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Janet Fullerlove, Jodie Jacobs, Melanie Marshall, and Kelly Sweeney Join the Cast of UNEXPECTED JOY

Janet Fullerlove, Jodie Jacobs, Melanie Marshall, and Kelly Sweeney Join the Cast of UNEXPECTED JOY Casting for the European premiere of Bill Russell and Janet Hood's new musical Unexpected Joy has been announced. The powerful all-female cast is made up of: Janet Fullerlove (Fortune's Fool, The Beggar's Opera) as Joy; Jodie Jacobs (Myth, Rock of Ages) as Rachel; Melanie Marshall (Guys and Dolls, Jane Eyre) as Lou; and Kelly Sweeney (Ronald William White Acting Through Song Prize Winner 2018) as Tamara.

Following a hugely successful run off-Broadway at the York Theatre Company, Unexpected Joy transfers to London's Southwark Playhouse from 5 September 2018, with press night on Friday 7 September.

Award-winning producers, Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Jim Kierstead of Kierstead Productions, have joined forces either side of the Atlantic to bring UK and US audiences' groundbreaking, innovative and current new musicals. Unexpected Joy is their first partnership venture with the musical being directed by Amy Anders Corcoran, with the book and lyrics written by Bill Russell and music by Janet Hood.

Katy Lipson said, "New chamber musicals are rarely seen on stage, not to mention musicals with an all-female cast celebrating the importance of the freedom to love and that 'Love is Love'. I have always been a huge fan of Janet and Bill's work and it is an honour to be presenting a UK Premiere of their latest musical in London, after our premiere Off-Broadway earlier in the year. I hope audiences will embrace these marvellous, strong characters and beautiful score."

The creative team is completed by: Gareth Bretherton (Musical Director), Verity Johnson (Designer), Nic Farman (Lighting Designer), James Nicholson (Sound Designer), Jane Deitch (Casting Director) and Chris Matanlé (General Manager for Aria Entertainment).

Unexpected Joy is the story of three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air - Joy, a baby boomer pop star, is visited by her daughter, Rachel and granddaughter Tamara. Rachel is married to a prominent televangelist, so Joy is reluctant to divulge that she's planning to marry Lou, another singer who happens to be a woman. A week with all four together is bound to lead to tension, laughter, discoveries and happiness that really is unexpected. Let the sparks and music fly!

In a time when the awareness of diversity and acceptance in society is at an all-time high, it's the perfect opportunity to examine differences within our own families. It's easy sometimes to disregard strangers who believe and live differently than the way we do, but what happens when those differences occur within our own family units?

Unexpected Joy explores this concept by introducing three generations of women who have different values, dreams, and goals. After drawing strong lines in the sand about what behaviors and thoughts each deems to be acceptable and unacceptable, at the end of the day, the question really is how can people get along and be the family they were always meant to be by finding common ground. Through laughter, tears, self-discovery, and an original and compelling score, Unexpected Joy encourages its characters, as well as the audience, to take a journey of self-discovery because, at the end of the day, we really are all just one big family.

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