Donovan Returns to Palladium with Chitty, 12 JanDate: 10 December 2003
Australian pop and soap star Jason Donovan will return to the West End stage next, taking over the lead role in of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium - where he previously found stage success in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat more than a decade ago - for a 40 performances only from 12 January to 14 February 2004.
Donovan is well known for his role in Australian soap opera Neighbours - as well as for his on-again, off-again romance with one-time co-star Kylie Minogue - and for various pop songs in the early 1990s. In 1991, he took the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Biblical musical, which is currently being revived at the West End's New London Theatre. Donovan's other West End credits include The Rocky Horror Show.
In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, he'll play eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, a role originated on stage by Michael Ball who was replace this past July by Gary Wilmot. Wilmot has since taken a break for the pantomime season (he's doing Dick Whittington in Plymouth), during which time the part is being played by understudy Peter Bishop.
Others now in the cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang include: Caroline Sheen (as Truly Scrumptious), Victor Spinetti (Baron Bomburst), Sandra Dickinson (Baroness Bomburst) and Wayne Sleep as the Child Catcher. Russ Abbot also stars as Grandpa Potts, though he'll be absent from 26 January to 7 February 2004.
The stage 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