Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell will star in Victoria Wood's That Day We Sang, part of the biennial Manchester International Festival (MIF) running at the city's Opera House from 6 July to 16 July 2011.

Russell is joined in the cast by Vincent Franklin as well as Lorraine Bruce, Jemma Drake, Gerard Horan, Ian Marr and Martin Savage.

MIF commissioned Wood to write and direct the musical, which tells the story of two Mancunians - a buttoned up secretary (Russell) and an overweight insurance man (Franklin) - whose lives have passed them by, reliving the day in 1929 when, as members of the Manchester School Children’s Choir, they recorded with the Hallé Orchestra. Set in 1969, this major new work will feature a specially formed Manchester Children’s Choir and members of the Hallé Youth Orchestra.

Russell's recent stage credits include Season’s Greetings at the National Theatre and Into the Woods at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park. She won an Olivier Award for the Menier Chocolate Factory's 2006 revival of another Sondheim favourite, Sunday in the Park with George, in the West End and on Broadway. Her other credits include Amy's View, Guys and Dolls and High Society.

Vincent Franklin has appeared as Stewart Pearson, the opposition PR guru in BBC political sitcom The Thick Of It, as well as TV series The Office, Doc Martin and Being Human. He has worked with directors including Mike Leigh and Jane Campion and will shortly be appearing in the BBC 4 comedy Twenty Twelve.

Victoria Wood both writes and directs; set and costume designs are by Lez Brotherston, whose recent work includes Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sister Act and Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Nigel Lilley is Musical Director; recent credits include Piaf, La Cage aux Folles and Spring Awakening. Both also worked on Wood’s 2005 musical Acorn Antiques at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

That Day We Sang is commissioned by MIF Creative and produced by Manchester International Festival with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.