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Natalie Dew leads Beckham musical

Published 9 January 2015

Natalie Dew will lead the forthcoming musical adaptation of Bend It Like Beckham alongside a cast including Lauren Samuels, Jamie Campbell Bower and Ronni Ancona when it premieres at the Phoenix Theatre in June.

Last seen on the London stage in the Royal Court’s computer hacking drama Teh Internet Is Serious Business, Dew will take on the role of the quick-footed, football-crazy Jess in the production. The actress’ other stage credits including Rough Cut at the Sloane Square venue and Fault Lines at the Hampstead Theatre.

Dew is joined in the cast by Over The Rainbow finalist Samuels, who will follow in the footsteps of Keira Knightley to play Jess’ best friend Jules. Since being discovered on the BBC talent show the performer has appeared in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre and We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre.

Ancona will play Samuels’ on-stage mother Paula, the role made famous by Juliet Stevenson in the British comedy film. The actor and impressionist returns to the London stage following her recent performance in Little Revolution at the Almeida Theatre, but she is probably best known for her work alongside Alistair McGowan in The Big Impression, a series that prepared her well for the musical’s footballing theme having starred in spin-off series Sven And Nancy’s Big Impression and Posh And Becks’ Big Impression.

Campbell Bower will play Jess and Jules’ coach Joe, making his West End debut in the production. On screen he has appeared in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street and film franchises Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga.

The quartet of performers join Jamal Andréas, whose credits include Ragtime The Musical and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, as Jess’ friend Tony, and EastEnders star Preeya Kalidas, who will take on the role of her sister Pinky following her appearance as Jess’ relative Monica in the original film.

Also announced today are cast members Natasha Jayetileke (The Lion King) and Tony Jayawardena (London Assurance, National Theatre), who both appeared in East End-set Bollywood musical Wah! Wah! Girls at the Peacock Theatre, as Jess’ parents Mr and Mrs Bhamra.

Completing today’s casting announcement, taking on roles including extended family and footballers, are Sohm Kapila, Buckso Dhillon-Woolley, Harveen Mann, Irvine Iqbal, Karl Seth, Sejal Keshwala, Serina Mathew, Sharan Phull, Rakesh Boury, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Tom Millen, Daniel Bolton, Raj Bajaj, Michelle Bishop, Lisa Bridge, Chloe Chambers, Genesis Lynea, Kirstie Skivington, Danielle Young, Rekha Sawhney, Shahid Khan and Kayleigh McKnight.

Based on the 2012 film, Bend It Like Beckham tells the story of Jess, a young woman who must make the decision to live up to her family’s expectations and head towards university and marriage or chase follow her dream of becoming a footballer.

Written and directed by Gurinder Chadna, who also worked on the film version of the footballing tale, and featuring music and lyrics by Howard Goodall and Charles Hart, the musical will open at the Phoenix Theatre on 24 June and is currently booking at the venue until 11 July.

It opens following the current run of Olivier Award-winning musical Once, which stars Ronan Keating and closes on 21 March.

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