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More Music for Garrett, Mamma Cast, Bailey Opera

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Lesley Garrett will reprise her role as Mother Abbess, alongside the previously announced Connie Fisher as Maria in the tour of The Sound of Music when it plays the New Wimbledon Theatre later this year.

Garrett and Fisher are reunited on stage, having first played the roles at the London Palladium in 2006. The Sound of Music completes its national tour of over two years at the theatre, running from 11 to 22 October 2011.

Fisher returns to the tour for other dates, including the musical's run at Wales Millennium Centre from 23 August to 3 September. The role of Maria has recently been played by Emmerdale star Verity Rushworth alongside Marilyn Hill Smith Mother Abbess.

Casting for Captain von Trapp is still to be confirmed, with fans missing out on seeing Jason Donovan during the production's New Wimbledon stint.

Garrett is one of Britain’s most popular sopranos and has released 13 solo albums. Her television credits include The Lesley Garrett Show, Lesley Garrett Tonight, Viva La Diva and The Lily Savage Show. Her opera credits include many critically acclaimed roles for the English National Opera and The Merry Widow at the Royal Opera House as well as Carousel at the Savoy Theatre.

Connie Fisher won the BBC reality talent search How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, playing the role for 15 months at the Palladium. Before reprising the role for the UK tour she starred in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of They’re Playing Our Song and ITV drama Caught in a Trap.

The Sound of Music is directed by Jeremy Sams, with choreography by Arlene Phillips, design by Robert Jones, sound by Mick Potter and lighting by Mark Henderson. The show is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and Really Useful Group.

Sally Ann Triplett will return to West End smash-hit Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre from 13 June 2011 alongside the show's new London cast, playing Donna Sheridan with Joanna Monro as Rosie and Kim Ismay as Tanya.

The full cast were today announced as William Tapley (Sam Carmichael), Oliver Senton (Harry Bright), Mark Gillis (Bill Austin), Dani De Waal (Sophie Sheridan), Craig Fletcher (Sky), Hannah Fairclough (Ali), Rachel Sargent (Lisa), Warren Sollars (Pepper) and Alex Jessop (Eddie). At certain performances, the role of Donna Sheridan will be played by Melissa Jacques.

Based on the songs of ABBA, Mamma Mia! opened at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1999 (previews from 23 March), transferring to its current home at the Prince of Wales on 3 June 2004. The show has grossed over $2 billion worldwide and was immortalised on film in 2008 with Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth leading the cast.

Set on a Greek island, the show centres on young Sophie who, preparing for her wedding day, has invited three of her mother's ex-lovers in an attempt to discover the identity of her father. Mother Donna’s former band members come along for the festivities too. The musical's original book, by Catherine Johnson, is interspersed with Abba disco classics such as "Dancing Queen", "Thank You for the Music", "Take a Chance on Me" and the title song.

Mamma Mia! is produced by Judy Craymer, Richard East & Björn Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal.

Casting has been announced for the Open Air Theatre Regent’s Park's production of The Beggar's Opera with Phil Daniels in the role of Mr Lockit alongside David Caves as Macheath.

Following her performance as Little Red Riding Hood in last year’s Into the Woods Beverly Rudd takes on the role of Lucy Lockit. The cast will also include Tim Frances (Mr Peachum), Janet Fullerlove (Mrs Peachum), Flora Spencer-Longhurst (Polly Peachum), Akiya Henry (Suky Tawdry) and Lucie Skeaping (Jenny Diver).

Further casting includes Karen Anderson, Jack Bannell, Keith Dunphy, Oliver Hoare, Rob McNeil, Fernanda Prata, Vinicius Salles and Frank Scantori.

Lucy Bailey's production of John Gay’s original text opens on 28 June (previews from 23 June 2011). Early music group the City Waits, led by Roddy and Lucie Skeaping, will use authentic instruments to bring the 1728 score of lewd songs and low ballads alive.

Telling the story of highwayman Macheath, whose love of wine, women and song leads to hilarious consequences, the piece is set beneath the gallows of rural Tyburn, at the far end of Oxford Street.

The comically corrupt satire, which will run until 23 July 2011, is designed by William Dudley with movement by Maxine Doyle, musical direction and arrangements by Roddy Skeaping, lighting designed by Oliver Fenwick and sound designed by Mike Walker.

Finally, further casting has been announced for West End long-runner The Lion King with Damien Baldet (Timon), Jacquelyn Hodges (Shenzi) and Sebastien Torkia (Ed) joining the previously reported Ava Brennan as Nala.

Additions to the musical's ensemble have been announced as Curtis Lee Scott, Cleveland Cathnott, Francisco Lins, Wade Lewin, Darcel Frederik, Aisha Jawando, Momo Yeung, Jose Alves and Jamie Golding.

The company now includes performers from 16 countries around the world including Canada, USA, South Africa, Jamaica, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa, Singapore and Korea.

The Disney screen-to-stage adaptation opened on 19 October 1999 (previews from 24 September). The current company features Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa, George Asprey as Scar and Andile Gumbi as Simba.

Based on Disney's 1994 animated feature film, the stage adaptation opened first on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1997. The original Broadway creative team, led by director and designer Julie Taymor, reunited for the London production. The Lion King features 15 songs, including the five from the film and new songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional numbers by South African-born Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Hans Zimmer and Julie Taymor. The book is by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi.


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