Ahead of the UK premiere of the stage version of Dirty Dancing this autumn, the star of the original Eighties blockbuster film Patrick Swayze (pictured) will make his British stage debut in another West End musical. For eight weeks only from 10 July 2006, Swayze will play gambling man Nathan Detroit in Michael Grandage’s multi award-winning production of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre.

Swayze takes over from Neil Morrissey. At the same time, Claire Sweeney takes over from Sally Ann Triplett as Nathan’s ailing fiancée Miss Adelaide, also for eight weeks only, before joining previous West End Sky Masterson Nigel Harman in a separate tour of the musical, which kicks off in Glasgow this September (See News, 31 May 2006).

The son of a choreographer, Swayze trained as a ballet dancer and appeared on stage in the Broadway production of Grease before finding international fame in Hollywood. In addition to Dirty Dancing, in which he became a pin-up as holiday camp dance instructor Johnny Castle to Jennifer Grey’s teenaged Baby, his film credits include Ghost, Point Break, City of Joy and, more recently, the Dirty Dancing prequel Havana Nights.

Well known from TV’s Brookside and Celebrity Big Brother, Sweeney’s previous theatre credits include Chicago and the recent touring production of Fosse. She will be starring as Miss Adelaide at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow (19 September – 7 October), the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff (10 – 28 October), Regent Theatre Stoke (31 October – 11 November) and the New Victoria Theatre in Woking (14 – 25 November).

The current West End cast of Guys and Dolls also features Adam Cooper as Sky Masterson and Kelly Price as Sarah Brown. Grandage’s version of Frank Loesser’s 1950 musical opened on 1 June 2005 (previews from 19 May) and is currently booking up to 30 December 2006.

Based on Damon Runyon’s short stories about New York gamblers and their girls in the 1940s, the musical was made into a 1953 Hollywood film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra. Grandage’s revival, the first new production of Guys and Dolls in London for 23 years, is designed by Christopher Oram, with choreography by Rob Ashford, musical supervision by Jae Alexander, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Terry Jardine and Chris Full. It’s produced by the Ambassador Theatre Group and Live Nation in association with the Donmar Warehouse.

- by Terri Paddock