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Rocky Horror highlight for 2023 theatregoers

What’s on at the Mayflower over the coming season

Ailey 2, Friday, February 22, Saturday, February 23

DANCE Consortium bring the 12 young dancers of Ailey 2 with their New York expression and energy to Southampton in their first UK visit since 2011.
Ailey 2 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s second company – is among the most talented of its generation, pouring strength, grace and soul into emotional and powerful performances that captivate audiences around the world.
Founded in 1974 as a bridge between The Ailey School and the professional dance world, Ailey 2 is recognised for merging the spirit and energy of the next generation of talented dancers with the creative vision of today’s most outstanding and emerging choreographers. This autumn they return to the UK for the first time since 2011 and make their debut on Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre stage, all keen to bring some of the famous Ailey spirit to Hampshire audiences.
The company’s new artistic director Francesca Harper (internationally renowned performer and choreographer) has put together an exhilarating repertoire by a diverse range of choreographers which includes a timeless classic from Alvin Ailey himself.
Revelations, the company’s signature piece, was choreographed by Ailey when he was only 29 years old in 1960. A life-changing work, it has been seen by more than 23 million people in 71 countries, more than any other modern dance work. Using African American spirituals, song-sermons, gospel songs and holy blues, Revelations explores the deepest reaches of the soul.
Ailey said that one of America’s richest treasures was the cultural heritage of the African American and this enduring classic is a tribute both to that heritage and Ailey’s genius.
The company will perform the intensely propulsive central section of William Forsythe’s 1989 work, Enemy in the Figure. The choreography is driven by Thom Willem’s percussive and
rhythmic electronic score which also influences the radical use of light and shadow in its design.
Tickets for Ailey 2 are on sale at the theatre’s box office, mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.

The Rocky Horror Show, Monday, March 20, until Saturday, March 25

SINCE it first opened in London in June 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre, The Rocky Horror Show has become the longest continuous run of a contemporary musical anywhere in the world.

The show has been seen by over 30 million people worldwide in more than 30 countries and translated into 20 languages as it continues to delight audiences on its sell-out international tour.
And now the iconic production is set to delight theatregoers in Southampton next month.
Without doubt, the Rocky Horror Show is as iconic as it gets. Lighting up the stage this phenomenal cast will perform songs that are embedded in pop culture. With a whole host of special celebrations to be announced throughout the year, the cast are in full throttle and ready to honour this monumental moment, delivering a guaranteed party that leaps off the stage and transcends into the audience.
This celebratory tour – already thrilling audiences across the UK and the world, including recent sell-out trips to Tel Aviv, Milan, Rome and Trieste – will be staged at the Mayflower Theatre
from Monday, March 20, until Saturday, March 25.
Producer Howard Panter said: “Rocky Horror has always been a show I loved, since its earliest days in the Kings Road. Richard O’Brien and I are delighted this non-stop party continues to thrill
audiences across the world, and we look forward to the next 50 years!”
Richard O’Brien said: “Back in the 1970s when someone asked me to entertain the Christmas staff party at the EMI Film Studios and I turned up with a song called Science Fiction Double Feature, who would have known this was the germ of the idea to turn into today what is The Rocky Horror Show?
“To be celebrating 50 years is beyond my wildest expectations – from the humble beginnings back in 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The fact that The Rocky Horror show continues to delight audiences as it tours the UK 50 years on is simply thrilling. The Rocky Horror Show is one of Britain’s most performed and beloved musicals of all time.”
Directed by Christopher Luscombe, timeless classics include Sweet Transvestite, Damn it Janet and, of course, the pelvic-thrusting showstopping Time Warp.
The Rocky Horror Show is the story of two squeaky clean college kids – Brad and his fiancée Janet. When by a twist of fate, their car breaks down outside a creepy mansion whilst on their way to visit their former college professor, they meet the charismatic Dr Frank’n’Furter. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, filled with fun, frolics, frocks, and frivolity.
In 1975 it was transformed into a film called The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  This adaptation took over $135 million at the box office and is still shown around the world more than 40 years after its premiere, making it the longest running theatrical release in cinema history.
Many stars including Russell Crowe, Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Jerry Springer, Jason Donovan and Meatloaf have appeared in The Rocky Horror Show over the past 45 years.
The live screening – featuring a host of celebrities playing The Narrator including Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc, Emma Bunton, Ade Edmondson, Anthony Head and Richard O’Brien – smashed box office records and was the biggest grossing film in cinemas across the UK.
The Rocky Horror Show is the boldest bash of them all. But be warned, this show has rude parts!
Tickets are on sale at mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.

The SpongeBob Musical, Wednesday April 5, Saturday, April 8

SHOWPATH Entertainment are delighted to announce that Gareth Gates and Divina de Campo will star in the UK Premiere of the Tony Award-nominated, award-winning The SpongeBob Musical at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and became the hottest star in theatre? SpongeBob SquarePants!
The cast of this stunning all-singing, all-dancing, dynamic stage show stars Gareth Gates as Squidward, Divina de Campo as Sheldon J Plankton, Lewis Cornay as SpongeBob, Irfan Damani as Patrick, Chrissie Bhima as Sandy, Richard J Hunt as Mr Krabs, Sarah Freer as Pearl, Eloise Davies as Mrs Puff, Hannah Lowther as Karen and Rebecca Lisewski as Mayor.
They are joined by Sam Beveridge, Jeremiah Olaleye, Eleanor Turiansky, Rhys Batten and Reece Kerridge.
When the citizens of Bikini Bottom discover that a volcano will soon erupt and destroy their humble home, SpongeBob and his friends must come together to save the fate of their undersea world.
With lives hanging in the balance and all hope lost, a most unexpected hero rises up. The power of optimism really can save the world! An exciting new production featuring irresistible characters, magical choreography and dazzling costumes; this deep-sea pearl of a show is really set to make a splash with audiences young and old as the must-see musical of 2023.
Tickets for the production are on sale now at the Mayflower box office – mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.

Wicked, Thursday, May 23 until Sunday, June 16

WICKED, the spectacular, multi-record-breaking and critically acclaimed touring production, will fly back into Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre from Thursday, May 23.
The West End and Broadway musical phenomenon, that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, continues its open-ended run at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, where it is now in its 17th year and already the 12th longest-running production in West End history.
Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked imagines a beguiling backstory and future possibilities to the lives of L Frank Baum’s beloved characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and reveals the decisions and events that shape the destinies of two unlikely university friends on their journey to becoming Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
With a huge touring cast, orchestra, company and crew of 82 people, and a further 20 employed locally,  the blockbuster stage show delighted audiences during two previous tours to the city.
Wicked has already been seen by more than 60 million people worldwide, and 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of its Broadway premiere. Productions continue on Broadway, in the
West End and on tour across North America. This year, Wicked will also return to Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.
The show, which has won over 100 major awards, features songs by multi-Oscar and Grammy Award winner Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt, Disney’s Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted).  It takes 100 people, both on-stage and behind the scenes, to deliver performances of this massive touring production.
Tickets for Wicked are now on sale at www.mayflower.org.uk or by phone on 02380 711811.