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Production news round-up: Jason Donovan joins West End Joseph cast and Andrew Scott to star in Present Laughter

Jason Donovan
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This week, it was announced that Jason Donovan would be returning to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, this time to play the Pharaoh, 27 years after he first appeared in it. Elsewhere, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 the Musical will set out on tour later this year, and Andrew Scott will lead the cast of a new production of Present Laughter at the Old Vic.


Jason Donovan is returning to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 27 years after he first appeared in it, to play the role of Pharaoh. Donovan, who played the title role at the London Palladium in 1991, will return to the venue to play Pharaoh from June 27, for an 11-week run. He joins Sheridan Smith, who is taking the role of the Narrator in the show.
Authors: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice
Director: Laurence Connor
Producer: Michael Harrison

Jason Donovan returns to Joseph to play Pharaoh in new London Palladium production

Dolly Parton musical 9 to 5 has announced a UK tour that will open later this year. It will open at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham on September 6, before touring until November, visiting 11 cities including Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff, Dublin and Sunderland.
Authors: Dolly Parton (music and lyrics), Patricia Resnick (book)
Director: Jeff Calhoun
Producers: Ambassador Theatre Group, Selladoor Worldwide and Gavin Kalin Productions with Benjamin Lowy Productions, Glass Half Full Productions, Showtime Theatre Productions, Hartshorn-Hook Productions, Harmonia Holdings and Kilimanjaro Live

Petula Clark and Joseph Millson are to join the forthcoming West End revival of Mary Poppins. Clark will return to the West End stage for the first time in 22 years to play the Bird Woman in the musical, while Millson will play George Banks. Mary Poppins opens at the Prince Edward Theatre on October 23.
Authors: Richard M Sherman, Robert B Sherman (original music and lyrics), George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (additional music and lyrics), Julian Fellowes (book)
Director: Richard Eyre
Co-director/choreographer: Matthew Bourne
Producers: Cameron Mackintosh and Disney Theatrical Productions

Petula Clark and Joseph Millson join West End Mary Poppins cast

Seyi Omooba will lead the cast of The Color Purple when the musical is revived by Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome later this year. She will be joined in the cast by Joanna Francis, Ako Mitchell, Simon-Anthony Rhoden, Karen Mavundukure, Danielle Fiamanya and Delroy Brown. The musical opens at Curve on June 28, running until July 13. It will then run from July 16 to 20 in Birmingham.
Authors: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray (music and lyrics), Marsha Norman (book)
Director: Tinuke Craig
Producers: Curve, Birmingham Hippodrome

Peter Polycarpou is joining the cast of Man of La Mancha, alongside the previously announced Kelsey Grammer and Danielle de Niese. He will play Sancho Panza in the show, which runs from April 26 for six weeks at the London Coliseum. The cast also includes Nicholas Lyndhurst and Cassidy Janson, alongside others including Eugene McCoy, Lucy St Louis and David Seadon-Young.
Authors: Mitch Leigh (music), Joe Darion (lyrics) and Dale Wasserman (book)
Director: Lonny Price
Producers: Michael Grade and Michael Linnit

Peter Polycarpou joins cast of Man of La Mancha

Danny Mac has joined the touring cast of Amélie the Musical, which has its UK premiere at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury next month. Mac will play Nino Quincampoix in the musical when it tours from May 22, with Chris Jared playing the role in Newbury. They will appear alongside Audrey Brisson in the show, which begins performances on April 17.
Authors: Daniel Messé (music and lyrics), Nathan Tyson (lyrics), Craig Lucas (book)
Director: Michael Fentiman
Producers: Hartshorn-Hook Productions, Selladoor Productions, Watermill Theatre and Broadway Asia

A new romantic comedy musical set in New York is being brought to the stage this year by the Royal and Derngate Northampton and the New Wolsey in Ipswich. The first full-length musical by British writing duo Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, The Season will premiere in Northampton on November 1 and 2, before running both there and in Ipswich later that month. Its cast and creative team have not yet been announced.


New children’s casting has been announced for the West End production of Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre. Hannah Selk and Zoe Simon will join Isobel Hubble and Francesca McKeown in the title role from March 19.
Authors: Tim Minchin (music and lyrics), Dennis Kelly (book)
Director: Matthew Warchus
Producers: Royal Shakespeare Company with André Ptaszynski and Denise Wood as executive producers


Andrew Scott will star in Noel Coward’s Present Laughter at the Old Vic, leading a cast that also includes Luke Thallon, Sophie Thompson, Suzie Toase and Indira Varma. The production runs from June 17 to August 10. Press night will be on June 25.
Author: Noel Coward
Director: Matthew Warchus
Design: Rob Howell (set), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), Simon Baker (sound)
Producer: Old Vic Theatre

Andrew Scott to star in Present Laughter at the Old Vic

The West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has welcomed new cast members including Michelle Gayle, Rayxia Ojo, and Dominic Short. They join the cast on May 22, and perform alongside continuing company members including Jamie Ballard, Susie Trayling, Thomas Aldridge, James Howard and Jonathan Case.
Author: Jack Thorne
Director: John Tiffany
Producers: Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions

