Festival ’94, Blackpool Opera House With Bradley Walsh, Wayne Dobson and Sesame Street characters.
Tues 19th Jul – Sat 5th Nov. Mon and Fri 7:30pm, Tues, Wed, Thurs and Sat 6:10pm and 8:40pm.
Stalls, Circle £9.75 £7.75. Balcony £5.75.
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball in Blackpool’s
A pictorial history of the last 100 years of Blackpool with David Lobban
Seaside Street Cred – The Company
“Good Evening” from Cannon and Ball
Futuristic Fantasy – The Phil Winston Dancers featuring Nikita Scott
The Illusions of Wayne Dobson
Introducing Bradley Walsh
“Hard Times” with Cannon and Ball
The Sensational Gerry Grant as Roy Orbison
“Las Vegas comes to Blackpool” with the fantastic Steve Halliday as Elvis
“Hit Me with That Jazz” – The Phil Winston Dancers featuring Nikita Scott
A touch of Magic and Humour with Wayne Dobson
Happy Birthday from Sesame Street Live
Cannon and Ball
Cannon and Ball
Tommy Cannon and Bobby Ball are one of Britain’s funniest and most successful double acts. In a career spanning over 25 years they have achieved a string of honours that puts them among the all-time greats of showbusiness.
On television they have starred in their own series practically every year since 1979; they have also ‘guested’ on all the major shows including Wogan, Parkinson, Des O’Connor, Sunday Night at the Palladium, several Royal Variety Shows, and been featured in a BBC Documentary Funny Business based on double acts, which also included footage on Martin & Lewis, Laurel & Hardy and Morecambe & Wise.
To add to their pedigree, they remain the only act to have won three separate National Club Awards; been named as the prestigious Variety Club ‘Personalities of the Year’, starred in their own feature film The Boys in Blue which, in addition to its cinema success, has gone on to become a video best-seller; and been the subject of This is Your Life.
However, it is as the undisputed Kings of Live Entertainment that Cannon & Ball have set standards that will probably never be equalled.
During the 1970’s they built a strong reputation around the UK cabaret club circuit for being a great live act. They also toured extensively in the hotel circuits of Australia and South Africa.
In 1980 they ‘topped the bill’ for the very first time at the North Pier, Blackpool, where they played to capacity business for 22 weeks; a feat they surpassed in 1991 when they returned to the Pier and celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a 25-week sell-out season.
Blackpool is a ‘happy hunting ground’ for the Lancashire-born twosome, who are playing the 3,000 seat Opera House this summer, 1994. This will be their third season at the theatre, following their enormously successful seasons in 1985 and 1987.
In additional to Blackpool, Tom and Bob have broken records in theatres all over the UK, including London. In 1981 they played a 6-week season at the Dominion Theatre when every seat was sold before the show opened, and in 1988 their pantomime Babes in the Wood broke all previous pantomime records at the world famous London Palladium, where Cannon & Ball created the record for the largest box office amount taken in one week in British Theatre History.
During 1989 they were offered the chance to play a season in the USA. Orlando, Florida was the location. Their three month season was such a success that they were immediately re-booked for April, May, June 1994, star-ring at King Henry’s Feast, Orlando and making several US television appearances. They made an instant impact and are set to return for more live dates and television in 1995.
The rest of 1994 is taken up with their summer season in Blackpool, where Tommy will hope to work on his golf handicap and teach Bobby a shot or two, since he also has taken up golf. Then it’s off to Bonnie Scotland for their Scottish Pantomime debut at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh which they are looking forward to immensely, where they will be joined by Edinburgh born television star and presenter, John Leslie, in the wonderful traditional family pantomime Babes in the Wood.
Even after nearly 30 years of making people laugh, Tom and Bob are still enjoying every minute themselves and are looking forward to carrying on doing it for many years to come.
