Olivier Award-winning musical actor David Bedella will join the cast of long-running West End show Chicago playing Billy Flynn for a ten week run from Monday 28 February 2011. The show, which has also extended its bookings period to 29 January 2012, becomes the tenth longest running musical in history.

Bedella, who created the role of Satan in Richard Thomas' Jerry Springer the Opera - winning the 2004 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical - has also recently toured the UK as Dr Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. His previous stage credits include the Royal Albert Hall concert production of Chess with screen credits including the 2004 film Alexander and Batman Begins with Christian Bale.

Elsewhere in the cast, Sarah Soetaert continues to lead the production as Roxie Hart, with Lisa Donmall as Velma Kelly, Victor McGuire as Amos Hart, Jasna Ivir as Mama Morton and Russell Whitehead playing Mary Sunshine.

The current revival of Chicago opened at the Cambridge Theatre (where the musical’s original London production ran for 603 performances from April 1979) on 28 April 2006, after eight-and-a-half years at the Adelphi Theatre. It won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical.

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 production, 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.


In other musical casting news, Shrek the Musical, which opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 7 June 2011 (previews from 6 May) have today (22 February 2011) announced the 33-strong company who will join the previously announced principals Nigel Lindsay (Shrek), Amanda Holden (Princess Fiona), Richard Blackwood (Donkey) and Nigel Harman (Lord Farquaad).

The full Shrek company will include Delroy Atkinson, Amy Beadel, Stephanie Bron, Dean Chisnall, Jon-Scott Clark, Ste Clough, Lee William-Davis, Ross Dawes, Lucie Downer, Alice Fearn, Michelle Francis, Ashley E Hale, Rosanna Hyland, Bradley Jaden, Aaron Lee Lambert, Emma Lindars, Grant Murphy, Spencer O'Brien, Landi Oshinowo, Damien Poole, Stuart Matthew Price, Jacqui Sanchez, Jonathan Stewart, Leigh-Anne Stone, Lucy Tapp, Karli Vale and Michael Watson.

It was also announced today that the roles of Young Shrek and Young Fiona will be shared by Samantha Allison, Chorlène Biron-Monnier, Lauren Dawes, Madeleine Hill, Emilia Jones and Sophie Wythe.

Nigel Lindsay returns to rehearsals having been awarded the Best Supporting Actor in a Play prize at the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards. He picked up the gong for his role in the late Arthur Miller play Broken Glass which ran at the Tricycle from October to November last year. Focusing on a young Jewish couple in 1938 New York City and set against the backdrop of Kristallnacht - or the Night of Broken Glass - in Nazi Germany, Lindsay starred in the revival alongside Antony Sher.

The screen-to-stage adaptation of the irreverent alternative fairy tale about a lonely green ogre, who finds happiness and conquers a fearsome dragon with the help of a wise-cracking donkey and the tough-talking Princess Fiona, Shrek the Musical premiered in December 2008 on Broadway, where it ran for just over a year. The New York production was nominated for eight Tony Awards, Tim Hatley winning for Best Costume Design of a Musical.

The West End offering will be based on the revamped US touring production, which launched from Chicago in July 2010 featuring new songs, additional scenes, improved illusions and a newly styled dragon. That production continues to tour, having visited 60 US cities.

The Anglo-American creative team is led by directors Jason Moore and Rob Ashford and includes David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics), Jeanine Tesori (music), Tim Hatley (scenic, costume and puppet design), Hugh Vanstone (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), and Josh Prince (choreography).

Shrek is produced by Neal Street Productions and, in the company’s theatrical debut, the Hollywood studio Dreamworks.