Final casting is today announced for the World Première of Pure Imagination, which celebrates the songs of Leslie Bricusse, one of the most prolific and well loved film and musical theatre songwriters of our time.
Dave Willetts, Siobhan McCarthy, Niall Sheehy, Julie Atherton and Giles Terera will star in Pure Imagination, produced by Danielle Tarento and directed by Tony nominated Christopher Renshaw (Taboo, The King & I, We Will Rock You). It will première in the main house at St. James Theatre, in a 4-week season from Thursday 24 September to Saturday 17 October. Press night is Tuesday 29 September at 7.30pm.
The full creative team is also announced: Director: Christopher Renshaw, Musical Director/Orchestrator: Michael England, Musical Staging: Matthew Cole, Production Designer: Tim Goodchild, Lighting Designer: Derek Anderson, Sound Designer: Mike Thacker, Projection Designer: Victor Craven, Producer/Casting Director: Danielle Tarento.
Dave Willetts (The Man) has been one of this country’s leading musical theatre stars for 25 years. He was the first person to play the leading roles in the two most successful shows of recent times, Les Misérables (London and Australia) and The Phantom of the Opera (London and Manchester) for which he won the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Performance. His other leading roles include Old Deuteronomy in Cats (London); Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar (London and Europe); Father in Ragtime (London); Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (National Tour and London); Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (National Tour); George in Sunday in the Park with George (National Tour); Max Von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard (London), for which he received an Olivier Award nomination; Sir George Dillingham in Aspects of Love (London) for which he received a Whatsonstage Award nomination.
Siobhan McCarthy (The Woman) recently starred as Mrs Lovett in the sold-out production of Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Harrington’s Pie Shop, Tooting which then transferred to the West End. She created the role of Donna in the original cast of Mamma Mia! for which she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Her other roles include: Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre); Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers (Phoenix Theatre); Chrissie in Dancing at Lughnasa (Phoenix Theatre); Fantine in Les Misérables, (Palace Theatre); Svetlana then Florence in Chess, original London cast (Prince Edward Theatre); Frankie Frayne in On Your Toes, original London cast (Palace Theatre); Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar (Palace Theatre); The Mistress then Eva in Evita original London cast (Prince Edward Theatre).
Niall Sheehy (The Boy) was a finalist on the ITV show Superstar. His musical theatre roles include: cover Chris in Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre); cover Enjolras in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); cover Fiyero & Dr. Dillamond in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); cover Sir Lancelot in Spamalot (UK Tour); Arab in West Side Story (Gaiety Theatre, Dublin); Lee Harvey Oswald in Assassins (Draíocht Theatre, Dublin); Ray Dooley in The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Int’l Theatre, Frankfurt); Carson/Peter in A Man Of No Importance (Union Theatre and Arts Theatre transfer).
Julie Atherton (The Girl) first starred in the West End in the lead role of Sophie in the West End production of Mamma Mia! Her other leading roles include: Serena Katz in the national tour of Fame and the Kolokolo Bird in the Stiles and Drewe musical Just So. In 2006, she played Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in the West End premiere of Avenue Q (Noel Coward Theatre). More recently: Sister Mary Robert in the first UK tour of Sister Act the Musical; Therese Raquin (Finborough & Park Theatres); the world première of Shock Treatment, the musical sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show (King’s Head Theatre).
Giles Terera (The Joker) was in the original West End cast of Book of Mormon. His other musical theatre roles include: Gary Coleman in Avenue Q (Noel Coward Theatre); Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live from Las Vegas (Strand Theatre); Quickly Robinson in Jailhouse Rock (Piccadilly Theatre); Luther in 125th Street (Shaftesbury Theatre); Mr Jefferson in Rent (Prince of Wales Theatre).
Whether writing alone or forming magical partnerships – including Anthony Newley, Henry Mancini, John Williams and John Barry – double Oscar and Grammy Award winner Leslie Bricusse’s music has touched us all. He has composed over 1,000 songs and written the book, music and/or lyrics for more than 40 musical films and plays over a 60-year career. This heartwarming and uplifting show features 50 of his songs, including such favourites as What Kind Of Fool Am I, If I Ruled The World, Talk To The Animals, Feeling Good, Goldfinger and many, many more.
Leslie Bricusse has been nominated for 10 Oscars, nine Grammys and four Tonys and won eight Ivor Novello Awards in an illustrious career. His composing started as a student at Cambridge, where he co-authored, directed and performed in his first two musical shows, Out of the Blue and Lady at the Wheel, both of which transferred to London’s West End. He spent the first year of his professional life writing another musical, The Boy on the Corner and the screenplay and score of his first motion picture, Charley Moon, which won him his first Ivor Novello Award. His later stage musicals include Stop the World – I Want to Get Off; The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd; Pickwick; Harvey; The Good Old Bad Old Days; Goodbye Mr Chips; Henry’s Wives; Scrooge; Sherlock Holmes; Jekyll and Hyde; Noah’s Ark; Sammy; Cyrano de Bergerac Kennedy; Victor/Victoria and It’s a Dog’s Life!
Christopher Renshaw (Director) began his career in the 1970s directing opera at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House. His acclaimed production of The King and I began in Australia, was mounted on Broadway and in the West End. We Will Rock You ran at the Dominion Theatre for 12 years. Another production of The King and I opened on Broadway starring Donna Murphy (she won the Best Actress Tony Award) and Lou Diamond Phillips to rave reviews. He received the 1996 Drama Desk Award as well as Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations for his direction, and the revival won the Tony Award for Best Revival. In 2002 he directed the world premiere of Taboo, using the music of Boy George in London. It later transferred to Broadway and was revived back in London in 2012, co-produced by Danielle Tarento. His production of The Gipsy King’s Zorro has been seen in London, Amsterdam, Moscow, Tokyo and Paris. After opening at The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta last year, it is now on its way to Broadway.
Danielle Tarento (Producer and Casting Director) was named Best Producer at the 2012 Off West End Awards and nominated Producer of the Year at the 2015 Stage awards. Her production of Titanic at Southwark Playhouse won Best Off West End Production at the 2014 Whatsonstage Awards and Best Musical Production at the 2014 Off West End Awards. She has also produced Gods And Monsters, Dogfight, Victor/Victoria, Mack & Mabel, Parade, Company and Three Sisters at Southwark Playhouse; The Grand Tour (Finborough); Taboo (Brixton Clubhouse); The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola); Burlesque, Drowning On Dry Land (Jermyn Street); Noël And Gertie (Cockpit). She is co-founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory.