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Niki Evans, Former 'X Factor' Competitor, Joins 'Blood Brothers' Cast

What's on Stage is reporting that Niki Evans, a contestant on iTV's series "X-Factor" will be playing Mrs. Johnson in West End production of Blood Brothers, running at the Pheoenix Theatre, starting November 3rd, 2008. The show recently extended its contract with the Pheonix where it has been running since 1991. Evans is expected to take on the role for six months.

Evans finished fourth in the popular talent competition series similar to "American Idol" where aspiring musicians audition and undergo a judging competition where the prize is recording contract.

Blood Brothers, the Olivier Award-winning, Tony-nominated musical drama by Willy Russell (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine). Blood Brothers got its start as a school play in 1981.  Fresh from the success of Educating Rita, Russell was commissioned to write a 70-minute piece for Merseyside Young People's Theatre Company, a small touring company that visited schools in the area.  That version had only one song in it, but the day it opened Russell started work on the full-length piece.  Blood Brothers opened at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1983, transferring to London for a six-month run, where it won the Olivier Award for Best Musical.  Following a national tour, it reopened in 1988 at the Albery Theatre in London before transferring to the larger Phoenix Theatre on London's West End where it's still running, now in its 21st. year.

Members of the original British cast opened in a Broadway production in 1993, which received six Tony nominations.  Petula Clark later joined the cast along with real-life brothers David Cassidy and Shaun Cassidy as her sons, and they also starred in the U.S. national tour.  Following Clark's portrayal, Mrs. Johnstone becoming a calling card for other 1960s pop singers, with Carole King and Helen Reddy later playing the role on Broadway.

Evans will join current UK cast members Craig Price (Narrator), Stephen Palfreman (Mickey), Richard Reynard (Eddie) and Louise Davidson (Mrs Lyons). The production is directed by Bob Thomson and Bill Kenwright and designed by Marty Flood.


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