Exclusive: Some new faces are set to join & Juliet as the smash-hit five-star musical plans its return this autumn.
A new twist on the tale of Romeo and Juliet, the musical originally premiered in Manchester before transferring to the West End, where it began its run in the autumn of 2019. Disrupted by the pandemic, the piece will now recommence performances on 24 September 2021 at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
After premiering it was nominated for 13 WhatsOnStage Awards including Best Actress, Best Actor, Best New Musical and more. It went on to win six – the highest of any show on the night.
Miriam-Teak Lee – who was awarded a WhatsOnStage Award, an Olivier Award for Best Actress and a Black British Theatre Award in 2020 for her performance as Juliet – will once more lead the company, alongside Cassidy Janson, who also won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anne Hathaway, Oliver Tompsett as William Shakespeare, David Bedella, who also won an Olivier Award for his performance in the show as Lance, Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo, Melanie La Barrie as Nurse, and Tim Mahendran as Francois. Alex Thomas-Smith will be joining the principal cast in the role of May.
Chatting to WhatsOnStage earlier this week, Thomas-Smith said: "The director Luke Sheppard and I had had a discussion last year while we were working on Rent – he wanted to know what my thoughts were on the show and the role of May specifically. Then, a few months ago, the production called me go ask if I'd do a take for it, so I said yes, of course – whenever Luke calls I answer!
"I later went in and had an informal conversation with the team about the character of May, how it's been written and how it represents my community. As a non-binary performer, Luke was interested in what needed to be done for me to feel the most comfortable. This was brilliant – we decided we could make changes in certain places that could help not just me, but those who come after me in the role."
They added: "It's so surreal – as a young queer child I'd parade around my house, the street, singing these songs, imagining I was Britney or Katy Perry. But to be seen on stage for all the things I was told would hold me back is nothing short of soul-affirming. When I was training I was told I was too black, too short, too feminine, too queer – and now I'm going to be celebrated for all of this."
The ensemble will include Roshani Abbey, Jocasta Almgill, Josh Baker, Ivan De Freitas, Rhian Duncan, Kieran Lai, Nathan Lorainey-Dineen, Jaye Marshall, Grace Mouat, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Billy Nevers, Kerri Norville, Christopher Parkinson, Kirstie Skivington, Alex Tranter, Sophie Usher and Rhys Wilkinson.
Featuring the music of Max Martin (the mastermind behind the likes of "Hit Me Baby One More Time", "Larger than Life" and "Roar", Luke Sheppard directs the production, with a book by David West Read, choreography by Jennifer Weber, set design by Soutra Gilmour, costume design by Paloma Young, musical supervision, orchestration and arrangement by Bill Sherman, lighting by Howard Hudson, sound by Gareth Owen, video design by Andrzej Goulding, musical direction and additional arrangements by Dominic Fallacaro and casting by Stuart Burt.
Tickets for & Juliet are on sale now.