The search for a leading lady for Cilla The Musical is over following the announcement that Kara Lily Hayworth will play the Liverpool lass who became one of the UK’s best-loved stars.
Following weeks of open auditions at venues across the country, attracting thousands of would-be Cillas, the Watford-born actress will take on her first leading role in a musical when the show begins its world premiere tour in Liverpool in September.
Hayworth’s quest for the coveted leading role in the musical adaptation of the critically-acclaimed ITV series by BAFTA award winner Jeff Pope began when she queued for four hours at London’s Dominion Theatre for the chance to audition.
After making the final 30, her final audition took place at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, the venue where Black’s glittering career began.
Announcing the casting, the show’s executive producer, Black’s son Robert Willis, said: ‘We wanted somebody who wasn’t going to impersonate my mum but someone who could capture her spirit. Kara came in with her huge personality and amazing voice – when I saw the response of the audience at the Cavern, I knew we’d found her!”
A delighted Hayworth, who will also get her first taste of touring in Cilla The Musical, revealed a special connection to the much-missed chart-topping singer and TV personality. “When I was 11 I was shopping out with my mum and bumped into Cilla and asked her for an autograph. I told her I wanted to be an actress – she laughed and said ‘It’s a tough industry, but if you really work hard and go for it, you’ll be just fine’.
“She was a huge inspiration to me as a child; I grew up watching her on Blind Date every Saturday night with my Nan. To be chosen to play her is such an honour and I’m so excited to take on the role.”
Presented by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, the extraordinary story of Liverpool teenager Priscilla White’s journey to stardom will receive its premiere in the star’s hometown at the Liverpool Empire from 7-16 September.
The tour will then visit Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Southampton, Birmingham, Blackpool, Cardiff, Wimbledon, Stoke, Manchester and Bradford.
The 2018 leg of the tour will begin in January in Dartford, followed by York, Glasgow, Northampton, Newcastle, Bristol, and Woking. Further dates are to be confirmed.