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In whats allegedly a record-breaking $75m deal, the Pulitzer prize-winning stage musical, with the original cast, will land at cinemas worldwide in 2021

The hit Pulitzer prize-winning musical Hamilton will be in cinemas worldwide in 2021 after a deal with Disney reportedly worth $75m.

The 160-minute film was shot in 2016, two weeks before the original cast left the Broadway show and is being described as a cinematic stage performance that will combine the best elements of live theater and film. Its based on three live performances that will allow for multiple angles.

Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted out the news while Deadline has claimed since, via sources, that the $75m acquisition is a new record. Once the film has been shown in cinemas, it will then go to the studios new streaming service Disney+.

Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamilton was hailed as an astonishing work of art, Disneys CEO, Bob Iger, said. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience. And were thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.

The show tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton through R&B, hip-hop and soul music. It was awarded the Pulitzer prize for drama in 2016 and won 11 Tony awards. It has since been seen in cities across the world including London and this year will move to Toronto and Hamburg.

Im so proud of what [director] Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater, Miranda said. Were excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.

Hamilton will hit cinemas on 15 October 2021.

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Writer of music and lyrics to shows such as La Cage aux Folles won two Tony awards for best musical

The composer Jerry Herman, who wrote the cheerful, good-natured music and lyrics for such classic shows as Mame, Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, has died aged 88.

Herman had a direct and simple sense of melody, and his lyrics had a natural, unforced quality. He said in 1995 that over the years critics have sort of tossed me off as the popular and not the cerebral writer, and that was fine with me. That was exactly what I aimed at.

He died of pulmonary complications on Thursday in Miami, where he had been living with his partner, Terry Marler, a real estate broker, his goddaughter Jane Dorian said on Friday.

The creator of 10 Broadway shows and contributor to several more, Herman won two Tony awards for best musical: Hello, Dolly! in 1964 and La Cage aux Folles in 1983. He also won two Grammys, for the Mame cast album and Hello, Dolly! as song of the year.

In accepting the Tony in 1984 for La Cage Aux Folles, Herman said: This award forever shatters a myth about the musical theatre. Theres been a rumour around for a couple of years that the simple, hummable show tune was no longer welcome on Broadway. Well, its alive and well at the Palace [theatre].

Herman was born in New York in 1931 and raised in New Jersey. He noted that when he was born, his mother had a view of Broadways Winter Garden theatre marquee from her hospital bed.

Herman dated his intention to write musicals to the time his parents took him to Annie Get Your Gun and he went home and played five of Irving Berlins songs on the piano. I thought: what a gift this man has given a stranger. I wanted to give that gift to other people. That was my great inspiration, that night, he said in 1996.

Carol Channing, left, and Barbara Walters with Jerry Herman on Broadway, 1981. Photograph: David Gould/AP

After graduating from the University of Miami, Herman headed back to New York, writing and playing piano in a jazz club. He made his Broadway debut in 1960 contributing songs to the review From A to Z alongside material by Fred Ebb and Woody Allen and the next year tackled the entire score to a musical about the founding of the state of Israel, Milk and Honey. It earned him his first Tony nomination.

Hello, Dolly!, starring Carol Channing, opened in 1964 and ran for 2,844 performances, becoming Broadways longest-running musical at the time. It won 10 Tonys and has been revived many times, most recently in 2017 with Bette Midler in the title role, a 19th-century widowed matchmaker who learns to live again.

Mame followed in 1966, starring Angela Lansbury, and went on to run for more than 1,500 performances. She handed Herman his special Tony award for lifetime achievement in 2009, saying he created songs that were, like him, bouncy, buoyant and optimistic.

In 1983 he had another hit with La Cage aux Folles, a sweetly radical musical of its age, decades before the fight for marriage equality. It was a lavish adaptation of the successful French film about two gay men who own a splashy drag nightclub on the Riviera. It contained the gay anthem I Am What I Am and ran for 1,760 performances.

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After another smash hit year at the box office, the next 12 months promises more of the same … with added controversy

The lights are bright on Broadway. Blinding even. With 35 plays and musicals now running, Broadway looks likely to have grossed over $1bn in 2019, having played to more than 8 million people. National tours have become de rigueur for every musical that doesnt absolutely flop and satellite productions pop up across the globe.

But with big business comes big risk. Running costs remain steep. Most shows fail to recoup. A few New York not-for-profits (Roundabout, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, Lincoln Center Theater) have Broadway houses, yet even those companies rarely program shows without the reassurance of a well-known star or creator. Both the not-for-profits and the for-profits have been busily making wagers on which known quantities and out-of-town successes will attract New York audiences and the tourist trade. 2019 was fairly lively Slave Play, What the Constitution Means to Me, Choir Boy, Freestyle Love Supreme, American Utopia, a recuperated Oklahoma!, Hadestown, Gary (a miss, but still a big swing). But looking ahead to 2020, most of those wagers appear conservative, probably too conservative. Subtract the star casting and only a few plays and musicals will generate much excitement.

Of the musicals so far announced, six are new (or newish) and four are revivals. Two jukebox musicals are promised, one relatively innovative and one baffling. In Girl from the North Country, which had a successful run at the Public Theater two years ago, Conor McPherson transposes the songs of Bob Dylan to Depression-era Duluth. Why the playwright Lynn Nottage and the director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon are charging ahead with MJ, a biomusical based around Michael Jackson, remains a mystery, but it seems telling that the production has revised its former title, the innuendo-available Dont Stop Til You Get Enough, with the more innocuous MJ.

Queens, princesses, an unlikely drag act and an unlikelier acid trip inspire the other new musicals, such as Six, the hit London power-pop musical about the wives of Henry VIII. It joins Diana, with music by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, a biomusical about the peoples princess. Following in the high-heeled footsteps of Tootsie comes Mrs Doubtfire, an adaptation of the Robin Williams movie about a divorced dad who puts on a dress to get closer to his children. Perhaps the most original entry is Flying Over Sunset, a new musical with a book by James Lapine and music by Tom Kitt that details the mid-50s LSD experiments of Cary Grant, Clare Booth Luce and Aldous Huxley.

If that doesnt sound like enough of a trip, Katrina Lenk, a Tony winner for The Bands Visit, will star in Marianne Elliotts gender-flipped Company, and Hugh Jackman, that great showman, will lead a revival of The Music Man. Ivo van Hove returns the Sharks and the Jets to the stage in a new version of West Side Story, with choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Sharon D Clarke will reprise the title role in Caroline, or Change, in Michael Longhursts celebrated revival of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesoris underrated blues and klezmer musical.

Laura Linney during the My Name Is Lucy Barton photo call. Photograph: Walter McBride/Getty Images

Its difficult to discern much of a melody in the varied roster of new plays. Two of them, Martin McDonaghs Hangmen, now starring Dan Stevens, and Stefano Massinis The Lehman Trilogy, with Simon Russell Beale, arrive after successful runs both in London and Off-Broadway. Two solo shows chronicle the stages of a womans life, Elizabeth Strouts My Name is Lucy Barton, adapted by Rona Munro and starring Laura Linney, and Noah Haidles Birthday Candles, starring Debra Messing. Grand Horizons, the Broadway debut of the celebrated off-Broadway writer Bess Wohl, centers on a golden-years divorce. The not-so-happy couple: Jane Alexander and James Cromwell. Tracy Letts, who brought Linda Vista to Broadway in 2019, returns with The Minutes, in which he also stars, alongside Armie Hammer and Jesse Mueller. Directed by Steppenwolfs Anna D Shapiro, it charts a town council meeting in real time.

When it comes to play revivals, producers have stuck to American properties, all of them penned in the last 60 years. It hasnt been long since Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf and American Buffalo were on Broadway. But here they are again, with Laurie Metcalf (who can never, it seems, not be on Broadway), Rupert Everett, and Russell Tovey attached to the former and Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell to the latter. (One might have anticipated that after Bitter Wheat, the theater might want a David Mamet breather. Not so much.) Paula Vogels How I Learned to Drive was recently revived off-Broadway, but it has its keys in the ignition again, this time with its original stars, Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse, attached.

Star casting will also gin up anticipation for Kenny Leons revival of Charles Fullers wrenching drama A Soldiers Play, now starring David Alan Grier and Blair Underwood, and Richard Greenbergs comedy-drama of baseball and sexuality, Take Me Out, with Jesse Williams and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Husband-and-wife Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker star in Neil Simons Plaza Suite, playing two couples and one near couple, all occupying the same hotel room.

