American actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth was in London last month for her one night only engagement at the Palladium as part of her brief European Tour. I had missed her a couple of times before, so was very keen to get a drawing signed. I did this quick portrait based on her poster and dropped it into the new and impressive stage door office at the theatre, fingers crossed. Kristin won the Tony Award in 1999 for her portrayal of the title character’s sister, Sally Brown in YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN. She also originated the role of Glinda in the musical WICKED on Broadway, earning another Tony nom. The cast recording won the 2005 Grammy. On the small screen, Kristin is best known for the reoccurring role as media consultant Annabeth Schott in THE WEST WING and Olive Snook in the comedy-drama PUSHING DAISIES for which she won the 2009 Emmy Award. As you can see my mission was complete when the signed and dedicated sketch arrived in the mail yesterday.
After a ten year hiatus, Christian Slater has returned to the West End in the revival of David Mamet’s landmark 1983 drama GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, which is currently in previews, opening on 9 November at the Playhouse Theatre. Last seen in the business satire SWIMMING WITH SHARKS at the Vaudeville in 2007, Christian made his London stage debut as the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy in Dale Wasserman’s adaption of Ken Kesey’s cult novel ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST at the Gielgud in 2004. He reprised the role for a return season two years later at the Garrick. Christian very kindly met a few of us waiting at the Playhouse stage door after the first GLENGARRY matinee and signed my CUCKOO’s NEST sketch.
The STRICTLY COME DANCING judge Craig Revel Horwood is dividing his time these days between the popular BBC show at Elstree Studios and his role as the tyrannical orphanage manager Miss Hannigan in the musical ANNIE at the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End. He took over from role from Miranda Hart in mid-September for a limited 10 week run (minus Saturdays).
The Australian-born British dancer, choreographer and theatre director’s West End credits include CATS, MISS SAIGON, CHESS, CRAZY FOR YOU and SUNSET BOULEVARD. But it is his STRICTLY appearance as one of the original and most formidable judges since the show’s inception in 2004 that TV viewers know him best.
In 2012, commenting on KImberley Walsh’s dance routine he said it was “indecent, improper, absolute filth… and I loved it!” Craig is also known for his catch phrases. A common utterance is ‘Fab-u-Lous’ with the syllables of each word articulated in three separate words. He included it in the dedication on this signed sketch I drew of him as Miss H, left at the theatre last week.
Best known to TV audiences for his two-decade portrayal of psychiatrist Dr Frasier Crane in the sitcoms CHEERS and FRASIER, Kelsey Grammer is making his London stage debut next week in BIG FISH THE MUSICAL, based on the Tim Burton film, at The Other Palace. No stranger to the boards, Kelsey’s first Broadway role was Lennox in MACBETH, taking over the lead in 1981. It wasn’t until April 2010, however that he did his first Broadway musical, playing Georges in a revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, collecting a Tony Award nomination for his performance.
In fact, for major awards, Kelsey has received 45 nominations, winning 18, including five Emmys and three Golden Globes. He was the first American actor to win nominations for the same character on three different television shows- CHEERS, FRASIER and a one-off crossover appearance in WINGS. He collected his only Tony win to date for producing THE COLOUR PURPLE last year.
It was great to catch up with Kelsey last week in London, while he was rehearsing for BIG FISH. He is one of the nicest people I have met in the business and was more than happy to sign my drawing of him.
English actress Lesley Joseph sobbed… but in a good way, when she found out she had won the role of housekeeper and superannuated lover of the original Doctor F Frau Boucher in Mel Brook’s new West End stage production of his 1974 film YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. “Oh my God I’m going to be working with Mel Brooks!”
Lesley became an international name as Dorian Green in the British TV sitcom BIRDS OF A FEATHER and recently as a contestant on STRICTLY COME DANCING with partner Anton Du Beke. In his four-star review for The Independent, Paul Taylor wrote, “Lesley Joseph brings a superb hatchet-faced obsessiveness to Frau Blucher and her idiotic goose-stepping devotion to the memory of the violent older Frankenstein.”
Lesley signed my Frau B sketch going into the Garrick Theatre for Saturday’s matinee.
French-American dancing legend and film icon Leslie Caron attended a screening of her 1962 film THE L-SHAPED ROOM at the BFI London Film Festival on Saturday. She won the BAFTA and Golden Globe and was nominated for the Oscar for her performance as a young French woman pregnant with an illegitimate child. The film represented a departure from the musical comedies that made her an international star-AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, GIGI and LILI, the latter earning her another BAFTA and Oscar nomination. In 2007 Leslie won an Emmy Award for her guest role in LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT. At the age of 86 she is still acting, appearing on the small screen as Countess Mavrodaki in the 2016 series of ITV’s THE DURRELLS. I was lucky enough to meet her at the BFI when she arrived for the screening and signed my drawing.
English actress Natalie Dormer has returned to the West End this month as the brash, vulgar, unschooled actress Vanda Jordan in the Patrick Marber-directed two-hander VENUS IN FUR at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Natalie’s last appearance on the London boards was Patrick Marber’s AFTER MISS JULIE at the Young Vic in 2012. Reviews said she was “nothing short of sensational”. She also appeared two years earlier on the same stage as Mitzi in SWEET NOTHINGS. Natalie gained international prominence on the big screen as Cressida in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, Parts 1 and 2 and on the small screen as Margaret Tyrell in THE GAME OF THRONES.I meet her after Saturday’s evening performance at the stage door where she signed this drawing for me.
The legendary actor, writer, director, producer, composer and all round funny man, Mel Brooks is 91 and still going strong. He’s in London with the musical version of his classic 1974 film YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, which after a short UK tour, debuted on the West End at the Garrick Theatre last week. The original Broadway production ran at the Hilton Theatre from November 2007 to January 2009, collecting three Tony nominations. Mel is one of only twelve people who have won the EGOT winners of the four main annual American entertainment competitive category awards; the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Mel also created and wrote one of my all time favourite TV shows, GET SMART with Buck Henry. He has been in London for a while with rehearsals and previews at the theatre, where he frequents most days, but I haven’t managed to catch-up with him yet, but did leave this sketch at his Hotel and it came back instantly, 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.
I was very pleased to receive my drawing of British actress Susan Hampshire back yesterday, signed and dedicated. I have been a big fan since I first saw her in Disney’s THE THREE LIVES OF THOMASINA in 1964. Most people will know her as Fleur in THE FORSYTE SAGA TV series for which she won the first of her three Emmy Awards. Susan’s most recent major role in a series was as Molly MacDonald, Lady of Glenbogle in MONARCH OF THE GLEN, which ran from 2000-2005.
Now 80 and retired from acting, Susan was thirty when she discovered she had dyslexia, which was the subject of her memoir ‘Susan’s Story’. She has been a prominent spokesperson for dyslexia ever since and was awarded an OBE by the Queen for her work. Along with my signed sketch, Susan also included a photo of herself with a very complimentary note about the drawing, so I’m extra pleased she liked it.