As previously tipped, Sally Ann Triplett will return to the West End stage to star as Donna Sheridan in Abba blockbuster Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales theatre.

From 16 June 2009, she’ll star alongside I’d Do Anything finalist Niamh Perry as her onstage daughter Sophie Sheridan. Amongst the other new cast members are West End alumni Katy Secombe (Chicago, Les Miserables), who plays Rosie, and Norman Bowman (Guys and Dolls, Parade, High School Musical), as Sam Carmichael, and TV’s Christopher Hollis (EastEnders, The Bill), as Bill Austin.

Sally Ann Triplett won the 2004 Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Anything Goes, in which she starred opposite John Barrowman. Her many other West End musical credits Chicago, Cats, Jolson, Cabaret and Acorn Antiques.

Set on a Greek island, Mamma Mia! centres on 20-year-old Sophie who, on the eve of her wedding, launches a quest to discover the identity of her father. After reading her single mother Donna’s diary, she invites three men from her mum’s past back to the island they all last visited 21 years ago.

Mamma Mia! has an original book by Catherine Johnson and a score comprising some 22 Abba hits from the 1970s, including “Dancing Queen”, “Chiquitita”, “Honey, Honey”, “Super Trouper”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Thank You for the Music” and the title song. The musical is directed by Phyllida Lloyd, designed by Mark Thompson and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast. It’s produced, globally on stage and screen, by Judy Craymer, Richard East and Bjorn Ulvaeus for Littlestar.

Other current members of the Mamma Mia! cast include: Jane Gurnett (Tanya), Paul Ryan (Harry Bright), Oliver Hembrough (Sky), Jodie Read, Laura Selwood, Ben Heathcote and Sam McKay. At certain performances, the role of Donna will be played by Melissa Jacques. The musical is currently booking through to 27 March 2010.


In other musical casting news, 18-year-old Liam Doyle from Coventry will play teen heartthrob Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2 Live on Stage!, after being voted into the role by GMTV viewers earlier this month (See The Goss, 5 May 2009). He won out over fellow finalists Ian McIntosh (aged 20) from Great Yarmouth and James Lacey (20) from Liverpool.

High School Musical 2 receives its UK premiere at New Wimbledon Theatre on 22 August 2009 before embarking on a four-and-a-half month regional tour (See News, 2 Mar 2009). As with the series’ original screen-to-stage crossover, it has a book by David Simpatico (adapted from the original movie script by Peter Barsocchini), and is directed by Jeff Calhoun, with scenic design by Kenneth Foy and choreography by Lisa Stevens. The score features all the songs from the film soundtrack, including “What Time Is It?”, “You Are the Music in Me” and “Fabulous”.

School’s out and the East High Wildcats need summer jobs! Troy, Gabriella, Taylor and Chad all land work at an exclusive country club, but it’s not going to be an easy ride as Ryan and Sharpay are vacationing there too. The scheming siblings, whose family owns the club, make it their mission to stir things up. The action builds to the club’s all-important Midsummer Night’s Talent Show, but will the Wildcats be ready in time?

- by Terri Paddock