Drawing: Emily Edmonds

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Australian mezzo-soprano Emily Edmonds is one of the rising stars of opera and a member of the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at London’s Convent Garden. The Royal Opera’s high profile training scheme attracted 370 applicants from 59 countries in 2014, who were put through a gruelling audition process until the final five was selected ….one of whom was Emily!

Her first season included performances in ORPHEUS at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in Shakespeare’s Globe, SOUR ANGELICA and WERTHER on the main stage and the world premiere of 4.48 PSYCHOSIS at the Lyric Hammersmith. During the current 2016/17 season she has appeared in MANON LESCAUT, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, DON CARLO and will be seen in Philip Glass’s dance opera LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES at the end of this month.

I left this drawing at the ROH and Emily signed and returned it to me last week.

Drawing: Simon Callow in A Christmas Carol

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Simon Callow’s passion for the work of Charles Dickens continued over the festive season just passed, when he bought his solo show A CHRISTMAS CAROL back to the West End.

After sell-out runs in 2011/12, acclaimed by both critics and audiences alike, the brilliant veteran actor and ‘Dickensionado’ once again teamed up with director-designer Tom Cairns to perform Dickens’ own performance adaption of the much loved Christmas novella in a limited run at the intimate Arts Theatre. Described as a ‘one-man theatrical extravaganza of heart warming and deeply moving festive story-telling,’ Simon plays the Victorian author himself, Scrooge and a host of other parts in the 90 minute performance.

“Embody the narrator Scrooge and other characters, Callow whisks the audience away on a journey that makes you feel like you have never heard A CHRISTMAS CAROL before,” wrote George Simpson in the Express.

I meet the charming and charismatic Simon after his matinee performance a couple of Saturdays ago in the small cafe/bar/front of house/box office at the Arts Theatre and he signed this drawing for me.

Drawing: Lucy Cohu in Once In A Lifetime

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After an eight year hiatus, RIPPER STREET’S Lucy Cohu returned to the stage in Andrew Bowell’s psychological thriller SPEAKING IN TONGUES at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre in the Autumn of 2009. She played double roles moving from a seductive wife to a terrified victim. Among her small screen roles was Princess Margaret in Channel 4’s THE QUEEN’S SISTER which earned her Emmy and BAFTA nominations in 2005. Three years later she won an International Emmy playing Liz in the true-life drama FORGIVEN.

Lucy was back on the London boards this Christmas in the classic 1930’s comedy,  often described as  Broadway’s revenge on Hollywood, ONCE IN A LIFETIME at the Young Vic, playing the star-columnist Helen Hobart. I meet her in the last week of the run and she signed this montage sketch for me.

Drawing: John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime

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Viewers of the popular ITV comedy-drama series DOC MARTIN will be familiar with John Marquez’s character PC Joe Penhale, the dedicated Portwenn policeman ‘on the job 24/7’, who suffered some neurological damage after being kicked by a horse. The Doc’s prognosis is he’s a ‘complete friutcake.’ His latest stage persona has similar qualities.

Having previously appeared at the Young Vic in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN and THE GOOD SOUL OF SZECHUAN, John returned to the London theatre over the festive season to appear in the Richard Jones’ revival of ONCE IN A LIFETIME, the classic 1930’s comedy about Hollywood by Broadway legends Moss Hart and George S Kaufman. He played
‘the beautifully naive’ George Lewis who gets a chance of a lifetime to be a big shot on set.

As part of a down-and-out vaudeville triple act who pack up and move to California to set up a bogus elocution academy for verbally-challenged silent screen stars and cash in on the momentous advent of the talkies. “John Marquez is sublimely good as George,” wrote Paul Taylor in his Independent review. I caught up with John when he arrived for the final matinee on Saturday. Today he starts filming a new series of DOC MARTIN.

Drawing: Ed Harris as Dodge in Buried Child

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This is the second drawing Ed Harris signed for me at the Trafalgar Studios where he appears as Dodge, the whiskey-soaked  patriarch of a dysfunctional family in Sam Shepard’s  American gothic play BURIED CHILD.  His performance has garnered excellent reviews with the guardian’s Michael Billington calling it, “utterly compelling.”

Ed signed my sketch just before Christmas and the production has been extended until early March this year.

Drawing: Amy Madigan in Buried Child

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Both Amy Madigan and her husband Ed Harris are making their London stage debuts in Sam Shepard’s celebrated play BURIED CHILD at the Trafalgar Studios. Sam Elliot’s revival transferred from a two month run at New York’s Pershing Square Signature Theatre. Amy plays Hallie, the psychologically troubled matriarch of a dysfunctional family which the Guardian’s Michael Billington described as “deftly mixing self-delusion with downright flirtiness.”

Amy received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 1985 for TWICE IN A LIFETIME and won a Golden Globe for her portrayal as Sarah Weddington in the 1989 TV film ROE vs WADE.

I meet the very approachable and friendly couple after an evening performance just before Christmas and they were happy to sign my drawings.

Drawing: Patricia Racette

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Known as one of the great singing actresses of our time, American opera star Patricia Racette returned to Covent Garden replacing Martina Serafin in the role of Georgette in Il TABARRO in February 2016. Associated with the world’s leading orchestras in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, NewYork and London, Patricia has excelled in Puccini and Verdi operas. Her well-known roles include Violetta in LA TRAVIATA, both Mimi and Musetta in LA BOHEME, Cio-Cio San in MADAMA BUTTERFLY and Desdemona in OTELLO. I left this montage sketch of Patricia at the Royal Opera House last February and when it didn’t come back after a month I thought it was a goner…but it returned  this week it arrived back almost a year later, signed and dedicated.

Drawing: Lewis Griffiths and Katie Hartland in Dirty Dancing

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The UK and Ireland touring production of DIRTY DANCING had a December stopover at the Phoenix Theatre in the West End with Lewis Griffiths as Johnny Castle and Katie Hartland playing the role of  Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman. When it premiered in London at the Aldwych Theatre in 2006 the stage adaption of the hit 1987 film was the highest pre-sell in London’s history before a two year tour then returning to the Piccadilly Theatre in 2013 for another twelve months.

Lewis is no stranger to major musical productions with roles in PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, LEGALLY BLONDE, GHOST and JERSEY BOYS, but this is Katie’s professional musical theatre debut after recently graduating from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

I left this drawing at the theatre just before Christmas and it arrived back signed and dedicated last week.

Drawing: Harry Enfield in Once In A Lifetime

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At 55, BAFTA-Award winning British comedian, actor, writer and director Harry Enfield made his stage debut in the London revival of Moss Hart and George S Kaufman’s classic 1930’s Broadway comedy ONCE IN A LIFETIME, which finishes its festive season at the Young Vic Theatre next weekend. Harry plays film studio mogul Herman Glogauer at the dawn of the talkies when Hollywood was transformed with the introduction of synchronised sound and the end of the silent era.

By all accounts his performance drew positive reviews in the mainstream press. The Guardian’s Michael Billington headlined his review with “Harry Enfield is a legit hit in Hollywood satire,” going on to say he “makes an assured theatre debut.”

The affable Harry is always friendly with his fans and took time to stop for photos and sign some graphs, including my sketch before Saturday’s matinee.