you by the award-winning producers behind Whitney: Queen Of The Night, What’s Love Got To Do With It? is the ultimate tribute concert paying homage to one of the most iconic musical artists of the 20th Century.

See excerpts from the show

13th January – PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

On the stage – for six days – PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT – Back at the Mayflower for the third time PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT brings a new cast in the show now directed by one of its former performers, Jason Donovan. Starring Strictly Come Dancing winner Joe McFadden (Holby City; Casualty; Heartbeat) as Tick/Mitzi, local lad Nick Hayes as Adam/Felicia and Miles Western as Bernadette. Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Their epic journey is a heart-warming story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance.

With more glitter than ever before, this smash-hit show features a dazzling array of stunning costumes, fabulous feathers and a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including It’s Raining Men, Hot Stuff, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, Finally!

The musical has a book by Australian film director-writer Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott, using well-known pop songs as its score. Adapted from Elliott’s 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the musical tells the story of two drag queens and a transgender woman, who contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. As they head west from Sydney aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla, the three friends come to the forefront of a comedy of errors, encountering a number of strange characters, as well as incidents of homophobia, while widening comfort zones and finding new horizons.

The original production of Priscilla debuted in Australia at the Lyric Theatre, Sydney in October 2006. Having had a successful run in Sydney, the production transferred to Melbourne in 2007 and then Auckland, New Zealand in 2008, before returning to Sydney for a limited engagement. The Australasian success of Priscilla provoked a two-year strong West End production in addition to its Bette Midler-produced Broadway debut in 2011. While the original production received one out of its seven Helpmann Award nominations, Priscilla was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical as well as two Tony Awards, winning these awards in the costume design categories.

Watch the tv promo

20th January – WE WILL ROCK YOU

On the stage – for six days – WE WILL ROCK YOU – a jukebox musical based on the songs of British rock band Queen with a book by Ben Elton is back following its five week run in 2011. The musical tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and acts the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. Directed by Christopher Renshaw and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, the original West End production opened at the Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002 and ran until May 2014, becoming the longest-running musical at the Dominion Theatre and the fifteenth longest-running musical in West End history. This visit was able to boast that every seat had been sold for the run several weeks ahead of opening!

This production featured Ian McIntosh (Galileo), Elena Skye (Scaramouche), PJennifer O’Leary (Killer Queen), Michael McKell (Buddy), Adam Strong (Khashoggi), David-Michael Johnson (Brit) and Amy Di Bartolomeo (Oz).

The promo reel

29th January – BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET

On the stage – for four days – BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET – SWAN LAKE – Ballet’s greatest love story, SWAN LAKE, returned in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s lavish production. This romantic fable of ill-fated passion, powerfully illuminated by Tchaikovsky’s legendary score played live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, has bewitched audiences for generations.

By a moonlit lake, a grieving prince witnesses the transformation of a swan into a beautiful princess. Compelled by an evil spell to spend her days in the form of a bird, she can only be saved by the power of love. Filled with exquisite ensembles, lyrical pas de deux and bravura solos, the 45 dancers ensured that this Swan Lake is atmospheric, romantic and beautiful – an unforgettable experience.

The dance of the cygnets

4th February – KAY MELLOR’S BAND OF GOLD

On the stage – for five days – KAY MELLOR’S BAND OF GOLD – The world premiere stage production of Kay Mellor’s multi-award winning TV series BAND OF GOLD. Band of Gold was the ground-breaking crime drama that captivated over 15 million viewers each week when it aired on ITV and revolved around a group of women – Carol, Rose, Anita and Gina. At times heart-breaking and humorous, Band of Gold tells the story of how a young mother is drawn into the notorious red-light district. With a killer on the loose it’s a battle to survive!

The three iconic female roles from the TV series, played on stage by Gaynor Faye (Emmerdale, Playing the Field, Calendar Girls), Laurie Brett (EastEnders, Waterloo Road, Les Misérables) and Emma Osman. They were joined by award-winning TV stars, Shayne Ward (Coronation Street, Rock of Ages, X Factor winner), Kieron Richardson (Hollyoaks, Heartbeat), Sacha Parkinson (Mr. Selfridge, The Mill) and Andrew Dunn (Dinnerladies, Coronation Street).

