Coming to Sunderland in 2018

Peter Lathan

Four new shows have been announced for 2018 at Sunderland Empire.

Following a spring 2017 tour Thoroughly Modern Millie takes to the road again in March 2018, visiting Sunderland Empire from 10 to 14 April, the third stop on the tour after opening at Richmond Theatre on 27 March and a stay at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne.

Hayley Tamaddon (Del Dingle in Emmerdale and Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street and winner of the fifth series of ITV1's Dancing on Ice) stars as Millie. Her musical theatre credits include Roxie Hart in Chicago (UK Tour), The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (UK tour), Janet in The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), Frenchie in Grease (UK Tour), Diana Morales in A Chorus Line (Sheffield Theatres), Trish in Boogie Nights (UK Tour), Carmen in Fame (UK Tour), Laura in Boyband (West End) and Lisa in Mamma Mia (West End).

The show, which has won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, is based on the Oscar-winning 1967 film.

Also in April, from 24 to 28, the Watermill’s production of Crazy for You arrives in Sunderland with Claire Sweeney taking over the role of Irene and joining Tom Chambers and Charlotte Wakefield.

With music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, the show features great standards like "I Got Rhythm", "They Can’t Take That Away From Me", "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "Embraceable You".

Making the move from animated film to stage musical is Madagascar—A Musical Adventure which comes to the Empire 28 August to 1 September 2018, as part of a tour which begins at Wimbledon Theatre on 16 July.

Alex the lion is the king of the urban jungle, the main attraction at New York's Central Park Zoo. He and his best friends—Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo—have spent their whole lives in blissful captivity before an admiring public and with regular meals provided for them. Not content to leave well enough alone, Marty lets his curiosity get the better of him and makes his escape—with the help of some prodigious penguins—to explore the world.

David Hutchinson, Executive Creative Producer of Selladoor, which is producing the show, said, “one of our key principals at Selladoor is to aim to engage young people to come to the theatre and to help to encourage a whole new generation of theatre-goers, and Madagascar promises to do just that.”

From 24 October to 17 November, Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Miss Saigon, which opened at the West End’s Prince Edward Theatre in May 2014 and is currently on a long tour which began in July this year and will end at Theatre 11 in Zürich on 13 January 2019, arrives in Sunderland.

The Broadway production opened in March this year and has been Tony nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.