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Jared Thompson to Lead CLOSER TO HEAVEN at the Union Theatre; Full Cast Set!

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Full casting is announced today for Closer to Heaven, a musical by Jonathan Harvey and the Pet Shop Boys, which will receive its first London revival at the Union Theatre from Wednesday 22 April 2015, with a press night on Tuesday 28 April.

The cast features Jared Thompson as Straight Dave, Katie Meller as Billie Trix, Amy Matthews as Shell, Connor Brabyn as Mile End Lee, Ben Kavanagh as Flynn, Craig Berry as Vic and Ken Christiansen as Bob. The cast also includes Ellie Mitchell, Tamsyn Blake, Grace Reynolds, Jamie Firth, Martin Harding, Ben Somerside and Alex Tranter.

Reserved Seats will also be released online today, priced at £30 and available at selected performances. Reserved Seats are guaranteed reservations in the best seats in the theatre, which operates unallocated seating. 100% of the ticket revenue from these seats will contribute towards a profit share between the cast and creative team.

Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd said: "We are absolutely delighted that Closer To Heaven has recouped its production costs pre-opening due to an unprecedented 48 hour online sell-out. This means the entire cost of the Reserved Seats will be shared equally amongst the cast, musicians and creative team. The Off West End exists because of the good-will, risk and generosity of the people that decide to work on these shows, and in our fortunate circumstances it feels only right that any financial award is split amongst those giving their time and energy to make the work happen.

Tickets are available at www.ticketsource.co.uk/uniontheatre.

Set against the backdrop of Soho's pulsing clubland, Closer to Heaven tells the story of Dave, just off the boat from Ireland and determined to make something of himself. He is offered a bar job at a glitzy London nightclub, where he quickly becomes part of an unconventional family including Billie Trix, a fading rock star of the sixties and mother figure to the club's habitués, Vic, the club's owner and a middle-aged gay father, and his daughter Shell, who Dave sparks an immediate connection with. But will Dave truly discover himself in London, or will he fall into a labyrinth of excess, false agendas and the darker side of club life?

Closer to Heaven originally premiered at the Arts Theatre in 2001, and features an original club score by the Pet Shop Boys.

Pet Shop Boys are the UK's most successful pop duo with 12 Top Ten studio albums and 40 Top Twenty singles including four number one records. Their first single West End Girls reached number one in nine countries, with further number one hits including It's a Sin, Always on My Mind and Heart. They have won Brit awards for Best Single, Best Group and Outstanding Contribution to Music, and Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriting and Outstanding Contribution to British Music. They have a dedicated interest in combining music with theatre and film, having collaborated on tours with artist/director Derek Jarman, David Alden and David Fielding from the ENO, theatre designers Ian MacNeil and Es Devlin and director Sam Taylor-Wood. In 2001, Closer to Heaven was produced in the West End, and in 2011 their ballet The Most Incredible Thing, choreographed by Javier De Frutos, premiered at Sadler's Wells.

Jonathan Harvey is the multi award-winning writer of Beautiful Thing, which returns to the West End in June. He has written 20 stage plays including Corrie!, Canary, Hushabye Mountain, Babies, Boom Bang A Bang and Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. His theatre work has won him an Evening Standard Award, two Manchester Evening News Awards, the George Devine Award and the John Whiting Award. Television work includes the Bafta nominated sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme, Beautiful People, Coronation Street, Shameless, Rev (Bafta, Best Sitcom), At Home With The Braithwaites, Lilies, The Catherine Tate Show and Murder Most Horrid. Jonathan has also written 4 novels, published by Pan Macmillan, All She Wants, The Confusion of Karen Carpenter, The Girl Who Just Appeared, and The Secrets We Keep.

Closer to Heaven will be directed by Gene David Kirk, whose recent credits include Me & My Friend (Drayton Arms Theatre), The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams (Off Broadway), Orwell: A Celebration (Trafalgar Studios), The Ash Boy (Theatre503) and Elgar & Alice (UK Tour). Gene was Artistic Director of Jermyn Street Theatre from 2007 - 2012, winning The Stage's Theatre of the Year Award in 2012. Gene was Executive Producer for the stage premiere of Samuel Beckett's All That Fall starring Sir Michael Gambon and Dame Eileen Atkins, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, which transferred to the West End's Arts Theatre and to Off-Broadway's 59east59 Theatre. Gene is currently Artistic Director of the Drayton Arms Theatre.

Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd returns to the Union Theatre following productions of The Beautiful Game and Bare: The Rock Musical. Other productions include In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse), Altar Boyz (Greenwich Theatre), The Cat in the Hat (UK Tour) and the forthcoming London revival of Carrie: The Musical (Southwark Playhouse).

Closer to Heaven has a book by Jonathan Harvey and music and lyrics by Pet Shop Boys. It is directed by Gene David Kirk with choreography by Philip Joel, musical direction by Patrick Stockbridge and design by David Shields. Casting is by Adam Braham. It is produced by Kylie Vilcins for Paul Taylor-Mills Ltd, by special arrangement with The Really Useful Group.


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