Principal casting for the previously announced new revised stage musical version of Half a Sixpence, which will begin performances at Chichester Festival Theatre July 14 prior to an official opening July 26, has been announced.
Two young actors, Charlie Stemp and Devon-Elise Johnson, will play Arthur Kipps and Ann Pornick, respectively, alongside three-time Olivier-nominated actor Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow, three-time Olivier-nominated actress Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham and Vivien Parry as Mrs. Walsingham.
Based on the H.G. Wells novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul and the original musical by Beverley Cross and David Heneker, it features a new book by Julian Fellowes (Mary Poppins, School of Rock) and new music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe (Mary Poppins, Honk). Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, who is co-producing the show with Chichester Festival Theatre, it is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.
In the show, Arthur Kipps, an orphan and overworked draper's assistant at the turn of the last century, unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society. His childhood companion, Ann Pornick, watches with dismay as Arthur is made over in a new image by the beautiful and classy Helen Walsingham. Both young women undoubtedly love Arthur – but which of them should he listen to? With the help of his friends, Arthur learns that if you want to have the chance of living the right life, you need to make the right choices.
Bartholomew is currently in Mrs. Henderson Presents, for which he was Olivier-nominated. Previously he was nominated for both Into The Woods and Radio Times.
Williams is currently in Mrs. Henderson Presents, for which she was Olivier-nominated. She was also previously nominated for Love Story (which premiered at Chichester) and Zorro. Other West End credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bat Boy: The Musical and Desperately Seeking Susan.
The production is designed by Paul Brown, with choreography by Andrew Wright and orchestrations by William David Brohn. The musical supervisors will be Stephen Brooker and Graham Hurman, who will also conduct; with lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Mick Potter and video design by Luke Halls.
The originally announced Bryan Dick, who was to have played Kipps, was released from his commitment following a scheduling conflict, as Hobson's Choice, in which he starred at Bath's Theatre Royal, is transferring to the West End.
The production is booking through September 3. To book tickets contact the box office on 01243 781312 or visit cft.org.uk.