Ex-TV soap actress Claire Sweeney is set to tour the world with the jazz musical Fosse. After opening at the Empire Theatre in her hometown of Liverpool on Wednesday 29 October 2003, the production visits Oxford and Manchester before a spell globetrotting and a return to the UK next year.

Best known for playing Lindsey Corkhill in TV soap Brookside, Sweeney demonstrated her singing abilities, and saw her popularity soar, in 2001 when she took part in Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother. She followed that up with a 2001/2002 season as Roxie Hart in the West End production of Kander and Ebb musical Chicago.

Fosse pays tribute to the late American choreographer/ dancer/ director Bob Fosse, who provided the distinctive choreography for Chicago as well as other musicals such as Cabaret, Sweet Charity and All That Jazz. Fosse also worked in film, winning an Oscar for the screen version of Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli.

In Fosse, Ann Reinking and Chet Walker recreate many of Fosse's trademark numbers, such as "Hey Big Spender" from Sweet Charity, "Mein Herr" from Cabaret, "Steam Heat" from The Pyjama Game and "Mr Bojangles" from Dancin'. Fosse's widow and dance partner, the late Gwen Verdon, acted as artistic consultant for the show.

Fosse premiered in January 1999 on Broadway, where it ran for more than two-and-a-half years and won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It transferred to the West End in 2000, running for a year at the Prince of Wales theatre (See News, 8 Nov 2000).

Born in 1927, Bob Fosse began his career in vaudeville before joining touring dance companies. He made his Broadway debut in 1950 in Dance Me a Song and made his choreographic debut four years later with The Pajama Game. Fosse's use of groups of dancers, often donned in bowler hats and white gloves, performing jerky, rhythmic steps along with slow-motion movements became his signature style. The acclaimed choreographer died in 1987.

Following its initial dates at Liverpool (29 October-8 November), Oxford (10-15 November) and Manchester (17-29 November), Fosse visits the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Singapore and South Korea before returning to the UK to conclude its world tour in June 2004. The show is to be directed by Debra McWaters with designs by Santo Loquasto.

- by Hannah Kennedy