Wayne Dobson is one of the most accomplished and innovative magicians in inter-national showbusiness, renowned in America for his refreshingly new approach to magic and entertaining. His introduction to American audiences was spectacular, when he was personally invited by the world-famous illusionists Siegfried and Roy to take part in their annual magic convention at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. And he has since established himself in no uncertain terms Stateside where he has entertained theatres and showroom audiences in Vegas, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Atlantic City, Chicago, Lake Tahoe and beyond. In Detroit he was acclaimed by a massive audience of over 16,000 people … and across the States, Wayne has captivated the public and critics alike, winning rave reviews for his magical exploits.
“America proved a great challenge for me,” says Wayne. “It’s a fantastic country which has produced some of the all-time greats of magic and illusion; most recently people like Doug Henning, Siegfried and Roy, and David Copperfield, who have stunning reputations all over the world.”
“Magic is a big business over there, and I like to think that I am redressing the balance from the British point of view. American audiences love something different, something new, and they really take you to their hearts.
The brilliant young man of magic and mystery took his first tentative steps to international stardom when he first accompanied Englebert Humperdinck on a comprehensive tour of America in 1988. Such was his success that in the months that followed, Wayne toured the States no less than eight times with Humperdinck and received the same kind of reaction with every appearance. America, however, is just a small part of his outstanding success which has seen Wayne entertaining throughout the world and particularly in Europe.
At home, in Britain, he has now established himself as the most exciting magician on television, through his tremendously successful show, A Kind of Magic – the first series of which was screened on the full ITV Network in the spring of 1990.
It was during the series that Wayne created history. He became the first person anywhere in the world ever to make a £500,000 helicopter disappear – and he did it right in front of the eyes of a massive British tele-viewing audience of millions, with the aid of stunning hi-technology magical illusion … and without the aid of a single camera trick. It was a breathtaking illusion, yet typical of his high-rating, highly exciting and highly-enjoyable TV series. The disappearing helicopter set a unique standard, and during the course of that first series, Wayne introduced and performed some spellbinding illusions, many of which had never been staged on television anywhere in the world before.
“I was absolutely delighted with the success of that series,” says Wayne. “The audience reaction was great, and we managed to bring a new dimension to TV magic using the best of hi-technology, which pleases me no end.”
A Kind of Magic proved such a success and such a hit with viewers, that even before the first series has completed its run on the ITV Network, a further series was already in the planning stage. It was screened during the summer of 1991 with a third series screened in 1992.
Wayne Dobson was born in Leicester and was just nine years-old when he discovered magic for the first time. “I was given a magic set as a Christmas present by my parents, and I soon became fascinated by the whole idea. That was the spark that got me hooked.” Wayne had a natural ability and aptitude for the art and throughout his early teens, progressed to become an accomplished magician. At sixteen he auditioned for the Magic Circle and was immediately accepted as a member of the world-famous society, becoming the youngest ever member of the Magic Circle. Three years later, he won a prestigious international award for his skills at close-up magic.
He left school at eighteen and worked as a laboratory technician, although most of his spare time was spent on magic and performing. He made his television debut a year later, and at twenty-one decided to turn professional. “It was a gamble,” he says. “But I was determined to succeed. Magic was my life.” The gamble has since paid handsome dividends! That was the start of a professional career that has seen Wayne entertaining internationally at some of the most prestigious venues in the world with outstanding success.
Wayne’s success in Britain has been outstanding. He has appeared on all the major TV shows and series, consolidating his standing with each engagement; and toured the country extensively playing theatres and cabaret engagements. In 1989 he appeared in the Royal Variety Show. His summer seasons include the Winter Gardens, Margate (1991) and the Festival Theatre, Paignton (1992) and the Britannia Theatre, Great Yarmouth (1993). His book A Kind of Magic was published by Hodder and Stoughton in 1991.
He has continued to tour Britain with his own spectacular illusion show: “The first time a full scale illusion show has been presented on tour in this country for a number of years. Many of the big illusion tricks seen on A Kind of Magic and my other TV shows, are being recreated on stage for the first time. It’s very exciting. But I firmly believe that audiences want to see these big illusions for themselves and not just on television. This way we can also prove that there are no camera tricks involved.”
