The 17-strong international cast of the new London production of the acclaimed Broadway musical Grand Hotel will feature Christine Grimandi (as ageing Russian prima ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya). Grimandi is an acclaimed Italian musical theatre star making her eagerly awaited UK stage debut. Her previous starring roles include three years as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.
Grand Hotel will open for a six-week season at Southwark Playhouse from Friday 31 July. Press night is Wednesday 5 August.
The cast also features four of the UK cast of Titanic – Scott Garnham, Victoria Serra, Philip Rham and Samuel J Weir – returning in triumph from an acclaimed North American transfer to the 2,000-seat Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. Grand Hotel is also produced by Danielle Tarento and directed by Thom Southerland, the award-winning tream behind Titanic, Parade and Mack & Mabel.
The Grand Hotel in 1928 Berlin is bustling with eccentric and sometimes dubious guests: amongst them a fading prima ballerina being forced to dance again; a fatally ill Jewish bookkeeper who wants to spend his final days living in luxury; a young, handsome, but destitute Baron; a cynical doctor suffering from First World War wounds; an honest businessman going bad as he faces financial ruin and a typist dreaming of Hollywood stardom. Over the course of a weekend, their extraordinary stories interweave with each other and the hotel’s hard-working staff.
The Grand Hotel, with a book by Luther Davis, music and lyrics by George Forrest and Robert Wright, additional music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, premiered on Broadway in 1989 and ran for more than 1,000 performances. The show was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, winning five.
The 17-strong international cast are:
Christine Grimandi (Elizaveta Grushinskaya) is an acclaimed Italian musical theatre star making her UK stage debut. Her previous starring roles include three years as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, Mrs Potts in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Grizabella in Cats, Anita in West Side Story (all in Germany) and the Mother Superior in The Sound of Music (Rome).
Scott Garnham (Baron Felix Von Gaigern) has just played Edgar Beane in the transfer of Titanic to the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. His West End roles include Buddy Cortina in Made in Dagenham (Adelphi) and covered Liam O’Deary in I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium).
George Rae (Otto Kringelein) was Timon in Disney’s The Lion King, TJ in Sister Act; Ko-Ko in The Mikado (UK tour) and had featured roles in Whisky Galore – A Musical!, Kiss Me, Kate and Company.
Victoria Serra (Flaemmchen) has just played Kate McGowan in the transfer of Titanic to Toronto, a role she created in London. Her other leading roles include Sophie in Mamma Mia! (international tour) and Jenny in Love Story (Union).
Philip Rham (Colonel-Doctor Otternschlag) has just played Captain Smith in the transfer of Titanic to Toronto, a role he created at Southwark Playhouse. He was also Judge Roan in Tarento’s Parade at Southwark Playhouse.
Jacob Chapman (Hermann Preysing). West End credits include playing the rebel leader in We Will Rock You (Dominion) and Combeferre and understudy Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (Queens). Other roles included Pish-Tush in The Mikado (Charing Cross) and Henri in Carnival of the Animals (Riverside Studios).
Valerie Cutko (Raffaela) played Mrs Mullin in Carousel at Arcola theatre and Fraulein Kost in Cabaret, directed by Rufus Norris. She was in the original Broadway cast of Grand Hotel.
Jonathan Stewart (Erik) has just played George Button in A Damsel in Distress at Chichester Festival Theatre. He was Pinocchio in the original West End cast of Shrek.
James Gant (Rohna/Zinnowitz) has recently played both Jean Valjean and Javert in Les Misérables in the West End. He had featured roles in Evita, Jekyll & Hyde and Oliver! (UK tours).
Charles Hagerty (Sandor/Chauffeur) was in the original Broadway cast of If/Then. His other major musicals include Wicked, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Misérables.
Paul Iveson (Witt) has been in Jersey Boys (West End), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic) and Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park, Open Air Theatre).
The rest of the cast are: Rhiannon Howys, Jammy Kasongo, Ceili O’Connor, Durone Stokes, Samuel J Weir and Leah West.
The creative team are: director Thom Southerland, musical supervisor Simon Lee, musical director Michael Bradley, choreographer Lee Proud, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Derek Anderson, sound designer Andrew Johnson and casting director Danielle Tarento.