Darius Danesh, former Pop Idol contestant and Chicago resident, is to play the role of Rhett Butler in Trevor Nunn’s new musical production of iconic novel Gone With The Wind, which opens at the New London in April.
Danesh joins the already announced Jill Paice as Scarlett O’Hara, Edward Baker-Duly as Ashley Wilkes and Madeleine Worrall as Melanie. Also confirmed in the cast are NaTasha Yvette Williams as Mammy and Jina Burrows as Prissy.
Danesh first came into the public eye for his unusual rendition of Britney Spears’s Hit Me Baby One More Time in the auditions for TV talent contest Popstars. Returning for more in the subsequent Pop Idol, he came third in the competition and went on to release the single Colourblind, which became number one in the UK singles chart. He made his West End debut in 2005 playing sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn in Chicago, a role he reprised the following year. He also appeared in the UK tour for Michael Grandage’s production of Guys And Dolls last year.
Williams makes her UK stage debut in Gone With The Wind, having previously appeared on Broadway in The Color Purple. Burrows has performed at the Royal Festival Hall and Hackney Empire and has toured with UK recording artists including Jamiroquai and Jamelia.
Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 best-selling novel Gone With The Wind was made into an iconic film in 1939 with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in the roles of Scarlett and Rhett. Set in 1860s Atlanta, Georgia, the epic story follows young Scarlett O’Hara, who is ripped from an easy existence on her father’s plantation by the onset of Civil War. Over a 10-year period the turbulence in her life is mirrored by her volatile relationship with the unpredictable Rhett Butler.
The story has been adapted into this new stage musical production by Margaret Martin and Nunn, who also directs.
Joining the principal cast are: Emily Bryant, Gareth Chart, Laura Checkley, Julian Forsyth, Kirsty Hoiles, Chris Jarman, Tober Reilly, David Roberts, Tom Sellwood, Ray Shell, Savannah Stevenson, Gemma Sutton, Sue Jane Tanner, Susan Tracy and Alan Winner.
Gone With The Wind opens at the New London on 22 April after previews from 4 April and is currently booking until 27 September. em>CB