Casting has been revealed for the international premiere of Off-Broadway musical and Second World War love story Yank! in Manchester next month.
The first production in the second season of shows from the partnership between Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre and London arts producer Aria Entertainment will run from 9 March to 8 April.
Leading the cast are Scott Hunter (A Chorus Line, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Barnaby Hughes (Grand Central, Damn Yankees). They are joined by Chris Kiely (Sunset Boulevard, Chess); Spencer Cartwright (Billy Elliot the Musical, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk); Benjamin Cupit (Beauty and the Beast, Eugeneus); Tom Pepper (Drifters, Crazy For You); and Lee Dillon Stuart (Rent, Les Misérables).
Completing the line-up are Tom Lloyd (Parade, Dirty Dancing); Kris Marc-Joseph (Sister Act, Children of Eden); Mark Paterson (The Wedding Singer, Jerry Springer – The Opera); Luke Bayer (Twelfth Night, The 12 Tenors); and Sarah Louise Young (Casualty, Doctors).
Described as a moving gay love story, Yank! has a book and lyrics by David Zellnik and music by his brother Joseph. The production will be directed by James Baker and co-produced with Ben Millerman from Mr Millerman Presents.
The creative team also includes musical director James Cleeve, choreographer Chris Cuming, designer Victoria Hinton, lighting designer Aaron J. Dootson, sound designer Chris Bogg and casting director Ben Newsome.
Aria Entertainment’s producer and company director Katy Lipson commented: “We’re so excited that the international premiere of new musical Yank! is now just a month away. We’re delighted that we’ve now found our extremely talented 12-strong cast, who will do absolute justice to this moving and special piece of writing from David and Joseph Zellnik. I discovered Yank! almost three years ago, but it took a while to find the perfect venue to host its premiere.
“David spent countless hours researching and interviewing World War 2 veterans to give Yank! so much authenticity, and it’s such a privilege to be working so closely with Joseph and David to bring this new version of the story to the Hope Mill Theatre stage in Manchester, along with new orchestrations and with more musicians than the show had Off-Broadway.”
Following on from the success of last year’s productions of the Tony Award-winning Parade and the classic rock musical Hair, Yank! is one of the three headline musicals lined up for this year by the Aria Entertainment/Hope Mill partnership.
Running from 7 until 30 September, the second show will be The Stationmaster the musical which made its debut as part of Aria Entertainment’s annual From Page to Stage festival of new musicals in 2015.
The musical is inspired by Odon von Horvath’s Judgment Day, translated by Christopher Hampton with a book by Susannah Pearse and music and lyrics by Tim Connor. Set in a small town in the Lake District, The Stationmaster will be directed by Bronagh Lagan.
The UK premiere of Tony-nominated Broadway musical Little Women will be the third and final production of 2017, running from 9 November to 9 December 2017. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 novel, the show has book by Allan Knee, with lyrics by Mindi Dickstein and music by Jason Howland.
The brainchild of Joseph Houston and William Whelton, the 120-seat Hope Mill Theatre in the Ancoats area of Manchester opened in December last year. The venue is part of a converted Grade II listed former cotton mill that also houses studios for writers, artists and designers; events space and a café and bar.