Theatre News

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe and Ashley Zhangazha to replace Adrienne Warren and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in Tina – the Tina Turner Musical

The second cast for the hit musical has been announced

Nkeki Obi-Melekw and Ashley Zhangazha
Nkeki Obi-Melekw and Ashley Zhangazha

The second cast for the musical Tina – The Tina Turner Musical has been announced.

Replacing Adrienne Warren as Tina will be Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, who joins the West End production from 15 April to play the iconic figure. Ashley Zhangazha is to replace Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Ike Turner from the same date. Obi-Melekwe is making her West End debut in the role, having made her Broadway debut last month in Alice by Heart. Zhangazha's credits include Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange, Henry V and Fences in the West End and A Raisin in the Sun at Sheffield Crucible.

Warren, who has played Turner since the show's opening in London is due to lead the Broadway production from autumn 2019.

Tina Turner said of the change: "I am delighted that Nkeki will be joining our Tina family. Her raw talent is clearly extraordinary and her determination and spirit are second to none. Audiences at the Aldwych will be amazed. I look forward to welcoming her to London!"

Aisha Jawando will play the role of Tina at some performances each week and the rest of the cast will include Irene-Myrtle Forrester as Tina's Grandmother GG, Howard Gossington as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten.

Francesca Jackson continues to play Ike and Tina's manager Rhonda Graam, Jammy Kasongo will play Tina's father Richard Bullock and Tina's first love Raymond Hill, Edward Bourne will play record company marketing manager Erwin Bach and Oscar Batterham will play Tina's manager Roger Davies. Maria Omakinwa joins the company to play the role of Tina's mother Zelma until 22 June 2019, when Madeline Appiah will rejoin the company in that role. Final casting will be announced shortly.

They are joined by ensemble members Daniella Bowen, Chloe Chambers, Joelle Dyson, Sia Kiwa, Lejaun Sheppard, Kibong Tanji, Cameron Bernard Jones who also plays Tina's son Craig and Ashlee Irish who plays Tina's son Ronnie and Joseph Richardson, and swings Gavin Alex, Derek Aidoo, Joshua Da Costa, Amandla Elynah, Hannah Jay-Allan, Angela Marie Hurst, Leisha Mollyneaux and Samuel J Weir.

The musical is directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins. Choreography is from Anthony van Laast, set from Mark Thompson, musical supervision from Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting from Bruno Poet, sound from Nevin Steinberg, projections from Jeff Snugg and orchestrations from Ethan Popp.

The piece originally opened at the Aldwych Theatre in April 2018. It has been nominated for four WhatsOnStage Awards including Best Actress in a Musical for Warren and Best Actor in a Musical for Holdbrook-Smith. The show has also been nominated for Best New Musical. Holdbrook-Smith will co-host the WhatsOnStage Awards this year.

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