Casting has been announced for the European premiere of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s musical Dogfight, produced by Danielle Tarento, the award-winning producer of Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel, and directed by Matt Ryan, in The Large at Southwark Playhouse for a six-week season from Friday 8 August to Saturday 13 September (press night is Wednesday 13 August).
Dogfight, a new book musical based on the 1991 movie of the same name starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, premiered Off-Broadway in 2012, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. It was also nominated for five Outer Critics Circle and two Drama Desk Awards.The libretto is by Peter Duchan.
November 21, 1963. The night before their deployment to Vietnam, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, the unassuming and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet, she rewrites the rules of the game and opens his eyes to what really matters in life.
Heading the London cast in the central roles of Eddie and Rose are Jamie Muscato and Laura Jane Matthewson.
Jamie Muscato was in the world première of The Light Princess at the National Theatre. He has also appeared in Les Misérables (both the feature film and on the international tour), Rock of Ages at the Shaftesbury, Love Story at Chichester and the Duchess, and Spring Awakening at Lyric Hammersmith. Recently he was in the development workshops of the musicals Bend It Like Beckham and Blitz! and has just finished filming the TV biopic Cilla.
Laura Jane Matthewson won The Ronald Wlliam White Prize for Acting Through Song at The Royal Academy of Music. Dogfight is her London stage debut in a starring role.
The rest of the cast are: Emily Olive Boyd, Cellen Chugg Jones, Nicholas Corre (West End Men, Vaudeville), Matthew Cutts (Victor/Victoria at Southwark Playhouse; Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Grease); Joshua Dowen (Cool Rider, Duchess), Ciaran Joyce (Les Misérables; best known for playing Lol in three series of the BBC drama The Story of Tracy Beaker), Amanda Minihan (Merrily We Roll Along, Menier and Harold Pinter; Sister Act, The Producers), Rebecca Trehearn (Ghost on tour; Love Story, Duchess; Dirty Dancing, Aldwych; We Will Rock You, Dominon; Aspects of Love for Trevor Nunn at the Menier), Samuel J. Weir (Parade at Southwark Playhouse; Carnival of the Animals; the world première of Monkee Business at Manchester Opera House; the Les Misérables feature film).
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (music and lyrics) have been a composing team since meeting in college. In 2007 they were the youngest ever recipients of the Jonathan Larson Award – named after the late Rent composer. Pasek and Paul (as they are affectionately known) made their Broadway debut last year with A Christmas Story which received three Tony Award nominations and six Drama Desk Award nominations. Their other stage musicals include Edges and James and the Giant Peach. They composed several original songs for the second season of the Broadway TV drama Smash.
Director Matt Ryan began his career as an associate to Trevor Nunn and John Caird on Cameron Mackintosh’s original production of Les Misérables. He then staged productions of the show in Australia, South Africa, Hong Kong and on tour in the UK. He was associate director of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and directed the show’s Australian premiere in Sydney as well as the original British touring production. His other theatre credits include: Howard Goodall’s The Winter’s Tale, Sweeney Todd, Company, Cabaret, Sweet Charity, Carousel, Oklahoma!, Nine, Grand Hotel, Merrily We Roll Along, The Rink, The Wild Party, Rent, Carnival, Assassins, Promises Promises and the London premieres of Violet, Jane Eyre, A Man of No Importance, Bernarda Alba, A Catered Affair and Is There Life After High School?
Ryan is joined by choreographer Lucie Pankhurst, musical director George Dyer, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Howard Hudson and sound designer Andrew Johnson.
Producer and casting director Danielle Tarento was named Best Producer at the 2012 Off West End Awards and recently won Best Off West End Production at the 2014 Whatsonstage Awards and Best Musical Production at the 2014 Off West End Awards for Titanic at Southwark Playhouse. She has also produced Victor/Victoria, Mack & Mabel, Parade and Company at Southwark Playhouse, Taboo (Brixton Clubhouse), The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola), Burlesque, Drowning On Dry Land (Jermyn Street) and Noel and Gertie (Cockpit). She is co-founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory and co-produced all in-house shows 2004-2006, including Sunday in the Park With George, which received a West End transfer and five Olivier awards.