U.K. Premiere of Happy Days - the Musical to Feature Ben Freeman and Cheryl Baker; Complete Cast Announced
By Mark Shenton
Full casting has been announced for the U.K. stage premiere of Happy Days - the Musical, which will begin performances Jan. 11, 2014, at Bromley's Churchill Theatre near London, prior to an official opening Jan. 14; a tour will follow.
The previously announced Heidi Range (the longest-serving current member of the British girl group Sugababes and seen last year as a contestant on U.K. TV's "Dancing on Ice"), who will play Pinky Tuscadero, will be joined by Ben Freeman (Scott Windsor in TV's "Emmerdale" and currently playing Fiyero in the West End's Wicked) as the Fonz, and Cheryl Baker (original member of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest winning group Bucks Fizz who has appeared on stage in Footloose, Beauty and the Beast and Menopause: The Musical) as Mrs. Cunningham.
The cast also features Lucy-Jane Adcock, Charlie Allen, Henry Davis, Ray Gardner, Emma Harrold, Grace Holdstock, Katie Monks, Eddie Myles, James Paterson, Edwin Ray, Sam Robinson, Andrew Waldron, Scott Waugh and Jason Winter.
The musical is based on the Paramount Pictures television series of the same name created by Garry Marshall, who has also written the book for the musical. Music and lyrics are by Paul Williams.
The production is directed and choreographed by Andrew Wright, Olivier Award nominee for Best Choreographer for Singin' in the Rain that transferred to the West End's Palace Theatre from Chichester Festival Theatre. His other recent choreographic credits include a Chichester revival of 42nd Street that also played at Leicester's Curve and a national tour of Wonderful Town.
It is produced by Amy Anzel for Sunday Monday Ltd. in association with Todd Ruppert of RTR International, and presented in partnership with Ed’s Easy Diner, the chain of retro-American diners that has 20 branches around the U.K.
Henry Winkler, who created the role of The Fonz in "Happy Days," is serving as the show's creative consultant. According to press materials, he will be working alongside the director in creating the "Happy Days" world of 1959 America and guiding the cast in creating their familiar characters.
In addition to creating the original TV series, Marshall is also the director of such films as "Pretty Woman," "Beaches" and "The Princess Diaries 1&2."
The musical also features 21 original songs by Paul Williams, who also composed the much-loved "Happy Days" theme song from the TV show, as well as the opening theme for "The Love Boat" TV series, and scores for the films "Bugsy Malone" and the Oscar-nominated "Phantom of the Paradise." His songs include the Oscar-winning "Evergreen" for the Barbra Streisand film version of "A Star is Born," "An Old Fashioned Love Song," "We've Only Just Begun" and "Rainy Days and Mondays."
After opening in Bromley, it will tour to Brighton, Hull, Dublin, Southampton, Sheffield, Glasgow, Bristol, Norwich, Southend, Woking, Cambridge, Sunderland, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Dartford, Canterbury, Wolverhampton, Milton Keynes, Salford and Nottingham, continuing through July 5.
For full touring dates and booking details, visit www.happydaysthemusical.co.uk.
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