New Leads Announced for Dolls, Chicago & LadyDate: 25 July 2005
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 22 Jul 2005), Sarah Lancashire, who became a household name in ITV’s long-running soap Coronation Street, will take over from Jane Krakowski as Miss Adelaide in the Michael Grandage’s revival of Broadway classic Guys and Dolls at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre. She’ll start performances on 5 December 2005 when the current principals - which include Ewan McGregor, Jenna Russell and Douglas Hodge - complete their contracts. No other replacements have yet been announced.
In addition to Coronation Street, Lancashire’s television credits include The Rotter’s Club, Rose and Maloney, Where the Heart Is, Clocking Off and Seeing Red. She won the 2002 Golden Nymph Award for Best Actress in a Mini-Series for her role in The City and was voted TV Drama Performer of the Year in the 2001 Television and Radio Industries Club Annual Awards. She also won the 2000 Best Actress award in the TV Quick Awards, and was voted Most Popular Actress in the National Television Awards. On stage, Lancashire has appeared as Linda in Blood Brothers, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and in the title role of Educating Rita.
Guys and Dolls opened on 1 June 2005 (previews from 19 May) and is currently booking to 4 March 2006. The musical comedy has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser with a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It’s produced by Ambassador Theatre Group and Clear Channel Entertainment in association with the Donmar Warehouse.
At the West End’s Adelphi Theatre, Frances Ruffelle will return to the role of murderess Roxie Hart in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. She’ll have a limited engagement from 1 to 27 August 2005, taking over from American screen star Brooke Shields, who completes her contract on 30 July 2005 (See News, 15 Jun 2005).
Ruffelle, who created the role of Eponine in Les Miserables, first played Roxie in 2003 alongside Ruthie Henshall as Velma Kelly. Next month, she’ll appear alongside Charley Izabella King as Velma, Clarke Peters as lawyer Billy Flynn, Robert Hands as husband Amos Hart and Zee Asha as prison mistress Mama Morton.
Chicago is directed by Walter Bobbie, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse, and produced by the Chicago Partnership. The Olivier Award-winning London production opened in November 1997 and is currently booking to 3 December 2005.
Meanwhile, after much speculation on the Whatsonstage.com Discussion Forum, the quest to find a cockney flower girl who can be transformed into a duchess for the National Theatre’s touring production of My Fair Lady is finally at an end.
Emmerdale actress Amy Nuttall will star as Eliza Doolittle – a part previously played to Olivier Award-winning success by Martine McCutcheon and Joanna Riding in London - alongside Christopher Cazenove as Henry Higgins, Russ Abbot reprising his West End role as Alfred P Doolittle and Honor Blackman as Mrs Higgins (See News, 20 Jun 2005). Nuttall will play the role for six performances per week, while Lisa O'Hare – currently in the West End understudying another previous Eliza, Laura Michelle Kelly, in Mary Poppins - will take over for two performances as the alternate Eliza.
Nuttall is most famous for her role as Chloe Atkinson in TV soap Emmerdale, but has appeared in a selection of musicals with the National Youth Music Theatre and understudied and played the role of Christine in the touring production of The Phantom of the Opera from 1998 to 2000.
My Fair Lady is designed by Anthony Ward and choreographed by Matthew Bourne. The London production’s accolades included Oliviers for Best Theatre Choreographer and Outstanding Musical Production. The newly cast tour opens on 5 October 2005 (previews from 28 September) at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, where it plays until 5 November. It then continues to Birmingham and ten further UK cities prior to opening in America in 2006 to mark the musical’s 50th anniversary.
- by Caroline Ansdell