Want to place bets on which shows will still be running this time next year? Ante in.

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Tom Hooper finished off his musical just 36 hours before its premiere. Will this, a turn-off trailer, awards snubs and an impurrfect gestation stop it being Christmas catnip?

For film critics, London press screening schedules are devised like a military operation: timetabled, negotiated and cross-referenced by an army of distributors and publicists, with a view generally to keeping each major studio offering out of the others way. The pre-Christmas crush is when the efficiency of the system tends to be most tested, but rarely has there been a scheduling overlap as high-profile and high-stakes as the one we saw on Monday night as the large multimedia premieres of Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker played back-to-back in Leicester Square, a long, loud double feature that sent bleary-eyed journalists home somewhere close to midnight.

It wasnt always meant to be this way. The latest Star Wars episode had long had that premiere date nailed down: suitably close to its public release to appease studio spoilerphobia, and an acknowledgement that any franchise this critic-proof doesnt need long-lead reviews. Cats gatecrashing this weeks schedule, however, was a frenzied move for a project that despite years of gestation and development, not to mention a gargantuan budget is looking increasingly like one of the most last-minute, down-to-the-wire blockbusters in Hollywood history.

Tom Hoopers much hyped, fluorescent film version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage smash began shooting last December, wrapped at the beginning of April, and has been mired in allegedly complex post-production ever since. Allegedly seems an unnecessary qualifier, in fact, given what the trailer already revealed as early as July. Coating a vast ensemble of human stars and dancers in fluid, tactile feline pelts was never going to be a simple task: digital fur technology, as weve been instructed to call it, wasnt built in a day. And it hasnt just been the visuals consuming time: word has it that multiple Soho sound studios were booked out last week in a concentrated push to finish the films busy audio mix.

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Watch the Cats movie trailer – video

The delay has, it seems, come at some cost to the films awards season momentum. Most critics groups didnt get to see the film in time for their voting deadlines, though even in the best of circumstances, their tastes tend to skew more highbrow. More imperative was meeting the cutoff for Golden Globes voting. A not-quite-finished cut was shown to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, known for supporting razzle-dazzle musicals such as The Greatest Showman and Burlesque, but with dispiriting results: the effort yielded only one nomination, for Taylor Swifts original song Beautiful Ghosts. Even that seemingly surefire Oscars bid was shot down this week, as the Academy announced their shortlists for several categories: Swifts mournful ballad was nowhere to be seen among the 15 best song finalists, though the visual effects are still in contention.

That those effects may be the films best remaining shot at awards glory is somewhat ironic, considering what a point of contention theyve been. The images we saw back in the summer to a global chorus of what-the-hell-is-that horror and delight that made an instant and inexhaustible meme factory out of a two-minute trailer were, apparently, not quite finished.

The internets gleefully aghast reaction didnt prompt the kind of studio panic, rethink and redesign that we recently saw with Sonic the Hedgehog, but Hooper claims that some tweaking was done in response: The visual effects [in the trailer] were at quite an early stage, he told Empire magazine. Possibly there were, in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving. When you watch the finished film, youll see that some of the designs of the cats have moved on since then, and certainly our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up, too.

Jennifer Hudson in Cats. Photograph: Allstar/Working Title films/Amblin Entertainment

If this is true, it may take eagle-eyed effects buffs to spot the exact evolution: a second trailer, released in November, didnt look appreciably different from the first, though the shock impact of the human-cat hybrids appearance was reduced with forewarning. (Ready or not from a technical perspective, Universal was wise to tease the films look early and get us accustomed to its eccentricity.) And while the finished product is still under critical embargo for now, its not incriminating to say that it delivers very much the spectacle that those fixated on the trailer are expecting: the technicians many hours of painstaking work are nothing if not evident.

Hooper is known in the industry for being exacting, but if hes been flustered by the films scramble to the finish line, hes remained impassively cool in public admitting casually on Mondays New York premiere that hed only locked the final cut at 8am the day before. He continues, moreover, to walk a fine line between deflecting the internets bewilderment and humouring it. In response to a Variety reporter asking whether he was happy with Cats finished look not a question most directors would expect to be asked on the promotion trail, but a near-unavoidably salient one in this case his answer was an expert PR play: having only officially finished the film 36 hours before, he was simply glad to be showing it at all. Im very happy to be here with it fully finished, and yeah, well let the audience decide, but its come a long way since that first trailer.

