Chesney Hawkes, a British pop icon best known for his number one hit "The One and Only," will play the lead role of Tony opposite "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" reality TV finalist Siobhan Dillon, as love interest Mandy. Can't Smile without You — newly written around such classic Barry Manilow hits as "Could It Be Magic," "It's a Miracle," "I Write the Songs," "Mandy," "I Made It Through the Rain," "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again" and the title tune — has a book by Tim Prager, based on an original idea by Bill Kenwright, who also produces the show and co-directs it with Keith Strachan.
The show begins performances at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre on Aug. 28, prior to an official opening on Sept. 1, and runs there to Sept. 6. The production will then play Dartford's Orchard Theatre (Sept. 8-13), Liverpool's Empire Theatre (Sept. 15-20), Bristol's Hippodrome Theatre (Sept. 22-27), Manchester's Palace Theatre (Sept. 29-Oct 4), Hull's New Theatre (Oct. 6-11), Glasgow's King's Theatre (Oct. 13-18), Edinburgh's Festival Theatre (Oct. 20-25), Northampton's Royal and Derngate Theatre (Nov. 10-15), Stoke's Regent Theatre (Nov. 17-22) and Darlington's Civic Theatre (Nov. 24-29).
Hawkes recently completed his new album "Another Fine Mess." Other songs he has written have been recorded and charted by performers as diverse as boy band A1, Caprice and various other international artists. Dillon went on from "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" to sign a record deal with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group, co-wrote and recorded an album with Polydor for Universal. She subsequently starred in the West End production of Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre.