Musicals Cats and Evita Return to The West End Stage!

Hit Andrew Lloyd Webber 80s musicals Cats and Evita are to return to the West End stage.

Cats will run for 12 weeks at the London Palladium from December, with a cast yet to be announced.

Evita, will run for 55 shows from September at the Dominion, starring Marti Pellow and Madalena Alberto.

Both musicals starred Elaine Paige in their original productions and both became long-running award-winning shows that also had international success.

Cats, which closed in the West End more than a decade ago, is based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

The musical has won many awards and spawned much-loved songs such as Memory, which has been recorded by more than 150 artists, including Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Liberace and Barry Manilow.

Evita, which charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, closed in the West End in 1986 but had a short-lived revival in 2006 and also on Broadway in 2012.

It too features some of the most memorable and best loved songs in musical theatre, including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars and Another Suitcase in Another Hall.

And both shows have become multiple award-winners over the decades, in and outside the UK.

Cats, which played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances, picked up Olivier awards, Tonys and Grammys. It has been staged in more than 26 countries, been translated into 10 languages and been seen by more than 50 million people worldwide.

And over the years, it also attracted many stars to its cast, including Wayne Sleep, Bonnie Langford and Brian Blessed.

Evita, which Lord Lloyd-Webber created with lyricist Sir Tim Rice, has an equally illustrious past.

It has more than 20 major awards to its name and was the first British musical to receive the Tony Award for best musical.

It also spawned an Oscar-winning movie starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas.

News of the return of Cats and Evita comes hot on heels of the revived production of another 80s hit, Miss Saigon.

Cats’ original producer Cameron Mackintosh has taken on the same role for the new Miss Saigon.

All three classic shows come after a number of other recent high-profile West End casualties involving contemporary productions.

The X Factor-inspired musical I Can’t Sing! closed after just two months. The Full Monty closed after five weeks, Lord Lloyd-Webber’s musical Stephen Ward lasted for four months, and the curtain came down on Sir Tim Rice’s From Here to Eternity after six months.

Tickets for Cats at the London Palladium production will go on sale on Monday 7 July, and those for Evita at the Dominion, are on sale now.

Sri Lanka Leave it Late to Snatch Historic Win!

England crashed to their first home test series defeat by Sri Lanka as the tourists claimed a thrilling win off the penultimate ball on Tuesday, ensuring a valiant maiden century by Moeen Ali went unrewarded.

The England all-rounder’s rearguard action with the bat all but saved the final test of the two-match series.

However, the doughty resistance of last man James Anderson was finally ended when he spooned a Shaminda Eranga bouncer to Rangana Herath at square leg for a 55-ball duck that completed Sri Lanka’s 100-run victory at Headingley.

The defeat made for a miserable start for new England coach Peter Moores, installed for a second term following the 5-0 drubbing in Australia at the start of the year.

It also increased the pressure on captain Alastair Cook who has struggled for runs that could have deflected some of the growing criticism he has faced over his leadership.

The defeat, following a dismal fourth day when man-of-the-match Angelo Mathews wrested the initiative away from England with 160 and paceman Dhammika Prasad grabbed four wickets, should not detract from a remarkable innings by Moeen in only his second test.

“I’m obviously very gutted,” he told Sky Sports after England were bowled out for 249. “A hundred to save the game would have been fantastic but it doesn’t mean as much with the guys so disappointed.

“I had to fight myself a bit. I’d much rather get 99 and save the game.”

Defeat for England came on the back of their embarrassing 5-0 Ashes drubbing by Australia at the start of the year.

SPECIAL WIN

Sri Lanka, by contrast, were understandably delighted at the way they turned round the short series, having clung on for a nail-biting draw in the opening test.

“We had to really fight at Lord’s and here we had to dig deep,” said experienced batsman Mahela Jayawardene.

“This is something special for us, our first series win in England. We always believed in our ability, we felt we had something special to give … the way the quicks bowled was remarkable.”

Having resumed on Tuesday at 57 for five, chasing an unlikely victory target of 350, England made a solid start in their bid to save the game but lost Joe Root for a 108-ball 31 and Matt Prior (10) in reaching 173 for seven at tea after rain had interrupted play.

Prasad, who ended with figures of five for 50, took his fifth wicket by removing Prior, leaving left-hander Moeen as England’s last hope.

Though Moeen batted all day, partners Chris Jordan (21) and Stuart Broad (duck) were both trapped lbw by Herath (three for 59) before Anderson’s hour-long resistance was ended right at the end.

Earlier, perhaps frustrated by the lack of a breakthrough, Sri Lanka captain Mathews exchanged words with Root and umpire Billy Bowden was forced to intervene.

As the sledging continued Eranga subjected Root to a feisty spell, troubling the 23-year-old with some fiery bouncers.

