The long-planned musical version of Zorro - based on the 2005 bestseller by Chilean novelist Isabel Allende, with music by Grammy Award-winning flamenco band the Gipsy Kings – will receive its world premiere at Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on 13 March 2008 ahead of a regional tour and West End transfer (See The Goss, 29 Dec 2005).

In the 30-strong cast, Matt Rawle (Evita, Miss Saigon, Martin Guerre, Aspects of Love) will take the title role as the master swordsman, opposite former Royal Ballet principal and choreographer Adam Cooper (Swan Lake, On Your Toes, Singin’ in the Rain, Guys and Dolls as Ramon and Aimie Atkinson, winner of the BBC Voice of Musical Theatre 2006, as Luisa. The actors will be joined on stage by leading flamenco dancers.

Created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro – the secret identity of Don Diego de la Vega, a fictional wealthy caballero who defends the people of Spanish California against injustice – has featured in film, TV series, books, comics and an upcoming Nintendo Wii game. The most release Hollywood offerings - The Mask of Zorro and its sequel The Legend of Zorro, - starred Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Allende’s 2005 novel reveals how the young Diego de la Vega became Zorro, weaving together Spanish and Californian history, Native American legend, mythic folk tales and pirate adventures. The novelist, who is also producing the stage show, is well known for her many books including The House of the Spirits, Eva Luna, Of Love and Shadows and My Invented Country, which have been translated into more than 27 languages.

The Gipsy Kings’ score for the new musical will include several of their Latin music hits – “Bamboleo”, “Baila Me” and “Djobi Djoba” – as well as songs written specifically for the show. Zorro is directed by Christopher Renshaw, designed by Tom Piper and choreographed by flamenco dancer and choreographer Rafael Amargo. The creative team also included co-composer and musical arranger John Cameron and author Stephen Clark.

Prior to Woking, Zorro previews in Eastbourne (4 to 8 March). It also visits Southampton, Glasgow, Manchester and Milton Keynes, where its tour schedule concludes on 12 April 2008. No venue or dates have yet been announced for the West End transfer.

- by Terri Paddock

Ahead of Zorro, Aimie Atkinson will appear in our first-ever Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert on Sunday 24 February 2008 – for a sneak peek at this new talent as well as the rest of our starry line-up, click here to book your tickets!!!