Producers have confirmed cast details for the upcoming world premiere of Tonight's the Night, the new musical fashioned around the greatest hits of British rocker Rod Stewart. West End stars Tim Howar, Hannah Waddingham, Dianne Pilkington and Cornell John will lead the 36-strong cast of the premiere production, written and directed by comedian-turned novelist-turned dramatist Ben Elton, which opens at the Victoria Palace theatre on 6 November 2003 (previews from 15 October).
A Faustian musical comedy, Tonight's the Night tells the story of shy Stu Roderick (Howar), who's desperate to be more like his idol Rod Stewart so he can get girl of his dreams Mary (Pilkington). One lonely night, he makes a deal with Mephistopheles (John), agent of Satan (Waddingham), that secures him the soul, not to mention the Beverley Hills lifestyle, of rocker Rod in exchange for an afterlife eternity in hell.
Waddingham previously starred in Ben Elton and Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Beautiful Game, for which she also recorded the hit single "Our Kind of Love"; her other West End credits have included Lautrec, Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens, Smokey Joe's Café.
Canadian Howar has appeared in Les Miserables, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Tommy, and most recently, Peggy Sue Got Married. Pilkington starred earlier this year in Boy George musical Taboo and has also been seen in Beauty and the Beast, The Beautiful Game and Tess of the D'Urbervilles. John, currently performing in Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse, is also well known for his roles in The Lion King and The Full Monty.
Born in London in 1945, Rod Stewart - aka the gravely-voiced, distinctly-coiffed 'Rod the Mod' - was one of the UK's biggest rock stars in the late 1960s and 1970s. In his early years, Stewart juggled his role as lead singer for the Faces with a burgeoning solo career, which eventually took over. His many hits over the years have included "Maggie May", "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy", "You Wear It Well", "Hot Legs", "The Killing of Georgie", "First Cut Is the Deepest", "You're in My Heart", and the show's title song, "Tonight's the Night".
The stage production is designed by Lez Brotherston and choreographed by Stephen Mear, with lighting by Mark Henderson and musical supervision by Gareth Valentine. It's presented in the West End by Phil McIntyre and Arnold Stiefel. Currently at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Grease is scheduled to finish at the end of its current booking period on 6 September 2003.
- by Terri Paddock
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