Bradley Walsh – once best known as a professional footballer with Brentford, is now poised to become a household name in a different profession, as he already has a major TV series under his belt.
Since exchanging the turf for the boards, Bradley has gone from strength to strength, appearing on concert tours with Leo Sayer, Rose-Marie, Grace Kennedy, and more recently with Joe Longthorne, Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, Neil Sedaka and Shirley Bassey.
Bradley has become a favourite with TV producers and has appeared in many TV shows including:- The Derek Jameson Show, 6 O’clock Live, Daytime Live, This Morning, TV AM, Pebble Mill, The Cannon & Ball Show, GMTV, Bobby Davro’s Rock with Laughter, Chris Tarrant’s The Main Event, plus his own regional game show series for Anglia TV and numerous appearances on Celebrity Squares and The Des O’Connor Show. Today newspaper said “The best guest on the show was a young comedian called Bradley Walsh who had Des crying tears of laughter all over his new suit, and easily outshone such established stars as Shirley Bassey and Jason Donovan”.
After successful appearances in the panto at the Theatre Royal in Norwich and the Apollo Theatre in Oxford, he was chosen to co-star with Mr T in Aladdin at the Liverpool Empire, for the 1991/92 Christmas season. The Liverpool Echo said “The great lynch pin of the show is Bradley Walsh … The Empire is a big stage, but here is a talent who could work it all on his own with a mixture of dead-pan delivery and manic activity. Collect his autograph at the stage door now, for shortly I feel he will be all over your TV screens”.
The last quote proved to be prophetic as Bradley starred in his own series on LWT, called Only Joking broadcast in Spring that same year.
The Sun newspaper quoted LWT Executive Producer Robert Randell as saying “As soon as I saw him, I knew he was our man. Bradley has the same appeal as Bruce Forsyth and Michael Barrymore. He’s going to be a huge star of the Nineties!”
Last November he appeared in front of the Queen in this year’s Royal Command Performance and received rave reviews including that of Jack Tinker of The Daily Mail” … any Royal Variety worth the name must always produce one new star … Bradley Walsh a dangerously cheeky young comic from the Tarby school wowed ’em with a routine that had the audience at his feet” and also, The Sun gave Bradley a rating of 9/10 in their review of the show.
Bradley recently appeared with Joe Pasquale on the Barrymore show. There was an instant chemistry and the ecstatic response lead to Thames TV creating a vehicle for the pair. The pilot was transmitted in early July with hopefully, a series to follow in the New Year.
Also, plans are already at an advanced stage for Bradley to host his own prime time show, scheduled for screening in Spring 1995.
He has a fresh and slightly anarchic approach to comedy ranging from mainstream to observational and alternative humour, and has a chameleon-like ability to adapt his act to appeal to all ages and tastes.
The Sesame Street Birthday Party Live
Sesame Street Live is produced in the USA by the VEE Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota in co-operation with Children’s Television Workshop. The United Kingdom version is co-produced with Barry Clayman Concerts and the Apollo Leisure Group.
Sesame Street Live begins it’s 15th year of touring shows this coming season. The Happy Birthday sequence in the Festival ’94 Spectacular is the finale on the Sesame Street Live show which has just completed it’s second European Tour.
We are pleased and proud to be a part of the Blackpool summer entertainment tradition and look forward to seeing many of you at the Sesame Street Live show when it plays in a venue near your home
Gerry Grant is recognised throughout Europe as the definitive Artiste paying tribute to the late, great “Big O”. Not only is he a total look alike, but his unique vocal ability gives him the range, tonality and inflection to reproduce exactly the multitude of Roy Orbison hits that characterise the show.
Already renowned in the mid seventies for his genuine tribute to Orbison, Gerry topped the bill at many of the major cabaret clubs of the day, not least was the famous Batley Variety Club which itself played host in the 70’s to many of the greatest names in showbiz.
