Former Boyzone star and current Joseph Stephen Gately finishes his contract next month and is succeeded, from 16 September to 4 October 2003 by understudy Lee Waterworth. Day - currently on tour until the end of September with Summer Holiday - then takes over at the West End's New London theatre from 6 October.
Day's theatre career first took off in 1993 when, as understudy to Philip Scofield, he assumed the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium. Tours and limited West End seasons of other musicals followed, including Great Expectations, Copacabana, Grease and The Rocky Horror Show, as well as Summer Holiday, for which he originated the role of Don on stage.
Last year, millions of television viewers watched as Day locked horns with nine other celebrities - most heatedly, with 'It' girl Tara Palmer-Tompkinson - in the launch series of reality programme I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here. In a change of gear earlier this summer, the actor played a serial rapist in William Mastrosimone's graphic stage drama Extremities at north London's Old Red Lion (See News, 22 May 2003).
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the first-ever collaboration between Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. It started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. The musical went on to huge success in the West End and on Broadway and on tours throughout the world. Its score includes "Any Dream Will Do", "Close Every Door", "Go, Go, Go Joseph", "Benjamin Calypso" and "One More Angel in Heaven".
The musical was last seen in the West End in the early 1990s, when it ran for more than two years at the London Palladium, taking over £47 million at the box office and bringing huge stage success for its other Josephs - Philip Schofield and Jason Donovan.
This new re-staged production opened on 3 March 2003 (previews from 13 February) at the New London, where its currently booking up to 28 February 2004. It's directed and produced by Bill Kenwright and designed by Sean Cavanagh, with choreography by Henry Metcalf, lighting by David Steadman and musical direction by Nick Richings. A separate touring production, starring Pop Idol Andrew Derbyshire, recently opened a new seven-month schedule (See News, 17 Jul 2003).
In other West End casting news, Lyn Paul will return to the cast of Willie Russell's long-running Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre. From 1 September 2003, she takes over from Linda Nolan, as Mrs Johnstone, the mother of the doomed Liverpudlian twins. The part has previously been played by the likes of Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Petula Clark, Siobhan McCarthy, Carole King and Helen Reddy. Now in its 16th year, Blood Brothers is currently booking up to 28 February 2004.
- by Terri Paddock