Dreamgirls UK premiere – Ibinabo Jack and Liisi LaFontaine join Amber Riley

Liisi LaFontaine

Liisi LaFontaine plays Deena Jones in Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre

Further casting has been announced for the long-awaited UK premiere of Dreamgirls which will have preview performances at the Savoy Theatre from 19 November and opening night on 14 December 2016.

As previously confirmed, American actress and singer Amber Riley will star as Effie White. Riley will be joined by Ibinabo Jack as Lorrell Robinson and Liisi LaFontaine as Deena Jones, making up the soulful singing trio ‘The Dreams’. Nicholas Bailey will play Marty, Adam J. Bernard will play Jimmy Early, Tyrone Huntley will play C.C. White and Joe Aaron Reid will play Curtis Taylor Jr, with Ruth Brown and Karen Mav alternating the role of Effie White at performances when Amber Riley is not scheduled to perform.

The cast of Dreamgirls will also include Jocasta Almgill, Callum Aylott, Hugo Batista, Samara Casteallo, Chloe Chambers, Carly Mercedes Dyer, Joelle Dyson, Kimmy Edwards, Candace Furbert, Nathan Graham, Ashley Luke Lloyd, Gabriel Mokake, Abiola Ogunbiyi, Sean Parkins, Kirk Patterson, Ryan Reid, Rohan Richards, Noel Samuels, Durone Stokes and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

Producer Sonia Friedman said: “It was wonderful to announce our star Amber Riley a few weeks ago. Now, having seen more than 1,000 performers audition over many months, I am thrilled that we can reveal most of our Dreamgirls company. It is 35 years since its Broadway premiere, so to finally be the ones to bring it to London with our world-class creative team and incredibly talented, exciting young cast is an honour and privilege. I believe we now have the perfect team to create a sensational production that I hope will be well worth the wait.”

American actress and singer Amber Riley is best known for her role as Mercedes Jones in the Golden Globe Award-winning musical comedy Glee. Additional television appearances include playing Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North in the NBC live performance of the musical The Wiz and competing in Dancing With the Stars, which she won in 2013. Riley’s numerous theatre credits include Alice in WonderlandA Midsummer Night’s DreamInto the Woods and Mystery on the Docks with the Los Angeles Opera. In November 2012, she made her New York stage debut in New York City Center’s Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade.

Ibinabo Jack. Photo credit Nicholas Dawkes

Ibinabo Jack takes on the role of Lorrell Robinson. Picture; Nicholas Dawkes

Ibinabo Jack’s stage credits include Legally Blonde The Musical (Savoy Theatre), The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), Little Shop of Horrors (Manchester Royal Exchange) and The Bodyguard on UK tour.

Liisi LaFontaine was a finalist on The Winner Is (NBC) as part of a singing duo The LaFontaines with her mother Nita Whitaker. Her stage credits include Once on This island (LACHSA production), Rent (Skylight Theater) and Dog Sees God (Skylight Theater). Her first EP titled Golden is now available on iTunes.

Nicholas Bailey is best known for playing Dr Anthony Trueman in EastEnders (BBC1) and Carl in The Archers (BBC Radio 4). Stage credits include Richard Eyre’s production of King Lear (National Theatre), Breakfast with Mugabe (Theatre Royal Bath), Julius Caesar (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Dreaming (Manchester Royal Exchange/West End). In 2006, Bailey was a contestant on ITV’s Soapstar Superstar.

Adam J. Bernard can currently be seen in Thriller Live! (UK tour), having previously starred in the West End production. Further theatre credits include I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium), Hairspray (Asia tour).

Tyrone Huntley’s stage credits include The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Sister Act (UK tour), Hairspray (Leicester Curve), Aladdin (King’s Lynn Corn Exchange). He was most recently seen as Gator in Memphis (Shaftesbury Theatre).

Joe Aaron Reid is currently starring as Benny in In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre). Broadway theatre credits include If/Then, Chicago, Curtains, Ghost, Catch Me If You Can and Finian’s Rainbow. He also appeared in the NBC drama Smash for two seasons.

Ruth Brown found fame in the first series of BBC’s The Voice, reaching the semi-finals under the mentorship of Tom Jones. She has since gone on to release her first UK single ‘P.O.P.’ and is soon to debut her new album, Letters of Truth.

Karen Mav was recently a contestant on the 2015 series of ITV’s X Factor where she wowed audiences with her take on Etta James’s ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ and the Whitney Houston version of the classic ‘I Will Always Love You’.

Dreamgirls will be directed and choreographed by Olivier and Tony Award-winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of MormonDisney’s Aladdin and Something Rotten!), and has set design by Tim Hatley, costume design by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Richard Brooker and hair design by Josh Marquette. The musical supervisor will be Nick Finlow, the orchestrator will be Harold Wheeler, with additional material by Willie Reale.

With book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, the original Broadway production of Dreamgirlsdirected and choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened in 1981 and subsequently won six Tony Awards. The original cast recording won two Grammy awards for Best Musical Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’. In 2006 it was adapted into an Oscar-winning motion picture starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

Tickets for Dreamgirls are available HERE.


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