Ball Gets Rolling Early for His Woman in White RunDate: 11 February 2005
Eleven days earlier than planned, West End favourite Michael Ball has joined the cast of Whatsonstage.com Award-winning musical The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre. Ball was due to take over as Count Fosco on 21 February 2005 but his first performance was moved forward to last night, 10 February.
A show spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com that Ball had joined early because he had made such quick progress in rehearsals and was ready to face audiences. Ball will perform for a limited season, filling in for Whatsonstage.com Best Supporting Actor in a Musical Michael Crawford, who is suffering from a virulent flu and has taken a leave of absence from the show under doctors’ orders.
Prior to The Woman in White, Ball was most recently seen in the West End in Singular Sensations at the Theatre Royal Haymarket and at the London Palladium, as the original Caractacus Potts in the stage musical version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, for which he was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actor in a Musical. His other West End credits include Passion, in which he starred with The Woman in White’s leading lady and Whatsonstage.com Award winner Maria Friedman.
Loosely based on Wilkie Collins’ Victorian novel, first published in 1869, The Woman in White opens with a handsome young man stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness, a mysterious woman dressed in white appears, burning to tell a chilling secret. Two sisters find themselves ensnared in a web of betrayal and greed. They will need all their courage and resourcefulness to outwit their villain.
The musical has been adapted by playwright Charlotte Jones, with David Zippel providing the lyrics to Lloyd Webber’s score. The premiere production is directed by Trevor Nunn, designed by William Dudley and co-produced by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company and Sonia Friedman Productions.
Since the start of Crawford’s absences in early January, the part of Count Fosco has been played by his understudy Steve Varnom. Crawford is due to return after Easter. His first performance, subject to his doctors’ approval, will be 4 April 2005.
- by Terri Paddock