UK News: Jerry Hall to Star in High Society

After a sell-out run at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park and a hugely successful UK tour, Ian Talbot will direct Jerry Hall in the West End transfer of his hit production of Cole Porter's celebrated musical, High Society. Music and lyrics are by Cole Porter with book by Arthur Kopit, based on the play The Philadelphia Story and the motion picture High Society.

Produced at Shaftesbury Theatre by Mark Goucher Productions, High Society will preview from 1 October 2005 with press night on 10 October and is booking until 25 March 2006. Set and costume designs are by Paul Farnsworth, musical direction is by James Dunsmore, choreography is by Gillian Gregory and lighting design by Jason Taylor.

Wealthy, elegant and priggish, Tracy Lord is about to embark on her second marriage to a successful but stuffy businessman. Her first husband, notorious socialite Dexter Haven, reappears attempting to win back his wife. Meanwhile, little-known tabloid reporter Mike Konner, also falls for Tracy while covering her nuptials for his magazine. Tracy must choose between the three men.

Familiar to most from the 1950's Oscar nominated film directed by Charles Walter with a cast including Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, this classic musical features memorable Cole Porter tunes such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, True Love, Swell Party, Just One of those Things and I Love Paris.

The cast Includes: Graham Bickley (Dexter Haven), Mike Connor (Paul Robinson), Jerry Hall (Mother Lord), Ria Jones (Liz Imbrie), James Jordan (Seth Lord), Royston Kean (Uncle Willie), Katherine Kingsley (Tracy Lord), Claire Redcliffe (Dinah Lord) and Bryan Torfeh (George Kittredge).

Texan born Jerry Hall, who trained at The Actors Studio in New York, returns to the West End to play Mother Lord. Her theatre work in London and the US includes Mrs Robinson in the Graduate, The Vagina Monlogues, Bus Stop, Picasso's Women and most recently Benchmark, directed by Michael Rudman at the New End Theatre. Last year, as part of the Major's initiative to promote London Theatre, Jerry Hall made her way in to the Guinness Book of Records by appearing in six West End shows - including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Anything Goes and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - in one night. Her film work includes Savage Hearts, Batman and Urban Cowboy. On television she hosted her own series for the BBC, Jerry Hall's Gurus, and from 2 September her new show Kept premieres on VH1. Jerry Hall is the author of the bestseller Tall Tales.

Graham Bickley plays Dexter Haven. His extensive work in the West End includes Tateh in Ragtime at the Piccadilly for which he received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor, The Pajama Game at the Victoria Palace, Joe Gilles in Sunset Boulevard at the Adelphi, Chris Scott in Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Bishop in Which Which at the Piccadilly, Marius & Enjolras in Les Miserables at the Palace and They're Playing Our Song at the Shaftesbury Theatre. In concert his performances have includes Wonderful Town (Rotterdam Philharmonic), Guys and Dolls (Royal Festival Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus), On The Town and Peter Pan (Royal Festival Hall), Evita (Chelmsford Festival). His television work includes Joey Boswell in Bread and Leslie Garrett and Friends for the BBC.

Katherine Kingsley, who plays Tracy Lord, graduated from BristolOldVicTheatreSchool in 2003. Since graduating her theatre credits include Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens at the Queens Theatre, And Then There Were None, Verdict, Afternoon At The Seaside, The Hollow, The Patient, Go Back For Murder and Appointment With Death all for the Palace Theatre, Westcliff, Suddenly At Home at the Theatre Royal, Windsor and Habeas Corpus at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. Her television credits include Operation Good Guys, The Telephone Detectives, Hollyoaks and Jane Hall's Big Bad Bus Ride. On film her credits include 100 Second Marriage, Now We Are Three and Days of The Siren.

Paul Robinson plays Mike Connor. His theatre credits include Don Lockwood in the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Singin' in the Rain at The National Theatre for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. His other theatre work includes UK tours of Tap Dogs, Scrooge the Musical, Dames at Sea as well as Sugar Babies at the Savoy Theatre and the original UK cast of 42nd Street at Drury Lane. Earlier this year Paul Robinson played the role of Frank opposite Kevin Spacey in the feature film Beyond the Sea.

Ian Talbot is Artistic Director of London's Regent's Park Open Air Theatre where he has directed over 70 productions including Oliver Awards nominated Oh What A Lovely War, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum, The Pirates of Penzance; Babes in Arms, The Fantasticks, Lady Be Good, The Card, Kiss Me Kate (also at the Brisbane Festival, The Music Man). His other productions for the Company include Much Ado About Nothing, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Connecticut Yankee, The Comedy of Errors, Paint Your Wagon, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Where's Charley? and The Taming of the Shrew. His other directing credits include Joe Orton's A Good and Faithful Servant for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Goldoni's The Liar and The Pirates of Penzance for West Yorkshire Playhouse which subsequently toured nationally and for which he received an Olivier nomination for Best Director. Talbot directed Yeoman of the Guard for D'Oyly Carte at the Savoy Theatre and Peter Pan, Voices of War at the Pleasance Theatre and A Musical Adventure at the Royal Festival Hall.

One of the twentieth century's greatest popular composers and lyricists, Cole Porter's huge portfolio includes such classics as Night and Day, Anything Goes, You're the Top, Let's Do It, Begin the Beguine and Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye. In 2004 Kevin Kline played Cole Porter in Irwin Winkler's film, De-Lovely. De-Lovely, an original musical portrait of one of the world's greatest songwriter, spanned almost 40 years of Porter's life and featured over thirty of his songs performed by artists such as Elvis Costello, Natalie Cole, Sheryl Crow, Jonathan Pryce and Robbie Williams.



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