Former X Factor contestant Niki Evans will return to the role of Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers at the West End's Phoenix Theatre after Spice Girl Melanie C finishes her run this weekend (24 April 2010).

Evans first played the role in Willy Russell's musical from November 2008, until Melanie C - who was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Award and an Olivier Award for the role - took over in October last year (See News, 8 Sep 2010).

Blood Brothers, which premiered in 1983 and has been at the West End's Phoenix theatre since 1991, tells the story of twin boys separated at birth, only to be re-united by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The score includes “A Bright New Day”, “Marilyn Monroe” and the emotionally charged finale song “Tell Me It’s Not True”.

The current production, which opened at the Albery Theatre on 27 August 1988, is directed by Bob Thomson and Bill Kenwright and designed by Marty Flood. The new cast will also feature: Vivienne Carlyle (Mrs Lyons), Philip Stewart (Narrator), Stephen Palfreman (Mickey), Simon Willmont (Eddie), Louise Clayton (Linda), Christopher Dickins (Mr Lyons), Michael Southern (Sammy), Steve Hansell (Policeman / Teacher), Rebekah Clifford (Donna-Marie / Miss Jones), Alex Harland (Postman / Bus Conductor) Kate Sharp (Brenda), Karl Greenwood (Neighbour) and Simon Turner (Perkins). Niki Evans is scheduled to appear until 21 August 2010.


In other musical casting news, Harriet Thorpe will take over the role of Tanya in Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales theatre from 14 June 2010. Best known for her TV roles including BBC comedies The Brittas Empire and Absolutely Fabulous, Thorpe's previous West End credits include Wicked, Cabaret and Les Miserables.

The new cast will also feature Catherine Russell as Rosie, Norman Bowman (Sam Carmichael), Paul Ryan (Harry Bright), Christopher Hollis (Bill Austin), Joshua Sasse (Sky), Nicola Hawkins (Ali), Nicky Griffiths (Lisa), Alex Jessop (Pepper) and Paul-Michael Jones (Eddie). Linzi Hateley and Jessie May continue in their roles as mother and daughter Donna and Sophie Sheridan.