Root’s defiance was finally ended when he edged Nuwan Pradeep to Lahiru Thirimanne in the gully, ending a 67-run sixth-wicket partnership with Moeen.

The first test ended in a draw after England narrowly failed to take the last Sri Lanka wicket in another thrilling final session.

Sri Lanka Establishes Branches of Major Business Institutions in Seychelles!

Sri Lanka, in an effort to boost business ties with Seychelles, has established branches of major business institutions in Victoria, capital of the island nation.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his three-day official visit to Seychelles declared open the branches of Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka Insurance and Mihin Lanka in the capital of Seychelles Saturday (June 28).

Branches of the Bank of Ceylon, Sri Lanka’s largest bank by assets, and the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation are located in the Capital City Building on Independence Avenue.
Seychelles President James Michel, Vice President Mr. Danny Faure and the Minister for Community Development, Social Affairs and Sports of Seychelles Mr. Vincent Meriton joined President Rajapaksa for the opening ceremonies.

Bank of Ceylon Chairman Mr. Harsha Abeywickrama and Deputy Manager of Sales of Sri Lanka Insurance Ms. Namalee Silva represented their respective organizations.

The Mihin Lanka office is situated at the Ibrahim Building on Francis Rachel Avenue. The Chairman of Mihin Lanka Mr. Nishantha Ranatunga was present at the opening ceremony.

President Rajapaksa also declared open a new Nawaloka Medical Center at the City Mart Building in Francis Rachel Avenue in Victoria.

Opening of the establishments in the Indian Ocean island state of 90,000 people is expected to facilitate business and promote trade and tourism between the two countries.

Sri Lankan President also opened the High Commission office in Victoria on Friday establishing a permanent diplomatic presence in Seychelles to strengthen bilateral ties.

Opening of the High Commission is a landmark in the bilateral relations between the two countries, Minister for Community Development, Social Affairs and Sports of Seychelles Mr. Vincent Meriton said at the opening.

He said enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries will not only be beneficial to the peoples of the two countries but also for global peace and prosperity.

Seychelles will be a gateway for Sri Lanka to enter the African region, and Sri Lanka will be a gateway for Seychelles to enter Asia, he said.

Seychelles has also announced its plans to open a diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka later this year.

Minister of External Affairs Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Higher Education Mr. S.B. Dissanayake, Monitoring MP of the Ministry of External Affairs Mr. Sajin de Vass, Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga and Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Seychelles Mr. Rajatha Piyatissa were also present at the opening ceremonies.

Happy Birthday Mike Tyson!

ABOUT
Boxing legend who became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in August, 1987. He infamously bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a match in 1997.

BEFORE FAME
His mother died when he was 16, leaving him in the care of his legal guardian and boxing manager, Cus D’Amato.

TRIVIA FACT
In 1992 he was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington, who was Miss Black Rhode Island at the time.

FAMILY LIFE
After several failed marriages, he wed Lakiha Spicer in June 2009.

ASSOCIATED WITH
He retired as an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and his career has been greatly compared to Muhammad Ali’s.

Lindsay Lohan to Make West End Debut!

Mean Girls actress Lindsay Lohan is to make her West End and stage debut later this year in a revival of David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow.

The 27-year-old told the New York Times last week she had been in London preparing for a potential role and was “nervous but excited”.

Mamet’s play, which first opened on Broadway in 1988 starring Madonna, satirises the Hollywood film industry.

It will run at the Playhouse Theatre from 24 September to 29 November.

Lohan will play the role of Karen, a temporary secretary who puts the relationship of two Hollywood producers under strain.

It will be directed by Lindsay Posner, who previously directed other Mamet plays including Oleanna, A Life in the Theatre and Sexual Perversity in Chicago.

The West End production is being brought to the stage by Theatre Royal Bath, which was also behind recent West End productions Relative Values, Relatively Speaking and Fences.

Further casting will be announced later.

Speed-the Plow’s first Broadway run was nominated for two Tony awards.

The role of Karen was later portrayed by Clueless star Alicia Silverstone in a 2006 revival and by Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss in 2008.

Its most recent London production was at the Old Vic in 2008 starring the theatre’s artistic director Kevin Spacey as Hollywood executive Fox opposite Laura Michelle Kelly as Karen.

Lohan made her film debut in 1998’s The Parent Trap before going on to star in Freaky Friday (2003), Mean Girls (2004) and Disney’s Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005).

She also released two albums – Speak and Raw – in 2004 and 2005.

Her career floundered after spending much of 2010 to 2013 in either rehabilitation clinics or entangled in legal problems after a number of arrests and probation violations.

In 2012 she starred as Elizabeth Taylor in TV biopic Liz and Dick, and last year appeared in Paul Schrader’s The Canyons.