Rufus Hound, last seen in the West End in the U.K. premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, is to play Toad in a new musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, featuring a book by Julian Fellowes (creator of TV's Downton Abbey and the books for the musical versions of Mary Poppins and School of Rock) and music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins).
It will receive its world premiere at Plymouth's Theatre Royal October 8-22, prior to runs at Salford's The Lowry (October 26-November 6) and Southampton's Mayflower (November 10-20). It is intended that the show will transfer to the West End thereafter.
Produced by Jamie Hendry and MJE Productions, the cast will also feature Fra Fee as Mole, Thomas Howes as Ratty, Neil McDermott as Chief Weasel and Sophia Nomvete as Mrs. Otter.
The full cast will include Rakesh Boury, Courtney Bowman, Jenna Boyd, Abigail Brodie, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Nicole Deon, James Gant, Evan James, Graham Lappin, Michael Larcombe, Bethany Linsdell, Dylan Mason, Emma Odell, Ryan Pidgen, Patrick Sullivan, Karli Vale, Adam Vaughan, Georgie Westall and Holly Willock.
Stiles, Drewe and Fellowes are also currently collaborating on a new version of the 60s musical Half a Sixpence, beginning performances at Chichester Festival Theatre July 14.
In a press statement, Hound commented, “I - like so many of us - was weaned on The Wind in the Willows, so this is an incredibly special opportunity. Bringing these adventures to a brand new audience is almost as exciting as a gleaming new motorcar. Roll on rehearsals! Poop poop!”
The musical will be directed by Rachel Kavanaugh with design by Peter McKintosh, choreography by Aletta Collins, lighting design by Howard Harrison, sound design by Gareth Owen and musical supervision by Simon Lee.
For full details and to book tickets, visit windinthewillowsthemusical.com.