Jane Asher will star as Lady Catherine de Bourgh in the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre’s forthcoming production of Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride And Prejudice, with Michael Xavier and Charlotte Wakefield announced to star in much-loved musical The Sound Of Music later in the season.
Asher will take on the role of Mr Darcy’s strict and meddling aunt in Austen’s romantic tale about the prejudices between 19th century classes, which plays at the alfresco venue from 20 June to 20 July. Well known for her on screen roles, which include a long-running role in British soap Crossroads, Asher joins the production following recent stage performances in Charley’s Aunt at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce at Kingston’s Rose theatre and Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at the Richmond theatre.
The actress and writer will be joined in the Deborah Bruce-directed production by a cast including Jennifer Kirby, Imogen Byron, Yolanda Kettle, Eleanor Thorn and Leah Brotherhead as the five Bennet sisters, Timonty Walker and Rebecca Lacey as Mr and Mrs Bennet, David Oakes as the iconic Mr Darcy, Barnaby Sax as the charming Mr Wickham and Rob Heaps as wealthy bachelor Mr Bingley, with Ed Birch, Sophia Capasso, Olivia Darnley, Caroline Harker, Frances McNamee and David Whitworth completing the cast.
Following the 19th century classic, Wakefield will take on the iconic role of Maria in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical about the Von Trapp family and its governess, which plays from 25 July to 7 September, with Xavier playing the role of Captain Von Trapp.
Well known for her on screen roles in BBC series Waterloo Road and Holby City, as well as her recent stint in hit West End musical Mamma Mia!, Wakefield made her West End debut in rock musical Spring Awakening, a performance that earned the actress an Olivier Award nomination in 2010, while Xavier, who presented the free public Covent Garden Piazza event at this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard and has been nominated for two of the prestigious accolades throughout the course of his career, is best-known for his appearances in Love Story at the Duchess theatre, Into The Woods at the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre and Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Palace theatre.
The Olivier Award nominated duo will be joined in Rachel Kavanaugh’s production by Wicked’s Caroline Keiff, Mamma Mia! star Helen Hobson, Legally Blonde The Musical’s Faye Brookes, Lend Me A Tenor The Musical’s Michael Matus, with Kimberley Blake, Helen Colby, Samuel Edwards, Tim Frances, Victoria Hinde, Christopher Hunt, Harry Morrison, Gemma Page, Laura Pick, Stuart Matthew Price, Anna Simmons, Chloe Taylor, Joshua Tonks and Helen Walsh completing the cast.
Casting has also been announced for the alfresco venue’s production of The Winter’s Tale, an adaptation of the Bard’s well-known tale for children aged six and older, which plays from 29 June to 20 July. Directed by Ria Perry, the cast will include Lewis Goody, Guy Burgess, Dean Nolan, Sirine Saba, Alexandra Maher and Kezrena James.
The announcement comes as the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre kick starts its 2013 season with the Robert Sean Leonard-led production of To Kill A Mockingbird, which begins previews tonight.