Theatre News

Cast announced for UK premiere of Play On!, Duke Ellington musical inspired by Twelfth Night

The show will visit venues across the nation

Tsemaye Bob-Egbe and Jarnéia Richard-Noel, headshots supplied by the production
Tsemaye Bob-Egbe and Jarnéia Richard-Noel, headshots supplied by the production

The UK premiere of the musical Play On! has announced its cast.

The show will tour the UK from September 2024 to February 2025, with a winter run at Lyric Hammersmith. This musical, presented by Talawa Theatre Company, reimagines Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night set in the 1940s New York jazz scene, featuring music by Duke Ellington.

The cast includes Tsemaye Bob-Egbe as Viola, Kori Hedgemon as Lady Liv, Earl Gregory as The Duke, Llewellyn Jamal as Jester, Cameron Bernard Jones as Rev, Lifford Shillingford as Sweets, Tanya Edwards as Miss Mary, and Gleanne Purcell-Brown as Ceecee. The ensemble features Natalia Brown, Freya Karlettis, Amber Cayasso, Jarnéia Richard-Noel, Andre Coulson, Alex Okoampa, Spin, and Dylan Blake-Colbet.

Play On! is conceived by Sheldon Epps with a book by Cheryl L West. The production is directed by Michael Buffong, with choreography by Kenrick Sandy and musical supervision by Liam Godwin. Casting is by Pearson Casting.

The musical will be performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome, Bristol Old Vic, Liverpool Playhouse, Salisbury Playhouse, and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Talawa Theatre Company, in partnership with Belgrade Theatre, J Clare Productions, and Chuchu Nwagu Productions, produces the show. Co-producers include Birmingham Hippodrome, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, and Wiltshire Creative.

Play On! is part of Talawa’s 2024 Black Joy season, supported by Arts Council England and National Lottery.

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Play On!

Performances begin: 28 January 2025