Popular British TV stars Robert Glenister and Kris Marshall join Christian Slater in the first major revival in nearly a decade of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize winning GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS at London’s Playhouse theatre. Set in the cut-throat world of a Chicago real-estate office, it’s a fast talking, expletive-filled depiction of sleazy salesmen scrapping it out. Robert plays the ‘spitting, hissing’, angry Moss and Kris is the uptight office manager, Williamson. I met both actors after last Saturday nights performance at the stage door, where they signed my sketch for me.
The new musical EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE that generated a lot of buzz in Sheffield earlier this year has now transferred to London’s Apollo Theatre. Described as the ‘Billy Elliot for today’s generation’, it tells the story of Jamie New, a sixteen year-old schoolboy living on a Sheffield council estate who beats bullies and prejudice to go to the school prom in full drag. It’s based on the 2011 BBC documentary about secondary student Jamie Campbell’s ambition to become a drag queen.
The lead role is played by twenty-five year-old John McCrea who grew up near Sheffield and began his London stage career at the age of nine in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at the Palladium. In his five-star review for the Independent, Paul Taylor wrote, “the extraordinary bravura of John McCrea’s performance is the right mix of sas and sensitivity and strength.” I caught up with John before Saturday’s matinee at the stage door where he signed this montage sketch for me.
American actress and singer Amber Riley completed her West End debut in the hit musical DREAMGIRLS at London’s Savoy theatre last Saturday night. After receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of lead Effie White, Amber won this year’s Olivier Award for Best actress in a Musical. The thirty-one year-old is best known for her TV role as Mercedes Jones on the Fox comedy-drama series GLEE for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award. She also won season 17 of DANCING WITH THE STARS in 2013 and has been nominated for the Grammy three times. It took me a few attempts to get this drawing signed. For one reason or another I keep missing Amber at the stage door, but finally, on the last night after her final performance I got the graph.
English all rounder Dannielle Wyatt made history in Canberra last week as England achieved the highest successful run chase in the history of Women’s T20 Internationals to beat Australia and draw the Ashes series. Her brilliant century, off just 57 balls was the first by an English women in T20’s. It included 13 fours and two sixes, winning her the player-of-the-match award. Chasing an impressive 178 by the hosts, England were quickly in trouble at 30/3, but ‘devastating Danni’ and captain Heather Knight put on a 139-run fourth-wicket partnership to set up the win and earn a 2-1 victory in the T20 matches and an 8-all draw in the overall series.
Twenty-six year-old Danni has been with the England team for the past seven years since her March 2010 debut in Mumbai. She was part the World Cup-winning national squad which beat India in the Final at Lords earlier this year. Her domestic T20 team, the Southern Vipers also reached the final of the Kia Super League in September, in Hove where she signed this drawing for me.
Bryan Cranston made his London stage debut as Howard Beale, the mad prophet of the airways to rave reviews in NETWORK on the Lyttelton boards at the National Theatre this month.
Based on Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant script for the Oscar winning 1976 film, Bryan plays the aging news anchor who threatens to kill himself on live TV, becoming an instant crazed celebrity guru yelling the iconic slogan, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
Bryan won a Tony for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in ALL THE WAY on Broadway and is the winner of six Emmys and 2 Golden Globe Awards for his celebrated role as Walter White, the chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-lord in the hit television show BREAKING BAD. He also earned BAFTA and Oscar nominations for TRUMBO in 2015.
Bryan signed my sketch at the National Theatre stage door last week.
Rodney Bewes died yesterday, six days short of his 80th birthday. He appeared in a number of British TV shows, including DR WHO, but it was his role as Bob Ferris in THE LIKELY LADS that made him a household name. In 2013 he returned to the London stage as The Marshall in Peter Ustinov’s THE MOMENT OF TRUTH at the Southwark Playhouse where he kindly signed this sketch for me. RIP Rodney.
Despite having to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals in London this week due to a knee injury, Rafael Nadal ended the year as the world’s No.1 men’s tennis player after a stellar 2017, including winning both the US Open and, for a record tenth time the French Open. ‘The King of Clay’ achieved ‘La Decima’ on the ‘dirt’ at Roland Garros, beating Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in the final. He also added his 10th title on the clay at Monte Carlo and Barcelona for good measure.
To commemorate this feat (of clay) I did this ‘La Decima’ sketch and luckily got Rafa to sign it for me before he left the London’s O2 last week.
Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov won the year-end ATP World Tours Final last night at the O2 arena in London, beating Belgian David Goffin in three sets, completing the tournament unbeaten.
At the beginning of his professional career the former Junior World No. 1 was dubbed ‘Baby Fed’ because of his stylish play and on court talent, similar to the Swiss mystro Roger Federer. Known for his exceptional shot-making and athleticism, he now moves from No. 6 to the world’s No. 3, behind Rafa Nadal and Fed, having started the year at 17th. He collected three other tour titles this year – Brisbane, Sofia and his first Masters 1000 in Cincinnati.
Continuing my week of drawing from the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena is the young Austrian tennis star and world No.4 Dominic Thiem who faces David Goffin today in a sudden death match to decide who goes through to the semi-finals. This is the second consecutive year that Dominic has reached the Tour Finals, having made the semi final at Roland Garros and the fourth round of the three other Grand Slams. Winner of eight ATP singles titles, he is known for his aggressive base line play and great defence and is one of the few younger players to use a single-handed backhand.
The diminutive (by tennis standards) Belgian David Goffin secured the biggest win of his career beating the current world No.1 Rafael Nadal in his opening match at this year’s ATP Tour Finals at London’s O2 on Monday. Rafa was hampered by a reoccurring knee injury which forced him to withdraw from the year-ending tournament after the three-set loss. David, who is currently ranked No. 8 in the world has won four titles and his win over Rafa continues a string of victories over higher-ranked players, including Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. He signed my sketch at the O2 on Sunday before his practice session.