Jenna Russell Will Lead FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS at Riverside Studios This Year

The production will play a limited 9-week at the Riverside Studios from 30 September to 26 November.

By: Jun. 09, 2023
Jenna Russell Will Lead FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS at Riverside Studios This Year

Olivier-Award winning stage legend Jenna Russell will star as ‘Ada Harris’ in the London premiere of the musical FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS this autumn, directed by Bronagh Lagan (Cruise – West End, Rags – Park Theatre, Little Women – Hope Mill Theatre) playing a limited 9-week at the Riverside Studios from 30 September to 26 November, with a press night on 5 October.

Based on the novel by Paul Gallico and adapted for the stage by Richard Taylor (The Go-Between) and Rachel Wagstaff (The Mirror Crack’d), Flowers for Mrs Harris is a celebration of kindness, friendship and carrying on in the face of grief.  This will be the first London production of the critically acclaimed musical since its premiere in Sheffield in 2016, which was followed by a highly successful run at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

For Ada Harris, day-to-day life is spent cleaning houses. But one day when she is working for a wealthy client in Belgravia, she happens upon a Dior dress that takes her breath away.

In that magical moment, Ada has an epiphany and sets off on a journey that will change her life... From the cobbled streets of post-war London to the magical avenues of Paris and beyond, Ada transforms the lives of everyone she meets along the way, but can she let go of her past and finally let her own life blossom?

Producer Ollie Hancock said, “Never before have I seen something on stage which has moved me with such force and relentless power. Richard and Rachel’s beautiful writing had such a profound effect on me that I left the theatre tear-streaked, striving to be a better person and to produce work which was just as impactful. I’m delighted to be bringing this gorgeous musical about the power of kindness to London for the first time in the creative hub that is Riverside Studios, especially with theatrical royalty Jenna Russell, who has wowed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, in this extraordinary British musical!”

Jenna Russell said, “Ada Harris is a dream role in an exceptional piece by Rachel Wagstaff and Richard Taylor. I’m thrilled to be part of this amazing team, bringing “Flowers For Mrs Harris” to the Riverside Studios. Reading the play had a profound effect on me, and I can’t wait to see how that translates to a live experience, for the actors and audience alike.”

Jenna Russell’s extensive stage credits include, ‘Mill’ in Further Than The Furthest Thing at the Young Vic, ‘Susan’ in Woman In Mind at Chichester Festival Theatre, ‘Marie Lloyd’ in Marie, Marie, Hold On Tight at Wilton’s Music Hall, ‘Carrie’ in Steve at Seven Dials Playhouse, ‘Piaf’ in Piaf at Nottingham Playhouse and Leeds Playhouse, Celebrating Sondheim at Chichester Festival Theatre, ‘Susan’ in Title Of Show (filmed at London Coliseum and streamed), ‘Francesca’ in The Bridges of Madison County at the Menier Chocolate Factory, ‘Helen’ in Fun Home at the Young Vic, ‘Mephistopheles’ in Dr Faustus starring opposite Kit Harington at The Duke of York’s Theatre and ‘Little Edie’ in Grey Gardens at Southwark Theatre with Sheila Hancock. Jenna’s TV credits include: Gentleman Jack, Midsomer Murders, Call the Midwife, The Paradise, Holby City and Doctor Who. Jenna also played the leading roles of ‘Michelle Fowler’ in Eastenders, ‘Deborah’ in Born and Bred (4 series), ‘Maggie’ in On The Up (3 series), ‘Bernadette’ in Picking Up The Pieces (1 series) and ‘Petra’ in Minder (1 series). Films include The Death and Life of John F Donovan and Mortdecai. Jenna also sings the theme tune for BBC cult TV series Red Dwarf.

Bronagh Lagan’s Olivier nominated production of Cruise by Jack Holden was the first new play to open the West End after the pandemic. Cruise returned to the West End last year for a sold out run at the Apollo Theatre. She also directed a film version of the show in Shoreditch Town Hall's Ditch which won an ONCOMM award for Best Recorded Show. Bronagh’s production of Rags, the musical by Charles Strouse and Stephen Schwartz at the Park Theatre received nine Off-West End Award nominations, including Best Director and Best Production. Bronagh worked closely with Stephen Schwartz in reimagining the script for an actor-musician production and curated a cast album of her production of Rags which is available on iTunes and Spotify. Bronagh directed the world premiere of Broken Wings, the musical first performed at Theatre Royal Haymarket and then at Dubai Opera House and now is on a Middle Eastern Tour. She directed new Persian musical RUMI at the ENO starring Ramin Karimloo; the UK Regional touring production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice starring Christina Bianco; and  the European premiere of Little Women - The Musical, which is available on Broadway HD. Bronagh recently directed the world premiere of A-Typical Rainbow which was nominated for a Visionary Arts Award and Animal by Jon Bradfield which recently ended a run at the Park Theatre and has received 5 Off West End nominations.

Flowers for Mrs Harris is based on the novel by Paul Gallico, a musical by Richard Taylor and Rachel Wagstaff, book by Rachel Wagstaff, music and lyrics by Richard Taylor. It will be directed by Bronagh Lagan, with new orchestrations by Jason Carr, and with Jonathan Gill as Musical Director. Casting is by Jane Deitch. Further casting and creative team will be announced.

Flowers for Mrs Harris is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.


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