This from www.cnw.ca
"The highest calibre theatrical productions and the only private boxes at sea make Cunard's newest ocean liner a natural choice for theatre aficionados
VALENCIA, Calif., Aug. 30 /CNW/ -- As Queen Victoria prepares to enterservice in December 2007, a team of 16 classically trained singers and dancersis already rehearsing four major theatrical productions that will form thecore of the ocean liner's inaugural entertainment schedule. From concept to curtain, Cunard will have spent nearly two years crafting sophisticated showsthat engage guests with a striking balance of opulence and innovation.
"What Cunard presents is on a par with the highest calibre of world classproductions," said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line, referencing theline's legacy of premium onboard entertainment. "From the set decor andtalent to the beautiful costumes by renowned theatrical designers, the workreflects a deep understanding of our guests' cultural intellect.
Our investment in entertainment is considerable and includes every aspect of theexperience, from the sight lines in the theatre to the hand-selected creative team." To ensure that the theatre venue is as extravagant as the shows themselves, painstaking detail went into designing the Royal Court Theatre, a three-tiered venue unsurpassed in form and function.
"We looked at several theatres and were inspired by the spectacular spaces designed by noted English theatrical architect Frank Matcham, whose dramatic multi-tiered spaces made him one of the most prolific theatrical architects of all time," said Coordinating Architect Giacomo Mortola. "In every sense, the Royal CourtTheatre captures that same feeling of grandeur and luxury."
Among the theatre's most distinguishing features is the collection of sixteen private boxes -- the first-ever at sea -- that frame the stage and afford 48 lucky guests exclusive seating from which to enjoy the performances.
Seating from two to eight guests each depending on the size, the boxes are furnished with graceful armchairs and cocktail tables. Individual-sized Veuve Clicquot bottles and sweet or savory treats (depending on the show time) are served by white-gloved theatre ushers. Following the performance, guests have an opportunity to meet the cast backstage.
The Royal Court Theatre is a visual tribute to Matcham'sturn-of-the-century theatrical design works. Known as the foremost theatre designer in the early 20th century, his vast output comprised more than 80 theatres and influenced theatre design throughout several decades.
His notable London landmarks include The Coliseum built in 1904 and now the home of the English National Opera, the London Palladium, Victoria Palace and Alhambra Theatre in Leicester Square.
"From the moment of arrival, guests will be awed by the sheer magnificence of the space," says Martin Lilly,Cunard's director of creative entertainment. "The ambience is very much thatof a 19th century theatre, with rich brocade fabric dressing the walls, a deep red velvet curtain, private boxes featuring an ornate frieze of gold leaf, and murals framing the walls above the stage. It is everything the Cunard guest would expect."
According to Lilly, that expectation naturally extends to what's onstage. "Because our guests are among the most sophisticated and well-traveled in the world, we are able to be bolder with our show concepts."
Shows as Spectacular as the Setting >> Nowhere will the ship's Victorian era sensibility come more brilliantlyto life than in Victoriana, a spectacular show that will take guests back in time to the apex of the British Empire, paying tribute to milestones of the era. Victoriana captures Music Hall memories with splendid character performances, a touch of Victorian Gothic featuring contemporary choreography and period costumes. After each Victoriana performance, guests carry the mood into the Queens Room for a jubilant Royal Victoriana themed ball.
Dance Passion celebrates the exuberant world of dance. Outstanding international dancers execute superb and diverse choreography, capturing the magic of Gene Kelly, the sensual Argentine Tango, Salsa and Samba. The show delivers the grace and elegance of classic dance to the vibrant energy of Swing and Jump Jive.
Cunard tapped Dmitri Iliukhin, choreographer and former Riverdance performer, to give Celtic Heartbeat an authentic resonance. Featuring a mix of original and traditional Irish music, song and dance, it tells the story ofa young Irishman and his search for fortune, capturing all the joy, conflict,humor, heartbreak and romance of his journey. It features two principle dancers, four singers who take the role of the narrators, and a full dance ensemble.
The final production, A Stroke of Genius, pairs world-famous works of art with popular music. This fresh and eclectic show features a blend of Andy Warhol and the Rolling Stones, Edward Hopper's American Realism and the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and ballerinas coming to life against a backdrop of EdgarDegas' French Impressionist paintings.
The productions are the work of the same team who produce acclaimed shows for sister ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2. UK-based Belinda King Creative Productions works in tandem with Cunard to create "a voyage of light and sound, music and dance, with passion and soul, elegance and style," says King.
In addition to the production shows, Singers in Concert brings the combined orchestras of the Queens Room and Royal Court Theatre together for a concert-style show combining classic standards, contemporary songs andoriginal musical arrangements. An amusing and poignant musical presentationthat light-heartedly explores the intriguing dynamics between men and women,the show features songs by Burt Bacharach, Billy Joel, James Taylor, GilbertO'Sullivan and others.
About Queen Victoria >> The 90,000-ton Queen Victoria will offer the very best of the heritage and traditions of Cunard Line, along with all modern day luxuries includingsome exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional WestEnd-style private boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre, the first Cunardiamuseum exhibit at sea, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia along with thefirst two-storey library at sea featuring an elegant spiral staircase. The ship will also feature the line's celebrated Queens Grill and Princess Grillaccommodations and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with an exclusive deck terrace and an al fresco dining option.
From the outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at the sophistication that differentiates a Cunard liner. This will be most evident in the ship's adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant publicrooms, many on a grand scale, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaicsand gleaming chandeliers.
There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof. As well as being the second largest Cunarder ever built, Queen Victoria'sarrival is particularly noteworthy as it will mark the first time that threeCunard Queens have been in service together in the company's 168-year history(she joins the world's grandest liner, Queen Mary 2 and the world's mostfamous and best-loved liner, QE2).
For more information about Cunard or Queen Victoria, contact your travelprofessional, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to http://www.cunard.com. <<>> Cunard Line, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2 and QE2,has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome ofBritish refinement since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer,Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring togetherlike-minded travelers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White StarService(SM), fine dining, sophisticated adventure, the legacy of historicvoyages and transatlantic travel. Queen Victoria joins the fleet in December2007. Cunard Line is a proud member of World's Leading Cruise Lines. Theexclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line,Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passionto please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, member linesappeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together they offerexciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirabledestinations."