Disney’s Bedknobs And Broomsticks to bob along to Leeds Grand Theatre next winter

The magical musical is on its way: The poster for the Leeds-bound world premiere tour of Disney’s Bedknobs And Broomsticks

IT is time to start believing. There WILL be a Christmas show at Leeds Grand Theatre next winter.

And what a show: the world premiere tour of Disney’s new stage musical, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, will be “bobbing along” to Yorkshire from December 8 2021 to January 9 2022 with its story of three orphaned children, evacuated ever so reluctantly from London to live with the mysterious Eglantine Price, a trainee witch.

Brought to stage life by Harry Potter And The Cursed Child illusionist Jamie Harrison and fellow award-winning theatre-maker Candice Edmunds, the show will feature songs by the legendary Sherman Brothers, of Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book and The Aristocats fame.

Among them will be Portobello Road, The Age Of Not Believing and The Beautiful Briny, complemented by a new book by Brian Hill and new songs and additional music and lyrics by Neil Bartram.

The Leeds Grand Theatre auditorium: empty since March 14 in Covid-19 2020. Picture: Ant Robling

The show is based on the books The Magic Bedknob; Or, How To Become A Witch In Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires And Broomsticks (1947) by Highbury-born children’s author Mary Norton, and Disney’s 1971 Academy Award-winning film, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.

Confirmation of this five-week Christmas run follows the announcement that Mamma Mia! will return to the Leeds Grand in…2023. Mamma Mia indeed.

The jukebox musical with a book by British playwright Catherine Johnson and the ABBA songs of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, had its 2020 run Covid-cancelled, but Leeds Grand audiences will be saying Thank You For The Music once more from April 4 to 15, almost 16 months from now. 

At the close of a year when the crushing pandemic brought the curtain down on the Leeds Grand stage after the March opening night of Northern Ballet’s world premiere of Kenneth Tindall’s Geisha, that stage will remain dark over Christmas for the first time in the New Briggate theatre’s 142-year history (bar the refurbishment of 2005-6). 

Ayama Miyata as Aiko and Minju Kang as Okichi in Northern Ballet’s Geisha. Picture: Guy Farrow

As a result of this on-going Covid-cursed shutdown and inability to generate earned revenue through ticket and secondary sales, the Leeds Grand is asking patrons, if financially possible, to help support its long-term survival by donating to its Keep A Seat Warm This Christmas campaign, buying tickets to future shows or memberships, gift vouchers and merchandise.

Chief executive officer Chris Blythe says: “I know it is a huge ask, especially at Christmas, but I also know how much the Grand means to the people of Leeds and wider region.

“The support and generosity of our patrons this year has been overwhelming, both financially and emotionally. It is abundantly clear that arts and culture are needed now more than ever to help boost people’s mental health and build community through shared experience, as we all try to find some escapism from our day-to-day and ongoing concerns for our futures.”

Tickets for Disney’s Bedknobs And Broomsticks and Mamma Mia! are on sale at leedsheritagetheatres.com or on 0113 243 0808. To support Leeds Heritage Theatres this Christmas, go to leedsheritagetheatres.com.

Mamma Mia! Look which show is returning to Leeds Grand Theatre this autumn

Mamma Mia! is on its way to Leeds Grand Theatre on its 20th anniversary tour

MAMMA Mia! will return to Leeds Grand Theatre from November 24 to December 5 on the tour to mark 20 years since the Abba musical’s London premiere.

Tickets will go on general sale on January 29 on 0844 848 2700 or at leedsgrandtheatre.com.

Built around the music and lyrics of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus,Mamma Mia!revels in Judy Craymer’s vision of staging the story-telling magic of Abba’s songs with a sunny, funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads unfolding on a Greek island idyll. 

To date, Mamma Mia! has been seen by more than 65 million people in 50 productions in 16 languages.  In 2011, it became the first Western musical to be staged in Mandarin in China.  

Mamma Mia!became the eighth longest-running show on Broadway, where it played a record-breaking run for 14 years and it continues to play in London’s West End at the Novello Theatre, where the 20th anniversary fell on April 6 2019.

The first British tour of Mamma Mia! visited Leeds Grand Theatre from May 30 to July 8 in 2017.