With stars leaving top West End productions in the next few weeks and no takeovers yet announced, rumours have been flying around about who might be appearing in which long-running musicals. American pop star Ashlee Simpson is expected to be the next Roxie Hart in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre. It has been reported on Broadway news sites that the 21-year-old singer, sister of fellow pop star Jessica Simpson, has begun rehearsals to take over as the nightclub singer-turned-murderess from Linzi Hateley, whose contract is due to finish on 9 September. Further ahead for the Kander and Ebb classic, EastEnders’ Wendy Richard is tipped for a Christmas stint as prison matron Mama Morton.
Meanwhile, rumours about future cast members of Guys and Dolls have also been “rocking’ the boat”. Bonnie Langford, who coincidentally was most recently seen on stage as Roxie in Chicago (See News, 6 Mar 2006), is tipped to take over from Claire Sweeney playing Miss Adelaide, initially opposite Patrick Swayze as inveterate gambler Nathan Detroit, at the Piccadilly Theatre. Sweeney must leave on 9 September to join the touring cast of Michael Grandage’s award-winning revival of the Frank Loesser classic.