Drawing: Clare Halse in 42nd Street

English newcomer Clare Halse has been winning acclaim and applause for her performance in the pivotal role of Peggy Sawyer in the ‘mother of all showbiz musicals’, 42ND STREET at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish gave the “achingly beautiful revival of an American classic” five stars and called Clare a “resplendent Peggy”.

Like her starry-eyed character, the nervous but enthusiastic new chorus girl, Clare who’s brief stage career includes stints in WICKED and SHREK said the 42ND STREET experience is “fun and also terrifying”. I just missed Clare at the stage door a few weekends ago so left it there and it came back signed.

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Drawing: Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka001 The spectacular musical version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had its World Premiere at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in June 2013. Directed by Academy Award Winner and Bond director Sam Mendes, this deliciously dark tale stars Douglas Hodge as the eccentric factory owner. Just returned from playing Cyrano de Bergerac at the Roundabout Theater on Broadway, Douglas won the Tony Award in 2010 for La Cage aux Folles at the Longacre Theatre.

The previous year he collected the Olivier Award for the same role which played on the West End at the Playhouse Theatre before transferring to New York.

He has also released two albums of his own compositions and has written a musical Aschlin Ditta. Douglas gladly signed my sketch at the stage door prior to yesterday’s matinée.