Gillespie, who trained at the Liverpool Theatre School, has previous stage credits including the UK and Scandinavian tours of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story and Bloodbath - The Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe. Matthew Goodgame made his professional and West End debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago, after winning the Channel 4 series Musicality. His more recent stage credits include a German production of Cats, Wales Theatre Company's production of The Thorn Birds - The Musical and the West End production of Dirty Dancing.
The pair will lead the production until the show closes on 30 April 2011, making way for Ghost the Musical which starts previews at the Piccadilly on 22 June, opening on 19 July 2011. Having opened on 8 August 2007 (previews from 25 July), Grease holds the record as the longest running show in the Piccadilly's history and is currently playing its fourth year at the theatre.
From 24 January the full cast has been announced as David O’Reilly (Roger), Michael Pickering (Doody), Zoe Doano (Frenchy), Matthew Russell-Jones (Eugene), Nancy Hill (Miss Lynch) and Kristina MacMillan (Cha Cha). Continuing in their roles are Jamie Capewell (Kenickie), Siubhan Harrison (Rizzo), Bennett Andrews (Sonny), Robyn Mellor (Marty), Susannah Allman (Patty) and Jason Capewell (Teen Angel/Vince Fontaine), and Kerry Winter who takes over the role of Jan.
Grease is directed by David Gilmore, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, and produced by David Ian and Paul Nicholas, by arrangement with Robert Stigwood. The show has book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Originally running in the West End for six years, first at the Dominion and then at the Cambridge Theatre, the musical returning to London for a short run back at the Dominion in 2001 and at the Victoria Palace in 2002/3. In between, it toured the UK extensively, produced since 1993 by Ian.
On another of producer David Ian's shows — this time The Sound of Music, which is also presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group — former Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth will play Maria alongside Jason Donovan's Captain Von Trapp in the 2011 UK tour.
Rushworth, who will be best known to viewers of the ITV show as Donna Windsor, has stage credits including Penny Pingleton in the West End production of Hairspray and was recently seen in the Whatsonstage.com Award nominated Departure Lounge at Waterloo East.
Jason Donovan's varied career has seen him combine stage credits in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Rocky Horror Show, Sweeney Todd and The War of the Worlds with sales of 13 million albums to date. Donovan was also a finalist on ITV's I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! finishing third in the 2006 series of the show.
The Sound of Music has music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The touring production is directed by Jeremy Sams, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, design by Robert Jones, sound by Mick Potter and lighting by Mark Henderson.
Having opened at the Wales Millennium Centre in July 2009 following 954 performances at the London Palladium, this production tour to Hull's New Theatre on 29 January 2011 visiting Mold, Stoke-on-Trent, Derry, Dublin, Glasgow, Leeds, Oldham, Nottingham and Manchester.
The Sound of Music first opened in London in 1961 and was revived in London in 1981. The 1965 Hollywood film, which starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars, including Best Picture.
Sadler’s Wells’ production of the Pet Shop Boys and Javier De Frutos The Most Incredible Thing, which opens on 22 January (previews from 17 January 2011) will featuring former Royal Ballet star Ivan Putrov, South Bank Show Breakthrough Award winner Aaron Sillis and Clemmie Sveaas.
Choreographer Javier De Frutos has directed a range of theatre productions and movement with his work in the repertoire of ballet and contemporary dance companies including Rambert Dance Company and The Royal Ballet. In 2007 he received an Olivier Award for his choreography in Cabaret.
The ensemble for the production, which runs until 26 March 2011 have been announced as: Nuno Silva, Paul Chantry, Lisa Welham, Sarita Piotrowski, Jo Darvill-Mills, Cameron Mcmillan, Chris Akrill, Benny Maslov, Alastair Postlethwaite, Yu Yu Rau, Elisabetta d'Aloia, Michael Camp, Charlottle Broom.
Based on a Hans Christian Andersen story titled The Most Incredible Thing, electronic pop duo Pet Shop Boys have composed an original score for their first ever full-length dance work.
The story's narrative is adapted for the stage by Matthew Dunster, whilst film and animation is by Tal Rosner, with design by Katrina Lindsay. Lighting design is by Lucy Carter, sound design by Paul Arditti with orchestrations by Sven Helbig.
Also at Sadler's Wells, full casting has been announced for the upcoming production of Shoes which transfers to the Peacock Theatre following its try-out run in September 2010.
Written by Richard Thomas, best known for co-creating the smash hit show Jerry Springer - The Opera, the footwear-based show will play a five-week run from 8 February to 13 March prior to a UK and international tour.
Directed by Mary Poppins, Sweet Charity and The Little Mermaid choreographer Stephen Mear, the production was commissioned by Sadler's Wells and saw Thomas work with a team of collaborators to create a revue that reflects the many memories and emotions people associate with shoes.
The four singers who front the production include Canadian singer Tim Howar, Damian Humbley whose West End stage credits include The Woman in White, The Last 5 Years and Little Shop of Horrors, Gemma Duffy who has been seen in the West End production of Footloose – The Musical, and Australian soprano Jennifer Peers, who appeared in Jerry Springer – The Opera at Sydney Opera House and My Fair Lady for Opera Australia.
Amongst the 12 dancers cast are So You Think You Can Dance’s Chloe Campbell, Lorraine Stewart (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum, National Theatre), Matt Clark (Oliver!), Flik Swan (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Holly James (Hairspray), former soloist with Melbourne Ballet Company Kaisey Johnston, Jack Wilcox (Wicked), Mikey Frome (BBC's Strictly Come Dancing), Shaun Paul Smith (Into the Hoods) and Jay Wilson
The show, which explores "the gamut of footwear, from the highs of the Louboutin to the lows of the croc", includes songs "Vex in the City", "Imelda Marcos Argues with the Nation" and "The Flip-Flop Paradigm".
Stephen Mear won an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park's production of Hello Dolly!, and is nominated for Best Choreographer in the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards for his choreography on Sweet Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre Royal Haymarket and Shoes previous run. Mear is also working with Richard Eyre on Cameron Mackintosh's new musical, Betty Blue Eyes, which opens in the West End's Novello Theatre in March.