Soap star turned musical theatre lead Richard Fleeshman, Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell and Royal Shakespeare Company regular Jonathan Slinger will lead the cast of cult Broadway hit Urinetown The Musical when it makes its London premiere at St James theatre next year.
The unusual concept for the Tony Award-winning hit, which tells the story of a society where greed and corruption have leaked – no pun intended – into the city’s public toilet system, has been mirrored by its unique initiative allowing the general public to take a gamble on how much they paid for tickets as the prices slowly rose while information was drip fed, including the announcement of the very show itself.
It’s a gamble that has surely paid off with director Jamie Lloyd attracting an exciting cast of West End regulars to perform in the inventive musical, featuring songs including It’s A Privilege To Pee and Snuff That Girl by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis telling Urinetown’s dystopian tale of a corrupt tycoon who monopolises on a terrible drought to make a pretty penny from people needing to spend a penny.
Today’s announcement revealed Russell’s former Merrily We Roll Along co-star Julie Jupp, Matilda The Musical’s Madeleine Harland, former Shrek The Musical star Rosanna Hyland, Betty Blue Eyes’ Mark Meadows, Jo Napthine (Oliver!, The Woman In White), Billy Elliot The Musical’s Joel Montague, Matthew Seadon-Young (Les Misérables), West End debutant Katie Bernstein and US star Cory English, who, alongside his numerous Broadway credits has appeared on the UK stage in Chicago and Guys And Dolls, have signed up to perform alongside the leading trio.
Fleeshman, who will still be best known to many for his long-running role in Coronation Street that led to the appearance on Soapstar Superstar that revealed his talent for singing to the world, will follow his West End and Broadway turn as the tragic romantic lead in Ghost The Musical to take on the role of Urinetown’s unlikely hero Bobby, the only person who will stand up to the fearsome tycoon Caldwell B Cladwell.
Russell will follow her numerous acclaimed leading musical roles, including West End hits Sunday In The Park With George, Martin Guerre, Follies and Les Misérables, to star as Urinetown’s Penelope Pennywise, the Assistant Custodian at the poorest, filthiest urinal in town. The award-winning actress, who was much lauded for her most recent role in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s West End hit Merrily We Roll Along, also boasts numerous dramatic credits, appearing in The Three Sisters at the Royal Court theatre, Kiss The Sky at the Bush theatre and, like her forthcoming co-star Slinger who makes his musical debut in the production following a string of Shakespearean roles, with the RSC.
The much-anticipated production, which will follow a hugely busy 2013 for Lloyd in which the director has presented three hit shows as part of his Trafalgar Transformed season and opened the first ever stage adaptation of The Commitments, will play at the St James theatre from 22 February next year and will run at the Victoria-based venue until 3 May.