Drawing: Liza Sadovy as Fraulein Schneider in CABARET

Autographed drawing of Liza Sadovy in Cabaret at the Playhouse Theatre on London's West End

British actress Liza Sadovy won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her performance as the amiable landlady Fraulein Schneider in Rebecca Frecknall’s sensational revival of CABARET at the Playhouse Theatre. The production made history, winning all four Musical acting categories with leads Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley and fellow supporting actor and on-stage love interest Elliot Levey also collecting their respective awards at this month’s Royal Albert Hall ceremony.

“Sadovy is especially excellent, bringing both sweetness and steeliness to her depiction of a world- weary woman,” wrote Miriam Gibson in her LondonBoxOffice review. Liza and Elliot (as the Jewish shopkeeper Herr Schultz) are retirement-age lovers as the Nazi party is taking over the streets of Berlin in the 1930’s. They ‘swoon over a pineapple until their relationship is derailed by anti-Semitism.’ In Variety, David Benedict said, “The utter sincerity of the detailing of their relationship is so magnetic that even the pineapple song ‘It Couldn’t Please Me More’ here makes rare emotional sense,”

Liza’s career has seen her perform on both sides of the Atlantic. Her stage appearances include WICKED in the original London production as the replacement Madame Morrible, Catherine De Brie in LA BETE on both Broadway and the West End, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, OLIVER!, PYGMALION and RICHARD II to name a few. She has also appeared in Opera productions such as THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, LA TRAVIATA and DON GIOVANNI. In film and TV she lists Tim Burton’s SWEENY TODD:THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, MIDSOMER MURDERS, EASTENDERS and VERA amongst her credits.

Liza signed this sketch for me on her final day at the Playhouse, before immediately starting rehearsals for Rodger and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA!, where the Tony Award- winning production transfers to London’s Young Vic, after its acclaimed Broadway run and US tour. It opens this week with Liza playing the town’s fun-loving caretaker Aunt Eller.

Drawing: Elliot Levey as Herr Schultz in CABARET

Autographed drawing of Elliot Levey in Cabaret at London's Playhouse Theatre on West End

The London revival of the Kander and Ebb classic musical CABARET at the Playhouse Theatre was nominated for 11 Olivier Awards, winning seven, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for Elliot Levey for his portrayal of the kindly old Jewish fruit seller, Herr Schultz in Berlin during the Weimar-era. After reading philosophy at Oxford University, Elliot has become a popular regular on the British stage, including the National Theatre’s 2004 revival of HIS DARK MATTERS, as Brutus in CORIOLANUS with Mark Gatiss and Tom Hiddleston at the Donmar Warehouse in 2013 and in the role of Don John in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING alongside David Tennant and Catherine Tate at Wyndham’s in 2011. His film work includes Kenneth Branagh’s remake of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE LADY IN THE VAN, THE QUEEN, PHILOMENIA and on the small screen, PEAKY BLINDERS.

“Lovely work from Elliot Levey and Liza Sadovy as the landlady Fraulein Schneider… the fate of their sweet, courtly romance in the face of Nazi disapproval drives events in the story,” wrote Andrzej Lukowski in his TimeOut review. Variety critic David Benedict said, “Any scrap of sentimentality in the writing is banished by the wonderfully held tension between the two actors, who use expert comic timing to walk a tentative tightrope between hope and heartbreak.”

Elliot signed this drawing I did of him prior to a Saturday matinee at the Playhouse Theatre stage door the day before he collected his Olivier.

Drawing: Samantha Barks in Cabaret and City of Angels

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British songstress Samantha Barks made her stage debut as Sally Bowles in the 2008-09 UK Tour of CABARET, followed by her West End introduction as Eponine in LES MISERABLES at the Queen’s Theatre in 2010. Regarded as one of the finest to perform the tragic street waif, Sam was chosen by Director Tom Hooper to reprise the part in the 2012 film adaption.

Sam returned to the West End in the dual roles of Mallory and Avril for Josie Rourke’s revival of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical comedy CITY OF ANGELS at the Donmar Warehouse in the winter of 2014. Her latest London stage appearance was at the St James’ Theatre in THE LAST FIVE YEARS with Jonathan Bailey, which finished before Christmas, where she signed this drawing for me after the final performance.

Drawing: The Tiger Lilies: Lulu – A Murder Ballard

The Tiger Lillies

The cult cabaret trio, The Tiger Lillies performed their latest stage piece, LULU – A MURDER BALLAD at the Royal Opera House this month. With their trademark demon / clown face paint; composer, singer and accordionist Martyn Jacques, bass player Adrian Stout and percussionist Jonas Gollard presented the ‘brilliantly twisted’ song cycle distillation of Frank Wedekind’s dangerous, unpredictable and tragic heroine, Lulu played by Laura Caldow. Described as part grand guignol, part seedy vaudeville and part grunge cabaret the trio are part of a centuries-long tradition of art that challenges social and cultural conventions.

In his four-star review for The Stage, Neil Norman wrote, “Martyn Jacques’ trio are jaunty, post-punk night crawlers, renegade musicians who cleave to the after-dark melodrama of sex,death and the macabre”.

I left this sketch of Martyn and Laura at the ROH last week and they kindly signed and returned it for me.

Sketch: Matt Tedford as Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho

Matt Tedford

The Huffington Post said, “Matthew Tedford gives a five star performance as the late Prime Minister,” in its review of the award winning actor, comedian and writer’s Margaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho which played the Leicester Square Theatre in London earlier this year.

Co-written with Jon Brittain, the camp comic cabaret is a re-imagining of the events leading up to the passing of the controversial Section 28 in 1988 that banned the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. Matt’s ‘Maggie’ takes a wrong turn in Soho and ends up as an unlikely drag diva. Yes… the Iron Lady becomes a gay rights championing cabaret superstar!

Margaret Thatcher still remains the United Kingdom’s longest running and only female Prime Minister (1979-1990). Before running the country, she was a research chemist and actually invented the chemical that makes soft serve ice cream…

The show played to full houses around the UK and Ireland, culminating in a total sell out season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year. Not only did Matt sign, but his alter ego did as well, bonus!

Drawing: Michelle Williams in Cabaret

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams made her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles opposite Alan Cumming’s depraved emcee in the revival of Kander & Ebbb’s Berlin set musical Cabaret, directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, at Studio 54.

Nominated for three Academy Awards, for Brokeback Mountain (2005), Blue Valentine (2010) and My Week With Marilyn (2011), she won the Golden Globe for her role as Marilyn Monroe in the latter.

Hermione Holey in her review in The Telegraph commented on Michelle’s performance: “She becomes more and more compelling as the show goes on, singing and dancing with a furious, madcap quality and by the time she delivers the title number she’s at the height of her power”

NBC simply said “Michelle Williams is brilliant in a stunning and heartbreaking portrayal.”

I sent this quick 4B pencil portrait to Michelle at the theatre and she graciously signed it with a nice comment.

Drawings: Michelle Ryan in Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre

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Former ‘Eastender’ and ‘Bionic Woman’ Michelle Ryan performed the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret for a UK tour, before transferring to London’s Savoy Theatre in October 2012 for its season finale, where Michelle signed my sketches.

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