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Atomic Hamilton Joins Blood Brothers, 24 Jan

Natasha Hamilton, one third of Scouse girl band Atomic Kitten, will make her West End debut next year, joining the cast of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers as Mrs Johnstone from 24 January 2011.

Hamilton is the latest in a string of celebrity castings for the role, which has previously been played by Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Carole King, Helen Reddy and, until recently, Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm. Mrs Johnstone is currently being played in the West End by 70's pop star Lyn Paul who has regularly played the role on tour and at the Phoenix Theatre since 1997.

The West End role will not be Hamilton's stage debut, having last year appeared alongside Henry Winkler and Les Denis taking the title role in the Liverpool Empire's pantomime, Peter Pan. She will join the current Blood Brothers a cast of Philip Stewart (Narrator), Stephen Palfreman (Mickey), Simon Willmont (Eddie), Vivienne Carlyle (Mrs Lyons), Christopher Dickins (Mr Lyons), Louise Clayton (Linda) and Michael Southern (Sammy).

Best known for their global hit "Whole Again", which reached the number one spot in 19 countries including spending four weeks at the top in the UK. The group followed up their success with Bangles cover “Eternal Flame” and “The Tide Is High” as well as becoming the only girl group to top the singles, albums and dvd charts simultaneously. The group have been on an extended break since their 2003 tour, with Hamilton pursuing TV and business projects, and is due to release her first solo album.

Blood Brothers, which premiered in 1983 and has been at the West End's Phoenix theatre since 1991, tells the story of twin boys separated at birth, only to be re-united by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The score includes “A Bright New Day”, “Marilyn Monroe” and the emotionally charged finale song “Tell Me It’s Not True”.

The current production, which opened at the Albery Theatre on 27 August 1988 and celebrated its 21st birthday at the theatre last year. The show is directed by Bob Thomson and Bill Kenwright and designed by Marty Flood.

Also in musical casting news, as previously reported, George Stiles' new show, an adaptation of The Three Musketeers premieres at the Rose Theatre, Kingston this Christmas, the theatre's first musical. The full cast was recently announced with Hal Fowler playing Porthos, Michael Pickering as D’Artagnan, Matt Rawle playing Aramis and Paul Thornley as Athos. They are joined in the cast by CJ Johnson as Milady and Kaisa Hammarlund playing Constance. The show runs from 3 December 2010 (previews from 27 November) until 2 January 2011.

Finally, Tête à Tête's production of Salad Days which run at the Riverside Studios from 14 December (previews from 9 December 2010) until 6 February 2011 has announced full casting with Rebecca Caine playing the role of Lady Raeburn.

Set in an optimistic and often absurd 1954, Salad Days tells the story of Timothy and Jane who marry secretly after falling in love at university and then meet a tramp with a magic piano that makes everyone dance whenever it's played.

Caine, who created the role of Cosette in the RSC’s original production of Les Miserables, is joined in the cast by Tony Timberlake (Hairspray, Spamalot, Les Miserables), Mark Inscoe (Priscilla, Queen of The Desert, La Cage Aux Folles, Whistle Down The Wind), Sam Harrison (Avenue Q) and Katie Moore.


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