Gerry had been born of a musical family. His father was a concert pianist and his mother no mean vocalist. It followed naturally therefore that, from an early age, Gerry received both voice training and the piano lessons which were to leave him in such good stead in the future.
It was at the age of 18 that Gerry was first launched into the world of public entertainment when the vocalist booked at Mr Smith’s in Manchester failed to turn up and Gerry was pushed on stage by his mates.
After singing the only two “pop” songs that he knew at the time – Blue Bayou and In Dreams he was offered (and took) a residency at exactly twice the money he had been earning as a welder – an occupation, by the way, that had first led to his being noted as a Roy Orbison look-alike after donning dark welding glasses!
Despite the multitude of radio, TV and major concert dates played by Gerry over the following years, the coming of “punk” in the late seventies led to a lessening of interest in the Orbison phenomenon and Gerry took off for Australia where he lived until only four years ago.
The sad death of the Big O in late 1988, followed hard on the heels of his new found success with The Travelling Wilberry’s was a cruel stroke of fate for a legendary artiste, beloved by so many despite the years.
It led to a huge public resurgence of interest in Roy Orbison and his music and in turn has again led to demand for Gerry Grant – the exponent of the Roy Orbison cult. Utterly genuine in this tribute, the likeness, the voice and the style are recreated in this show with electrifying results and to tremendous acclaim from the audiences – See it! – You will not be disappointed.
In addition to playing a ‘Spring Tour’ of Theatres and Civic Halls country-wide during April 1989 – Gerry, with his excellent 4 piece band, The Frame, played Dusseldorfs Rheinterrasse and other concerts in Holland & Germany during 1990. Gigging perpetually, he has appeared, amongst hundreds of others, at:
Concerts and Cabaret – The Barbican, London; Numerous Civic Halls; The Willows Salford; Batley Variety, Jollees; Butlins Worlds/Hotels; Lakeside, Camberley; The Kings, Birmingham; The Fiestas Caesar’s (past).
Television and Radio – BBC Nationwide; Granada “Wheeltappers”; Live from 2; Ulster TV Mike Kelly Show; Tyne Tees TV, LWTV “Michael Aspel”; BBC Pebble Mill.
“Steve Halliday is Europe’s TOP Elvis Impersonator – Daily Express, May 1994.
Steve starred on Granada TV’s Stars In The Eyes Elvis Special 1993. Singing Lord You Gave Me A Mountain, and after which Elvis Monthly said “The Best Elvis on the show” and said Sir Jimmy Savile O.B.E. “Quote” A Fantastic Performer.
After appearing with Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana at the Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain Annual Convention, the head of the fan club Todd Slaughter said “Steve Halliday is brilliant, the best.”
Nikita began her musical career as part of a duo.
She then entered a Star Search Talent Contest where she was voted outright winner, launching her solo career. Nikita’s success continued as she was voted top female vocalist in the English Riviera Centre’s Stairway to the Stars.
Her first album followed and overseas trips to entertain the forces in both Northern Ireland and the Falklands. Frank Ifield advised on various aspects of her career, and introduced Nikita to her present manager.
Nikita has worked with stars like Bobby Davro, Little & Large, Norman Wisdom, The Grumbleweeds, Rod Hull, The Ivy League and the Barron Knights, at prestigious venues like the Cafe Royal, The I.C.C. in Birmingham, Lakeside Country Club and Sawas in Usk.
Immediately after this Nikita appeared in a series of shows with Norman Wisdom. This was followed by a tour which took her to Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
In Australia she appeared on a T.V. show hosted by Frank Ifield, and then performed in Sydney and on to the Gold Coast before returning to the U.K. Nikita’s return saw her supporting The Hollies, Hale and Pace and Chas & Dave at Lakeside Country Club.
Nikita has supported more “Star” names such as Jim Davidson at Newmarket Cabaret Club followed by Joe Longthorne and Lenny Henry at Sawas Club in Usk.
The summer of 1993 saw Nikita at the Festival Theatre, Paignton where she starred in Silver Fox Leisure’s musical spectacular the Time of our Lives.