Its being left to the actors, it seems, to take a more defensive approach. I thought that reaction [to the trailer] was absolutely ludicrous, Ian McKellen fumed in an interview this week, going on to declare the finished film an absolute classic. I can tell those doubters whove only seen snippets of a trailer that theyre absolutely wrong, and if they dont agree with me, then keep away. Hoopers more measured let the audience decide line is harder to argue with. Never a film made for critics, and with its awards-season hopes looking ever leaner, Cats will be counting on a vast, breathless public one both uninformed of and uninterested in its production and scheduling complications to make those sleepless nights worthwhile.

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Singer has written the lyrics to new song Beautiful Ghosts for the film, theatrical legend is quoted as saying

Diehard fans of Andrew Lloyd Webbers musical Cats may be in for a shock with reports that the musical theatre maestro has teamed up to write a new song for the forthcoming film adaptation with Taylor Swift.

Swifts involvement in the much-discussed live-action musical has already been a point of note: she will make a furry appearance in the film as the character of Bombalurina. But her involvement has apparently gone further, with Lloyd Webber telling the Daily Mail that she had written the lyrics to a new song, called Beautiful Ghosts, for the film.

The song will feature in a performance by ballet dancer Francesca Hayward, who plays the feline character of Victoria, a role that has been expanded from the stage version to make it more central to the plot.

Lloyd Webber told the newspaper the song would also be sung briefly by Dame Judy Dench, who plays Old Deuteronomy. It was reportedly written over a year ago.

Swift will also perform her own version of the song over the end credits. The new song means the film becomes eligible for best song categories in prestigious annual film awards such as the Academy awards. Swift has never won an Oscar, although Lloyd Webber has in 1997, with Tim Rice, for a song from Evita.

Lloyd Webber penned the score for the original stage musical, based on TS Eliots Old Possums Book of Practical Cats, in 1977 and it was first performed on stage in 1981. The wafer-thin plot tells the story of the Jellicles, a colony of cats, over the night of their annual Jellicle ball.

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Watch the Cats movie trailer – video

The forthcoming film adaptation is directed by Tom Hooper, who was behind the 2012 live-action version of Les Misrables. Its ensemble cast contains some of the biggest names in film and television, including Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, and Sir Ian McKellen.

The trailer for the film sent jaws dropping when it debuted in July, depicting as it did not actual cats, but humans apparently transmogrified into dancing and singing, oddly sized furry human-cat hybrids.

Some viewers called the trailer cursed, nightmarish, and resembling a demented dream ballet.

Cats opens in cinemas in the UK, US and Australia in December.

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As Judy Garland, Rene Zellweger delivers an all-singing tour de force and reminds us of the power of stars who can also sing their way through musicals

In the golden age of Hollywood musicals, having your singing voice dubbed was seen as a bit of a cheat: it could be done, in some cases, but chances are youd be marked down a bit for it. In 1965, George Cukors sumptuous version of the Broadway smash My Fair Lady won eight Oscars, including best actor for Rex Harrison, who manfully did his own speak-singing as Henry Higgins; eyebrows were raised, however, when his co-star Audrey Hepburn wasnt even nominated for best actress.

The snub was seen as something of a punishment. Hepburn had been cast in the role in place of its less famous Broadway originator, Julie Andrews; despite extensive vocal training on her part, however, she wasnt considered a strong enough singer by studio bosses to tackle the lilting likes of I Could Have Danced All Night. Dubbed by the soprano and regular Hollywood ghost-singer Marni Nixon, Hepburns otherwise winsome performance was thus deemed a lesser achievement by her peers; in a perfectly ironic twist, best actress that year went to Andrews note-perfect film debut in Mary Poppins instead. Perhaps Hepburn, outwardly gracious as ever, called Natalie Wood to vent: three years before, Nixons dubbing had also seemingly cost her an Oscar nomination when West Side Story otherwise ran the table.