A Mayflower interview with Kay Mellor and Gaynor Faye

11th February – MAMMA MIA!

On the stage – for THREE weeks – MAMMA MIA! – is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia”. Ulvaeus and Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from the beginning. Singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production and she has also been present at many of the premieres around the world.

The musical includes such hits as “Super Trouper”, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “Dancing Queen”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Thank You for the Music”, “Money, Money, Money”, “The Winner Takes It All”, “Voulez-Vous”, “SOS” and “Mamma Mia”. Over 65 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $4 billion worldwide since its 1999 debut.[

This is the show’s second visit to the theatre. As of 2020, the show has productions in London’s West End, where it is the seventh longest-running show in West End history, as well as various international productions. Its Broadway incarnation closed in September 2015 after a 14-year run, making it the ninth longest-running show in Broadway history. The cast of this production of Mamma Mia! UK comprises of Sharon Sexton (Donna Sheridan), Sarah Harlington (Alternate Donna), Nicky Swift (Rosie), Helen Anker (Tanya), Rob Fowler (Sam Carmichael), Daniel Crowder (Harry Bright), Jamie Kenna (Bill Austin), Emma Mullen (Sophie Sheridan), Toby Miles (Sky), Marie Finlayson (Ali), Mariella Mazzilli (Lisa), James Willoughby Moore (Pepper), Eamonn Cox (Eddie) and Matthew Ronchetti (Father Alexander). Completing the cast are Taylor Bridges, Ambra Caserotti, Martin Dickinson, Billy Downes, Katie Dunsden, Matt Kennedy, Lewis Kidd, Robert Knight, Emma Odell, Blair Robertson, Kaine Ruddach, Ellie Rutherford, Chiara Sparkes, Amy Thiroff, Cameron Vear and Sarah Wilkie.

A tv promo for the show

1st March – ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE IMPOSTERS

Live – one night only – ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS – Elvis Costello, is an English post-punk singer-songwriter. He has won multiple awards in his career, including Grammy Awards in 1999 and 2020 and has twice been nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist. In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Costello number 80 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Costello began his career as part of London’s pub rock scene in the early 1970s and later became associated with the first wave of the British punk and new wave movement that emerged in the mid-to-late 1970s. His critically acclaimed debut album My Aim Is True was released in 1977. Shortly after recording it, he formed the Attractions as his backing band. His first three albums all appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Costello and the Attractions toured and recorded together for the better part of a decade, though differences between them caused a split by 1986. Much of Costello’s work since has been as a solo artist, though reunions with members of the Attractions have been credited to the group over the years. Costello has co-written several original songs for motion pictures, including “God Give Me Strength” from Grace of My Heart (1996, with Burt Bacharach) and “The Scarlet Tide” from Cold Mountain (2003, with T-Bone Burnett). For the latter, Elvis was nominated (along with Burnett) for the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

In October 2018, Costello released the album Look Now, recorded with The Imposters; it features three songs co-written with Burt Bacharach. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to music and a 2020 Grammy. Now Elvis Costello returns to the stage of the Mayflower with the band The Imposters. This will be the fourth time he’s visited the theatre and the first since 1982 when it was the Gaumont and it will the second night of this short UK tour.

A promotional video

3rd March – ACOSTA DANZA

On the stage – for two nights _ ACOSTA DANZA – EVOLUTION – International ballet superstar Carlos Acosta and his critically acclaimed Cuban company Acosta Danza perform a programme of new and existing works entitled EVOLUTION, presented by Dance Consortium and Sadlers Wells. Acosta makes a guest appearance in the iconic Rooster, choreographed by Christopher Bruce to music by the Rolling Stones. The company also perform new work, Paysage, soudain, la nuit by visionary Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg and Impronta, which was created specially for Acosta Danza by Spanish choreographer Maria Rovira. Inspired by Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’après midi d’un faune, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui completes the bill with masterpiece Faun, set to Debussy’s original score with additional music from Nitin Sawhney.

