Theatre News

Full casting announced for Piaf starring Jenna Russell

The production runs in Nottingham and Leeds

Artwork for Piaf
Artwork for Piaf

Full casting has been announced for the upcoming revival of Pam Gems' bio-play Piaf, in a co-production between Nottingham Playhouse and Leeds Playhouse.

Previously due to run last summer, Piaf reopens at Nottingham Playhouse from 2 July to 17 July 2021 before transferring to Leeds Playhouse's Courtyard Theatre from 23 July to 7 August.

The audience will be seated in cabaret-style seating that adheres to any social distancing guidelines if necessary. The production will be live streamed to audiences at home on 14 July.

The play tells the life story of the renowned French singer Edith Piaf. Her most famous songs include "La Vie en Rose" and "Je Ne Regrette Rien", though the international star began her life singing on the streets of Paris.

As previously announced, Olivier Award-winner Jenna Russell will play the title role. She'll be joined by Sally Ann Triplett as Toine – Piaf's best friend and confidante. This marks the first time Russell and Triplett have performed together since the original West End production of Sondheim's Follies 30 years ago.

Laura Pitt-Pulford
Laura Pitt-Pulford will play Marlene Dietrich
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre) will play Marlene Dietrich. Garry Robson (Reasons to be Cheerful, Graeae) will be taking the role of Louis Leplee. Louis Gaunt (Grease, UK and Ireland tour), who is originally from Nottingham, will play Piaf's husband Theo.

Samuel James (James Graham's Sketching, Wilton's Music Hall) will play Bruno, owner and manager of the Paris Olympia. Matthew Woodyatt (Fiddler on the Roof, Chichester) will play Raymond and Joseph Prowen (A Christmas Carol, RSC) will play Louis. Zheng Xi Yong, who was last at Nottingham Playhouse in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins will take the role of Lucien.

Adam Penford, artistic director at Nottingham Playhouse and director of Piaf, said: "We are thrilled to announce that Piaf will finally be performed this summer. Edith Piaf's life was shocking, hilarious and heart-breaking, she lived life to the full. The life-affirming story, combined with those iconic songs, makes for an unforgettable, celebratory night of theatre – which is exactly what we want to give people on their first visit following the pandemic."

Piaf is desgined by Frankie Bradshaw, with Jack Knowles as lighting designer, Ella Wahlström as sound designer, Gareth Valentine as MD on keys, arranger and orchestrator, Georgina Lamb as movement director, Félicité du Jeu as dialect coach, and Will Burton as casting director.