Ria Jones, the supersub who played Norma Desmond to rave reviews and standing ovations when Glenn Close went sick for a number of performances of Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum at the end of April, gets a starring role in her own right in Paris in November.
Jones plays Dorothy Brock in the Theatre du Chatelet revival of 42nd Street, the Harry Warren/Al Dubin musical that swept a teenaged Catherine Zeta-Jones from chorus girl to leading lady when the show played in London in 1984.
Zeta-Jones was plucked out of the chorus when the original actress chosen to play musical theatre wannabe Peggy Sawyer and her understudy both fell ill at the same time. She did the part so well that she kept it and a star was born.
Playing Peggy in Paris will be 2014 ArtsEd graduate Monique Young in what will be a big chance for her to get noticed too.
Alexander Hanson, who had the title role in the short-lived Andrew Lloyd Webber/Don Black collaboration Stephen Ward in the West End in 2013, plays Broadway director Julian Marsh.
Dan Burton, who had two stints at the Chatelet as silent movie star Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain last year and played Tulsa in Gypsy at the Savoy in between, has been cast as Billy Lawlor, the juvenile lead in the show who falls for Peggy.
Others in the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical, which enjoyed a long run on Broadway in 1980, are Jennie Dale as Maggie Jones, Carl Sanderson as Bert, Emma Kate Nelson as Ann Reilly, Stephan Anelli as Andy Lee, Matthew McKenna as Pat Denning, Teddy Kempner as Abner Dillon, Chantel Bellew as Phyllis Dale, Charlie Allen as Lorraine Flemming, Enily Goodenough as Diane Lorimer, Jessica Keable as Ethel, Barnaby Thompson as Oscar and Scott Emerson as Mac/Doctor/Thug 1.
As previously reported in Musical Theatre Review, Stephen Mear will be directing and choreographing 42nd Street, with Gareth Valentine as musical director.
The show runs from 17 November to 8 January and will be the final English-language musical at the Chatelet for two years as a massive refurbishment of the 1,800-seat Seine-side theatre will commence in the spring of 2017.