Full casting has been announced for Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Half a Sixpence.
Relative newcomers Charlie Stemp and Devon-Elise Johnson will play the central roles of Arthur Kipps and his childhood friend Ann Pornick, alongside actor Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow, actress Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham and Vivien Parry as Mrs Walsingham.
Both Stemp and Johnson have recently completed the international tour of Mamma Mia! Stemp has also appeared in Wicked in the West End while Johnson was a child performer in Billy Elliot.
Bartholomew’s extensive West End Credits include Mrs Henderson Presents, Into the Woods and Radio Times. Williams, who has been appearing in Mrs Henderson Presents, made her West End debut as Truly Scrumptious in the original cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, while Parry’s stage work includes the UK tour of The Girls and Fame in the West End.
The cast also includes: Kimberly Blake, Nick Butcher, Gerard Carey, John Conroy, Matthew Dale, Jaye Elster, Tim Hodges, Alex Hope, Jane How, Bethany Huckle, Rebecca Jayne-Davies, Jennifer Louise Jones, Philip Marriott, Harry Morrison, Sam O’Rourke, James Paterson, Callum Train, Annie Wensak and Lauren Varnham.
Due to open at the Festival Theatre on 14 July, the new adaptation of the hit 1960s musical reunites the team behind Mackintosh’ stage version of Disney’s Mary Poppins, Julian Fellowes and George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
Based on H.G. Wells novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul which was loosely based on the writer’s own experiences as an apprentice in a Southsea draper’s shop, the original show was conceived as a vehicle for Tommy Steele by Beverley Cross and David Heneker.
The new version features original songs by Heneker along with new music and lyrics by Stiles and Drewe and a book by Oscar-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator Fellowes.
Co-created by Mackintosh and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, the production coincides with the 150th anniversary of Wells’ birth and the 70th anniversary of the writer’s death. It will play the Festival Theatre from 14 July until 3 September.
Production design is by Paul Brown with choreography by Andrew Wright and orchestrations by William David Brohn. The musical supervisors will be Stephen Brooker and Graham Hurman, who will also conduct; with lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and video design by Luke Halls.
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