Half a century later, the form and fashion of the Hollywood musical has changed considerably, and so has the industrys attitude toward actors who choose to hide behind others vocals: in an age where truly gifted song-and-dance performers are mostly confined to the stage, doing your own singing on screen is seen as an impressive but optional extra talent. Dubbing didnt cost Rami Malek an Oscar earlier this year, for example: neither the public nor his industry admirers were bothered by the fact that he toothsomely lip-synced in the blockbuster Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born. Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

The fact that his fellow nominee Bradley Cooper did all his own gravelly singing as a fictional rock star in A Star is Born gave him no leg-up in the race, it turned out. Cooper merely looked on as Malek joined the ranks of actors to win armloads of awards for formidably transforming themselves into major musical figures while skimping on the singing part, including Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles and Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf. As the popular music biopic has largely replaced the straight-up musical in Hollywoods genre affections, physical acting and emoting counts for more than holding a tune, and why should it not?

Yet taking the harder route of eschewing dubbing and, in particular, interpreting another artists immortal vocals can yield rewards too. This year, Taron Egerton offered his own tuneful stab at the Elton John songbook in Rocketman; his performance feels more organic and invested than Maleks swaggering, surface-level Mercury for it. Sissy Spacek and Reese Witherspoon won Oscars for nailing the country-and-western timbre of Loretta Lynn and June Carter Cash, respectively; Spaceks crooning in Coal Miners Daughter, in particular, was so authentic it even netted her a country Grammy nomination. Meanwhile, as a soul music sensation making her film debut in the Billie Holiday biopic Lady Sings the Blues, you would hardly have expected Diana Ross to go the dubbed route, even if her high, silky voice sounded not a bit like Holidays; the gritty spirit of her fine performance was felt, however, and she too was Oscar-nominated.

Its into this dedicated but less slavishly impersonation-based tradition that Rene Zellwegers much-acclaimed performance in Judy falls. Though Zellweger has proven her capable chops in the musicals Chicago and My Own Love Song, she was never going to be a vocal ringer for the utterly singular, from-the-gut stylings of Judy Garland. Yet her decision to do her own singing pays off handsomely, not least because the film, set in the bumpy final year of Garlands life, captures the showwoman at her most vocally damaged and erratic. Having Zellweger lip-sync to pristine Garland recordings would have been entirely inaccurate; digging up archive footage of Garland at her worst for Zellweger to mime to, on the other hand, would have been simply ghoulish.

As it is, Zellwegers tour de force proves how even as it comes at the expense of pure, eerie verisimilitude having an actor literally find the voice of the person theyre playing can contribute invaluably to the very arc of a performance. She matches Garlands tattered, liquor-soaked vocal stumbles early on, playing well beneath either womans ability; by the time she reaches crisper, clearer notes, for a climactically redemptive onstage rendition of Over the Rainbow, the anxiety and labour that is audible in her voice feels so hard-earned, it hardly matters that shes not reaching Garlands highest peaks. The triumph belongs to the actor and character alike; with respect to the most lauded of lip-syncers, thats not a victory they know.

  • Judy is out in the US on 27 September and in the UK on 2 October

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Ever since Greg returned to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, we knew we’d be in for some emotional musical throwbacks. 

In Friday’s episode, “I’m Finding My Bliss,” Greg, now played by Skylar Astin, reprises Santino Fontana’s Season 1 ballad “What’ll It Be.” We are not okay!

In Season 1, “What’ll It Be” was the outlet for all Greg’s frustrations with his hometown and stifled ambition. But Season 4 Greg is different: He’s sober, he’s less angry, and even though he’s not with Rebecca, he’s still more emotionally available than ever. This Greg is owning his role in his previous unhappiness and no longer blaming West Covina for his troubles.

And he still plays a pretty mean piano.

The final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on The CW.

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After a trial run in Denver, the stage adaptation of the animated smash hits New York and a passionate fanbase is already out in force and in costume

The cold never bothered them anyway.

On a chilly Thursday evening, 200 people jammed the sidewalks outside the St James Theater in New York, where the musical Frozen, the latest venture from Disney Theatrical Productions, had staged its first Broadway preview.

Frozen remains the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, making $1.2bn worldwide since its release in 2013. Very loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen story The Snow Queen, its set in the fictional land of Arandelle and describes Princess Annas quest to find and redeem her older sister Elsa, a blond icemaker with a thing for statement gloves.

