Kathryn Evans - who was cast as Mama Rose in this weekend’s concert version of Gypsy at the Wales Millennium Centre as the centrepiece of the 2006 Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre - has had to withdraw after being involved in car accident in which she has broken her collarbone. She’s been replaced by Rachel Izen, who plays mother to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? runner-up Helena Blackman’s title character Gypsy Rose this Sunday (29 October 2006).

Izen’s West End credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie, Lautrec, Annie and Beauty and the Beast. The cast also features Julia McKenzie, Liz Robertson, Rebecca Wheatley and Nick Hayes. Stewart Mackintosh conducts.

Gypsy tells the story of the American burlesque stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Her ambitious stage mother, Mama Rose, is determined that her two daughters will become stars and so she sets out to find fame and fortune for them. The show features songs such as “Let Me Entertain You”, “Some People” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”. The 1959 Broadway musical has music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents. The semi-staged Cardiff production, the musical’s first major UK performance in 25 years, marks the Festival’s centennial celebrations of composer Jule Styne.

The theme of the third Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre, which runs until 5 November, is centenaries and forgotten gems (See News, 5 Apr 2006). The Festival’s Forgotten Gems series starts tomorrow (28 October) at the Sherman Theatre with the UK premiere of George and Ira Gershwin’s Treasure Girl, starring Patricia Hodge and narrated by Gershwin archivist Robert Kimball. At the Sherman Theatre on 4 November, West End diva Marti Webb stars in The Party of a Lifetime, a special concert celebrating the work of Wales’ own David Heneker, composer of musicals including Half a Sixpence and Charlie Girl.

Richard Alston Dance Company presents three pieces - Red Run, About-Face and The Devil in the Detail - at the Sherman Theatre on 2 and 3 November, and Opera UK presents a double bill of Manuel de Falla’s ‘operatic ballet’ El Amor Brujo and Mozart’s School for Lovers, also at the Sherman Theatre, on 30 and 31 October.

Founded in 2002 in the Welsh capital to celebrate “the world’s most popular live art form”, the festival last took place in April 2005 (See News, 29 Sep 2004).

- by Terri Paddock & Caroline Ansdell