Arlene Phillips CBE is best known as one the UK’s top choreographers, an international theatre director, talent scout, TV judge, presenter, and dancer who has worked with legends from Elton John and Diana Ross to Tom Cruise and Clint Eastwood.
Now at an intimate event in the West End she promises to share her biggest secrets and lift the lid on what it was really like working withthe biggest pop and movie stars in ‘An Evening with Arlene Phillips’ at the Duchess Theatre on Monday 7 June.
Arlene first became a household name as the director and choreographer of Hot Gossip, a groundbreaking mixed race dance troupe that scandalised Britain in the 1970s after they exploded onto TV screens with risqué costumes and provocative dance routines on ‘The Kenny Everett Video Show’. Clean-up campaigner Mary Whitehouse led a huge campaign to have them axed from teatime television and there were even questions asked in Parliament. “We were decades ahead of our time,” she says, “everything before then was sweet and nice and Hot Gossip were all about using your body as you wished, without fear or prejduice. Kenny adored the group.”
In the 80s Arlene’s career soared to even greater heights when she became the must-have hottest choreographer for pop’s biggest stars as pop videos became more like mini movies. She jetted around the globe from one glamorous shoot to another, often in exotic locations, shooting them back to back without a break.
Among her most iconic videos are Elton’s John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’, shot in Nice with a very young (and future Strictly judge) Bruno Tonioli as lead dancer in a revealing black leotard. The original video featured in the recent Elton John film biography ‘Rocketman’ with Taron Egerton replacing Elton in the footage.
Arlene also choreographed Duran Duran’s outlandish ‘The Wild Boys’ video with film director Russell Mulcahy – named Best British Video at the 1985 BRIT Awards – that saw lead singer Simon Le Bon strapped to the sails of a windmill and plunged every revolution head first into deep water, ‘Private Dancer’ with Tina Turner, ‘Chain Reaction’ with Diana Ross, Queen’s ‘A Kind of Magic’, Whitney Houston’s ‘How Will I Know’ & ‘I Wanna Dance’ and more recently ‘Rock DJ’ with Robbie Williams.
Her choreography on movies includes working with Tom Cruise on ‘Legend’, the Monty Pythoners on ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life’ to ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ and ‘Annie’.
Arlene is a multiple Olivier Award-winner and Tony Award nominee for her work in theatre. She is internationally renowned and responsible for the routines of many hit West End and Broadway musicals including, ‘‘Grease, the wonder-on-wheels that is ‘Starlight Express’, the creative combination of Queen and Ben Elton, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and ‘Flashdance’.
Arlene said: “I am so excited to appear at the Duchess Theatre in the glorious West End and to let the audience in on some fantastic stories . It’s an honour to be one of the first shows at this beautiful theatre as theatre awakens from it’s hibernation.”
Arlene will be in conversation with La Voix. La Voix is the stage name of the brilliantly talented drag queen seen on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Chris Dennis. La Voix said: “Arlene has worked with everyone! The biggest names in music, theatre and television. I get to sit down with a legend and grill her for the best gossip, untold stories and secrets that no one has got out of her. It’s going to be a night of Hot Gossip, a hot red head and the hottest ticket in town.”
Following UK Government guidelines, specific safety measures have been put in place for those attending the show. A new online ticketing system uses an algorithm that will allow theatregoers to choose specific seats. The necessary space around them will be automatically removed to ensure social distancing. Face coverings will be required at all times, aside from when audience members are eating or drinking.
To book tickets visit www.nimaxtheatres.com