Jason Manford to Make West-End Debut as Pirelli in SWEENY TODD, 2 27 July - 'Anything can happen!'
Stephen Sondheim's musical masterpiece, Sweeney Todd, stars Olivier Award winner Michael Ball as the infamous demon barber of Fleet Street and Oscar-nominated actress Imelda Staunton as his devoted accomplice Mrs. Lovett. Following sell-out success at Chichester Festival Theatre, the production transferred to London's West End on 10 March, 2012 for a limited season only, and must end on 22 September, 2012. Comedian Jason Manford will join the company as "Italian" barber Pirelli for four weeks in July this year, covering for Robert Burt, who is scheduled to sing at Glyndebourne Festival 2012.
Jason Manford says: "I'm excited to be making my musical theatre debut in London's West End. It's an absolute honour to join legendary actors Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton as well as such a bloody brilliant company of performers. I'm really excited to perform in one of Stephen Sondheim's most thrilling and funny shows and anyone that's wondering what a comedian is doing singing in the West End should remember that once upon a time Frank Spencer became the Phantom - this is the West End, where anything can happen!"
As previously reported on BroadwayWorld, Michael Ball commented that many celebrities say they would like to be in musicals, but that very few go through with it. He said that Manford went through a "proper audition".
Perhaps best known for his work as a stand-up comedian, as seen on Live at the Apollo (BBC1) and as team captain on panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4), Manford showcased his opera-singing skills in 2011, winning ITV's Born to Shine.
Sweeney Todd is directed by Jonathan Kent, designed by Anthony Ward and choreographed by Denni Sayers. The company also includes: John Bowe, Peter Polycarpou, Robert Burt, Gillian Kirkpatrick, Lucy May Barker, Luke Brady, James McConville, and Simeon Truby. The ensemble includes: Valda Aviks, Will Barratt, Josie Benson, Kimberly Blake, Emily Bull, Helen Colby, John Coates, Matthew Gent, Daniel Graham, Robert Irons, Robine Landi, John McManus, Tim Morgan, Aoife Nally, Adam Pearce, Wendy Somerville, Robert Traynor, Adam Vaughan, Kerry Washington and Annabelle Williams.
Set amongst London's seedy side streets and laced with Sondheim's characteristically brilliant wit and dark humour, the musical depicts Sweeney Todd's savage quest for justice and retribution after years of false imprisonment. Aided and abetted by the pie-shop owner, Mrs Lovett, he sets out to avenge the wrongs done to him and his family. Combining a brutal sensibility with elements of English music hall, the production offers a gripping portrait of a man driven to madness by injustice.
Presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York.
The Sweeney Todd 2012 London cast recording is now available. Co-produced by Michael Ball, the album is the first new Sweeney Todd recording since the 2005 Broadway Revival. The album is available from the Adelphi Theatre and online at www.sweeneytoddshop.myshopify.com