Janie Dee, Clive Rowe and Lisa O’Hare will be hoping for a warm, dry summer this year as they join the season at the Open Air theatre, Regent’s Park, which begins on 2 June.
Dee and Rowe will both appear in Edward Dick’s production of Twelfth Night, one of three Shakespearean plays being produced in Artistic Director Timothy Sheader’s first season at the Open Air, the others being Romeo And Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Equally at home in drama and musical theatre, Dee was last seen in the West End in the acclaimed revival of William Nicholson’s Shadowlands at the Wyndham’s and Novello. Her previous London stage credits include Mack And Mabel, My One And Only, Divas at the Donmar, Carousel and Comic Potential, the last two of which earned her Laurence Olivier Awards, in 1993 and 2000 respectively.
Rowe is also a Laurence Olivier Award winner. He claimed Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical in 1997 for Guys And Dolls at the National, after missing out four years earlier in the same category to Dee, his co-star in Carousel. Since then he has racked up numerous London stage credits including Chicago, Sadly Solo Joe, Simply Heavenly, Caroline, Or Change and Into The Woods. He has also played the dame in Hackney Empire’s annual pantomime on no less than six occasions, last year as Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington And His Cat.
In Twelfth Night, Dee is to play Olivia while Rowe takes on the role of Feste. The rest of the ensemble cast for the three Shakespearean productions is: Claire Benedict, Jennifer Bryden, Richard Cotton, Andy Cryer, Natalie Dew, Laura Donnelly, Matthew Hart, Clive Hayward, Ben Ingles, Ben Joiner, Annette McLaughlin, Neet Mohan, Harry Myers, Richard O’Callaghan, Oscar Pearce, Annalisa Rossi, Nicholas Shaw, Dale Superville, Marcello Walton, David Whitworth, Leon Williams and Tim Woodward.
O’Hare leads the cast in the final production in the Open Air season in the title role of Gigi, joining the already announced Topol. Sheader directs the Lerner and Loewe musical which has not been seen in London for over 20 years.
After training at the Royal Ballet School, O’Hare appeared in Trevor Nunn’s production of Anything Goes at the Drury Lane and before joining the original cast of Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward as part of the ensemble. After a period playing the role of Eliza Doolittle in Nunn’s production of My Fair Lady on national tour, she returned to Mary Poppins in 2006 to play the magical nanny herself.
In Gigi, O’Hare joins Topol – best known for playing Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof on stage and on screen – as Honore and Millicent Martin as Mamita. English actress and singer Martin has appeared on stages and screens in the UK and US during her long career, with credits including television series Millicent, the 1965 film Alfie, 1990s detective series Moon And Son and US comedy series Frasier. On Broadway she appeared in Side By Side By Sondheim, King Of Hearts and 42nd Street.
The rest of the cast of Gigi has been confirmed as: Rachel Archer, Paul Bentley, Thomas Borchert, Jennie Dale, Nina French, Francis Haugen, Shaun Henson, David Lucas, Jo Morris, Zoe Rainey, Amy Ellen Richardson, Myra Sands, Laura Scott, Kate Tydman and Kerry Washington. Gigi is choreographed by Stephen Mear, who co-choreographed O’Hare in Mary Poppins.
The Open Air season runs from 2 June to 13 September 2008.