Nikita has recently signed a major record contract and her first single has just been released. The song was specially written for her by a well known international song writer, with many hits to his credit.
Adrian Leggett – Director/Producer
Adrian first worked in the theatre as a stage hand at the Theatre Royal, Bath. He then gained experience working for several fringe theatre companies before moving to the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. He also worked for a year in the State Theatre Brunswick, Germany.
In 1979 he joined Apollo Leisure (UK) as Technical Manager at Oxford Apollo. He then became Apollo Leisure’s Production Manager involved in many shows including national tours of The Sound of Music, Tommy Steele, The Muppets, Wayne Sleep and South Pacific.
For the past five years Adrian has been involved in numerous summer seasons and pantomimes nationwide with stars including Freddie Starr, Cannon and Ball, Les Dawson, Jim Davidson and Michael Barrymore.
As Director of the Theatrical Division for Apollo Leisure and Executive Producer for Barry Clayman Concerts, Adrian has general managed Song and Dance, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Aspects of Love. He has produced national tours of Chess, 42nd Street, Barnum, Sesame Street Live, Aspects of Love and Tommy Steele – What a Show! West End productions include A Clockwork Orange, 42nd Street, Barnum, Grand Hotel, Copacabana and Fiddler on the Roof.
Laurie Mansfield – Director/Producer
Laurie is joint Managing Director of International Artistes which is one of the leading theatrical agencies and production companies in the UK. With offices in London and Manchester, it has produced many West End shows and currently is the co-producer of Buddy which is still rocking and rolling at the Victoria Palace. International Artistes also produces concerts, summer season shows and pantomimes.
Rick Coates – Musical Director
During a varied career Rick has been privileged enough to work with a whole host of household names including Freddie Starr, Norman Wisdom, Jim Davidson, The Nolans, The Krankies, Tony Christie, Jimmy Cricket and of course, Cannon & Ball. His work has also included writing incidental music for radio and television as well as brief spells in the musical theatre on touring productions of Cats and Les Miserables.
More recently he has been in Florida assisting Tommy and Bobby in their bid to put their unique brand of comedy truly on the map in the United States.
Rick is delighted to be in Blackpool having been Musical Director on Cannon and Ball’s last two pantomimes in Hull and Darlington respectively.
Rick is a keen golfer and tennis player and likes to spend his spare time watching his local football team Blackpool “Wren Rovers”.
Phil Winston – Choreographer
Phil Winston is one of this countries leading choreographers; he has been responsible for countless theatre and television dance productions, both in this country and in Europe.
Phil’s recent credits include the all record breaking production of Cinderella starring Paul Nicholas, Billy Pearce at Bradfords Alhambra Theatre and also The Musical Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, starring David Essex which will this year be re-staged for Liverpool Empire’s Christmas musical. He was appointed choreographer for the German Skating Federation Olympic team in the Lillehammer Winter Olympics and is currently commissioned as artistic director and choreographer of World Champions Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay’s new ice show which will open at the world famous Zenith Arena in Paris later this year.
He is delighted to choreograph this very special production here at Blackpool’s Opera House to celebrate 100 years of the great entertainment tradition, as now Blackpool is Phil’s home town. Indeed Blackpool audiences may be no stranger to Phil’s dynamic choreography as he was for 7 years responsible for the highly acclaimed Vivashow’s Mystique and the Hot Ice Shows at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Phil has a great commitment to the youth and future talent of tomorrow, indeed he hosts many guest lectures and masterclasses throughout the world.
He has established his own Theatre Street dance college here in Blackpool, where committed individuals may receive training to pursue and fulfull their theatrical ambitions. Phil is a Fellow and Examiner of the International Dance Teachers Association and a member of its Modern Dance Technical Development Panel.
