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Big names and big productions for the new stage season
Comedy queen Dawn French, Strictly Come Dancing’s Pasha and Katya, boogie woogie maestro Jools Holland and children’s favourite Scooby Doo are all hitting Bradford stages for a sizzling new season of entertainment.
Next week, The Lion King arrives at the Alhambra, then in May the mighty War Horse, billed as an “unforgettable theatrical experience”, gallops onto the stage.
Other shows this summer include the National Theatre’s internationally-acclaimed comedy One Man, Two Guvnors, with its laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, slapstick and one-liners, and Singin’ In The Rain, telling the story of the first Hollywood musical, when the silver screen found its voice, leaving silent movies – and some stars – behind.
Antony Sher heads the cast of Henry IV Parts I and II, by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and later in the year circus musical Barnum rolls up, telling the story of “America’s greatest showman”, Phineas T Barnum, played by Brian Conley.
Funny girl Sarah Millican brings her Home Bird show to St George’s Hall, and Dawn French blends stand-up and autobiography in her new show, 30 Million Minutes.
There are more laughs from Billy Pearce, Hardeep Singh, and Blofeld and Baxter, recalling memories of Test Match cricket.
There’s music a’plenty, with concerts from the BBC Big Band, the Halle, Mari Wilson, Jane MacDonald, The South, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Fairport Convention and Superstars of Soul, featuring Geno Washington and Jaki Graham.
Eighties rock-themed musical Rock Of Ages comes to Bradford from the West End, while Bless ’Em All pays tribute to the Armed Forces of yesterday, today and tomorrow, featuring songs from the war years.
Jools Holland brings his boogie woogie party back to town with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and special guest Marc Almond.
How To Make A Killing In Bollywood is a new comedy about two friends who quit their jobs in a fast food restaurant and head to Bollywood in search of fame and fortune, and the Buddy Holly story unfolds in hit musical Buddy. Tribute shows The ELO Experience and Roy Orbison and Friends relive classic hits.
For dance fans there are toe-tapping shows from Northern Ballet, bringing The Great Gatsby to the stage, and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures presenting its new ballet version of Lord Of The Flies.
The stars of Strictly Come Dancing, professionals Pasha Kovalev and Katya Virshilas, will also be waltzing into town.
Paul Hollywood, twinkly-eyed presenter of TV hit The Great British Bake-Off, blends baking and audience banter in Get Your Bake On.
For younger theatregoers, there’s Scooby Doo and the gang in a new adventure, and Dinosaur Zoo brings audiences up close to prehistoric creatures.
The Alhambra’s centenary is celebrated in A Night of Variety, and later in the year Billy Pearce returns in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his 16th Alhambra pantomime.
Bradford’s panto king is back by popular demand, playing Muddles, and will be joined by X Factor and Popstar To Opera Star winner Joe McElderry as the Spirit of The Mirror.
Tickets for all shows are on (01274) 432000.