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Nigel Harman to Portray Simon Cowell in X FACTOR Musical I CAN'T SING; Cynthia Erivo Nabs Lead

The Daily Mail reports that Simon Cowell has finally cast the actor who will portray him in the new X FACTOR musical I CAN'T SING, set to begin performances at the London Palladium on February 27. It's Nigel Harman, who won an Olivier for his role as 'Lord Farquaad' in SHREK THE MUSICAL in the West End.

"The hardest thing was: how do you find someone who's good-looking, talented and can look like me? And then we found Nigel!" Cowell told the Mail. Commenting on the show, he added: "They completely ripped into me -- and they make fun of X Factor in a very positive way. It's not a puff piece."

Read the original report here.

In addition, Cynthia Erivo, who is currently starring in Menier Chocolate Factory's revival of THE COLOR PURPLE, has been cast in the lead for I CAN'T SING. She has also taken the stage in the UK tour of SISTER ACT.

Harman has also appeared in the West End in A Chorus of Disapproval, Guys and Dolls, Mamma Mia! and Tommy. He will appear in Downton Abbey's upcoming fourth season; other TV credits include Hotel Babylon, Plus One and EastEnders.

Stage Entertainment UK and Syco Entertainment's I CAN'T SING!, will make its official debut at the Palladium on March 26, 2014.

I CAN'T SING! "goes behind the microphone and under the judges' desk to reveal the (not necessarily accurate) story of heartache and laughter that keeps millions tuning in every week."

The show, which had been announced under the Working Title X FACTOR - IT'S TIME TO FACE THE MUSICAL!, features 19 new songs with music and lyrics from Steve Brown (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Best Musical award winner), with book and lyrics by Harry Hill (Three BAFTAs, seven British Comedy Awards and a Golden Rose of Montreux) and is directed by double Olivier Award winner Sean Foley (Co-founder of The Right Size; Do You Come Here Often?, The Play What I Wrote and Ducktastic. West End includes The Ladykillers and What The Butler Saw).

The creative team is completed by Choreographer Kate Prince (Founder of Zoonation; Into The Hoods and Some Like It Hip Hop, London Handover Ceremony at Bejing 2008 Olympics), Designer Es Devlin (Multiple West End and Broadway credits. Creative Director for Take That, Kanye West and Pet Shop Boys stadium tours. Designer for London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony), Sound Designer Gareth Owen (Tony Award nominee. Credits include A Little Night Music, End of the Rainbow, Saturday Night Fever), Lighting DesignerHugh Vanstone (Three time Olivier Award winner. Credits include Spamalot, Shrek, Bombay Dreams, God of Carnage) and Musical Supervisor Phillip Bateman (Billy Elliot, Our House, Vernon God Little).

The X Factor launched in 2004 in the UK airing on ITV1. The X Factor's 2010 finale achieving a peak of 21.2 million viewers. The 2011 finale, held at Wembley Arena in front of a live audience of 12,000, was the most watched entertainment TV show of the year. The winner of 2012's X Factor, James Arthur, has sold more than a million copies of his debut single 'Impossible', making it the fastest selling single of last year. Other artists to emerge from The X Factor include the world's biggest pop group One Direction and Leona Lewis, who has sold more than 20 million records to date.

X Factor launched in the US in the fall of 2011 on Fox, immediately becoming the No 1 unscripted show of the season. Season 2 of The X Factor was the #1 most social TV show of 2012, with the season premiere having 1.4MM social comments, making it the most talked about premiere for a TV series ever (Source: Bluefin Labs). The US version of The X Factor airs in 166 countries. Local versions of The X Factor are now produced in more than 42 territories and artists discovered by The X Factor format have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, including 110 No 1's, 270 Top 10 records, and 500 Top 50 releases.

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