Christmas Blogs and Baubles

It’s CHRIIIIISTMAAAAAAS! And I hope you are all enjoying your presets and turkey, and being surrounded by love and family, as I currently am on my one and very much needed day off!

To say the panto schedule has been hectic is an understatement, but I am loving every minute of it, having so much fun with my fabulous co stars Matthew Kelly, Tim Vine and my dear friend of many years Paul Baker.

I’ve been a fabulous flying fairy for the past couple of weeks, and with only a few more to go make sure you get down to the New Wimbledon Theatre sharpish before I fly off into the sky forever!  http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dick-whittington/new-wimbledon-theatre/

Thank you so much for all the beautiful gifts and flowers I’ve been sent, including these amazing cupcakes from the CakeGenie Alison Powell, and some divine truffles handmade by my darling Abi!

Press Night was so much fun, with and great to catch up with the fabulous Miss Lizzie Cundy and the supremely talented Collabro, and even some good reviews to wake up to, what more could a girl want. http://britishtheatre.com/review-dick-whittington-new-wimbledon-theatre/#.WFFdkMXdGB0.twitter
I’ve most definitely taken up refuge in the Chicken Shop across the road… (There’s a joke in there somewhere…) Spending all breaks consuming copious amounts of chicken, coffee and their heavenly apple pie, lets hope my costume still fits by the end of the run! I did however manage to make it up to The Ivy Cafe in Wimbledon village for some festive fun, and myself Paul Baker raided the shops for some Christmas gifts, and maybe a few for ourselves as well…
Look what Marmite sent me Thanks for my lovely personalised jar!
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I’ll leave you with Romeo the ballet cat, giving us his festive dance pose, and wishing us peace on earth, joy and goodwill to all men, but maybe not dogs.
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Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017, may all your fairy wishes come true!
Love Arlene x

 

Hello!

So I’m genuinely not sure where to start, it seems lately that every blog post begins with the same excuse of how busy I’ve been – but this time it seems even busier than the usual busy! That and being wiped out with the flu for a couple of weeks that was so insanely horrendous I couldn’t so much as even open a computer let alone string a sentence together. Thankfully now despite the odd sniffle the worst is definitely behind me.

Speaking of “It’s behind you”… Yes its true, this year I am the Queen of Panto! Well, fairy actually, but you can come and see me in Dick Whittington as the delightful Fairy Bow Bells at Wimbledon theatre, just follow the link for tickets… Can’t wait to see you there!

So over the past few weeks Ive had some incredible times, including my night at the very emotional Pride of Britain Awards, raising money at Children in Need, a glamorous and delicious fundraising dinner at Annabels for the Dogs Trust, not one but two trips to Starlight Express Germany, screaming and clapping at the press night for School of Rock, getting stuck in to panto rehearsals plus a hilarious press call at the Shard – walking through London bridge dressed as a shiny sparkling fairy alongside a 7foot pantomime dame was nothing short of hilarious, you should have seen the looks we were getting from the morning commuters! I popped in to see the gorgeous Lorraine alongside my  co-star Matthew Kelly and was given the most wonderful basket of goodies, aka my panto survival kit, at this rate I think I’m gonna need it! I was so thrilled to attend an amazing private screening at BAFTA of Disney’s new hit movie Moana, with music by the god that is Lin Manuel Miranda, whom I also got to fulfil a life goal and meet! The film is just so beautiful, for adults and children alike, and an absolute must see for all this Christmas. I had a fabulous afternoon tea in support of Richard Stilgoe’s Orpheus charity, which is doing the most incredible things, it really has to be seen to be believed. I am so proud and truly overwhelmed to be even the tiniest part of it.

So as I mentioned before about my press call at the Shard, I thought I’d tell you a funny story about that morning and the reason we ended up walking through the streets! I was lucky enough to stay at the Shangri La hotel there the night before as we had such an early start, so myself and Alana who was with me of course for the early hair and makeup call, checked in the night before – with just seconds to spare before The Missing started I might add – to a gorgeous room with the most breathtaking views over London. Having never been there before, I didn’t realise the amount of time it takes to get to the room because of all the different elevators, entrances and levels! One entrance for the hotel, the first elevator to reception, another to our room… Never mind getting around the next morning! Three elevators to get to the correct ground floor level, then walking around the outside to get to the Shard viewing entrance, then four elevators to get to the press call, then another four to get back down, then another walk around the outside of the building to get to the next entrance to do the press interviews that were in another section of the Shard, that required full airport style security to get in, and then another two elevators to get to the correct area – all the meanwhile dressed as a fairy! To say I have earned my panto stripes is no understatement! You can listen to myself,  the charming Matthew Kelly and the brilliant Tim Vine chatting about it all on Talk Radio here

Never mind the time spent on my sickbed, I feel like its been an age since I last checked in, but I hope I’ve managed to keep you all roughly up to date with my Twitter and Instagram posts, and if you don’t already you can follow me on both here

It really has been a crazy few weeks, and I hope you enjoy all the photos I grabbed along the way to share with you. I’ll be back with more news of how I’m getting on in Wimbledon soon, and all about my lead up to Christmas.

