Soap star Nigel Harman, most popularly known as Dennis Rickman in EastEnders, will return to the West End stage to star as Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage’s revival of classic Broadway musical Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre. He takes over from Ewan McGregor, who leaves at the end of his six-month contract, on Monday 5 December 2005.

Harman’s theatre credits include Grandage’s production of Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse, and musicals Mamma Mia!, Damn Yankees and Tommy. On television and away from EastEnders, he played Dan Coulthard in Red Cap on television.

In the new line-up of principals, Harman joins Sarah Lancashire (Coronation Street) as Miss Adelaide, who takes over from American stage and screen star Jane Krakowski (See News, 25 Jul 2005). Other cast changes, including who will replace Douglas Hodge as Nathan Detroit, have yet to be announced.

Based on Damon Runyon’s short stories about New York gamblers and their girls in the 1940s, Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. The musical was made into a 1953 Hollywood film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra.

Grandage’s revival, the first new production of Guys and Dolls in London for 23 years, opened on 1 June 2005 (previews from 19 May) and is currently booking until 4 March 2006. It’s 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 produced by Ambassador Theatre Group and Clear Channel Entertainment in association with the Donmar Warehouse.

- by Caroline Ansdell