Smith and James confirmed as Legally Blonde leads

Published April 21, 2009

The much-rumoured London production of hit American show Legally Blonde The Musical has been confirmed, with Sheridan Smith and Duncan James leading the cast.

The production, which also stars Alex Gaumond, will begin previews at the Savoy theatre from 5 December, opening on 12 January 2010. Tickets go on sale today.

Based on the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson, Legally Blonde The Musical is the story of homecoming queen Elle Woods who, when her boyfriend dumps her in favour of someone more serious, puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law.

The show, which received seven Tony Award nominations during its Broadway run, features a book by Freaky Friday screenwriter Heather Hach, and music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. O’Keefe’s work has previously been seen in London when his off-Broadway hit Bat Boy: The Musical played at the Shaftesbury theatre in 2004.

The London production is directed and choreographed by the show’s Tony Award-winning Broadway director Jerry Mitchell, who also choreographed another hit Broadway transfer, Hairspray.

Smith, who plays Woods, is best known for her TV comedy appearances in shows including Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Grown Ups, The Royle Family, Gavin And Stacey, Love Soup and Benidorm, though she made her West End musical debut prior to her TV fame, playing Tallulah in the 1997 National Youth Music Theatre production of Bugsy Malone. Smith received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for her last London musical performance which came in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Little Shop Of Horrors. Elsewhere she has appeared in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming Of The Shrew (both Open Air theatre) and Tinderbox (Bush theatre).

James (Warner) is best known as one quarter of the hit boy band Blue, though since the pop group split he has graced the West End stage playing Billy Flynn in Chicago, reached the final of ITV skating show Dancing On Ice, hosted numerous TV programmes and poked fun at himself playing ‘Duncan from Blue’ in Channel 4 comedy Plus One.

Gaumond, who plays love interest Emmett, is a regular musical performer with credits including the London productions of Desperately Seeking Susan, Sunday In The Park With George and The Full Monty, and tours of We Will Rock You, Guys And Dolls and Miss Saigon.

The Savoy theatre currently hosts a very different musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, which stars Lesley Garrett, Jeremiah James and Alexandra Silber. Carousel is booking until 25 July.

MA