Theatre News

Blackwood, Griffiths & Sosanya Join West End Cat

TV presenter and comedian Richard Blackwood will make his West End debut in the transfer of Debbie Allen’s Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, which has a limited season at the Novello Theatre from 1 December 2009 (previews from 21 November) to 10 April 2010.

Blackwood and fellow newly-announced cast members Derek Griffiths and Nina Sosanya will join the previously announced Sanaa Lathan, Adrian Lester, Phylicia Rashad and James Earl Jones in the all-black cast (See News, 3 Jun 2009).

Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof was last seen in the West End in 2001, when Anthony Page directed an all-white cast including Frances O’Connor, Brendan Fraser, Ned Beatty and Gemma Jones. This new revival is directed by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning director, choreographer and actor Debbie Allen, and ran for four months at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre last year. US stars James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad will reprise their performances as Big Daddy and Big Mama in the West End run.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is set in a Mississippi plantation house at the time of ailing Big Daddy’s birthday party, an event which sets the scene for family recriminations and revelations. His son Brick, a former college sports star, is more upset about the death of his friend Skipper than the disintegration of his marriage to a sexually frustrated wife Maggie.

Richard Blackwood, who plays Brightie, is best known as a TV and radio presenter but has stage credits include Roy Williams’ Angel House and The Unexpected Guest, which both toured nationally and The Brothers at the Hackney Empire. He currently presents a radio show on London’s Choice FM.

Nina Sosanya (Mae) is known for her extensive TV and film work including Teachers, Nathan Barley, Doctor Who and Love Actually. On stage, she’s been seen in The Vortex at the Donmar Warehouse and House and Garden and Fix Up for the National Theatre.

Former children’s TV presenter Derek Griffiths (Reverend Tooker), has myriad theatre credits including Peter Pan, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Run for Your Wife and Noises Off in the West End, and The Miser, The Odd Couple, The Government Inspector, Nude with Violin and Loot for the Royal Exchange.

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is produced in the West End by Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones for Front Row Productions, and is preceded at the Novello, from 22 September to 14 November 2009, by a limited return season for Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning NT production of JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls (See News, 20 May 2009).