Diana Vickers – a 2008 finalist on TV's "The X Factor" – will star in the title role under the direction of Terry Johnson.
The play, originally produced by the National Theatre in its smallest auditorium the Cottesloe (where Sam Mendes directed Jane Horrocks in the title role), has previously been seen in the West End when that production transferred to the West End's Alwych Theatre. It was briefly seen on Broadway in 1994, in a different production when the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 1993 staging transferred briefly to the Neil Smion Theare, running for a total of nine performances (following 19 previews). In 1998 a film version was made, with Horrocks reprising her stage role opposite Brenda Blethyn as her mother.
In press materials, the play is described as "a savage black comedy-drama about painfully shy, diminutive Little Voice (LV), who lives alone in the north of England with her mother, Mari. Mari's drunken, overbearing personality has driven LV into seclusion in her bedroom, where she listens to her late father's records and has perfected faultless impersonations of the greatest divas, including Judy Garland and Dame Shirley Bassey. When Mari's latest boyfriend, small-time working men's club impresario Ray Say, overhears LV singing, he puts in place a tragic sequence of events as he pushes her towards stardom she doesn't want and is literally terrified of."
Vickers, who will play LV, was born in Burnley, Lancashire, the sort of town where the play is set. She has been singing since the age of 11. Her talent came to light when she entered the "X Factor" in 2008, and her journey saw her survive nine weeks of live shows. She recently signed a record deal with RCA records, and she is taking a short break from recording her debut album, due for release in early 2010, to take the role.
In a press statement, producer Nica Burns commented, "There was no question of reviving this fabulous play in the West End until we had found our Little Voice. When Jim Cartwright, who originally wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice for Jane Horrocks, told me he had found the perfect girl — and then dragged me off to Wembley to see Diana Vickers perform as part of the 'X Factor' tour, I thought he'd gone mad! But when I saw Diana I knew immediately he was right; she has a special quality. When she finally agreed — after much persuasion — to come in and read for us, we found out that not only can she sing but she was an intuitive actress as well. We are extremely grateful to Diana's record company for allowing her a break from recording her debut album to take on this exciting role in the West End. I know it wasn't part of her career plan after the 'X Factor', but we are delighted she agreed to do it — even if it meant wearing my knees out begging her!" Cartwright added, "This young girl is a natural actress. The moment she read the part, it was magic. A frisson ran through the room. Diana Vickers is the real deal. She is Little Voice."
Cartwright's other plays include Road, Two and Eight Miles High. Director Terry Johnson is currently represented in the West End by his production of La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre that is Broadway-bound in 2010. He has also directed West End productions of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, The Graduate (also Broadway), Elton John's Glasses and The Memory of Water, as well as directing his own plays Hitchcock Blonde, Dead Funny and Hysteria there.
Further casting and full creative team will be announced in due course.
To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4663 or visit www.littlevoicewestend.com.