Dee, currently starring in the Gershwin musical My One and Only, will take a one-week break from that production at the Piccadilly Theatre in order to open this year's Diva schedule, from 5 to 10 August. An accomplished all-round stage actress - she won the hat trick of Best Actress awards (Evening Standard, Critics Circle and Laurence Olivier) for her 1999 turn as an android in Alan Ayckbourn's Comic Potential - Dee has performed regularly in musical theatre.
For one of her earlier roles, in Nicholas Hytner's Carousel at the National, she won her first Olivier, for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical. Her other credits include Paradise Moscow, Enter the Guardsman, Cabaret, Cats, Showboat, Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, They're Playing Our Song and South Pacific.
Dee is followed in the Donmar season by Jamaican-born, Birmingham-bred soul sister Ruby Turner. As a recording artist, Turner has scored hits with Culture Club, Bryan Ferry, Jools Holland and others. Her stage credits include Carmen Jones, Fame, Blues Brothers Soul Sisters and Hold On, while on television, she played Anita Goodhall in EastEnders. Turner plays at the Donmar from 12 to 17 August.
Philip Quast, previously seen at the Donmar in Sam Mendes' production of The Fix for which he received an Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical, continues the Divas season from 19 to 24 August. The Australian's other UK musical credits include Les Miserables, Sunday in the Park with George, The Hunting of the Snark, The Secret Garden and Trevor Nunn's recent NT revival of South Pacific, for which he received his Best Actor in a Musical Olivier.
The 2002 Divas at the Donmar season concludes with the UK debut of American performer Kristin Chenoweth who, back home, is renowned for having swept the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Musical in the Broadway production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. On US television, Chenoweth has appeared on Frasier and now has her series Kristin!. She has recently released her first album Let Yourself Go. At the Donmar, she will perform from 26 to 31 August.
- by Terri Paddock