Abbot Takes Over from Rodgers as Chitty GrandpaDate: 26 August 2003
Following his turn in My Fair Lady, which closes at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Russ Abbot will cross town to star in another West End musical (See News, 1 May 2003). From 16 September 2003, he'll take over from role originator Anton Rodgers playing Grandpa Potts in the stage adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.
Abbot is probably best known for his comedy programme, The Russ Abbot Show, which enjoyed more than ten series, as well as other television successes with September Song, Married for Life, Mad House and TV to Go.
The entertainer's West End credits include Neil Simon's Little Me, Willy Russell's One for the Road and Ray Cooney's Caught in the Net. His other musical credits include Fagin in Oliver! and the title role in the UK-wide tour of Dr Dolittle. In March 2003, Abbot took over from Denis Waterman playing Alfred P Doolittle in Trevor Nunn's multi award-winning National Theatre revival of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady.
Others now in the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang include: Gary Wilmot (as Caractacus Potts), Caroline Sheen (Truly Scrumptious), Victor Spinetti (Baron Bomburst), Wayne Sleep (the Child Catcher) and Sandra Dickinson (Baroness Bomburst).
The musical is adapted by Jeremy Sams with original music by the Sherman brothers. It's directed by RSC artistic director Adrian Noble, choreographed by Gillian Lynne and designed by Whatsonstage.com Award winner Anthony Ward. The original children's book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was written by Ian Fleming. The £6.2 million musical, based on the famous 1968 children's film, is currently taking bookings up to 13 March 2004.
- by Terri Paddock