To adapt the film for Broadway, the original creative team composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and writer Jennifer Lee reunited to shift scenes, lose a snow monster and add 12 new songs. One new number, Elsas ballad Monster, would be released that same night online, but several people came out humming another new tune, Hygge.

As the wind lashed 44th Street, attendees stood comparing merchandise fluffy snowmen, fur-trimmed sweatshirts and swallowing the last of pricy cerulean cocktails like the Heart of Arendelle. Not too many adult women had come in costume, but several had assembled blue and white outfits. One man proudly displayed his blue socks. Many tiny Elsas stood near the stage door, hoping for autographs, and a few Annas, too, even though it was hours past bedtime.

It was really, really good, one of the Annas, 10-year-old Molly Sarfert said. There were some new songs, but they were really on it. She even claimed to like the hidden folk, one of the musicals innovations replacing the films trolls.

You said they were creepy, her mother Geri, 46, countered.

Development of the $25 to $30m musical, now directed by Michael Grandage and designed by Christopher Oram, was initially fraught, with the production cycling through two directors, two designers, three choreographers and cast changes, too. Reports from the pre-Broadway tryout in Denver were on the cheerful side of tepid.

The cast of Frozen at the end of the first night on Broadway. Photograph: Disney Theatrical Productions

Frozen, which stars Broadway regulars Caissie Levy and Patti Murin as inclement princesses, could flop, like Tarzan, but it could also go on to crush the Broadway box office, like The Lion King, which has earned nearly $8bn, or Aladdin, which continues to post strong profits. It will have some competition this spring from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which begins previews next month and should also appeal to family ticket-buyers.

But for several in the crowd, there was no competition at all. Dustin Overfield, 34, stood outside holding a huge bag of souvenirs and waiting for his wife. Theyd flown out from Detroit to see the show. Its her Valentines Day present, he said. Hes already pre-ordered the cast album and he proudly showed off a piece of sheet music signed by the composers.

Away from the stage door, other groups clustered. Adam Kaufman, 43, who had come with his fiancee and some friends, described the show as amazing, totally magical. His friends, who had bought sweatshirts, thought so too. A few of them were surprised by what Kaufman called a number that was a little risqu.

There was more nudity than expected from Disney, said his friend Jenn Mante, 36.

But everyone agreed that the reindeer, Sven, was an improvement on the movie, and so was the snowman, Olaf.

Half an hour later, the crowd still hadnt dissipated. Some people are worth melting for, Olaf says. And some shows are worth shivering for.

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The comedian-composer on his childrens book, Australias same-sex marriage vote and why hes glad to be leaving Hollywood

Australian composer and comedian Tim Minchin, 42, was born in Northampton but raised in his parents native Perth. After an award-winning comedy career, he wrote the music and lyrics for the Royal Shakespeare Companys global hit musical Matilda, followed by the stage musical adaptation of Groundhog Day. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Sarah, a social worker, and their two children.

Tell us about your new childrens book, When I Grow Up, which is based on the lyrics of the song from Matilda.
Its awesome I didnt even have to do anything [laughs]. Thats the incredible thing about Matilda, it keeps manifesting itself in different ways. Its profoundly gratifying to have something else beautiful put into the world that was sparked by something you wrote eight years ago.

Did you test the book on your own children?
Ive shown them it, but my kids are pretty unimpressed by me. Theyve never seen me do comedy or a concert. All they know is that I do quiet work or loud work. Quiet work is writing, loud work is performing. Theyll ask: Are you going out, Dad? and I say: Yeah, Ive got loud work tonight.

Do your kids know youre famous?
Not really. The horrible F-word doesnt get used in our house. If someone recognises me and the kids ask why, I just say they know my work. One of the reasons we moved to LA four years ago to make an animated film [musical comedy Larrikins, which was recently cancelled by DreamWorks after Minchin worked on it for several years] was to arrest any chance of me becoming too well-known. And that really fucking worked. It worked too well. I screwed my own career. I sometimes think: What have I done? Id just done an orchestral tour and couldve spent the last four years being a rock star rather than talking to studio execs.

Im guessing your Hollywood experience hasnt been good?
You could say that. Im slowly recovering from the slings and arrows of outrageous Americans. The film getting shut down was awful. It really knocked me sideways. Im grieving the loss of time and art. Dont worry, though I know Im banging on, sounding bitter and spoiled, when Im actually the most privileged person in the world.

