Great balls of fire over the rainbow

Nicole Faraday as tragic singer Eva Cassidy in Over The Rainbow
Nicole Faraday as tragic singer Eva Cassidy in Over The Rainbow
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This Sunday, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre throws open its doors to the public as part of the national Fun Palaces weekend.

The Royal Exchange event – from 11am to 5pm – offers visitors the chance to get behind the scenes of a working theatre. It will also include Family Friendly activities, workshops for all ages, the chance to dress up in the theatre’s costumes and free entertainment in the Great Hall.

The Jerry Lee Lewis Story comes to Ormskirk Civic Hall on Saturday.

Peter Gill (Rock ‘n’ Roll Paradise, Elvis vs Jerry Lee Lewis: The Showdown) plays the veteran rock ‘n’ roller now regarded as Last Man Standing of the original greats.

Peter reckons the pianist and singer, in his heyday, was the most exciting performer of all time. “What I do is the best that I can to recreate his dynamism.”

It was almost 60 years ago that Jerry Lee first made headlines with hits such as Great Balls of Fire, Breathless, High School Confidential, Wild One and Whole Lotta Shakin. Box Office: 0844 884 2920 or www.ormskirkcivichall.info.

The 10th anniversary UK tour of Over The Rainbow: The Eva Cassidy Story comes to Blackpool Grand Theatre next Wednesday.

The musical play is the poignant and moving story of Washington-born singer Cassidy. By the time of her death, at just 33, she remained unknown outside Washington but within four years Terry Wogan discovered and promoted her haunting interpretation of Somewhere Over the Rainbow to the top of the charts.

Nicole Faraday (Bad Girls; Emmerdale) stars as Eva Cassidy, Tom Vaughan (Hollyoaks) as Danny Cassidy and Rose-Marie (Blood Brothers; Doctors) as Mary Ann Redmond, whilst West End actor Robert Grose (The Lion King; Starlight Express) plays mogul Chuck Brown.

Box Office: 01253 74 33 39 or www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk.

English National Ballet brings its full production of Derek Deane’s critically-acclaimed Swan Lake to Manchester Palace Theatre next week.

Among the most popular ballets ever, it tells the story of Prince Siegfried’s love for the Swan Queen, Odette, and their battle against the evil magician, Rothbart.

Joining ENB from Boston Ballet, Alejandro Virelles makes his debut as Principal with the company, performing the role of Siegfried alongside Alina Cojocaru’s Odette/Odile.

It runs from Wednesday to Saturday with Thursday and Saturday matinees.

Box office: 0844 871 3019 or www.ballet.org.uk/swanlake.

After two decades of global success since the show was first seen at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1994, there’s a chance to reconnect with Riverdance in Manchester next week.

Producer Moya Doherty says: “This 20th Anniversary Tour is a thank you to our UK audiences and a celebration of an incredible journey.”

It’s at Manchester Opera House Tuesday to Sunday with two weekend matinees. Box office: 0844 871 3018 or www.atgtickets.com/manchester.

Producer/actress Rebecca-Clare Evans and director Natalie Kennedy team up to bring their first theatre production under Manana Productions at Manchester’s 3MT Theatre next week.

Iris is a new Northern drama based on real events around love, life, relationships and a local pub. The play has themes of betrayal, manipulation and physical abuse, besides love and friendship.

It runs from Thursday to Saturday. Box office: www.threeminutetheatre.co.uk.