Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini will join the cast of Jamie Lloyd’s acclaimed production of dark musical Assassins next month as two of its original cast members depart to fulfil filming commitments.
The musical theatre veterans will take their place in Lloyd’s line-up of murderous misfits from 10 February. Two-time Olivier Award nominee Xavier takes over from US star Aaron Tveit for the rest of the run, while Francolini appears for a limited fortnight run covering Catherine Tate.
While the Menier Chocolate Factory has become famous for its musical offerings in recent years, this cast change will mark one of London’s favourite leading men’s debuts, as Xavier takes to the Menier stage for the first time.
The star, who most recently appeared in the hit West End production of The Pajama Game, will follow roles in more conventional musicals including the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Into The Woods and The Sound Of Music, Spamalot, The Phantom Of The Opera and My Fair Lady to play John Wilkes Booth in Stephen Sondheim’s controversial piece.
Covering Tate’s role as Sara Jane Moore, Francolini follows stage credits in fellow Sondheim pieces Merrily We Roll Along and Company at the Donmar Warehouse, and the recent acclaimed Almeida hit Our Town to appear in Lloyd’s production.
The pair joins a cast including Carly Bawden, Stewart Clarke, Simon Lipkin, Mike McShane, Harry Morrison, Andy Nyman, Jamie Parker, David Roberts and Melle Stewart as the 13 assassins who take centre stage in the Tony Award-winning musical.
All have tried to kill a President of the United States and four have succeeded. Dismissed as maniacs and misfits, Assassins attempts to find links between them and shed light on why they might just not be so different from the rest of us after all.
The production opened in November to critical acclaim and continues its run at the London Bridge theatre until 7 March.