So youre swapping America for Australia?
Yes, were moving to Sydney at Christmas. It was always the plan to go home for when my daughter starts high school.

You played some live gigs in London this week. Do you miss it here?
Very much. Londons my favourite place. I lived in Crouch End for years and come back as much as I possibly can. I miss touring, too. The plan for next year is to get back into it and create a new live show. Im interested in how the worlds changed since I last properly did comedy in 2010.

Whats been your view of that from over in LA?
Pretty bleak. It feels a bit post-jokes. Maybe Post-Jokes Jokes should be the name of my next live show. In this post-factual era, the horse called evidence seems to have bolted. That horse is in the knackers yard. California is obviously a liberal heartland but I really have a problem with this country. They call it populism, but its just nationalism. In a global world, nationalism is a fantasy and its poison. It used to be appropriate but its not any more and we havent learned that lesson yet. Trump is a nationalist. Brexit wouldnt have got across the line without nationalistic philosophies. Even Australias stubbornness about gay marriage, which is as upsetting as everything else at the moment, is a sort of nationalism.

You recently posted a song on social media titled I Still Call Australia Homophobic. How would you feel going to live there if the law doesnt change?
I have to believe it will get passed, but the plebiscite has already done its damage. The stupid fucking postal survey [to gauge public opinion] is just the prime minister trying to placate these idiots who are on his back, but its indistinguishable from deliberately trying to hurt the LGBT population. Families with same-sex parents have spent six months with this bigoted shit coming through their letterbox. The whole disgusting circus makes me want to scream. Whichever way the vote goes, these people have revealed themselves. I dont think theyre evil, it just means weve got a long way to go.

Is there still a film version of Matilda in the pipeline?
Yeah, but its a pretty thin pipe, so well be squeezing our way through it for a long time.

Bertie Carvel, who played Miss Trunchbull in Matilda on stage, is currently causing a stir in BBC drama Doctor Foster
Berties an incredible actor. He can go from evil headmistress to sexy bastard. Now hes Rupert Murdoch in Ink. Hes a rare creature who takes his parts very seriously and makes careful decisions about what hell do next. It takes strength to run your career like that.

Your Groundhog Day musical just closed on Broadway. Is it heading back to the West End?
Its my favourite thing Ive ever been involved in. Im very proud of it. Hopefully itll be back there soon and we cant wait. It went down well in New York critically acclaimed, nominated for seven Tonys, ran for six months on Broadway but its a tough town at the moment. Theres a post-Hamilton bottleneck so its a slaughterhouse of competition, like the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones.

Arent you also about to join Robin Hoods Merry Men?
Im playing Friar Tuck in a crazy big Robin Hood reboot that comes out next autumn with Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton. Thats going to change my life again. Or maybe itll sink without trace (laughs).

What else are you up to at the moment?
Loads of bitty things. You take meetings in LA and Ive been taking meetings about acting gigs. I wanted to stay behind the camera for ages but now Im considering some sort of comedy vehicle. Im writing a new, non-comedy album. Im about to shoot a still-embargoed TV show in the UK, which I cant tell you about or Id have to kill you. Theres some films Im writing songs for. So Ive got my fingers in more pies than a Bake Off contestant. Ive always been like that. One of the great heartbreaks of the last few years is that I let myself get sucked into this massive project. All my eggs were in one basket, whereas my favourite thing about my career is its variety.

I saw you described recently as the worlds favourite ginger. Are you?
Trouble is, Im not a real ginger. Im just a ginger-bearded, pale-skinned, strawberry blond. I have a ginger vibe about me but cant put myself in the Damian Lewis/Ed Sheeran/Rupert Grint league. Id feel fraudulent. I dont reckon Im in the top 20, if for no other reason than a basic lack of red pigment.

When I Grow Up by Tim Minchin, illustrated by Steve Antony, is published by Scholastic (12.99). To order a copy for 11.04 go to or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over 10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of 1.99

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The social media musical with a pop score dominated with six wins, Hello, Dolly! also shone, while host Kevin Spaceys performance divided opinion

The offbeat musical about teen angst, suicide and the tyranny of social media, Dear Evan Hansen, was the shining star of the Tony Awards on an evening that celebrated a record-breaking Broadway theater season while lamenting the Trump administrations move to axe funding for the arts.