The trailer for the show

5th March – A MUSICAL ODYSSEY

On the stage – for two days – A MUSICAL ODYSSEY – SOUTHAMPTON MUSIC HUB – ‘A Musical Odyssey’ was presented by Southampton Music Hub in partnership with Mayflower Theatre. An epic evening of entertainment as over 600 young musicians from across Southampton commemorate the 400th anniversary of the ship, Mayflower: a pioneering journey which created connections that changed the world.

Hosted by Soweto Kinch, the evening featured musical performances from bands and orchestras of all different shapes and sizes from across the City of Southampton and celebrated the life-changing power of music, including, the premiers of Mayflower 400 inspired projects Big Sing: The Journey and Symphony 400: The Voyage.

Mayflower 400 promotion

7th March – ONE SOUND: MAGIC

Live – one day only – ONE SOUND : MAGIC MAYFLOWER 400 – 600 singers take part in this celebration of the departure of the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers 400 years ago, heading for the New World of America. A mix of contemporary hits with the biggest collaboration of choirs Southampton has ever seen, with over 600 singers, this proved to be a concert like no other.

Background to One Sound and Mayflower 400

8th March – RHOD GILBERT

Live – one night only – RHOD GILBERT – is a Welsh comedian who was nominated in 2005 for the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. In 2008 he was nominated for the main comedy award (as the Edinburgh Comedy Awards were then branded). Gilbert appears on television and radio panel shows, has performed stand-up on the Royal Variety Performance, and hosted a weekly show on BBC Radio Wales. In September 2014 Gilbert started presenting the BBC Two panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, ending a run of five series without a permanent host, although the show ended in May 2015. Gilbert appeared several times on the Channel 4 comedy/game show 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and replaced comedian Jack Dee as the host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired! beginning in 2016. In 2019, he stepped down to prepare for taking his new comedy show ‘The Book Of John’ on tour.

This show marked Rhod’s debut at the Mayflower. In a seven-year break from stand-up, a lot has happened to Rhod. And just when he thought he’d hit rock bottom, he met a bloke…called John.

This show sees Rhod as funny as ever, but like never before. Raw, personal and brutally honest; no more lies, no more nonsense.

Rhod Gilbert talks about this show

10th March – MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

On the stage – for five days – MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET – is a jukebox musical with a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. It dramatises the Million Dollar Quartet recording session of December 4, 1956, among early rock and roll/country stars who recorded at Sun studio in Memphis, which are Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, and newcomer Jerry Lee Lewis. Established performer Carl Perkins was to record songs with a new performer, Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley stops by the studio along with his girlfriend, a singer named Dyanne (at the real session, Elvis’s girlfriend was a dancer, Marilyn Evans—now Riehl). Johnny Cash has stopped by to talk to recording impresario Sam Philips. They soon have a jam session together. Philips attempts to re-sign Johnny Cash to a new contract, unaware he has already signed with Columbia Records. Typically, as a member from the Quartet enters for the first time, he sings a verse of one of his most famous songs, followed by an onstage freeze of all actors. During this time Sam Philips relates to the audience how he first discovered the boy, and a brief, few line scene of that moment occurs between Philips and the musician, followed by Sam Phillips asking the boy to play something for him, which is the next verse of the song, and everyone unfreezes.

The musical opened on Broadway in 2010, after several tryouts and regional productions, and spawned the 2011 West End production. In 2016 a UK tour starring Jason Donovan visited the Mayflower. This 2020 production premiered at the Mayflower and featured Peter Duncan as Sam Phillips, Ross Williams as Elvis Presley, Martin Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis, Robbie Durham as Johnny Cash and Matt Wycliffe as Carl Perkins.

The tv promotion for the show

15th March – ANTON & ERIN

On the stage – for one day – ANTON AND ERIN – DANCE THOSE MAGICAL MOVIES – Anton & Erin return with a brand new show for 2020, Dance Those Magical Movies, cinema live on the dancefloor! Featuring exquisite choreography set to music that made it big on the silver screen, including classics from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Wizard of Oz, through to modern blockbusters including The Greatest Showman, 007, Moulin Rouge and many more. A sensational dance production filled with Hollywood glamour, featuring a spectacular dance ensemble, exquisite live vocals and 23-piece live orchestra. Expect a red carpet, premiere performance from the UK’s leading ballroom dance stars.