Love Arlene x

Happy Busyween

Busy, busy, and busier… That has once again been my last few weeks, and every time I say it’s time for a break, I never actually manage to take one! I’ve pretty much been living int the theatre alongside the cast of 27, watching and willing the show to continue on to bigger and better things… So watch this space!

I have of course managed to fit in a few opening nights and events, starting with my darling Vincent and Flavia and the opening of their stunning new show Last Tango. Watching them dance is always a joy, but I have to say their encore number at the end of the show was possibly one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen them do. It was of course wonderful to catch up with them afterwards, as well as some Strictly faces old and new.

I also managed to attend the opening of my dear friend Harriet Thorpe’s new play, The Dresser, which was nothing short of brilliant, as was she!

 

I was thrilled to be invited to the Woman of the Year awards, which is always such a humbling and overwhelming experience, there really truly are some incredible women out there, and I for one felt honoured to be among them.

I loved attending the Macmillan Coffee Morning at Spencer House, former home of Lady Diana, which was absolutely beautiful. It was truly  wonderful to see the amount of money raised from something as simple as having tea and cake with your friends! Not that I ever need an excuse, now where’s my cake tin…

 

I hada fabulous time at the National Youth Theatre’s 60th Gala, and it was wonderful to catch up with former SYTYCD ballet boy Alistair Postlethwaite and the adorable Zak Nemorin

My night at the London lifestyle awards was as always an absolute blast, I spent the night laughing and partying away with the girls, and feeling floral and fabulous in my new Self Portrait dress, which will definitely be getting more than a few outings this season!

 

I’m so excited to tell you all the once again, Grease is most definitely the word! Yes, it’s back, and me and my super assistant Charlotte Bull have been auditioning some serious talent that I know is just going to blow you away! More details to come, but in the meantime here is us hard at work in Fulham’s finest rehearsal space Dance Attic!

I can’t wait to share some more of the pictures from 27 with you, so make sure you check back in a few days for a post dedicated to all things rock and roll, including my trip to Starlight Germany (One Rock and Roll Too Many… Anyone?!) and my trip to Saturday Live, not sure how rick that is but I certainly had to ROLL out of bed to get there…

Ok, ok… Until next time

Love Arlene x

 

 

 

 

The Entire Universe in 27 Days

I can’t even begin to describe that past couple of weeks, the highs, the lows, the tantrums and tiaras… It certainly has been epic, magical and mind blowing all in one go – and I’ve made it out the other side! I’m currently sat in paradise, in my little country cottage, feet up, family around, recovering from the whirlwind I’m going to share with you now!

Opening night of 27 arrived to mixed, but mainly sensational reviews, and I have to say if you still haven’t seen it you have till October 22nd to make sure you do! 27 Here is me loving life in this photo with the some of the overwhelmingly talented cast Cassie Compton, Jack Donnelly, Ryan Molloy and Jason Kajdi, out incredible writer Sam Cassidy and special guests for the night Noel Fielding and Tim Minchin. There are no words for how proud I am of what we have achieved, West End transfer anyone?

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I was as you know also working round the clock to create the Entire Universe alongside Eric Idle and Brian Cox, that after a couple of crazy days at Elstree studios I am SO excited for you all to see it this christmas! Working with the genius of these two, as well and the amazing Noel Fielding and Warwick Davis, my allstar assistant Richard Roe and my fabulous team of dancers – whom thanks to my darling daughter Alana designing their makeup looked nothing short of sensational! I can’t reveal any proper snaps yet, you’ll just have to wait and see, and believe me its worth the wait!

I was lucky enough to attend the very glamorous Aspinal event for London Fashion Week at Claridges, and what a treat that was! Especially spying actual David Gandy in the flesh…

I also popped in to see Gaby Roslin to talk about the genius of 27, and found a few friends along the way!

img_4664I’ll leave you with this however, in a word, retirement?!

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Until next time, Love Arlene x

 

Tuesday Twoday

I’m emerging from the depths of double rehearsals to fill you in on all the latest goings on here on Planet Arlene! Rushing between technical rehearsals for 27 to getting started on The Universe doesn’t leave a lot of time… and yet somehow I’ve managed to fit all this in…

I had the most wonderful time at the press night for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic. I loved, loved the show, and loved even more seeing my dearest Orfeh – Broadway legend and original Annette in Saturday Night Fever there, and her phenomenally talented husband Andy Karl who is starring at Phil Connors. A supremely talented cast and incredible set, I hope the show gets the transfer it so richly deserves. Orfeh also took the time to pop in to 27 rehearsals, much to the delight of the cast! IMG_4490
I had a great time at the London Autumn Season Event, and spent most of the evening talking all things dance with the divine Tamara Rojo.

It certainly is theatre theatre theatre at the moment as I also popped in to see Motown, and took along a very unique and brave friend Tonia who I was thrilled to spend the evening with.

I also took a trip down the road to watch the incredible new production of Jesus Christ Superstar at Regents Park open air theatre, that literally blew my mind. Declan Bennett was the most heartbreakingly beautiful Jesus, I have never seen the role played so exquisitely, and his rendition of Gethsemane brought me to tears. Bravo to all involved, it was a stunning evening. Bumping into the gorgeous Gerard Butler wasn’t too bad either!

