Sam Kane (pictured) will star as Billy Bigelow in new nine-month, UK-wide tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel. The production opens on 18 August 2003 at Bromley's Churchill Theatre before continuing, to more than 25 further venues, until the end of May 2004.

Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic musical Carousel is a romantic fantasy from both Heaven and Earth, tracking the tragic New England love story of fast-talking carousel barker Billy Bigelow and naïve mill worker Julie.

First seen on Broadway in 1945, Carousel was made into a Hollywood film, starring Shirley Jones and Gordon McRae, in 1956. It's last major London outing was more than a decade ago when Nicholas Hytner directed his award-winning landmark production for the National Theatre. The score includes "You'll Never Walk Alone", "Mister Snow", "Soliloquy" and "What's the Use of Wond'rin".

Best known to television viewers for his roles in Brookside and Coronation Street, Kane is also a musical stage veteran whose credits include South Pacific, Boogie Nights and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. In 2001, Kane starred as bad boy Jigger Craigin opposite Darren Day's Billy, and also understudies for Day, in an earlier tour of Carousel.

Kane is joined in the new touring cast by Lynsey Britton (as Julie), Geoffrey Abbott (Jigger), Jane Mark, Jill Pert, Richard Brightiff, Zoe Ann Bown, Morgan Deare, Richard Colson and Alan Byland. The production is directed by Martin White and choreographed by Wayne Sleep. It's presented by UK Productions Ltd.

Following Bromley, Carousel visits Belfast, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Manchester, Hull, Norwich, Birmingham, Bradford, Wolverhampton, Oxford, Blackpool, Dartford, Brighton, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Glasgow, Woking, Darlington, Llandudno, Nottingham, Eastbourne, Ipswich, Sheffield, Southampton and Tunbridge Wells, with other dates still to be announced.

- by Terri Paddock