As previously tipped (See The Goss, 11 Mar 2005), John Gordon Sinclair (pictured) will join the cast of the multi award-winning West End production of The Producers at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane later this month.

From 25 April 2005, he’ll take over from Lee Evans as Leo Bloom. At the same time, Fred Applegate, who’s previously appeared in the Mel Brooks’ musical comedy on Broadway and on tour in the US, will take over from another American import, Brad Oscar, as Max Bialystock. (In London, the part has so far been name billing for Americans only. Oscar took over from the injury-felled role originator Nathan Lane, who himself replaced Hollywood’s Richard Dreyfuss, who withdrew officially citing injuries himself.) Evans and Oscar leave at the completion of their contracts on 23 April 2005.

Sinclair won an Olivier Award for his previous musical work in She Loves Me. He’s also been seen on stage in numerous plays such as Sweet Panic, Filumena, When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, Kafka’s Dick, The Real Thing, The Common Pursuit and Gasping. On screen, he’s best remembered for his role in Gregory’s Girl and its sequel, while his other credits include Erik the Viking, Local Hero, Mad About Alice, Goodbye Mr Steadman, Skin Deep and Frank Stubbs Promotes.

The Producers cast will continue to feature Nicolas Colicos as Franz Liebkind, James Dreyfus as Carmen Ghia, Conleth Hill (who won this year’s Best Supporting Performance in a Musical) as Roger De Bris and Leigh Zimmerman as Ulla.

Based on Brooks' 1968 film classic and set in New York in 1959, The Producers revolves around washed-up theatre producer Bialystock who, with his timid accountant Bloom, cooks up a scheme to make a fortune by presenting a sure-fire flop called "Springtime for Hitler".

The Producers opened on Broadway in 2001 and, with its original stars Lane and Matthew Broderick as Bialystock and Bloom, went on to become the hottest, and most expensive, ticket in town and to sweep the board at that year's Tony Awards, scooping 12 prizes including Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Lane. Amongst the West End productions many accolades are the full sweep of major Best Musical prizes – at the Evening Standard, Laurence Olivier, Critics’ Circle and Whatsonstage.com’s own Theatregoers’ Choice Awards.

The Producers has music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, with a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan. The London production – which opened at the Theatre Royal on 9 November 2004 (previews from 22 October) and is currently booking up to 29 October 2005 - reunites director and choreographer Susan Stroman with the rest of the original Broadway creative team. Scenic design is by Robin Wagner, costumes by William Ivey Long, lighting by Peter Kaczorowski, sound by Steve C Kennedy and orchestration by Doug Besterman.

- by Terri Paddock