Stephen Ward at the Royal Variety Performance

2. Royal Variety Performance 2013 - Alexander Hanson (Stephen Ward) and Charlotte Spencer (Christine Keeler) perform - photo credit ITV

Alexander Hanson (Stephen Ward) and Charlotte Spencer (Christine Keeler) perform at the Royal Variety Performance 2013. Picture: ITV

Last night at the London Palladium, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber introduced Alexander Hanson (Stephen Ward) and Charlotte Spencer (Christine Keeler) performing The Side of the Sky at the Royal Variety Performance, from the forthcoming West End production of Stephen Ward. At the end of the evening, Lloyd Webber, Hanson and Spencer were greeted by Prince Charles. The Royal Variety performance will be broadcast on ITV1 on Monday 9 December.

Richard Eyre directs the world premiere of Stephen Ward, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by playwright Christopher Hampton and lyricist Don Black. The musical previews begin at the Aldwych Theatre on 3 December, with press night on 19 December, and the production is currently booking to 1 March 2014.

The cast for the Stephen Ward also includes Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo, Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson, Ian Conningham as Ivanov, Chris Howell as Murray, Ricardo Coke Thomas as Lucky Gordon and Wayne Robinson as Johnny Edgecomp. Other cast members are Martin Callaghan, Kate Coyston, Jason Denton, Julian Forsyth, Amy Griffiths, Paul Kemble, Emma Kate Nelson, Carl Sanderson, Emily Squibb, John Stacey, Helen Ternent and Tim Walton.

4. Royal Variety Performance 2013 - Prince Charles, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alexander Hanson and Charlotte Spencer. Photo credit ITV

Prince Charles meets Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alexander Hanson and Charlotte Spencer at the London Palladium. Picture: ITV

Set and costume designs are by Rob Howell, with lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Paul Groothuis, projection design by Jon Driscoll and choreography by Stephen Mear.

Alexander Hanson (Stephen Ward) was last on stage as Pilate in the recent UK arena tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Previously he appeared as Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music, which after its run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, transferred to the West End and then to Broadway. In 2009 Hanson was Olivier Award-nominated for his performance as Otto in Marguerite at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. His many other music theatre credits include Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, Candide for the National Theatre and Sunset Boulevard at the Adelphi Theatre.

Charlotte Spencer (Christine Keeler) was directed by Eyre as Jane Banks in the original West End production of Mary Poppins. Previously she was seen on stage in Olivier! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Most recently she has been seen on screen in Les Miserables. Charlotte Blackledge (Mandy Rice Davies) who trained at Central School of Speech and Drama is making her professional stage debut in Stephen Ward.

Stephen Ward is produced by Robert Fox Limited and The Really Useful Group.

Look out for an interview with Joanna Riding who plays Valerie Hobson in Stephen Ward in Issue Four of Musical Theatre Review – published on 30 November

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