Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton Open in U.K.'s Chichester Production of Sweeney Todd Oct. 6

Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton open in Chichester Festival Theatre's new production of Sweeney Todd Oct. 6, following previews that began Sept. 24, for a run through Nov. 5.

Michael Ball
Michael Ball (Photo by Catherine Ashmore)

The production, which is directed by Jonathan Kent, designed by Anthony Ward and choreographed by Denni Sayers, also features Lucy May Barker as Johanna, John Bowe as Judge Turpin, Luke Brady as Anthony, Robert Burt as Pirelli, Gillian Kirkpatrick as Beggar Woman, James McConville as Tobias, Peter Polycarpou as Beadle Bamford and Simeon Turby as Jonas Fogg. The ensemble comprises Valda Aviks, Will Barratt, Josie Benson, Emily Bull, John Coates, Daniel Graham, Robine Landi, Brian McCann, Tim Morgan, Aoife Nally, Adam Pearce, Wendy Somerville, Anton Stephans, Kerry Washington and Annabelle Williams.

Sweeney Todd, which features music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler from an adaptation by Christopher Bond, has previously been produced in London in a re-staging of Hal Prince's original Broadway production at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and in new productions at the National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Trafalgar Studios, amongst others. The latter, directed by John Doyle, subsequently transferred to Broadway.

Ball, who plays the title role, has previously appeared in the West End premiere of Sondheim's Passion, and was most recently seen on the London stage as the Olivier Award-winning star of Hairspray. He has also originated leading roles in the West End in Les Misérables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Aspects of Love (subsequently on Broadway) and taken over roles in The Woman in White and The Phantom of the Opera. He made his English National Opera debut as Hajj/Poet in Kismet and in 2005 he made his debut with the New York City Opera as Reginald Bunthrone in Gilbert and Sullivan's Patience. He co-produced Chichester Festival 2010's West End transfer of Love Story. He also has a successful recording career, and released his eighteenth album, "Heroes," and completed a nationwide tour earlier this year.

Staunton, who Mrs. Lovett, has previously appeared in the West End premiere of Sondheim's Into the Woods, where she played the Baker's Wife. Other musicals include the National's production of Guys and Dolls (as Miss Adelaide); she has also done a cabaret season as part of the Divas at the Donmar series at the Donmar Warehouse. Other recent theatre credits include A Delicate Balance at the Almeida Theatre and a West End production of Entertaining Mr Sloane. Film credits include the " Harry Potter series," "Taking Woodstock" and the title role in "Vera Drake," for which she received BAFTA, European Film and Venice Film Festival Awards, as well as an Oscar nomination. Television credits include "Psychoville" and "Cranford."

Kent has previously directed A Month in the Country at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2010. Other recent credits include the National's production of Oedipus with Ralph Fiennes. On Broadway, he directed the last revival of Man of La Mancha. To book tickets, contact the box office on 01243 781312, or visit www.cft.org.uk.

Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball
Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball (Photo by Catherine Ashmore)