Belfast Telegraph


By John Grayden

Londonderry's Millennium Forum will have a little television glamour to pull the customers next week. Helena Blackman, runner-up to Connie Fisher in the race to find a Maria for the Sound of Music, will play Nellie Forbush in a new version of South Pacific.

And Ulster singer Ian McLarnon will get a rare chance to show a local audience what he can do. The ex-Rainey Endowed schoolboy from Randalstown will play the part of Lt Joe Cable. Ian, currently in Nottingham with the show, has featured in several West End productions and sings in the soon-to-be-released film version of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. The experienced Dave Willetts, making a return to the Derry venue after playing there in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, takes the role of Emile de Becque.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic opens Tuesday with tickets (£9.50-£27) available on 7126 4455.

The show teenagers rave about, High School Musical, begins another run at Belfast's Stranmillis College theatre on Sunday. Andy McKnight's production for the Ulster Operatic Company was a huge success in the summer and the re-run featuring the same cast already has 'house full' notices up for some performances.

There are performances until November 24. Try Ticketmaster outlets for tickets.

Damian Lavery takes the title role and Eithne Bell plays Katisha as Bosco Drama Group's Hot Mikado comes to a conclusion at Newry Town Hall.

Director Jim McGuigan's mainly young charges had to deal with the trauma of a Remembrance Day bomb attack interfering with their dress rehearsal last Sunday.

The production continues tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm with McGuigan joined by musical director Gerry Doherty and choreographer Anne Marie Morgan in the production team.

Southern baritone sensation Derek Ryan slipped into Belfast last weekend for a rehearsal for Showstoppers at the Waterfront Hall studio next Wednesday and lamented that every time he visits the city it seems to rain.

He's hoping the sun shines when he returns to make his Northern Ireland debut alongside Lynne McAllister, Laura Kerr and Barry McGonagle in a guided tour of the Broadway classics of the 1940s, 1950 and 1960s.

Expect to hear favourites from Oklahoma!, Hello Dolly!, Carousel, The King and I, Brigadoon and Fiddler on the Roof. Tickets at £14 were still available at the time of going to press.

Wilfie Pyper, who is directing Showstoppers, is in for a busy week. The previous evening he will be the man behind Percy French Remembered at the Waterfront Studio in his role as director of the Percy French Concert Party as the group makes a rare Belfast appearance.

Belfast Telegraph


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