Jodie Prenger Joins Spamalot, Rhydian Has War
Prenger found fame by winning reality TV show I’d Do Anything, from which she made her stage debut in the West End production of Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and went on to win this year’s Whatsonstage.com Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. She gives her last performance as Nancy on 27 March, before heading off with Spamalot, which launched its tour from New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May.
“Lovingly ripped off” from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in their quest to find the religious relic – and features a chorus line of dancing divas (with serfs), flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and a legless knight.
The musical has a book and lyrics by original Python Eric Idle, who also co-wrote the music with John Du Prez. The West End production, which ran at the Palace from 16 October 2006 (previews from 30 September) to 3 January 2009, reunited the Broadway creative team including director Mike Nichols and set and costume designer Tim Hatley.
After Wimbledon, the tour will visit Nottingham, Glasgow, Brighton, Bromley, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Cardiff, Bristol, Woking, Sunderland, Edinburgh, Oxford, Torquay, York, Milton Keynes and Birmingham, where the current schedule finished on 1 January 2011. Prenger will appear in Wimbledon, Bromley, Brighton and Manchester. Further casting and tour dates are still to be announced.
In other musical casting news, Rhydian Roberts, aka simply Welsh favourite ‘Rhydian’ from the 2007 series of The X Factor, will make his musical debut in the new European stadium tour of Jeff Wayne's musical version of HG Wells' sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds (See News, 10 Nov 2009). First toured in 2006 and since seen by over half a million people, the spectacle is written by Wayne based on his 1978 concept album. Roberts plays Parson Nathaniel who loses his faith in the face of the apocalyptic Martian attack. He stars alongside Jason Donovan and Atomic Kitten's Liz McClarnon.
The War of the Worlds features an 11-foot high 3D hologram of Richard Burton (who voiced The Journalist on the original album), a three-tonne, 35-foot tall 'Martian Fighting Machine' which fires “heat rays at the audience”, as well as a new levitation effect. The tour begins in Amsterdam on 25 November 2010, before visiting Antwerp, Dublin, Belfast, Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Cardiff and Brighton. There are two London dates: at The O2 on 12 December and at Wembley Arena on 18 December. It will finish in Germany in January 2011.