Broadway and the West End are the jewels of the theatre world; trans-atlantic hubs of theatrical genius where creativity and passion flow freely through the plays and musicals which populate each district. Theatre fans come from far and wide to revel in the unrivalled entertainment provided by the shows in residence there, but more than that, they also come for the superstars of the stage who bring those shows to life each and every night. US and UK audiences are both fortunate enough to enjoy a plethora of supremely talented stage performers, displaying enviable skills of song, dance and acting to create a one-of-a-kind experience that is memorable for all the right reasons.
These talents of these gifted performers isn’t exclusively for the benefit of the audiences in their own back doors however. Broadway stars travel here and West End stars travel there. There’s always been a healthy competition between Broadway and the West End, but at the end of the day, talent is talent and US and UK audiences can appreciate it no matter where it originates from. Broadway and the West End are two sides of the same coin, and theatre fans from our side of the pond get to admire them both as they collide at The Pheasantry as part of February’s line-up of entertainment. The popular London venue, based in the heart of the Chelsea district, is a cabaret hot-spot which has given its stage to a wide assortment of performers from both sides of the Atlantic over the years. This month, it is giving its stage to Broadway star Christine Andreas and West End leading man Daniel Koek, who each host their own evenings of musical entertainment.
Christine Andreas is bringing a little taste of Broadway to our shores in her return to The Pheasantry, where she is performing until Saturday 21st February 2015. The award-winning singer, Broadway star and Tony nominee has enjoyed a career that has spanned 40 years, making her Broadway début as Nancy in the 1975 revival of the Patrick Hamilton play, Angel Street. She has starred in numerous productions over the years, with some of her most notable roles including playing Eliza Doolittle in the 20th anniversary production of My Fair Lady (Theatre World Award), Laurey in a revival of Oklahoma! (Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical) and Frankie Frayne in the George Abbott-directed production of On Your Toes (Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical). Other credits include Rags, Pal Joey, Legs Diamond, Stardust, and originating the role of Marguerite St. Just in The Scarlet Pimpernel. She also played Margaret Johnson in the acclaimed National Tour of The Light in the Piazza, entertaining audiences in venues all around the US, and was last seen on Broadway starring as Jacqueline opposite Kelsey Grammer in the Olivier/Tony Award-winning production of La Cage aux Folles, which had transferred from the West End after a highly successful run there too. A collaboration with composer Martin Silvestri and writer Joel Higgins resulted in her making her West End début in their new musical, The Fields of Ambrosia, at the Aldwych Theatre.
She has appeared in concert all around the world, performing in such places as London, Rome, Paris, Australia and even The White House. Now, reunited again with Martin Silvestri, who will accompany her on piano, she comes to showcase her talent once again as she performs her late night show for audiences in London. Described as ‘a mesmerising musical presence’, Christine Andreas is one of the finest Broadway voices and a star in every sense of the word.
She is not the only star to grace The Pheasantry with their presence this month though. Broadway may have Christine Andreas, but the West End has Daniel Koek, and he will be appearing at The Pheasantry again next Thursday following his first live show there earlier this week. On 26th February 2015, audiences can join the him for An Intimate Evening With West End Star Daniel Koek, where he’ll share songs and stories from his career to date. The Australian-born musical theatre actor has firmly established himself as a West End leading man through such roles as Tony in the 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story, Anatoly Sergievsky in Craig Revel Horwood’s award-winning touring production of Chess, Lt Cable in South Pacific (Barbican, Sydney Opera House), Jason in Jason and the Argonauts and Father Frank Jnr in Saturday Night Fever (International Tour). Most recently, he completed a year starring in the West End production of Les Miserables, where he played the lead role of Jean Valjean to great acclaim.
He has performed sell-out solo concerts in the UK, and will now perform for the pleasure of guests at his Pheasantry show. In addition to the songs and stories he’ll share, he’ll also be performing hits from his new album, High, which is soon to be released. The man behind the magnificent voice is one of the biggest stars in the UK theatre industry right now, and a testament to the level of talent the West End has to offer.
Broadway – West End. West End – Broadway. If you’re a musical theatre fan, then you’ll enjoy such fantastic talent as it is to be celebrated, no matter which side of the pond it originates from.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Thursday 19th February 2015