Bertie Carvel, pictured, will star as Leo Frank in the Donmar Warehouse production of Parade in September, joining the previously announced Lara Pulver, who plays his onstage wife Lucille (See News, 14 Jun 2007).

Making his professional musical theatre debut at the Donmar, RADA-trained Carvel’s credits include a strong association with the National Theatre, with roles in The Man of Mode, The Life of Galileo and Coram Boy. His television credits include Doctor Who, Bombshell and Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures.

Based on a true story, Parade is set in 1913 Atlanta, where a Jewish man from Brooklyn stands accused of the murder of a young factory worker. The book is by Alfred Urhy, music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown and the show was co-conceived by Hal Prince, who directed its premiere at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1998.

The new production, running from 24 September (previews from 14 September) to 24 November 2007 at the Donmar Warehouse, will mark the directorial debut for American choreographer Rob Ashford (Guys and Dolls and Evita, for which he won this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Choreographer) and is designed by Christopher Oram. Further casting is expected shortly.


In other casting news, the full company has been confirmed for the revival production of Buddy at the Duchess Theatre, which opens on 7 August 2007 (previews from 3 August).

Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe, who shared the role on tour, will continue to portray the 1950s icon Buddy Holly when the show transfers to London following an extensive UK tour. Elliot, a graduate of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, had previously played the role of Joe B Maudlin in the UK and Scandinavian tours of Buddy whilst Wycliffe, who graduated from Arts Ed in 2006, recently completed a UK tour of This is Elvis.

Joining Elliot and Wycliffe are Lucia Rovardi (Maria Elena), Lee Ormsby (Big Bopper) and Miguel Angel (Richie Valens). The 13-strong cast is completed by Gavin Barnes, Hayley Berkley, Chris Grahamson, Kerry James, Greg Last, Mike Lloyd, Sean Needham, Wendy Paver and Nick Sayce.

The show - a tribute to the late, great rock 'n' roll singer Buddy Holly who died in a plane crash on 3 February 1959, aged 22 - premiered at the West End's Victoria Palace on 12 October 1989, before transferring on 6 October 1995 to the Strand Theatre (now the Novello), round the corner from the Duchess on the Aldwych. It finished there on 3 March 2002 and has since continued to tour nationally and internationally. The Duchess will be its third West End home.

The musical is co-written by Alan Janes (who also produces) and Rob Bettinson (who also directs). The pair subsequently collaborated on West End musicals Jailhouse Rock and 125th Street. Buddy is designed by Adrian Rees, with lighting and projections by Joe Atkins and sound by Peter Cox for Thames Audio.


Finally, full casting has also been confirmed for the UK tour of Never Forget, which premieres in Cardiff on 20 July 2007 prior to a UK tour concluding in Edinburgh on 22 September, ahead of a planned West End transfer.

Joining the previously announced Dean Chisnall (Ash), Craig Els (Jake), Stephane Anelli (Jose), Tim Driesen (Adrian) and Eaton James (Harry) (See News, 20 Jun 2007) are Nancy Sullivan (Chloe), Alexis Owen Hobbs (Annie), Teddy Kempner (Ron) and Anita Booth (Babs).

The ensemble includes Suzy Bastone, Adam C. Booth, Ivan De Freitas, David O’Dell, Scott Maurice, Amber Rimell, Laura Selwood, Leigh Anne Stone, Tamara Wall, Richard Taylor Woods, Ashley Andrews, Ben Skevy, Natalie Sommerville, Anna Woodside and Elliot Nixon.

Written by Danny Brocklehurst (Shameless, Clocking Off), Never Forget is billed as a “brand new musical” about the members of the unlikeliest Take That tribute band. It is directed by Ed Curtis and choreographed by Karen Bruce, with Mike Dixon as musical supervisor. The set design is by Bob Bailey, with costumes by Christopher Woods and lighting design by James Whiteside.

- by Jake Brunger