Cast Assemble To Officially Launch The European Premiere Of War-Time Gay Love Story

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The full cast of Yank! assembled yesterday at Hope Mill Theatre to give a special show taster for the official press launch of Yank! this morning.

The European premiere of war-time love story Yank! opens at the theatre in Ancoats next month and the Manchester press were given a sneak preview of one of the most exciting musicals to come to the city and a chance to meet the show's talented cast.

Theatre owners, Joseph Houston and William Whelton and co-producer Ben Millerman welcomed the press to Manchester's home to new musicals.

Joseph said: "As an independent theatre, our aim is to push boundaries and support new musical theatre. This is our most ambitious show so far so we hope you enjoy it!"

Meanwhile director James Baker introduced the 12-strong cast and gave the audience a flavour of the show before the cast performed a few of the musical numbers. The cast is led by Scott Hunter as Stu and Barnaby Hughes as Mitch.

James said: "Yank tells such a simple but beautiful story about two men who fall in love during World War II in America. The show has many layers and is so relevant to today's political climate. I've enjoyed a journey with this musical for the past year and I hope you will love it as much as I do."

Co-Producer Ben Millerman added "YANK is a unique and beautiful story, Manchester is a city that has always embraced individuality and is filled with unique stories of love and determination."

The latest collaboration between leading London-based theatre Production Company Aria Entertainment and the award-winning Hope Mill Theatre, Yank! will run for four weeks from Thursday 9 March to Saturday 8 April at Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats.

The musical tells a gay love story set in the midst of World War Two. Based on the real history and events of WW2, it focuses on the life of Stu, a scared Mid-Western youngster who is called up to serve in the forces in 1943. He becomes a photographer for Yank Magazine, the journal 'for and by the servicemen'. The musical explores what it means to be a man, and what it is to fall in love and struggle.

Based on the Off-Broadway production from 2010, this new version of Yank! is being performed for the first time ever in Manchester. The book and lyrics were penned by American writer David Zellnik, with his brother Joseph Zellnik's musical score paying homage to the timeless music of the 1940s.

Aria Entertainment, a theatrical Production Company headed up by Manchester-born producer and company director Katy Lipson, lead the creative team behind Yank! The musical will be directed by James Baker, and co-produced with Ben Millerman from Mr Millerman Presents and Hope Mill Theatre.

Completing the creative team are James Cleeve as musical director; choreographer Chris Cuming; designer Victoria Hinton; lighting designer Aaron J. Dootson; Sound Designer Chris Bogg; and casting director Ben Newsome.

Leading the cast are Scott Hunter (A Chorus Line, A Midsummer Night's Dream) as Stu and Barnaby Hughes (Grand Central, Damn Yankees) as Mitch. They are joined by Chris Kiely as Artie (Sunset Boulevard, Chess); Spencer Cartwright as Sarge/Scarlett (Billy Elliot The Musical, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk); Benjamin Cupit as Professor (Beauty And The Beast, Eugeneus); Tom Pepper as Cohen/Speedy (Drifters, Crazy For You); and Lee Dillon-Stuart as Tennessee (Rent, Les Miserables).

Completing the line-up are Tom Lloyd as Rotelli (Parade, Dirty Dancing); Kris Marc-Joseph as Czechowski (Sister Act, Children Of Eden); Mark Paterson as Lieutenant/NCO (The Wedding Singer, Jerry Springer - The Opera); Luke Bayer as India (Twelfth Night, The 12 Tenors); and Sarah-Louise Young as Louise (Casualty, Doctors).

The show's official charity will be in support of The Albert Kennedy Trust, which supports young LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or living in a hostile environment.

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Photo Credit: Bill Elms Associates

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