Samantha Barks (pictured) returns to Manchester as Sally Bowles in the national tour of Rufus Norris’ award-winning production of Cabaret.More...

The production, originally opened in the West End on 10 October 2006 with Anna Maxwell Martin as Sally Bowles, and James Dreyfus as the shady Emcee, a role which will be played on tour by former Royal Ballet principal Wayne Sleep.

The tour began last September at the Birmingham Repertory theatre and arrives at The Lowry on 22nd June for one week.

Barks joins the fast-swelling ranks of former contestants to land major roles after appearing on the popular BBC show, which set out to find an actress to play Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh's forthcoming West End production of Oliver! and was eventually won by Blackpool's Jodie Prenger. Last year semi-finalist Rachel Tucker joined the cast of We Will Rock You  (See News, 10 Jul 2008).

First seen on Broadway in 1966, Cabaret turns Weimar Berlin of 1931 into a divine haven of decadence, its morally ambiguous inhabitants determined to keep up appearances as the real world - outside the comfortable sanctuary of the cabaret - prepares for war. Based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood and the play by John Van Druten, Cabaret has a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. In 1972 it was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles, Michael York as Cliff and Joel Grey as the Emcee.

- By Theo Bosanquet and Glenn Meads