Full cast details have now been announced for the London premiere of American composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s two-time Tony Award-winning 1998 musical Parade, which runs at the Donmar Warehouse from 14 September (previews from 14 September) to 24 November (See News, 23 Feb 2007).

In addition to the previously announced Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver, who play husband and wife Leo and Lucille Frank, the cast will feature: Helen Anker (as Mrs Phagan and Sally Slaton), Mark Bonnar (Hugh Dorsey and Mr Peavy), Norman Bowman (Detective Starnes and Tom Watson), Shaun Escoffery (Jim Conley and Newt Lee), Joanna Kirkland (Iola Stover), Gary Milner (Britt Craig and Governor Slaton), Steven Page (Old Soldier and Judge Roan), Malinda Parris (Angela), Stuart Matthew Price (Frankie Epps and Young Soldier), Zoe Rainey (Monteen), Celia Mei Rubin (Essie), Stephen Webb (Officer Ivey and Luther Rosser) and Jayne Wisener (Mary Phagan).

In Atlanta, Georgia in 1913, a Jewish man from Brooklyn stands accused of the murder of a young factory worker. Based on the true story of Leo Frank convicted of the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, Parade recalls the press frenzy and public hate surrounding the trial, and Lucille Frank’s crusade for justice for her husband.

The musical has a book by book by Alfred Uhry and was co-conceived by its original director Harold Prince. The Donmar production is directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, marking his directorial debut, and designed by Christopher Oram.


In other musical casting news, Hairspray has released further details of its London company. Tracie Bennett, best known to TV fans from Coronation Street, will play the role of vicious Velma Von Tussle. Bennett’s previous West End Les Miserables, High Society, Cash on Delivery and 1995 revival of She Loves Me at the Savoy Theatre, for which she won an Olivier.

Velma’s daughter Amber Von Tussle will be played by Rachel Wooding, whose credits include We Will Rock You. Also lined up are Paul Manuel (as host Corny Collins), Adrian Hansel (Seaweed) and Johnnie Fiori (Motormouth Mabel). They join a company led by, as previously announced, newcomer Leanne Jones as the big-hearted Tracy Turnblad and Michael Ball and Mel Smith as Tracy’s parents Edna and Wilbur Turnblad (See News, 18 Jul 2007).

Hairspray premiered in August 2002 at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theater, where it’s still running, and went on to win eight 2003 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Based on John Waters' cult retro 1988 film and set in 1960s Baltimore, it tells the story of Tracy, who finds celebrity on a TV dance programme. Can she get the guy and still have time to change the world? The musical has a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Whitman and Shaiman. It’s directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. The film of the musical has just been released in the UK.

- by Ryan Woods