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Garrett rides Carousel at Savoy

Published 9 July 2008

Lesley Garrett is to return to the London stage in a new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, which comes to the Savoy from 22 November (press night 2 December) following a UK tour.

Carousel reunites director Lindsay Posner and producer Kim Poster, who last year saw their Henry Goodman-led production of Fiddler On The Roof receive an extended run at the Savoy. Alexandra Silber, who appeared in that production, also returns to the Savoy to join Garrett in the cast of Carousel, along with Jeremiah James.

The 1945 musical tells the story of the love affair between smooth-talking carousel barker Billy Bigelow (James) and naïve young mill worker Julie Jordan (Silber), set to a score that includes the numbers If I Loved You, The Carousel Waltz and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The last major production of the musical, at the National Theatre in 1992, won Best Musical Revival at the 1993 Laurence Olivier Awards, with director Nicholas Hytner, leading lady Joanna Riding and supporting actress Janie Dee also collecting awards.

Opera soprano and successful recording artist Garrett, who plays Nettie in this new production, was last seen in the West End playing Mother Abbess in The Sound Of Music at the London Palladium, her musical theatre debut.

In addition to playing Hodel in Fiddler On The Roof, Silber has been seen in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman In White. New Yorker James is one quarter of the musical theatre vocal group Teatro, and has previously appeared on Broadway in Legally Blonde The Musical, The Full Monty and White Christmas.

Director Posner’s other London credits include Oleanna at the Garrick in 2004, Fool For Love at the Apollo in 2006 and Tom And Viv at the Almeida, also in 2006.

Carousel is choreographed by former Royal Ballet dancer Adam Cooper, who is best known for creating the role of the swan in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. Moving into musical theatre, Cooper starred in Guys And Dolls at the Piccadilly and Singin’ In The Rain at Sadler’s Wells, which he also choreographed, and was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award in 2005 for his choreography of Grand Hotel at the Donmar Warehouse. Cooper has recently been seen in the role of Ramon in the national tour of Zorro, but is swapping swashbuckling for wizardry as he joins the cast of The Wizard Of Oz at the Royal Festival Hall this summer.

Carousel kicks off its UK tour at the Churchill theatre, Bromley on 22 September before opening at the Savoy on 22 November. The current resident of the Savoy, Take That musical Never Forget, yesterday announced it will leave the venue on 15 November to transfer to another, as yet unconfirmed, West End theatre.

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