Having recovered from his recent illness, Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze (pictured) is now scheduled to begin performances in Michael Grandage’s multi award-winning revival of Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre this Thursday 27 July 2006, before facing the critics on 7 August (See News, 7 Jul 2006).

Swayze, who makes his West End debut in the production, was originally due to star for eight weeks from 10 July and finish on 2 September 2006. But earlier this month producers announced a postponement after a chest infection caused Swayze to miss rehearsals. To make up for the missed performances, Swayze’s scheduled engagement has been extended until 23 September.

Meanwhile, Swayze’s co-star Claire Sweeney started her run as Miss Adelaide on 10 July 2006 as planned (See News, 1 Jun 2006), alongside understudy Andrew Playfoot as her long-term fiancée Nathan Detroit. Adam Cooper and Kelly Price continue to star as Sky Masterson and Sarah Brown.

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 an international 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. In 2003, Swayze returned to the stage after a 25-year absence to play Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago.

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. In Grandage’s revival, the first new production of Guys and Dolls in London for 23 years, the part of Nathan Detroit has so far been played by Douglas Hodge, Nigel Lindsay and Neil Morrissey.

The production 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 presented by the Ambassador Theatre Group and Live Nation in association with the Donmar Warehouse.

- by Caroline Ansdell