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Cast: Ashfield & Thomas Go Blonde, Blackman is Gertie

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New casting has been announced for the West End production of Legally Blonde with Stephen Ashfield and Ben Freeman joining the cast from 10 October 2011.

Whatsonstage.com Award-winner Stephen Ashfield, who picked up the gong in 2009 for his role in the original London cast of Jersey Boys will take over of Emmett Forrest from Lee Mead. His other theatre credits include playing Boy George in Taboo in the West End and on tour,

Simon Thomas will be replaced by former Emmerdale star Ben Freeman as Warner Huntington III. Freeman's stage credits include Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Savoy Theatre and on tour as well as Same Time, Next Year at the Jersey Arts Centre.

Other cast changes for the Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award-winning screen-to-stage musical, which opened at the Savoy Theatre in January 2010, include Tricia Adele Turner taking over the role of Vivienne Kensington, which Siobhan Dillon has played since October 2010.

The new cast members join Carley Stenson as Elle Woods, Natalie Casey Paulette, Ellie Kirk as Margot, Peter Davison as Professor Callahan and Tamara Wall as Brooke Wyndham.

The full cast of Legally Blonde from 10 October 2011 will include: Jon Tsouras (Padamadan, Nikos), Georgie Ashford (Gabby, Stenographer), Lucy Miller (Serena), Nathan Pinnell (Carlos), Chris Ellis-Stanton (Grandmaster Chad, Dewey, Kyle), Danielle Steers (Judge, Saleswoman), Abiona Omonua (Pilar), Gemma Sutton (Enid), Sorelle Marsh (Courtney, Mom, Whitney), Nick Hayes (Pforzheimer), Chloe Brooks (Kate, Chutney), Lincoln Stone (Dad, Winthrop, Reporter), Robbie Towns (Aaron), Gregory Sims (Kiki), Ross Hunter (Lowell) and Tara Young (Cece, District Attorney) as well as Fabian Aloise, Henry Davis, Jane McMurtie, Ruthie Stephenson and Carolyn Maitland.

Legally Blonde The Musical picked up four gongs at the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, including Best New Musical. Nominated for five Olivier Awards it went on to win Best New Musical, the Best Actress in a Musical prize for Sheridan Smith and Best Supporting Role in a Musical for co-star Jill Halfpenny.

Based on the 2001 Hollywood film in which Reese Witherspoon played California sorority girl Elle Woods, the show is directed by Tony Award-winning and Olivier Award-nominated choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Having opened on Broadway in 2007 the musical comedy opened at the Savoy Theatre on 13 January 2010 (previews from 5 December 2009) where it is currently booking until 31 March 2012. The show also embarked on a UK tour from Liverpool Empire in July of this year.

Legally Blonde has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, set design by David Rockwell, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Paul Miller, sound design by ACME Sound Partners and orchestrations by Christopher Jahnke.

It's produced in the West End by Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G Bartner, Ambassador Theatre Group, Bud Martin, Adam Zotovich, Jamie Hendry Productions, Matthew Byam Shaw and Act Productions.

In other casting news, Ben Stock and Helena Blackman will star in the Cockpit Theatre revival of Sheridan Morley's Noël and Gertie which opens on 30 September (previews from 27 September) and runs until 22 October 2011.

The production reunites the creative team behind the current Southwark Playhouse revival of Parade, producer Danielle Tarento, director Thom Southerland, musical supervisor Michael Bradley and lighting designer Howard Hudson.

Crafted from diaries and letters between Noël Coward and his stage partner, Gertrude Lawrence, Noël and Gertie ran for nine years in the West End.

Although they only appeared in two productions together, Private Lives and Tonight at 8.30, Coward and Lawrence epitomised an era of high style and elegance. Noël and Gertie combines songs, sketches and snippets of scenes to portray the due and the era they helped define.

Helena Blackman came to prominance as a runner-up on the BBC reality casting show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. She has since starred in Nellie Forbush in South Pacific on tour and as Helen Fogel in the West End premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night at the Jermyn Street Theatre.

Ben Stock’s West End credits include Eugene in Grease, Over My Shoulder - The Jessie Matthew Story, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! as well as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast on tour.

Director Thom Southerland's recent directing credits include the acclaimed revival of Parade at Southwark Playhouse as well as Me and Juliet at the Finborough. He has also directed I Sing!, Divorce Me, Darling!, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pajama Game and all-male adaptations of HMS Pinafore and The Mikado at the Union Theatre.

Noël and Gertie has choreography by Stewart Nicholls and is produced by Danielle Tarento whose credits include Company at Southwark Playhouse and Sunday In The Park With George at the Menier Chocolate Factory (which she co-founded) and in the West End.


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