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Photo credit: Noah Thomas and Melissa Jacques (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

Everything you need to know about ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ at the Apollo Theatre

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

One of Britain's greatest 21st century musicals, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is an uplifting, joyful show that encourages its audiences to speak out for what they believe in. Inspired by a BBC documentary, the original musical tells of Jamie, a high schooler defying gender norms and wearing a dress to his high school prom.

The hit British musical features music from The Feeling's Dan Gillespie Sells, with lyrics and a book by Doctor Who's Tom MacRae. So, break over the wall in your head and say hello to Jamie New, because he really is a "Work of Art".

Here's our complete guide to the West End production of Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre, with Everybody's Talking About Jamie tickets available on LondonTheatre.co.uk.

What is Everybody's Talking About Jamie about?

At the start of Everybody's Talking About Jamie, audiences meet Jamie New on his 16th birthday. He's loud, extroverted and never one to shy away from a crowd. But, when it comes to sharing his true self, he steps away from the action. All Jamie wants is to attend his high school prom in a dress, something which definitely goes against the status quo.

Supported by his friends, family and a shop owner, Jamie discovers a new world out there — a world filled with drag queens. Overcoming prejudices and beating the bullies, Jamie New eventually steps into the spotlight.

Noah Thomas in Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

Is Everybody's Talking About Jamie based on a true story?

Yes. Although the musical is an original storyline, inspiration for Everybody's Talking About Jamie came from a BBC documentary broadcast in 2011. Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 follows Jamie Campbell, a British teenager who made school history and was supported by his peers.

You can watch the original BBC documentary here

When did Everybody's Talking About Jamie premiere?

The world premiere of Everybody's Talking About Jamie took place at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, close to where the real life Jamie Campbell grew up. Performances only ran for a fortnight from 8 - 25 February, but the musical made such an impact, that a West End transfer was imminent. Other West End shows to have opened in Sheffield include Life of Pi.

The West End premiere of Everybody's Talking About Jamie began performances at the Apollo Theatre on 6 Nov 2017, where it continues to run today. Now in its fourth year, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is one of the longest-running musicals in London

The North American premiere will take place in 2022. Performances will run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from 16 January - 20 Feb. 2022, with casting to be announced. 

Who wrote Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

The Everybody's Talking About Jamie storyline is written by Tom MacRae, an English television writer and author. Jamie marked MacRae's musical debut, but his notable writing credits include Doctor Who episodes starring David Tennant and Billie Piper.

Who wrote the songs in Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

As well as writing the book, Tom MacRae also wrote the lyrics for Everybody's Talking About Jamie. Music is by Dan Gillespie Sells, a British singer and guitarist. Best known as one fifth of rock band The Feeling, his chart-topping hits include "Fill My Little World" and "Love It When You Call".

Who is in the cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

The current cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie is led by Noah Thomas, making his West End debut in the title role. Melissa Jacques plays Margaret New, Jamie's mum, joined by Sejal Keshwala as Ray, Hiba Elchikhe as Priti, Gillian Ford as Miss Hedge. Shane Richie was scheduled to play Hugo/Loco Chanelle in the London production.

Casting is completed by Alexander Archer, Zion Battles, Marlon G. Day, James Gillan, Zahra Jones, Emily Kenwright, Keenan Knight, Jordan Laviniere, Garry Lee, Phil Nicol David O'Reilly, Harriet Payne, Jordan Ricketts and Rachel Seiran.

Noah Thomas and Bianca Del Rio in Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

Have any celebrities starred in Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

Every few months, a new roster of actors entertain audiences at the Apollo Theatre, joining the Everybody's Talking About Jamie cast. So far, celebrities that have starred in the musical include Bianca Del Rio and Michelle Visage, who are both known for appearing in RuPaul's Drag Race. There's been lots of soapstars too, including Bill Ward, Hayley Tamaddon, Rita Simons, Shane Richie and Shobna Gulati.

Here's a roundup of all the celebrities that have starred in the musical

What theatre in London is Everybody's Talking About Jamie playing at?

