Scottish songstress Sheena Easton made her West End debut this year as Dorothy Brock in the revival of the hit musical 42nd STREET at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The two-time Grammy Award winner has sold over 20 million records worldwide with Gold and Platinum albums in the US, Europe and Asia. She is the first and only artist to have top 5 hits in five different Billboard charts consecutively. Sheena has appeared on Broadway in MAN OF LA MANCHA and as Rizzo in GREASE. I left this sketch at the stage door and it came back signed and dedicated.
One of the nicest people in show biz is BAFTA and Golden Globe nominated English actor and director Andy Serkis. On screen he is unparalleled as a performance capture artist with classic computer- generated characters such as Gollum in the LORD OF THE RINGS and in THE HOBBIT trilogies, the great ape himself in KING KONG, Caesar in THE PLANET OF THE APES and Supreme Leader Snoke in STAR WARS. Andy is always fan-friendly and has time for everyone. He signed for me after a press conference for ALIEN:COVENANT at the Ham Yard Hotel in May this year.
Award-winning German operatic soprano Christiane Karg performed at London’s Wigmore Hall last weekend where I managed to get this sketch signed. The drawing is based on her role as Norina in DON PASQUALE at the Komische Opera in Berlin at the beginning of 2010.
The ‘colossus’ of British theatre, theatre, opera and film director Sir Peter Hall died this month. In their obituary, The Times wrote that he was “the most important figure in British theatre for half a century.”
Sir Peter ran the National theatre from 1973-1988 and founded the Royal Shakespearian Company in 1960. The National Theatre said that Sir Peter’s “influence on the artistic life of Britain in the 20th Century was unprecedented.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Peter on a few occasions at theatre press nights before he retired from public life in 2011. He was always a delight. In March 2010 he attended the opening night of PRIVATE LIVES at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, starring Kim Cattrall. After the show he went backstage and signed for me leaving via the stage door.
Celebrated British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon spotted Leanne Cope in the 2014 Royal Ballet Company’s production of SWAN LAKE and cast her as Lise Dassin, the lead in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS. It was a role she originated in the Broadway production, which has transferred to London’s West End and is currently running at the Dominion Theatre. After graduating in 2003 from the Royal Ballet School,Leanne progressed to First Artist six years later. Leanne kindly signed a drawing I did of her as Lise earlier in the year and did the same to this one of her from her Royal Ballet days last week.
Welsh actress Lisa Palfrey was appearing as Big Mama in the Young Vic’s West End production of Tennessee William’s CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at the Apollo Theatre… until an emergency appendectomy cut short her performance last month. Initially understudy Kate Britain covered until Kiwi actress Kerry Fox stepped into the role until Lisa recovered. She signed this sketch for me a week before the unscheduled appendix removal.
English actor and singer Joe Millson was attracted back to the London stage by the script of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s APOLOGIA, which is currently running at the Trafalgar Studios until November. Joe plays both sons; the calm but troubled Simon and the thick-skinned banker Peter, who attend their mother’s (Stockard Channing) birthday, a matriarchal figure and famous art historian who has just published her memoirs neglecting to mention her them.
It was originally drafted for two actors but it was director, Jamie Lloyd’s innovation to use one. “It’s very light, easy-to-watch stuff, but leaves you with a punch in the gut,” said Joe in a recent interview. Theatre critic, Neil Dowden, writing his review in Exeunt wrote, “Joseph Millson excels in contrasting Peter’s self-confident directness with Simon’s subdued, more obliquely accusing manner.” I did suggest to Joe, while he was signing my sketch at the stage door, that they should be paying him double for the dual roles, an idea that appealed.
2016 was an exceptional year for German tennis star Angelique Kerber. She won two majors, beating world number one Serena Williams in the Australian Open and Karolina Pliskova in the US Open. She also reached the Wimbledon final, with Serena reversing the Australian result.
However she amassed enough ranking points to pass Serena and take over the top spot. At the Summer Olympics Angelique won the singles silver medal. Not surprisingly, she won the WTA Player of the Year and was nominated for the prestigious Laureus Sportswomen of the Year Award. I sent this drawing to Angelique at the Aegon International in Eastbourne earlier this year and was returned this week, from her German base, signed and dedicated.
Hayley Squires performance as single mum Katie in Ken Loach’s multi-award winning film I, DANIEL BLAKE catapulted her into the international spotlight, earning a BAFTA nomination and winning a number of accolades including the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her latest role is the complete opposite, making her West End debut in the Young Vic production of Tennessee William’s steamy southern family drama CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF opposite Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell at the Apollo Theatre. Hayley plays Mae, the scheming sister-in -law which The Times critic Ann Treneman called a “stand-out performance.” She signed my drawing a month ago at the stage door.
DOCTOR WHO’s Freema Agyeman made her West End debut last month in the revival of Alexei Kaye Campbell’s family drama APOLOGIA at the Trafalgar Studios. Known as Martha Jones,the Time Lord’s companion and Alesha Phillips in LAW & ORDER:UK, Freema plays Claire, the unrepentant girlfriend. Ironically she turned down a chance to debut on stage at the Donmar sixteen years ago for a role in the soap CROSSROADS, now appears for the first time on the London boards as a spirited soap star. She signed this sketch I drew at the stage door after a Saturday evening performance a few weeks ago.