The trailer for the show

17th March – Theatre Closed

The outbreak of Coronavirus prompted the UK Government, in line with other countries, to encourage all places where the public gather to close for an indefinite period. The Mayflower in line with all other theatres coordinated with the production companies and closed from 17th March 2020.

18th March – CANCELLED – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA

On the stage – for FOUR days – WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – The Spring season of the Welsh National Opera would have seen three productions coming to Southampton.

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, staged on Wednesday and Friday. Through a series of twists and turns, it will keep you guessing until the final scene, with Mozart’s sublime score brilliantly bringing the action to life. WNO’s period-set production has all the ingredients of a classic opera. Elegant sets, opulent costumes and an exceptional ensemble cast combine to pay homage to one of the greatest comic operas of its time. A co-production with Grand Théâtre de Genève.

Making a speedy return is Jo Davies’ new production of CARMEN made a welcome appearance on Thursday , set in the recent past, it brings all the passion and drama expected of this iconic opera. Bizet’s alluring music, from the famous Toreador Song to Carmen’s provocative Habanera, exposing the emotion of the characters to create a tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Saturday the Company produced the rarely seen LES VEPRES SICILLIENNES, based around true events which occurred in Sicily in 1282, Verdi’s grand opera features wonderful choruses and breath-taking arias, including the Bolero. In this striking new production, Director David Pountney and the creative team behind La forza del destino and Un ballo in maschera reunite to complete WNO’s Verdi Trilogy. This was a co-production with Theater Bonn and was sung in French.

WNO’s promotion for Les Vepres Sicilliennes

24th March – CANCELLED – MATTHEW BOURNE’S THE RED SHOES

On the stage – for FIVE days – MATTHEW BOURNE COMPANY – THE RED SHOES – A sell-out for its world premiere in 2016, Matthew Bourne’s triumphant adaptation of the legendary film returns to the Mayflower, having won two Olivier Awards and dazzled audiences across the UK and the USA. The Red Shoes is a tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion. Set to the achingly romantic music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann, The Red Shoes is orchestrated by Terry Davies and played live by the New Adventures Orchestra, with cinematic designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Paul Groothuis. With Andrew Monaghan and Ashley Shaw, as well as Liam Mower, Glenn Graham and Cordelia Braithwaite reviving their acclaimed original roles, this intoxicating drama will dazzle your senses and break your heart.

The promotional trailer

29th March – CANCELLED – FASCINATING AIDA

Live – for one day – FASCINATING AIDA – return to the Mayflower for the first time since 2015. The songs are hilarious and topical, the glamour is unstoppable: Britain’s greatest cabaret trio are back with a world premiere show. Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman return with a selection of old favourites, songs you haven’t heard before and some you wish you’d never heard in the first place. With three Olivier Award nominations and over 25 million YouTube and Facebook hits for ‘Cheap Flights’ and their incredibly rude Christmas song, how can you possibly miss out?

Here is their rudest ever Christmas song

31st March – CANCELLED – ON YOUR FEET

On the stage – for FIVE days – ON YOUR FEET! – is a jukebox musical based on the lives and music of 26-time Grammy Award-winning husband-and-wife team Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the musical has a book written by Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and a score built around the Cuban-fusion pop music made famous by Gloria Estefan. The songs featured include “Get on Your Feet,” “Conga,” “1-2-3” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.” The musical also features the original song “If I Never Got to Tell You” with lyrics by Gloria Estefan and music by her daughter Emily Estefan. After playing on Broadway for two years, Gloria Estefan announced there are several international productions in the works. The musical received seven Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, three Drama League Award nominations and a Tony Award nomination for Best Choreography.

In London it ran at the London Coliseum in 2019 before embarking on this major UK tour. The cast includes Phillipa Stefani as Gloria and George Ioannides in the role of Emilio.

The show’s finale

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