TV's Roslin Debuts with Greco in Chicago, 18 NovDate: 11 October 2002
Television presenter Gaby Roslin will next month follow in the footsteps of her fellow Big Breakfast veteran Denise Van Outen in joining the West End cast of Chicago. From 18 November 2002 at the Adelphi Theatre, Roslin will join the new cast which also includes EastEnders' Michael Greco and musical theatre regulars Linzi Hateley and Tiffany Graves.
Whereas Van Outen - now being groomed as the star of Andrew Lloyd Webber's relaunched Tell Me on a Sunday - played the part of minxy murderess Roxie Hart in the Kander and Ebb musical, Roslin (pictured) will play butch prison matron Mama Morton, taking over from Chrissie Hammond. The role will mark the West End debut of Roslin, best known as the face of TV programmes such as Whatever You Want and Television's Greatest Hits in addition to Big Breakfast.
Greco, who takes over from Wet Wet Wet's Marti Pellow as super-slick lawyer Billy Flynn, has previously appeared on stage in classical works such as All's Well That Ends Well and Don Juan, though he's best known his five years as Beppe Di Marco in BBC soap EastEnders. Chicago will also mark his West End musical debut.
Hateley, who plays Roxie, most recently appeared in the West End in the RSC's The Secret Garden, for which she was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical, while her other stage credits include Oliver!, The Rink, Into the Woods, Romance Romance, Les Miserables and Grease. Graves rejoins the new Chicago cast in the lead role of Velma Kelly, having previously played inmate Mona. Her most recent stage credits include Cats and Follies at the Royal Festival Hall.
The current cast - Pellow, Hammond, Anita Louise Combe (as Roxie Hart), Anna-Jane Casey (Velma Kelly) and Paul Rider (Amos Hart) - complete their extended contracts on 16 November.
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. It's currently booking at the Adelphi up to 30 March 2003, while a separate touring production - featuring John Altman (Billy Flynn) now joined by Emma Clifford (Roxie Hart), Lisa Donmall (Velma Kelly) and Debra Michaels (Mama Morton) - continues its extensive UK-wide schedule.
- by Terri Paddock