After making his West End debut this month in Grease (See News, 17 Dec 2008), Seventies American pop star Jimmy Osmond will hit the road in the UK national tour of another US musical, Kander and Ebb’s Chicago, which opens at the Bradford Alhambra on 9 March 2009 and continues until 13 June to ten further venues.

The youngest sibling from the family group of singers The Osmonds, Jimmy Osmond is best remembered for his 1972 hit, “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool”, which was released when he was just nine years old. He remains the youngest performer to have a No 1 single in the UK charts.

Before Christmas, Grease producer David Ian, who is also co-producing the new Chicago tour, announced that Osmond’s stint as Teen Angel in Grease at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre, originally planned for two months, was being cut short by a fortnight, finishing on 28 February.

In Chicago, Osmond will play super-slick lawyer Billy Flynn opposite Emma Barton (best known as Honey Mitchell from TV’s EastEnders) as murderess Roxie Hart. Further casting tour, which will run separately with the ongoing London production of Chicago at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre, has yet to be announced.

Kander and Ebb’s 1975 musical is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins and has a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The current stage revival, which transferred from Broadway, is directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse.

Following Bradford, the touring production of Chicago will visit Torquay, Sunderland, Liverpool, York, Oxford, Stoke-on-Trent, Leicester, Edinburgh, Southsea and Birmingham.

- by Terri Paddock