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is playing at the Apollo Theatre, where it has played for its entire West End run. Opening at the turn of the 20th century, the Apollo Theatre has typically been home to short runs of London plays, but has become a musical haven in recent years. Notable shows include Urinetown and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

What is the running time of Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

The running time of Everybody's Talking About Jamie is 2 hours and 40 minutes, including a 15 minute interval.

Cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

What are the songs in Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

The Everybody's Talking About Jamie soundtrack is packed with infectious melodies, sure to earworm their way into your mind. Musical highlights include the opening number "And You Don't Even Know It" and the title song. There's emotional tearjerkers too, including "It Means Beautiful". Here's a full list of the songs in Everybody's Talking About Jamie.

Act One

"And You Don't Even Know It" - Jamie, Miss Hedge & Year 11
"And You Don't Even Know It Tag" - Jamie
"The Wall in My Head" - Jamie
"Spotlight" - Pritti & Year 11 Girls
"Spotlight (Reprise) (Star of the Show)" - Jamie & Pritti
"The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress)" - Hugo & the Legs Eleven Girls
"The Legend of Loco Chanelle (and the Blood Red Dress)" (Reprise) - Hugo
"If I Met Myself Again" - Margaret
"Work of Art" - Miss Hedge, Jamie, Dean & Year 11
"Over the Top" - Hugo & the Legs Eleven Girls

Act Two

"Everybody's Talking About Jamie" - Year 11
"Limited Edition Prom Night Special" - Jamie, Ray & Margaret
"It Means Beautiful" - Pritti
"It Means Beautiful" (Reprise) - Pritti
"Ugly in This Ugly World" - Jamie
"He's My Boy" - Margaret
"And You Don't Even Know It" (Bus Station Reprise) - Jamie
"My Man, Your Boy" - Jamie & Margaret
"The Prom Song" - Year 11
"Finale" - Company
"Out of the Darkness (A Place Where We Belong)" - Company 

What are the reviews of Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

Critics unanimously praised the distinctively British musical, which had earned its place in the West End. In a five-star review for LondonTheatre.co.uk, Mark Shenton said: "it is just the refreshing breath of fresh, inclusive air the West End needs right now. The show is frequently profoundly moving - I watched it through a veil of tears - but also outright hilarious. At the heart of it all (it) is blazingly honest."  In a similar notion, The Times' Ann Treneman complimented how the production reflects a modern-day, diverse society. "This fizzing musical is a blast of fresh air, and what a joy to see a stageful of youngsters who look like swathes of modern Britain: young, poor, sassy, not to mention black, brown, white and, er, sparkly." 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie has even been hailed a 21st century Billy Elliot. For The Independent, Paul Taylor said: "This show is irresistible: a joyous, life-affirming Billy Elliot for an age struggling with the fluidities of gender identity." For Time Out, Tom Wicker said: "Everybody's Talking About Jamie' is too fabulous to be a pity party. It's a joyous punch in the air about following your dreams and being yourself. 'Life-affirming' is generally an over-used term, but not here. This production owns the stage." 

Cast of Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

What awards has Everybody's Talking About Jamie won?

Although Everybody's Talking About Jamie didn't win any Olivier Awards, it definitely made an impact. The production was nominated for five Oliviers in 2018, including Best New Musical. John McCrea and Julie Walker were nominated for their performances, with Kate Prince's choreography acknowledged and Dan Gillespie Sells' music.

Is there a movie adaptation of Everybody's Talking About Jamie?

A film adaptation of Everybody's Talking About Jamie is in the pipelines. Max Harwood stars as Jamie New, joined by Richard E. Grant as Hugo/Loco Chanelle, with Sarah Lancashire and Sharon Horgan also in the cast.

For the upcoming film, there will be a brand new song, sung by Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Holly Johnson. A release date for the movie has been tentatively removed, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

How do I get tickets for Everybody's Talking About Jamie in London?

Everybody's Talking About Jamie performances are currently scheduled at the Apollo Theatre in London from 20 May to 29 Aug. 2021. 

Everybody's Talking About Jamie tickets are available now.

Photo credit: Noah Thomas and Melissa Jacques (Photo courtesy of Everybody's Talking About Jamie)

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