An accomplished musical stage star, Rowe is best known for his role as Nicely Nicely Johnson in the National's revival of Guys and Dolls, for which he won the 1997 Olivier for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical. His turn in the number, "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat", achieved legendary status for its rapturously show-stopping encores.
Rowe's other musical theatre credits include Carmen Jones, Company, Carousel, Lady Be Good and Candide Chicago, while he has also appeared in numerous plays, such as Money, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, The Mystery Plays, School for Scandal and Trackers. For the past two years, Rowe's one-man cabaret act has featured in the Donmar Warehouse's annual Divas at the Donmar season.
In the current Chicago company, Rowe will appear alongside former Brookside and Celebrity Big Brother star Claire Sweeney (as Roxie Hart) and pop singer Alison Moyet (Mama Morton). Also in the cast are Leigh Zimmerman (Velma Kelly) and Neil McCaul (Billy Flynn).
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. Chicago is currently playing in New York and Dusseldorf and will open in Mexico later this year. The first national UK tour - launched in September 2001 in Manchester and starring Jane Fowler, Amra Faye-Wright and John Altman - continues until summer 2002.
- by Terri Paddock