Matt Willis to Head Cast of New U.K. Tour of Footloose Musical | Playbill

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News Matt Willis to Head Cast of New U.K. Tour of Footloose Musical Footloose – The Dance Musical, the stage version of the 1984 film that was originally seen on Broadway in 1998, will embark on its fifth major U.K. tour, beginning performances Jan. 21, 2011, at Newcastle's Theatre Royal, with dates booked around the country through July.

Matt Willis
Matt Willis

The show has also previously had two West End runs, at the Novello in 2006 and the Playhouse in 2007. It is directed and choreographed by Karen Bruce, whose previous stage credits include Saturday Night Fever, The Wedding Singer, Never Forget and Fame.

Matt Willis will headline the tour as Chuck, with Max Milner as Ren and Steve Pinder as Reverend Shaw Moore. The cast also includes Carys Gray, Lorna Want, Jodie Jacobs, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Tanya Robb, Daniel Smith, Adam C. Booth, Giovanni Spano, Michael Palmer, Ben Harris, Simon Campbell, Kirk Barker, Simon Hardwick, Natalie Andreou, Sarah Kitson, Lindsey Tierney, Katy Hards, Nikki Mullins and Rory Locke.

Willis is currently starring in the West End production of Flashdance The Musical as Nick, through its closing on Jan. 15. He was a founding member of the British pop rock band Busted, after which he embarked on a solo career, releasing the singles "Up All Night," "Hey Kid" and "Don't Let It Go to Waste" as well as a cover version of The Primitives' song "Crash" for the feature film "Mr. Bean's Holiday." He went on to win the 2006 ITV series of "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here" and was seen as co-host of a subsequent series. He has also been a presenter of ITV2's coverage of the BRIT Awards. During his stage school training with Sylvia Young, he appeared on television in "The Bill," "Casualty" and "EastEnders."

Pinder is best known for playing Max Farnham in the long-running Channel 4 TV soap "Brookside," for which he won a Manchester Evening News Award for Best Actor.

Footloose tells the story of city boy Ren who has to move to Bomont, a rural backwater in America where dancing is banned. Life there is peaceful but Ren, breaking every taboo in the book, is determined to bring dance back to the heart of a town held back by the memory of a tragedy. The stage version is written by Dean Pitchford, who also wrote the screenplay and lyrics for the film. For full tour dates and further details, visit

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