Fra Fee, Cassidy Janson, Ben Lewis, Scarlett Strallen and David Thaxton have been cast in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Christmas musical Candide with music by Leonard Bernstein, book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler, lyrics by Richard Wilbur and additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Park and Bernstein.
From Westphalia to the far reaches of the New World, Candide’s journey of discovery is anything but dull. Through anguish, happiness, loss and love, this is a whirlwind adventure that seeks to prove ‘life is happiness indeed’. Bernstein’s musical comedy features a classic Overture and ‘Make Our Garden Grow’ (both of which were performed on the Last Night of the Proms) and ‘Glitter and Be Gay’.
Scarlett Strallen will be playing Cunegonde. Her theatre credits include A Chorus Line (London Palladium), Singin’ in the Rain (Chichester Festival and Palace Theatre, London), for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical, Passion (Donmar Warehouse) and the title role in Mary Poppins on Broadway and in the West End. Other productions include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as the original casts of Mamma Mia!, The Witches of Eastwick (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Peggy Sue Got Married (Shaftesbury).
Fra Fee takes on the role of Candide. His theatre credits include A Man of No Importance (Salisbury Playhouse), Young Buddy in Follies (Opera de Toulon, France), Les Miserables (Queen’s Theatre) and Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre). Fee played Courfeyrac in the film version of Les Miserables.
Cassidy Janson will play Paquette. Her theatre credits include Lend Me a Tenor – The Musical (Gielgud), Avenue Q (Novello), Elphaba in Wicked (Apollo Victoria) and Tick Tick Boom (Menier Chocolate Factory).
David Thaxton plays Maximilian. Thaxton won the 2011 Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Giorgio in Passion (Donmar). Other theatre credits include Love Never Dies (Adelphi) and Les Miserables (Queen’s).
Ben Lewis plays the Governor and Vanderdendur. Lewis appeared as The Phantom in the Australian production of Love Never Dies, as well as in A Little Night Music (Opera Australia) and the Australian productions of Spamalot and Priscilla – Queen of the Desert.
The cast of Candide also includes Carly Anderson, Jeremy Batt, Christopher Jacobsen, Frankie Jenna, Rachel Spurrell, Helen Walsh and Matt Wilman. Further casting will be announced shortly.
The production is directed by Matthew White whose credits include The Last Five Years, Little Shop of Horrors and Sweet Charity for the Chocolate Factory and, most recently, Top Hat – the 2013 Olivier Award-winner Best New Musical. Choreography is by Adam Cooper whose credits include On Your Toes (Leicester Haymarket and Royal Festival Hall), Carousel (Savoy) and Grand Hotel (Donmar).
The creative team also includes David Charles Abell (musical supervision), Paul Farnsworth (set/costume design), Paul Anderson (lighting design), Gareth Owen (sound design), Seann Alderking (musical direction) and Jason Carr (orchestrations).