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Cast: Flashdance Gets Willis Busted, Chess & Day

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Busted pop star Matt Willis and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt will lead the cast of screen-to-stager Flashdance The Musical, which has its West End premiere on 14 October 2010 (previews from 27 September) at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where it’s initially booking until 26 February 2011.

The iconic 1983 film of Flashdance starred Jennifer Beals as Alex Owens, an 18-year-old Pittsburgh welder and exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a prestigious dance school and becoming a professional ballet dancer. The score features the songs “Maniac” and “Flashdance… What a Feeling” (which won an Academy Award for Best Song) - it also launched a fashion frenzy for torn sweatshirts.

The stage show premiered at the Theatre Royal Plymouth in July 2008 prior to national touring. In the West End Victoria Hamilton-Barritt reprises her performance as Alex. Her other West End musical credits include Grease, Mamma Mia!, Fame and Desperately Seeking Susan.

She’s newly joined by Matt Willis, making his West End and professional theatrical debut, as love interest Nick. Willis was a founder member of the British pop rock band Busted, after which he embarked on a solo career, releasing the singles “Up All Night”, “Hey Kid” and “Don’t Let It Go to Waste” as well as a cover version of The Primitives’ song “Crash” for the film Mr Bean’s Holiday. Willis went on to win the 2006 ITV series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

Also in the Flashdance are: Sarah Ingram (Hannah), Charlotte Harwood (Gloria), Hannah Levane (Keisha) and Twinnie-Lee Moore (Jazmin) with Brendan Cull, Russell Dixon, Sam Mackay, Ricky Rojas, Andrew Spillett and Robbie White, as well as Ivan Blackstock, Tyman Boatwright, Myles Brown, Joseph Connor, Natalie Edmunds, Nicholas Gilligan, Zoe Green, James Hall, Ben Harrold, Emily Hawgood, Kirby Huges, Sia Kiwa, Lindsay Shaw, Maria Swainson, Amy Thornton and Daniel Uppal.

Flashdance features music by Robbie Roth, lyrics Robert Cary and book by Cary and Tom Hedley. It’s directed by Nikolai Foster, choreographed by musical theatre veteran and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips and designed by Morgan Large with orchestrations and musical supervision by Phil Edwards. It’s produced by Christopher Malcolm, David Ian, the Baruch-Viertel-Routh-Frankel Group and Transamerica.

In other musical casting news:

  • In the world premiere musical version of Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, Stephen Rashbrook and Lucy Bradshaw will play Stevens and Miss Kenton, the parts played by Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in the Oscar-winning 1993 film of the Booker Prize-winning 1989 novel about the subtleties of love between a butler and housekeeper at an English country estate. Also in the cast are: Christopher Bartlett, Adrian Beaumont, Hannah Bingham, Marc Forde, Finola Glacken, Sophie Jugé, Reuben Kaye, Dudley Rogers, Gemma Salter, Katia Sartini, Paul Tate, Leejay Townsend, Alan Vicary and Rebecca Whitbread. The musical, written and directed by sibling duo Alex and Chris Loveless, runs at south London's Union Theatre from 1 to 25 September 2010.
  • And, in director-choreographer (and fellow Strictly Come Dancing judge) Craig Revel Horwood’s new actor-musician touring production of Chess, the cast will feature: James Fox, Shona White, Daniel Koek, Poppy Tierney, James Graeme and David Erik. The 1986 musical, with book and lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, centres on two World Chess Championship players in a romantic triangle with the woman who manages one and falls in love with the other. The eight-month tour launches from Newcastle’s Theatre Royal on 27 August 2010 before continuing to Northampton, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Sheffield, Salford, Cardiff, Bradford, Southampton, Nottingham, Norwich, Plymouth, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Southend, Belfast, Bristol, Woking and Glasgow, where the schedule concludes on 9 April 2011.
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