Cynthia Erivo and Cassidy Janson Star in Ahrens & Flaherty's DESSA ROSE European Debut, Beg. Tonight at Trafalgar Studios

Cynthia Erivo and Cassidy Janson Star in Ahrens & Flaherty's DESSA ROSE European Debut, Beg. Tonight at Trafalgar Studios

Cynthia Erivo (I Can't Sing!, The Color Purple) returns to the West End alongside Cassidy Janson (Avenue Q, Wicked, Candide) in the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Dessa Rose, running at Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2), today 29th July - Saturday 30th August 2014. Press night is Thursday, 31st July, 7pm.

Also starring in this exciting and vibrant musical drama are: John Addison (Phantom of the Opera, Les Mise?rables, A Little Night Music), Edward Baruwa (Sister Act, Avenue Q, Les Mise?rables), Sharon Benson (Hot Mikado, Cats) who returns to the West End after her best- known role in the iconic Old Vic Production of Carmen Jones, '70s music icon Miquel Brown (The Amen Corner, Fame, The Reflection Day), Alexander Evans (The Secret Garden, Carousel, Masterclass), Cameron Leigh (Imagine This, Calamity Jane, Chicago), Fela Lufadeju (Dirty Dancing, Hairspray, Drunk), Gabriel Mokake (The Color Purple, Porgy and Bess), Abiona Omonua and Jon Robyns (Avenue Q, The Menier Chocolate Factory's Road Show, Les Miserables).

Multi-award winning director Andrew Keates said: 'In an age of casting inappropriate celebrities just to sell seats, we are very proud to have collected together some of our finest actors, who work in musical theatre, to serve this extraordinary story and indeed respect musical theatre as an art form. Quite simply, I couldn't have asked for a better cast.'

Cynthia Erivo said: 'I am so excited to be part of this production. We have a great cast and it is a gift of a role for me to play.'

Dessa Rose is based on the book by Sherley Anne Williams with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once On This Island, Seussical, Rocky The Musical) who have won Tony Awards, Drama Desk Awards and Outer Critics Circle Awards and been nominated for Grammys, Academy Awards and a Golden Globe.

This powerful and moving story, set in 1846 in the ante-bellum South, follows two young women on their journey to acceptance. With elements of blues, folk, hymns and gospel, Dessa Rose perfectly blends history and fiction. Passionate and innocent Dessa Rose is a young slave faced with a barrage of hardships because of the colour of her skin. While Ruth, a young white mother, faces difficulties because of her gender. Through this extraordinary tale Ruth and Dessa discover the value of unconditional friendship and establish a deep and lasting bond.

Trafalgar Studios is located on Whitehall. All performances play Studio 2, Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY. The nearest underground stations are Charing Cross (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines), Embankment (on the Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines), Westminster (on the Jubilee, Circle and District lines) and Leicester Square (on the Northern and Piccadilly lines). The nearest rail station is Charing Cross.

Box Office Tickets are available priced £15, £22.50 and £30 from Trafalgar Studios Box Office and, 0844 871 7632.

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