Claire Confirms as Moyet Extends in ChicagoDate: 16 October 2001
As rumoured for many months in The Goss, Brookside star Claire Sweeney will be the next Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago. Producers have confirmed that Sweeney will make her West End debut in the part this December. Sweeney takes up a 15-week contract from 3 December while, at the same time, former Yazoo lead singer Alison Moyet, who plays prison matron Mama Morton, will extend her run in the hit musical by four months to 16 March 2002.
Sweeney is best known as Lindsey Corkhill in TV soap Brookside. Sweeney demonstrated her singing abilities, and saw her popularity soar, this past March when she took part in Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother (pictured) - in which six celebrities were locked in the infamous east London house for a week in order to raise funds for Comic Relief. She is also currently presenting her own television show, Challenge of a Lifetime. Sweeney takes over from current Roxie, Anita Louise Combe, the former Saturday Night Fever star who took over from Broadway-bound Denise Van Outen last month. Combe leaves the hit musical on 1 December at the completion of her contract.
Moyet first rose to prominence in the 1980s pop Yazoo, whose hits included the chart-topping "Only You". Subsequent solo albums such as Alf, Raindancing and Essex consolidated her success, with three BRIT awards further enhancing the singer's status. To date, Moyet's worldwide record sales have exceeded 20 million. Other Chicago cast members - including Leigh Zimmerman (as Velma Kelly) and Michael Simkins (Billy Flynn) - remain. Slightly further down the line, Clive Rowe will return to the part of Amos Hart, taking over from Paul Rider.
Chicago, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Scenic design is by John Lee Beatty, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Ken Billington and sound by Rick Clarke. Musical supervision is by Rob Fisher and musical direction by Gareth Valentine. The production is choreographed by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse and directed by Walter Bobbie.
The musical opened at the Adelphi in November 1997 and went on to win the 1998 Olivier for Outstanding Musical Production and the 1998 Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Chicago is currently playing in New York and Dusseldorf and will open in Mexico later this year. The first national UK tour recently opened in Manchester, starring Jane Fowler, Amra Faye-Wright and John Altman.
- by Terri Paddock