News: Full cast announced for Opening Night

Wessex Grove, Gavin Kalin Productions and Playful Productions are delighted to announce further casting for the World Premiere of John Cassavetes’ OPENING NIGHT, a new musical with book by Ivo van Hove and music and lyrics by Rufus Wainwright.

Joining Sheridan Smith as Myrtle will be Hadley Fraser as Manny, Shira Haas as Nancy, Nicola Hughes as Sarah, Amy Lennox as Dorothy and John Marquez as David. Further casting to be announced.

Directed and conceived by Ivo van Hove, OPENING NIGHT will play a strictly limited season at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End from 6 March to 27 July

Ivo van Hove said today “I am truly delighted to be bringing this new musical to the West End and thrilled we’ve assembled such a stellar cast to join Sheridan. It is a real privilege to be collaborating with the wonderful Rufus Wainwright, fulfilling our ambition of bringing this tale of the trials and tribulations behind the scenes of the theatre to the stage.”

Hadley Fraser’s many West End credits include most recently The Lehman Trilogy at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, City of Angels at the Garrick and Donmar Theatres, Young Frankenstein, also at the Garrick Theatre and Javert in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre. Hadley starred at Raoul in the 25th Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall and Grantaire in the 25th Anniversary of Les Misérables at the O2. On Broadway he created the role of Tiernan in The Pirate Queen.

Shira Haas garnered international critical acclaim for her role in the Netflix series Unorthodox, for which she won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series and was nominated for both a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award, becoming the first Israeli to be nominated for an acting Primetime Emmy Award. Shira won the Tribeca Film Festival Award for Best International Actress for her performance in the film Asia. Additional credits include this year’s Netflix series Bodies, the international hit series Shtisel, and Niki Caro’s film The Zookeeper’s Wife. Shira will next star in Marvel’s fourth Captain America film, Captain America: New World Order. Opening Night will mark Shira’s West End debut.

Nicola Hughes is a double Olivier Award nominee for Best Actress in a Musical for her starring roles in Fosse at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre. Her other West End credits include Velma Kelly in Chicago and Lola in Damn Yankees, both at the Adelphi Theatre and The Acid Queen in the original London company of Tommy at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Other theatre credits include Simply Heavenly at the Young Vic and Trafalgar Studios, Allelujah! at The Bridge Theatre, Caroline or Change at Chichester Festival Theatre and Shug Avery in the original London company of The Color Purple at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Nicola most recently appeared at The Witch in Into the Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath, for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Performance at this year’s UK Theatre Awards.

Amy Lennox recently starred as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. She received an Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her portrayal of Lauren in the West End production of Kinky Boots. Her other credits include Ellie in the London premiere of the David Bowie and Enda Walsh musical Lazarus. She was in the original West End cast of the musical Legally Blonde and created the role of Doralee in the original UK production of 9 to 5 The Musical.

John Marquez recently played Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion at the Old Vic. He has also appeared at the Old Vic in The American Clock and Flea in her Ear. His many other theatre credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre, Privates on Parade at the Noël Coward Theatre, Ragtime at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Anniversary at the Garrick Theatre and The Emperor Jones, Market Boy and Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, all at the National Theatre. John is best known to TV audiences as PC Joseph Penhale in the hit ITV series Doc Martin.

Sheridan Smith is an award-winning stage and screen actress, whose acclaimed West End credits include most recently playing the title role in Shirley Valentine at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and as Doris in Flare Path at Theatre Royal Haymarket, both garnered her Olivier Awards, and the latter the Evening Standard Award as Best Actress. She received further Olivier nominations for her performance as Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Duke of York’s Theatre, and Fanny Brice in Funny Girl at the Savoy Theatre. Other notable performances include Hedda Gabler at The Old Vic, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Noël Coward Theatre, the Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium, and her stage debut as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods at the Donmar Warehouse. Amongst her prolific screen roles, Sheridan was Emmy-nominated and won a BAFTA as Mrs Biggs, and further BAFTA-nominated for The C Word and her titular role in Cilla, for which she was also Emmy-nominated. Big screen credits include Dustin Hoffman’s Quartet and most recently The Railway Children Return.  She has released two albums, titled Sheridan and A Northern Soul, resulting in two Classic BRIT Award nominations.

Based on John Cassavetes’ legendary film, OPENING NIGHT follows a theatre company’s preparations to stage a major new play on Broadway. But drama ignites behind the scenes when their leading lady is rocked by tragedy, and her personal turmoil forces everybody to deliver the performance of their lives. 

OPENING NIGHT has a Book by Ivo van Hove with Music and Lyrics by Rufus Wainwright. It is Directed and conceived by Ivo van Hove, has Set, Lighting and Video Design by Jan Versweyveld, Costume Design by An D’Huys and Sound Design by Tom Gibbons and Alex Twiselton. Orchestrations are by Rufus Wainwright, with Musical Supervision and Musical Direction by Nigel Lilley. Movement and Choreography is by Polly Bennett, Casting by Julia Horan CDG and the Associate Director is Daniel Raggett.

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