Boney M’s Daddy Cool has delayed its West End opening night by a further fortnight. Originally, the musical was due to receive its world premiere at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 16 May 2006, after postponed previews from 26 April. Three months ago, the opening was shifted to 6 September 2006 (See News, 17 Mar 2006). The show will now open on 21 September 2006, though previews will begin, as previously scheduled, from 15 August. However, German audiences will see the show first, with a one-off gala performance in Berlin on 17 September.

In March, producers explained that the initial four-month postponement would allow the team “to spend more time in pre-production in order to achieve the technical and creative possibilities of the show”.

The musical – in which EastEndersMichelle Collins, pop star Javine and So Solid Crew’s Harvey will lead a 35-strong cast - features the hits of Seventies disco group Boney M, reinterpreted with contemporary influences and set alongside a modern London story loosely based on Romeo and Juliet (See News, 19 Jan 2006). Caught up in local rivalry between east and west London crews, music lover Sunny meets and falls in love with Rose, the daughter of the East End’s notorious club owner, Ma Baker. The lovers’ relationship fuels the hostility between the two gangs.

Full cast details have also now been announced. Featuring alongside Harvey, Javine and Collins will be Melanie La Barrie as Pearl, Camilla Beeput as Rose and Dwayne Wint as Sunny. Also in the cast are: Hope Augustus, Donovan F Blackwood, Kelle Bryan, Jordan Darrell, Davie Fairbanks, Richard ‘Lianhart’ Francis, Duane O’Garro, Adrian Gas, Alan Gibbon, Simon Harvey, Yasmin Kadi, Jay McKay, Michael Moulton, Sarah Moyle, Ricky Norwood, Page, Darvina Plante, Amber Rimell, Ezra Russell, Kirisa Samuel, Marc Small, Emmanuel Sonubi, Maria Swainson, Elliot Treend, Dennis Victory, Larrington Walker, Shelley Williams and Jacqui Zvimba.

Daddy Cool has a book by Amani Naphtali. It’s directed by Andy Goldberg and designed by Jon Morrell with choreography by Sean Cheesman, lighting by David Hersey, sound by Nick Lister for Autograph, musical supervision by Mike Dixon and orchestrations by Steve Sidwell. Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha acts as creative associate.


In other casting news, Strictly Dance Fever winners Darrien Wright and Hollie Robertson will join the West End company of Footloose at the Novello Theatre for a limited run from Monday 3 July 2006, as part of their prize for coming top in the BBC One Saturday night show.

The 21-year-old dancing hot-shots will appear alongside David Essex, Cheryl Baker and Derek Hough in the cast of the stage adaptation of the 1984 teen film that launched the career of Kevin Bacon (See News, 12 May 2006).

Wright and Robertson competed against nine other dancing couples to claim the prize on the popular TV show, which was hosted by Graham Norton (who will also host How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria, the search to find the star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of The Sound of Music - See News, 16 May 2006), and voted for by the public as well as by judges Arlene Phillips, Stacey Haynes, Wayne Sleep and Ben Richards.

Following extensive UK tours, Footloose opened in the West End on 12 April 2006 (previews from 8 April). The musical centres on city boy Ren (Hough) who moves with his mother to a small town in middle America where rock music and dancing are outlawed for religious reasons. Sparks fly when Ren and the minister's teenaged daughter Ariel rebel.

The stage adaptation has a book by Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford, who wrote the original screenplay. Footloose is directed and choreographed by Karen Bruce and produced by Mark Goucher, Michael Rose, Tristan Baker and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

- by Caroline Ansdell