As previously tipped (See The Goss, 10 Mar 2008), opera soprano Lesley Garrett (pictured), who made her musical theatre debut in 2006 playing the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, will return to the West End stage later this year. She’ll star in another Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, which opens on 26 September 2008 at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre, where it runs until 4 October as part of a six-week tour prior to a London transfer (venue and exact dates tbc) in November.

Since the height of her operatic career with English National Opera, the Royal Opera House and others, Lesley Garrett has performed in operas and concerts around the world, released 11 solo CDs and regularly appeared on TV on programmes including her own series The Lesley Garrett Show. Garrett was awarded a CBE in the 2002 for Services to Music. For The Sound of Music, she was nominated for a Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Carousel is a romantic fantasy from both Heaven and Earth, tracking the tragic New England love story of fast-talking carousel barker Billy Bigelow and naïve mill worker Julie Jordan. Garrett plays Julie’s cousin Nettie Fowler, who sings the anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. She’s joined in the cast by Jeremiah James (as Billy), from Theatreland pop group Teatro, and Alexandra Silber (Julie Jordan), seen in the West End earlier this year in Fiddler on the Roof.

Premiered on Broadway in 1945, Carousel was made into a Hollywood film, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae, in 1956. It's last major London outing was at the National Theatre in 1992 in a production directed by Nicholas Hytner which subsequently transferred to Broadway. The score also includes "Mister Snow", "Soliloquy" and "What's the Use of Wond'rin".

Following Bromley, Carousel will visit Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, from 6 to 11 October 2008, with further dates still to be announced. The revival is produced by Kim Poster for Stanhope Productions Ltd.

- by Theo Bosanquet & Terri Paddock