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European premiere of Yeast Nation reveals cast

The musical comedy is a prequel to Urinetown

Christopher Howell and Mari McGinlay

Casting has been confirmed for the upcoming European premiere of Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life.

Leading the company are Christopher Howell (42nd Street) as Jan the Eldest, Mari McGinlay (Hairspray) as Jan the Sly, Shane Convery (Anyone Can Whistle) as Jan the Wise, James Gulliford (Salad Days) as Jan the Wretched and Marisa Harris (Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera]) as Jan the Famished. The cast is completed by three recent graduates making their professional debuts: Stephen Lewis-Johnston as Jan the Second Eldest, Hannah Nuttall as Jan the Sweet and Sarah Slimani as Jan the Unnamed.

Director Benji Sperring (The Toxic Avenger) commented, "Now more than ever it is the duty of producers and directors to look after the future of the industry, making commitments to hire graduates who have had the most remarkable struggle over the last two years, and are now finding their feet in an incredibly changed, shifted landscape of creativity. What better way to empower young graduates than by making them dress as yeast and calling them all Jan."

The black comedy musical is penned by Tony and Obie award-winning writers Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann (Urinetown) and follows a group of Yeast (yes, you read that right), over three and a half billion years ago as they set themselves on a path towards evolution.

The production also features musical direction and arrangements by Michael Webborn, movement direction by Lucie Pankhurst, designs by Diego Pitarch, lighting by Nic Farman and sound by Adam Fisher. Shani Erez serves as associate director, with Anna Oggero as associate producer.

First seen in 2007 in Alaska, Yeast Nation is the prequel to Urinetown in what is said to be a trilogy of musicals – the third part is still to be staged.

Produced by Jimmy Walters for Proud Haddock, Benji Sperring Productions and Steph Hartland, Yeast Nation runs from 22 July to 27 August 2022 at Southwark Playhouse.