Chichester season – Omid Djalili to star in Daniel Evans’ Fiddler On the Roof

Omid-DjaliliComedy favourite Omid Djalili’s performance as Tevye in a major new production of Fiddler On the Roof is set to be one of the musical highlights of Daniel Evans and Rachel Tackley’s first season at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

The British-Iranian comedy actor whose many credits include taking on the role of Fagin in Oliver! (West End) will take on the iconic role in the production which will be directed by newly-installed artistic director Evans.

A revival of the original New York stage production which was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, the Chichester Festival production will also star Tracy-Ann Oberman as Tevye’s wife Golde.

With a book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler On the Roof will play the Festival Theatre from 10 July until 26 August with a press night on 18 July and a special relaxed performance on 26 July.

Evans and executive director Tackley also announced the Chichester debut of Olivier Award winner Sharon D. Clarke in Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s Caroline, Or Change.

Sharon D. Clarke plays Caroline Thibodeaux and joining her in the cast are Keisha Amponsa Banson (The Radio), Me’sha Bryan (The Washing Machine), Angela Caesar (The Moon), Alex Gaumond (Stuart Gellman), Nicola Hughes (Dotty Moffett), Teddy Kempner (Mr Stopnick), Beverley Klein (Grandma Gellman), Ako Mitchell (The Dryer/The Bus), Abiona Omonua (Emmie Thibodeaux), Gloria Onitiri (The Radio),Vincent Pirillo (Grandpa Gellman), Jennifer Saayeng (The Radio) and Lauren Ward (Rose Stopnick Gellman).

Although the original 2004 Broadway production was re-staged at the National Theatre in 2006 and went on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Chichester’s version will be the first new UK production.

Directed by Michael Longhurst, the musical which mixes blues, souls, Motown, classical music and Jewish folk song in a tale set in momentous times in 1960s Louisiana, will play the Minerva Theatre from 6 May until 3 June with a press night on 11 May.

CFT17_Caroline-Or-Change_Sharon-D.-ClarkeUnveiling details of a packed inaugural season, Evans and Tackley said: “We are thrilled to introduce our first season at the helm of Chichester Festival Theatre. It’s been a joy to put together a variety of work created by some of the most exciting artists in the country.

“We’re delighted to welcome those who are new to Chichester, such as Marcia Gay Harden, Sharon D. Clarke, Omid Djalili and Edna O’Brien, and the many who are making return visits – among them Ian McKellen, Richard Wilson, Jonathan Kent and Richard Eyre.

“It’s a particular pleasure that some of the UK’s most talented young designers and creative artists will be working on this year’s productions, and we’re also offering new opportunities for six assistant directors at the start of their careers.

“There will be over 10,000 tickets available at £10 in the Festival Theatre, and the price of tickets for 16 to 25 year olds has been reduced to £5. For the first time, there will be a Relaxed Performance of our summer musical, Fiddler On the Roof; there’ll be free entertainment for everyone in Oaklands Park, and a Fun Palace weekend in October. We hope that everyone will find something to enjoy.”

Other music-flavoured content in the 2017 programme includes the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s presentations of Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales for Young and Old (4-19 August) and a new adaptation of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast (16-31 December).

Angela Thomas


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