Bill Kenwright’s latest touring production of Dr Dolittle, starring Tommy Steele in the title role, opens at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on 27 September 2007, beginning a national tour which will see the production play in Wolverhampton, Wimbledon, Manchester, Sunderland, Liverpool and finally Cardiff where it’s due to finish on 5 April 2008. Steele was last seen on stage in another Kenwright production, Scrooge, which transferred to the London Palladium at Christmas 2005.

Dr Dolittle is a world-renowned veterinarian who speaks a wide array of animal languages. He sets off from his home in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, England, in search of the Great Pink Sea Snail. Along the way, he and his friends meet such exotic creatures as the Pushmi-Pullyu and the Giant Moon Moth. The Oscar Award-winning score includes the hits “If I Could Talk to the Animals”, “I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It” and “My Friend the Doctor”. The story was immortalised in the 1967 film starring Rex Harrison as Dr Dolittle, a role which was played by Philip Scofield in the 1998 West End stage production.

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For Whatsonstage.com Photos, our photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the press photocall for Bill Kenwright’s tour of Dr Dolittle starring Tommy Steele, who opened a Pushmi-Pullyu enclosure at Spitalfields City Farm attended by pupils from the Thomas Buxton School.

Directed by the Bob Tomson with designs by Paul Farnsworth, the full cast of Dr Dolittle is yet to be announced, although it’s promised that Steele will star “alongside a huge company of singers, dancers, and puppeteers in this hit musical”. The music and book is by Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll and Hyde, Scrooge, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

- by Tom Atkins