Gary Wilmot will take over from Jimmy Osmond as super-slick lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago on tour (See News, 5 Jan 2009). Wilmot joins the company, opposite EastEndersEmma Barton (pictured with Wilmot) as Roxie Hart, from 15 June 2009 at the Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, launching a new five-month, 16-venue leg of the musical’s national touring schedule.

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 High Wycombe, the touring production – which runs separate to the ongoing London production at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre – will visit Hull, Northampton, Nottingham, Bristol, Bournemouth, Llandudno, Plymouth, Belfast, Dublin, Southend, Sheffield, Glasgow, Crawley, Manchester and Aberdeen, where the new schedule concludes on 21 November 2009.

Gary Wilmot’s myriad musical credits include The Wizard of Oz, Half a Sixpence, Me and My Girl, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, HMS Pinafore and Copacabana. The tour of Chicago is produced by David Ian Productions in association with Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler.


In other musical casting news:

  • At the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre, Brian Conley will be joined in the new cast of multi award-winning Broadway import Hairspray by newcomer Chloe Hart and Liam Tamne, who take over from original stars Leanne Jones and Ben James Ellis as, respectively, Tracy Turnblad and heartthrob Link Larkin. Hart comes straight out of Guildhall School of Music and Drama, while Tamne was recently seen in Wicked. Hart, Tamne and Conley, who takes over from Michael Ball in the cross-dressing role of Edna Turnblad (See News, 15 Apr 2009), give their first performance on 27 July. Nigel Planer and Verity Rushworth continue in the roles of Wilbur Turnblad and Penny Pingleton.
  • And this summer at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park, the full cast of artistic director Timothy Sheader’s revival of Jerry Herman’s ten-time Tony Award-winning musical Hello, Dolly! will feature: Mark Anderson (as Ambrose Kemper), Ian Bartholomew (Horace Vandergelder), Oliver Brenin (Barnaby Tucker), Clare Louise Connolly (Ermengarde), Daniel Crossley (Cornelius Hackl), Josefina Gabrielle (Irene Molloy), Akiya Henry (Minnie Fay), Andy Hockley (Rudolph) and Annalisa Rossi (Ernestina). The rest of the cast are: Mark Antonlin, Rachael Archer, Kevin Brewis, Francis Haugen, Joanna Goodwin, Paul Iveson, Jo Morris, Brenda Jane Newhouse, Richard Jones, Stuart King, Sherrie Pennington, Carl Sanderson, Emily Shaw, John Stacey, and Craig Turner. As previously reported (See News, 20 Apr 2009), Samantha Spiro plays the title role as match-maker Dolly Levi. The Open Air season’s final production runs from 10 August to 12 September 2009 (previews from 30 July).

- by Terri Paddock