New Stage Musical Version of It's a Wonderful Life to Premiere in U.K.; Casting Announced

News   New Stage Musical Version of It's a Wonderful Life to Premiere in U.K.; Casting Announced A new stage musical version of the 1946 Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life" will premiere in the U.K at the regional New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Suffolk, beginning Sept. 10 (prior to an official opening Sept. 17) for a run to Oct. 3.

Produced by the New Wolsey Theatre, whose artistic director Peter Rowe directs, the production is being staged in association with Avalon Promotions, the commercial management who were also previously behind the original West End run of Jerry Springer – the Opera, after it had been co-produced by them with the National Theatre.

It's a Wonderful Life features music by Steve Brown and book and lyrics by Brown and Matthew Francis. Brown previously wrote the score to the musical Spend Spend Spend, seen at the West End's Piccadilly Theatre in 1999, where it was Olivier-nominated for Best Musical and won both the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards in the same category. Designs are by Libby Watson, with choreography by Francesca Jaynes, lighting by Chris Ellis, sound design by Gareth Owen and musical dirction by Dane Preece.

The production features a cast of 17 adults and two teams of seven children performing in rotation.

The show revolves around George Bailey (played by Paul Thornley), who grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. Rescued by his Guardian Angel, played by Jo Servi, George is shown what life in Bedford Falls would have been like had he never been born. Finally realising the richness of his life, he returns back to the bosom of his family, where he discovers that the population of Bedford Falls, all of whom he has affected for the better, have clubbed together to save him from bankruptcy.

The cast also includes Helen Anker playing George's childhood sweetheart and wife Mary, Michael Fenton Stevens playing George's father Peter, Kerry Washington playing his mother, Paul Leonard playing town despot Henry F. Potter, James Paterson playing George's scatterbrain business partner Uncle Billy, Chris Grierson playing Harry, Tony Stansfield playing Gower, Harrison Hugo Harold playing Sam, Bryan Kennedy playing Ernie, Lucinda Shaw playing Violet, Neil Smye playing Bert, Keith Anthony Higham playing Marty and Mairi Cowieson playing Mrs. Martini with Gemma Atkins and Francesca Ellis as members of the ensemble. To book tickets, contact the box office at 01473 295900 or visit www.wolseytheatre.co.uk.

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