Choreographer of the British Empire

Hello again all,

I write this to you now as Arlene Phillips, CBE. Yes it’s official!  As I mentioned in my last blog, this week it’s all about Buckingham Palace baby.  

But before I give you the rundown of my Investiture, I want to tell you all about my day trip to Birmingham to hear the brilliant director, composer, genius and more importantly dear friend Jeremy Sams give his lecture on Mudra, the theory of music and drama as one. It was a real privilege to hear him speak, and his theory was brilliant, and something I know will stay with me through my work to come.
 
As I was still suffering from what we shall call my bout of mini flu, I woke up on Wednesday morning still feeling pretty awful, but the excitement of what was to come was going to get me though the day. It was an early start into hair and makeup, and after a final dash round Selfridges the night before, I settled on a stunning orange patterned knee length dress by Erdem, with clear sequins sewn all through it so it shimmered in the light. I wore it with a black quilted coat by Malene Birger, with crystal beading on the collar, a black bow hat from Fenwicks, and of course a fabulous new black patent pair of Louboutins, perfect for my curtsey in front of Her Majesty.  I was thrilled it was The Queen herself who was going to be at the ceremony, as I had the privilege to receive my OBE from her last time, so it really meant a lot she was there this time as well. My family of course were all with me, looking beautiful and smart as could be, and as I took my place in line to receive my medal, I saw them all sitting there at the front and was so overcome with emotion. It really was such an honour, and a moment I will remember for the rest of my life.
After the ceremony, we headed outside for a family photo, I did some press interviews with Louis Smith, who was also receiving his award that day, and I have to say although we were outside for no more than half an hour, it felt like forever because quite simply, it was freezing! My fingers actually went blue, the girls were shaking, it was cold, cold, cold.  After leaving the Palace we made our way to Nobu on Park Lane, where we warmed up with cups of hot sake and jasmine tea, and my friends Debbie Moore (of Pineapple fame) and Chrissy Donnelly (of Hot Gossip days) joined us for a celebratory lunch. We honestly stayed there for about four hours, gossiping, remembering the old days, and munching our way through plates of exquisite sushi. I arrived home feeling elated and exhausted, and more than ready for my bed.
 
The next few days the mini flu I’d been trying to keep at bay hit me like a ton of bricks, and basically turned into full blown evil flu. I think a definite low point was my trip to the doctors on Friday morning, where I was asked to bring the prescription I’d been told to keep in the fridge. I arrived with my white paper bag, handed it to the doctor, only to find I’d actually brought him a white bag of sliced salami instead…! Now that is real exhaustion at work.
 
By Sunday I was well enough to drag my lazy bum out of bed and over to watch a final run through of the We Will Rock You tour, along with Abi and Tully, who absolutely loved it.  I can’t wait till the show goes out live next week, make sure you look out for it coming to a city near you here
 
Monday was Hectic (with a capital H!) as Coco had been on holiday the week before, and that combined with me being out of action for a few days meant the pile of things to do was just ridiculous. Of course I had Tully holding down the fort the week previously, but even he couldn’t get through half of what needed to be done, so it was a hardcore catch up in the office for Team Arlene!
 
Tuesday was some filming fun, talking about the nation’s favourite dances. I’ve been left with a lovely lingering cough, so trying to get my words out through it meant it took a lot longer then anticipated! I was so excited as that evening I was attending the opening night of A Chorus Line at the Palladium, and what a show it was.  It’s a production I know like the back of my hand, and I was thrilled to see my darling John Partridge up there, dancing rings around the kids, and putting in a fantastic performance as Zack. I have to say another stand out performance for me was Leigh Zimmerman as Sheila, she was simply perfection, and a joy to watch.
 
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 The one and only Bruno and I after Chorus Line.
 
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The clan after the show.
 
So there you have it, such a memorable week, and one I’m still clearly on could nine from.
 
So many, many exciting things to come, so make sure you keep checking in and subscribe!
 
Until next time
Love Arlene x

Sparkles and Sickness

Hello again all,

I’m once again writing this from my attempted sick bed, as sadly after not taking it as easy as I should have last week, the flu has hit me like a truck.  As always I’m not one to let anything stand in my way, and I left you last week on my way to the opening night of Midnight Tango.  I know I always say it, and I’m not just being biased, but the show really is a revelation, a beautiful and moving piece of theatre that really will having you leaping from your seat to applaud.  It was a shame we had to open the show with no Russell Grant due to his injury, but the cast were sensational, and Russell I wish you a speedy recovery my darling. To see the show (and you must!) you can book here

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Wednesday I was out for the count.  Partying the night away before at the aftershow, held at the divine Argentine restaurant the Gaucho Grill, left my head spinning so much I couldn’t even lift a finger to tweet.

Thursday morning I had no choice other than to pull myself together for a quick filming stint for Piers Morgan (although who I was talking about you will just have to wait and see…) After filming I just had to pop along to my friend and jeweller to the stars Theo Fennell’s store, as there was a fantastic sale on, and I most definitely needed something sparkly to wear to the Palace! Of course after that it was straight home to bed for the rest of the day, as I was up and at ’em again on Friday.

I made my way across London to rehearsals for the upcoming We Will Rock You tour, and had such an exciting session with the effervescent Ben Elton, who not only wrote, but is also directing the show. It’s shaping up to be a sensational production, so keep your eyes out for it rocking into a town near you soon…! You can check out the dates here.

After feeling so hideous during the week, ignoring the signs and pleas of my family to rest, the winter bug finally got me and I didn’t leave my bed not only Saturday and Sunday, but Monday too, which meant I sadly was unable to attend the opening night of Robert Lepage’s Playing Cards at the Roundhouse, a production I’ve been beside myself to see. 

So I leave you with another busy and supremely exciting week ahead, that involves me heading off to Buckingham Palace no less, to receive my CBE!  The what to wear dilemma has been immense, but with three new pairs of Louboutins to choose from I can’t go wrong…

So more for me and the Palace next week, along with everything else I’ve been up to you won’t want to miss it!

Till then…

Arlene x

Let’s PMA this week!

Happy Monday to you all!

Despite feeling utterly dreadful all week with a horrendous cold and attempting to stay in bed, I did manage to get my PMA on (that’s Positive Mental Attitude to all you non believers!) and get out and about.

Monday was the week’s first foray into Theatreland with what was a top secret and very exciting party about the Olivier Awards 2013. I can now however reveal that the the fabulous upcoming ceremony at the Royal Opera House on 28 April will be televised for the first time ever on ITV and also played live on Radio 2 hurray!  So whatever your favourite medium you can follow the action, and you can still vote for your favourite shows here: http://www.olivierawards.com/vote/ Please don’t miss We Will Rock You which continues to Rock London in it’s 11th year at the Dominion!

So as I mentioned, I finally got caught by the winter bugs, which although on the one hand was rubbish, the time I was forced to spend at home was actually pretty useful. I decided to do some early spring cleaning in the office, especially on my cupboard of scripts, some that date back to 1984!  I really am hopeless at just resting aren’t I?!

Here’s some more exciting news… I’m in the process of making a new website! There’s going to be lots of new media, links, chats, and my blog will also move there – so watch out for news and updates over the next few weeks about it…

The week went on, with me feeling steadily worse, (probably because I refused to just stay in bed!) and off I went to a big Starlight Express meeting, to discuss all the new ideas for the show in Germany and the 25th year anniversary, as well as checking in on how the fabulous UK tour is doing.  It’s still rolling around the country, and you can read here where it’s going next… http://www.derryjournal.com/lifestyle/entertainment/starlight-express-trained-on-the-millennium-forum-1-4730377

Did you see my best picks on The Space? It’s an amazing website with content from across the arts including special backstage footage, so please tweet me any great things you find on there! My twitter is https://twitter.com/arlenephillips, and the you can find The Space here http://thespace.org/items/p0001j9l and on the homepage here http://thespace.org/

For those that know me now, know I’m not much of a football fan, For those that knew me back in my teenage years, knew I was a bit of a Manchester United girl, and even had a few nights out with George Best and Co… So of course when asked I jumped at the opportunity to head up to my hometown and judge a dance event for the Princes Trust with Man Utd, and my co Judges Gary Neville and Louie Spence on March 7th!  You can read all about it here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/showbiz-news/old-trafford-legend-gary-neville-1275370

Thursday was some secret filming for Comic Relief, with someone whom I adore, have worked with before, and is a total Silver Fox!  We were filming in a location house, which I have have to admit is basically my dream house, and might have to go back, bang on the door, and ask to buy it. (This is in my dreams by the way, as I have yet not won the Euromillions…) Seeing as that’s all i can say about the filming, are there any guesses as to who it might be, and what it might be for?

I finally gave in to feeling poorly on the weekend, and after treating myself to a Sublime facial lifting treating by the equally sublime Fiona at Skin Associates, http://www.skinassociates.co.uk I retreated to my bed, and there I stayed all weekend in my jammys.  A big family dinner on Sunday night (still in my pyjamas) was just the thing to prepare me for the busy week ahead  – which includes a trip to The Bodyguard and the press night of Midnight Tang ! You can get tickets here for the West End show: http://www.midnighttango.co.uk/dates/

For those that weren’t as lucky as me and didn’t get to stay in bed on Sunday with the papers, you might have missed my Culture piece in this week’s Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/feb/02/arlene-phillips-on-my-radar So here you go1

Finally, thank you Rodial Glam Balm http://www.rodial.co.uk/search_results.aspx?q=glam+balm&gclid=COCjnc_5nLUCFYLHtAodanMA3A, for soothing the skin around my poor nose, so red and sore from all the tissues. Damn you stupid cold!

Love A xx