Theatre News

Mel C Makes West End Debut in Blood Brothers

Spice Girl Mel C (full name Melanie Chisholm) will make her theatrical debut next month when she takes over the role of Mrs Johnstone in long-running musical Blood Brothers from 26 October.

One fifth of the chart-topping girl group, Mel C (aka ‘Sporty Spice’) is the first of the Spice Girls to be cast in a West End production. She follows in the footsteps of stars including Barbara Dickson, Kiki Dee, Carole King, Helen Reddy and current incumbent Niki Evans in Willy Russell’s Olivier award-winning musical.

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 this year celebrates its 21st birthday, is directed by Bob Thomson and Bill Kenwright and designed by Marty Flood. Mel C will link up with the current cast which includes twin brothers Ben and Michael Sewell as Mickey and Eddie.

In other musical casting news, Linzi Hateley and Pia Douwes are set to reprise their performances as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly in Chicago at the West End’s Cambridge Theatre for six weeks only, from 14 September to 24 October 2009.

Hateley takes over from Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams, who recently extended her run until 12 September. Ian Kelsey (Billy Flynn), David Ganly (Amos Hart) and Di Botcher (Mama Morton) will continue until 24 October.

The current revival of Chicago opened at the Cambridge Theatre (where the musical’s original London production ran for 603 performances from April 1979) on 28 April 2006, after eight-and-a-half years at the Adelphi Theatre. It won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production as well as the 1998 Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical.