Theatre News

Burlesque musical announces casting

See who’s taking on the main roles in the stage version of the much-loved 2010 film

Billie-Kay, Jess Folley (photo by Elliott Morgan), George Maguire

Jess Folley, known for winning The Voice Kids UK and X Factor – The Band, is set to take on the role of Ali in the stage adaptation of hit film Burlesque, originally starring Christina Aguilera.

The musical is scheduled for previews at Manchester Opera House from 13 to 29 June 2024, with subsequent performances at Glasgow Theatre Royal from 11 to 28 September 2024. It will return to Manchester from 3 October to 2 November 2024, before heading to the West End.

The show follows Ali, a young talent who travels to New York where she discovers a world of creativity she never expected. It has songs by Christina Aguilera, Sia and Diane Warren, alongside additional songs by Todrick Hall and Jess Folley.

Folley, a singer-songwriter, has also contributed new music to the show. Joining her will be George Maguire as Vince, Billie-Kay as Sophia, B Terry as Georgie, Jess Qualter as Daphne, Yasmin Harrison as Brenda/dance captain, Lily Wang as Fifi, Hollie-Ann Lowe as Summer, and Alessia McDermott in the ensemble.

Tickets for the Glasgow and second Manchester season will be available on 26 January. Further casting information is to be announced on 5 Feburary.

The creative team includes Steven Antin (book writer/producer), Nick Winston (director and choreographer), Kate Wetherhead (additional material), Soutra Gilmour (set designer), Ryan Dawson Laight (costume designer), Tom Curran (musical arrangements and orchestrations), Phil Bateman (musical supervisor), Jack Knowles (lighting designer), Ben Harrison (sound designer), Harry Blumenau (casting director), Carole Hancock (hair and wigs designer), Guy Common (make-up designer), Chris Poon (musical director), Robin Antin (creative co-producer/associate choreographer), Ryan-Lee Seager (associate director/choreographer), Libby Watts (associate choreographer), Sarah-Jane Price (casting associate), Laura Rushton (costume supervisor), Tommy Franzen (assistant choreographer), Sarah Day (dramaturg), David Gallagher (orchestra fixer), and Lloyd Thomas (production manager).

Antin said today: “I am so thrilled that we have the powerhouse that is Jess Folley taking on the iconic role of Ali Rose. She is a rare talent indeed. An incredible singer, a wonderful, instinctual actress, a spectacular songwriter…and gorgeous. Jess has also composed sensational new music for the show. Everyday I peel myself off the ceiling and ask… what did I do to deserve Jess Folley. I was gobsmacked over Xtina when she did the movie, because she had so many extraordinary talents that she brought to the film, the rare breed that she is, so the bar for me was very high. And it has come full circle with Jess.

“The other cast members who are creating the world of Burlesque deserve more than just a brief mention. The stakes and the bar for being in the Burlesque cast are very high. It requires a rare breed of talent and we have looked tirelessly for those special people who will populate our world. From George Maguire, to Billie-Kay, B Terry, Jess Qualter, Yasmin Harrison, Lily Wang, Hollie-Ann Lowe and Alessia McDermott and more! These artists are the creme de la creme.”

Folley added: “A year ago, I was lucky enough to have the chance to compose a song for the show and fortunately for me, Steven loved it! We had a couple of calls to get to know each other, and the next thing I know he had asked me to play Ali in the workshops and then the show itself. Since then, I’ve written a number of other songs, become part of the creative team and have totally fallen in love with this project. I’m beyond excited to be in the Burlesque family and can’t wait to open as Ali Rose in Manchester in June.”

Produced by Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery, Sue Gilad and Larry Rogowsky, Steven Antin, and Christina Aguilera, Burlesque the Musical is managed by ADAMA Entertainment.

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