Hattie Morahan and Jemima Rooper have been cast in Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending, directed by Tamara Harvey. The cast also includes Catrin Aaron, Michael Geary, Valentine Hanson, Jenny Livsey, Laura Jane Matthewson, Mark Meadows, Ifan Meredith, Seth Numrich, Ian Porter, Carol Royle and Carrie Quinlan. Orpheus Descending runs from April 15 to 27 at Theatr Clwyd and then from May 9 to July 6 at the Menier. Press night will be on May 15.
Author: Tennessee Williams
Director: Tamara Harvey
Design: Jonathan Fensom (set), Tim Mascall (lighting), Gregory Clarke (sound), Simon Slater (music)
Producers: Theatr Clwyd and Menier Chocolate Factory

Cast announced for Theatr Clwyd and Menier Chocolate Factory’s Orpheus Descending

Lucy Briggs-Owen, Zoe West and Tilda Wickham have been cast in Out of Water, a new play by Jess and Joe Forever writer Zoe Cooper, about a lesbian couple expecting a baby. It opens at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in April, running from April 27 to June 1. Press night is on May 1.
Director: Guy Jones
Design: Camilla Clarke (set), Jess Bernberg (lighting), Helen Skiera (sound and music)
Casting: Matthew Dewsbury
Producer: Orange Tree Theatre

Theatremaker Hannah McPake has been selected as the female artist who will create a new piece of work for National Theatre Wales‘s 10th anniversary season. Balloon Girl will receive a full production in 2020 following a call out by the company for Welsh women artists to submit ideas for the commission.

Casting has been announced for Night of the Living Dead Live, a stage adaptation of the film of the same name that will open at the Pleasance in London next month. Ashley Samuels, Jennifer Harding, Marc Pickering, Mari McKinley, Mike Bodie and Tamara Phethean will appear in the show, which runs from April 9 to May 19.
Authors: Christopher Bond, Dale Boyer and Trevor Martin and created by Christopher Harrison and Phil Pattison
Director: Benji Sperring
Producers: Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment and Ollie Rosenblatt for Senbla

Hackney Empire in London has announced Dick Whittington and his Cat as its 2019 pantomime. The adaptation, set in post-war Britain, will run from November 23 to January 5, with press night on December 4.
Author and director: Susie McKenna
Composer: Steven Edis
Producer: Hackney Empire

Full casting has been announced for Kneehigh and Lyric Hammersmith‘s Dead Dog in a Suitcase. The cast includes Rina Fatania, Georgia Frost, James Gow, Giles King, Patrycja Kujawska, Lucy Rivers, Alex Lupo, Dominic Marsh, Beverly Rudd, and Sarah Wright and Tim Dalling. It opens at the Lyric on May 23 for four weeks before touring.
Author: Carl Grose
Director: Mike Shepherd
Producers: Kneehigh and Lyric Hammersmith


The full line-up for the West End return of magic show The Illusionists has been announced, including James More, Enzo, Yo Ho-Jin and Adam Trent. Other acts include Chris Cox, Paul Dabek and Jonathan Goodwin. The Illusionists will run at the Shaftesbury Theatre form July 6 to September 1.
Producers: The Works Entertainment, Kilimanjaro Live and Magic Space Entertainment

Outdoor touring company Without Walls has announced 18 new shows for 2019. These include a piece using athletics and parkour to explore modern slavery called On Edge, Motionhouse’s dance and circus work called Wild and Talawa Theatre Company’s The Tide. Other highlights include Kapow Dance Circus Theatre’s Adrift, Initiative.dkf’s Scalped, which is about perceptions of black women’s hair, and Mimbre’s Lifted.

Singer Anthony Stuart Lloyd will perform at a special event dedicated to the actor and singer Howard Keel, who would have turned 100 this year. Howard Keel – The Centennial Celebration is described as an homage to the man whose performances included film musicals such as Kiss Me Kate and Show Boat and stage productions of Oklahoma!, Carousel and South Pacific. It will take place at Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel on March 28.

Following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Achilles, which is a retelling of the Greek myth through storytelling, song and movement, is to tour the UK. The tour opens in Cumbernauld on March 29 and visits locations including Wick, Glasgow, Abergavenny and Exeter, where the tour finishes on June 8.
Author/cast: Ewan Downie
Directors: Ewan Downie and Ian Spink
Producer: Company of Wolves

London’s Southbank Centre has announced its summer dance season, which includes international companies Deborah Colker Dance Company, Cullbergbaletten (Cullberg Ballet) and Deborah Hay and Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger. Other highlights include the London premiere of avant-garde dance theatre piece The Mother, by Arthur Pita and ZooNation Youth Company’s Tales of the Turntable.

The Sick of the Fringe: Care and Destruction, a festival of theatre, music dance and comedy which runs at Camden People’s Theatre, the Wellcome Collection and the Place in London from April 5-7, has announced its line-up. Highlights include HighRise Theatre’s #UKDrillProject, Le Gateau Chocolat’s Raw Cacao and Lanre Malaolu’s physical theatre, hip-hop and spoken word piece Elephant in the Room.

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