As Dear Evan Hansen took six awards, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 fizzled out on the night, only winning two awards despite being the most nominated show with 12 nods.

Nothing this season could match Hamiltons sweep last year and the musical is still a monster hit on Broadway. But Dear Evan Hansen was the clear darling of the season for Tony voters, who gave it more awards than expected, while also delivering some other surprises on Sunday.

One of those was the award for best director of a musical, which had been expected to be another win for Dear Evan Hansen but was instead given to first-time director Christopher Ashley for his work on Come From Away.

That musical, about the welcome a tiny town in Newfoundland gives to hundreds of air passengers stranded there on September 11, 2001, had been seen as a strong rival to Dear Evan Hansen, but largely lost out on the night.

Alongside Ashleys unexpected win came another surprise with the award for best director of a play going to Rebecca Taichman for Indecent, Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogels Broadway debut.

The best director prize had been expected to go to Oslo, which won for best new play, or A Dolls House, Part 2. So when Taichman was named, she was visibly stunned. Am I dreaming? Im in a state of total shock, she said, upon reaching the stage.

In the press area, she ripped into the Trump administration for its goal of shutting down the National Endowment for the Arts, as proposed in the budget President Donald Trump recently sent to Congress.

Cutting the NEA I dont understand it … If you actually want to decimate culture, community, dialogue, and empathy, thats how you do it. [The NEA is] beleaguered already; to cut it more is such an audacious and ridiculous move, and it says very clearly and very loudly, We do not value the creation of art, she said.

Sex in the City star Cynthia Nixon, who won the Tony for best featured actress in a revival, for her role in Little Foxes, also got political, both on stage and off.

Nixon did not name Trump, but said the story of a Lillian Hellmans Little Foxes, about an aggressive family seeking great riches, is eerily prescient.

She added: 80 years ago [Hellman] wrote, there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it and other people who just stand around and watch them do it. My love, my gratitude and my undying respect go out to all the people in 2017 who are refusing to just stand and watch them do it.

Afterwards, she expanded on her point to the press off stage. The arts are not funded very well in this country compared to other places in this world. Its important to fund the arts on every level as a means by which a civilization is gauged, she said.

Back inside at the awards ceremony, held at Radio City Music Hall in New York, upon receiving her award, Nixon had thanked her wife, Christine Marinoni, who was in the audience.

Most winners on the night, gay and straight, thanked their significant others with an ease and confidence that was in sharp contrast to strained jokes host Kevin Spacey made about rumours surrounding his own sexuality.

Early on in his hosting, he joked with Whoopi Goldberg as she pops out of a closet on stage: How long have you been in that closet? She responded: Well, Kevin, it depends on who you ask. Both actors have been subject to years of speculation about their sexuality but have never come out as gay.

With June being pride month and the 2016 Tonys overshadowed by the massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Spacey was roundly scolded by many on social media.

Meanwhile, two of the most famous stars who were deemed shoo-ins to win, Kevin Kline and Bette Midler, duly did. Kline, in winning best lead actor in a play, also joined Nixon and Taichman in praising the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities, two organizations without which none of us would be here, he said.

Midler, who had declined to sing at the awards but presented one and won one, stole the show. After a subtle political dig about the stage lifting spirits in these terrible, terrible times she managed to silence the orchestra as it tried to play her off when she went over time with her acceptance speech for best actress in a revival of a musical, in Hello, Dolly! Shut that crap off, she yelled, to loud cheers.

Earlier in the evening, before the awards ceremony, it emerged that major sponsors are pulling out of New Yorks Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar from the Public Theater because of the resemblance of the character of the emperor to Donald Trump.

But in an uproarious night at Radio City Music Hall, the Dear Evan Hansen winners refrained from alluding to politics in their speeches and were simply full of passion for their craft, as their young stars swept the night.

Lead Ben Platt, as expected, won best actor in a new musical. The show won best book, and hit songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won the Oscar for best original song for City of Stars in La La Land, won the Tony for best score for Dear Evan Hansen, too.

Then, in a testament to tenacity, Jane Greenwood won the Tony for best costume design of a play, for Little Foxes, her first win after 21 nominations, dating back to 1965. Veteran actor James Earl Jones also won the lifetime achievement Tony.

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