Cast Set for London Premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s Unexpected Joy

London News   Cast Set for London Premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s Unexpected Joy
The musical recently played an acclaimed run Off-Broadway at the York Theatre Company.
Janet Fullerlove
Janet Fullerlove

Bill Russell and Janet Hood’s Unexpected Joy, which played Off-Broadway's York Theatre Company earlier this year, will make its U.K. debut beginning September 5 at London's Southwark Playhouse.

Bill Russell
Bill Russell

Directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, the all-female cast is made up of Janet Fullerlove (Fortune’s Fool, The Beggar’s Opera) as Joy, Jodie Jacobs (Myth, Rock of Ages) as Rachel, Melanie Marshall (Guys and Dolls, Jane Eyre) as Lou, and Kelly Sweeney (Ronald William White Acting Through Song Prize winner 2018) as Tamara.

The creative team is completed by musical director Gareth Bretherton, designer Verity Johnson, lighting designer Nic Farman, sound designer James Nicholson, casting director Jane Deitch, and general manager Chris Matanlé.

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers. Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she’s planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman.


Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions produce.

Lipson said, “New chamber musicals are rarely seen on stage—not to mention musicals with an all-female cast celebrating the importance of the freedom to love and that ‘Love is Love.’ I have always been a huge fan of Janet and Bill's work, and it is an honor to be presenting a U.K. premiere of their latest musical in London after our premiere Off-Broadway earlier in the year.”

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