Casting Announced for World Premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Stephen Ward, Starring Alexander Hanson
By Mark Shenton
Casting has been announced for the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Stephen Ward that begins performances Dec. 3 prior to an official opening Dec. 19 at the West End's Aldwych Theatre.
Alexander Hanson will play the title role of Stephen Ward, the society osteopath whose rise and fall from grace in early 60s London the show charts, as he becomes involved with the young and beautiful Christine Keeler and leads to one of the biggest political scandals and trials of the twentieth century.
Keeler will be played by Charlotte Spencer, with Charlotte Blackledge as Mandy Rice Davies, Anthony Calf as Lord Astor, Daniel Flynn as John Profumo and Joanna Riding as Valerie Hobson.
Also in the cast are 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.
The show, which has book and lyrics by playwright Christopher Hampton and lyricist Don Black, is directed by Richard Eyre, with designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Peter Mumford, sound by Paul Groothuis, projections by Jon Driscoll and choreography by Stephen Mear. It is produced by Robert Fox Limited and The Really Useful Group.
Hanson was last on stage as Pilate in the recent U.K. arena tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, and he has also previously appeared in Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard at the Adlephi Theatre. Other musical theatre credits include playing Fredrick Egerman in Tervor Nunn's production of A Little Night Music at the Menier Chocolate Factory, the West End's Garrick Theatre and Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre; Marguerite (for which he was Olivier-nominated) at the Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium. He has also appeared in We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre and Candide at the National.
Spencer has previously been directed by Richard Eyre as Jane Banks in the original West End production of Mary Poppins, and she was also seen in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Screen credits include "Les Miserables" and voicing the title role in the animated "Angelina Ballerina."
Blackledge, who trained at Central School of Speech and Drama, is making her professional stage debut in Stephen Ward.
Calf can currently be seen playing Victor Prynne in Jonathan Kent's production of Private Lives at the Gielgud Theatre. He has appeared extensively at the National Theatre and Royal Court theatres.
Flynn was recently seen in Bracken Moor at the Tricycle Theatre, 55 Days at the Hampstead Theatre and Richard II and Translations at the Donmar Warehouse.
Riding was recently directed by Richard Eyre in The Pajama Game at Chichester Festival Theatre's Minerva. Other recent musical roles include Billy Elliott at the Victoria Palace and Lend Me a Tenor and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (both at the Gielgud). She has twice won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical, for Carousel and My Fair Lady.
To book tickets, which are on sale through March 1, 2013, contact the box office on 0844 847 2379 or visit www.stephenwardthemusical.com.
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