Musical Director / Keyboards – Rick Coates
Trumpet / Wind / Synthesizer – Barry Armitage
Trumpet / Flugel – Simon Barnes
Drums – Gary Lewis Second
Keyboards – Barry Robinson Bass
Guitar – Mike Ryal
Trombone – Chris Traves
Guitar – Steve Willingham
Orchestra Contractor – Arthur Dakin
THE PHIL WINSTON DANCERS
SARAH JANE ABBOTT
PAUL ROBERT HOUSEMAN
SARAH LOUISE WATSON
Cookie Monster: JEM BRENT
Tina: CLARE COOPER
Bert: ELLEN-CLAIRE DOVEY
Big Bird: ROBIN FRANCIS
Count: NICOLA GIBBONS
Elmo: JOANNE HUTCHINSON
Grover: EMILY NEWINGTON
Ernie: PENNI TOVEY
THE CHILDREN OF BLACKPOOL
Debbie Greer Katie Hill Jenny Gough Kavita Pagash Carrie Beaumont Rosy Thompson Krystal Hurey Victoria Healey Zoe Dawes Ben Sheridon Daniel Madder Emma Bennett Hannah Flecher Katie Smith Beth Lynch Tamsin Fitt Michelle Barber Sophie Zucchini Amanda Sawyer Laura Oldham Kimberley Parkinson Kay Sheedy Alexandra Johnson Rachel Lund Hester Bramhall Emma Timperley Blake Winston Stuart Roberts Mathew Wheelhouse Jane Wilkinson Nicola Duffy Laura Dyson Laura Rynhart Sharon Thorpe Clair Suggett Lyndsay Gemmel Kerri Andrew Amanda Taylor Rachel Burdett Jenna Rothwell Laura Heads Rachel Fallon Victoria Manchester Kirsty McAlly James Tate Potts Paul Coopes Laura Maskell Catherine Grimes Lian Wray Natalie James Donna Langley Danielle Wintbottom
Directors / Producers – Adrian Leggett & Laurie Mansfield
Choreographer – Phil Winston
Sesame Street Live Staged by – Alison Mellor
Lighting Designer – Nick Richings
Sound by – Alpha Audio
Sound Engineer – Ian Hopkin
Production Carpenters – Paul Couser & John Ashworth
Costumes Designed by – David Shields
Production Manager – Conor McGivern
Company Manager – Roger John Lee
Deputy Stage Manager – Paul Couser
Assistant Stage Manager – Amy Louise O’Connor
Wardrobe Supervisor – Peter Jordan
Wardrobe Assistant – Peter Williams
FOR APOLLO LEISURE/BARRY CLAYMAN CONCERTS LTD
Director (BCC) – Barry Clayman
Directors (Apollo Leisure) – P. R. Gregg, S. Shrouder, D. C. Rogers, M. Adamson, S. Lavelle, A. Leggett
Executive Producers – Adrian Leggett, Barrie Stead
General Manager (Production) – Kim Robinson
General Manager (Admin) – Pippa Dunn
Resident Production Manager – Conor McGivern
Production Administrator – Clare Sheridan
PA to Executive Producer – A. Leggett – Carrie Askey-Wood
Production Assistant to Barrie Stead – Nicola Wise
Planning & Co-ordination – Sarah Ripley
FOR INTERNATIONAL ARTISTES LIMITED
Joint Managing Directors – Stuart Littlewood, Laurie Mansfield
Finance – Craig Ramadhin
Co-ordination – Fay Entwistle
FOR THE WINTER GARDENS OPERA HOUSE
General Manager – Craig B. Smith, AHCIMA
Deputy General Manager – Fiona Ablett
Assistant Managers – Peter Evans, Melanie Hutchings, Alexandra Green
Marketing & Sales Manager – Mark N. Henderson
Sales Manager – Sue Lockwood
Stage Manager – Duncan Jump
For Optics – The Hollywood Apartments, 2-4 Wellington Road, Blackpool
The Park Bench – Blackpool Borough Council
Brass Instruments and Drum Kit – Courtesy of Johnny Roadhouse Music, Oxford Road, Manchester
The show was publicised on the front cover of the ‘Blackpool Festival 94’ what’s-on guide