I managed to make it over to ITV to catch up with the gorgeous Loose Women and my darling Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway to talk all things 27. Make sure you get booking as it’s a limited run and it’s selling out fast! http://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/27 I was also lucky enough while I was there to meet the incredible Nicola Adams, what a legend!

I was back to watch the beautiful piece I created for Candoco with the incredible  Joel and Laura “You and I Know”, on the Southbank, in the sunshine with our dear friends Flea and John Keeble of Spandau Ballet fame, and the supremely talented Matt Wills, co writer of 27, who were all as moved to tears as I am every time I watch it. If you haven’t already make sure you check for dates as it really is not to be missed.
Finally, I managed to find time to get to my favourite, the Primrose Hill market and stock up on all things delicious for the week ahead! Romeo was pretty pleased with all the delicious fresh ham, and tried several times to make off with the packet…

Make sure you check out my twitter and Instagram for more pics and updates on the go, and I’ll be back with all the gossip from the entire Universe soon!

Love Arlene x

Star Gazing Down South

So after returning from Las Vegas, it was a skip, hop and a jump the very next day to the beautiful South of France. I was off to work/create with Eric Idle on our upcoming TV show, also involving Professor Brian Cox. It was a week of sunshine, good food, better wine… deep conversation and brain storming, as well as many nights star gazing and searching for planets from the beautiful rooftop patio.

The week was full of meetings with interesting people, writers, unique circus creators, and even a lunch with inventor extraordinaire James Dyson. My mind – not so much my body this time – certainly enjoyed a merry dance!

Too soon London was calling and time to get back to reality, and the start of 27! Despite rehearsals and all other projects kicking off with a bang, I have been utterly glued to the Olympics, we really are going for gold!! Keep going Team GB and do us proud!

Love as always,

Arlene x

Vegas Baby!

Hi all,

What a time I’ve been having recently! I wanted to start off by saying just how amazing the auditions were for the upcoming projects I’m working on, 27 musical and the new Eric Idle and Professor Brian Cox TV special, the talent was just outstanding! Makes creating and choreographing all the more exciting, but I’ll tell you more about all that soon, this blog is all about Vegas baby!

So off I set off for the airport with Abi (who was assisting me for the week) in tow to catch yet another delayed flight, just my luck every trip recently, thanks again BA – which meant that the late arrival already messed up the first nights dinner meeting, but we made it safe and sound and straight in to the 100 degree heat!

Despite the furnace like temperature, it was all systems go with the first days meetings off to a great start, there’s something so inspiring about the excitement all around you there you can’t help but get totally drawn in. That night was the 10th anniversary show and celebration of Cirque du Soleil’s Love at the Mirage, and there to celebrate with me was my dear friend Tony Selznik, agent to some of LA’s hottest dancers – some of whom were starring in the show – and his fabulous team at MSA, including the gorgeous Julie MacDonald. The show was divine, the party even more so, and both Abi and I were just running on excitement as the jetlag was definitely starting to kick in by the end of the night.

Still it was up and off again for more meetings, this time at my one of my favourite restaurants Spago at Caesars Palace, where I have been coming since way back when! Speaking of favourite restaurants, I have a new one to add after the most wonderful dinner at Alyze at the Palms with the one and only Nigel Lythgoe, long time friend and dance god who was also in town, and boy did we gossip the night away!

As always, I have to see as much as possible, and this is made possible by the Vegas way of double evening shows at 7 and 9:30, so there we were running between the hotels, dashing from theatre to theatre – which given the size of these places is no small feat! We saw by Cirque du Soleil Zumanity, Micheal Jackson and Mystere – which I have to say is never to be missed! Baz by Baz Lurhman at the Palazzo was interesting, as was the new show by Penn and Teller, and anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love magic due to my days working in Vegas on the incredible EFX starring Micheal Crawford at the MGM Grand.

In the spirit of all EFX memories, Abi and I had a gorgeous lunch at Wolfgang Puck at the MGM, which for many months was pretty much my local!

It was so wonderful also to catch up with my dear friend Jerry Nadal over brunch at the Aria, who I was lucky enough to also see recently in London, but too much is never enough of this one.

Of course Louanne was by my side most of the time as well, who I know I have talked about numerous times in past posts, and although I can’t reeeeallly say too much at the moment, what I will say is that we’ve got something pretty hot in the pipeline… So just watch this space!

I think for the first time there was no shop till you drop type mall excursions, and only a morning left for a quick brunch at the Wynn before it was goodbye McCarran international and hello Heathrow!

As always, Vegas was a crazy, exiting, interesting and inspiring experience, yet of course as always, I am so happy to be home.

But not for long! I’m off to the sunny south of France for a week of work and the occasional wine with the fabulous Mr Eric Idle!

Back soon….
Love always,
Arlene X

Now for your enjoyment… The photos!

Arlene+Phillips+Beatles+LOVE+Cirque+du+Soleil+yh8grskR2MUlAP & NIgel Lithgoe Vegas

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