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Mark Benton to star in Hobson’s Choice

Published 19 February 2014

Mark Benton will return to the London stage this summer to star in Nadia Fall’s production of Hobson’s Choice at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

He will take on the role of boot maker Henry Hobson in Harold Brighouse’s family drama about the hypocritical cobbler alongside Jodie McNee as one of his three onstage long-suffering daughters.

While Benton has most recently become known for his work on the dance floor, having appeared in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, he is best known for his on screen roles in hit TV series Waterloo Road, Northern Lights and Early Doors. The actor returns to the London stage following appearances in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Richard III and The Front Page at the Donmar Warehouse.

His co-star McNee has previously appeared in productions including King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe and The Empty Quarter at the Hampstead Theatre.

Hobson’s Choice will play at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 12 June to 12 July alongside the alfresco venue’s 2014 musical offering Porgy And Bess, which has also announced casting today.

Rufus Bonds Jr and Nicola Hughes will take on the title characters alongside Phillip Boykin and Sharon D Clarke as Crown and Mariah.

Hughes and Boykin come to Timothy Sheader’s production with previous experience of the Gershwin musical. Musical theatre star Hughes, who has appeared in West End productions of Fosse and Chicago, reprises her role as Bess after earning an Olivier Award nomination for her performance in Trevor Nunn’s 2006 production. Boykin returns to the role of Crown following his recent Tony Award nominated performance as Bess’ former lover on Broadway.

Fellow award nominee Clarke, who has received Olivier Award nominations for her roles in Ghost The Musical and We Will Rock You, returns to the London stage following her 2013 performance in The Amen Corner at the National Theatre. American actor Bonds Jr comes to the capital after appearing in US tours of Parade and Disney’s The Lion King.

The powerful story of love and betrayal about a crippled beggar’s determination to tame Bess in an attempt to save her from a life of ruin will bring the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s season to a close from 17 July to 23 August.

Further casting for Hobson’s Choice and Porgy And Bess, as well as the rest of the venue’s 2014 season, is still to be announced.

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