Clarke & Hanson Join Planer in Rock You CastDate: 25 January 2002
Sharon D Clarke (pictured) will join Nigel Planer to star in the world premiere of We Will Rock You, the new musical from Ben Elton and 1970s supergroup Queen, which opens at the Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002, following previews from 22 April.
Clarke will play the evil Killer Queen of Planet Mall, a totally commercialised future world where Rock 'n' Roll has been banned in favour of computer-produced cyber stars and Andro Bands, and where the characters take their names from Queen songs. Scaramouche, Galileo, the Bohemians...
The musical will also feature some of the group's biggest hits, which have included "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", "Under Pressure", "Radio Gaga" and, of course, "We Will Rock You".
Clarke is a West End musical regular whose credits have included major roles in Fame (Cambridge Theatre), Rent, Stepping Out, Mama I Want to Sing (Cambridge), Guys and Dolls and, most recently, The Lion King.
Alexander Hanson will play the Killer Queen's aide who harbours his own musical plans. Hanson was seen most recently in the UK tour of Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, while amongst his other recent credits are The Memory of Water (Hampstead), Enter the Guardsman (Donmar), and The Villain's Opera, Candide and Troilus and Cressida (all at the National).
Also in the cast of We Will Rock You will be Kerry Ellis (who made headlines last year as the second understudy to Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady), American Tony Vincent (who has appeared on Broadway in Rent and Jesus Christ Superstar), Andrew Derbyshire (a contestant from TV's Pop Idol) and newcomer Hannah Jane Fox.
We Will Rock You features a book by Ben Elton (who also wrote book and lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Beautiful Game) and music by Queen. The production is directed by Christopher Renshaw (whose other recent pop-inspired show, Boy George's Taboo, receives its world premiere next week in the West End) and is choreographed by Arlene Phillips.
Nigel Planer, previously confirmed for the Queen musical, is known to millions as Neil Pye in the 1980s TV sitcom The Young Ones, also written in part by Elton. In recent years, he has acquired impressive West End credits - in the Kander and Ebb musical Chicago and, last year, in Alistair Beaton's political satire Feelgood. Planer is currently touring his one-man show I, An Actor, a stage adaptation of his spoof autobiography of the same name.
- by Terri Paddock