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Stars found for Joseph, Danny and Sandy

Published 17 April 2008

The leads in two West End musicals were cast on Saturday night as reality shows Any Dream Will Do and Grease Is The Word both had their finals. Lee Mead won the chance to don the famous multicoloured jacket to play Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Adelphi from 17 July, while Danny Bayne and Susan McFadden were crowned Danny and Sandy in Grease, which opens at the Piccadilly on 8 August.

The climax of the BBC’s Any Dream Will Do saw Mead, 25, beat off competition from finalists Lewis Bradley, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week, and Keith Jack, 19, to be crowned the nation’s favourite Joseph by public vote. “I’m shocked,” said Mead, “I was obviously hoping that I’d do well, but it hasn’t sunk in at all. I feel incredible – it’s the best feeling in the world.”

One of two professionals in the competition, Mead has previously understudied roles in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera and Joseph on tour. Commenting on his new leading man Lloyd Webber said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Lee may have been an understudy but he’s never sung in front of me, or sung in front of millions of people before. He did a fantastic job.”

Mead’s solo performances on Saturday were versions of Elvis’s You’re The Devil In Disguise and Sinatra’s New York, New York. Bill Kenwright, who produces Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the West End and sat on the judging panel, commented on his performance: “This is my moment of truth. You’ve worked for me. You’ve understudied for me, I should have seen back then what everybody has seen for the last eight weeks. You are not an understudy. You’re a leading man. It’s taught me a lot this series.”

Over on ITV, Bayne and McFadden beat fellow finalists Anthony Kavanagh and Michelle Antrobus to bag the roles of Danny and Sandy in David Ian’s West End production of Grease. “The first thing I’m going to do is drink a big bottle of champagne. I have worked so hard to get here tonight,” said McFadden, sister of former Westlife singer Brian McFadden.

Ian’s Grease Is The Word, hosted by Zoe Ball, has been running head to head with the Graham Norton-fronted Any Dream Will Do on Saturday nights for the past two months. Last year Ian and Lloyd Webber worked together on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, which cast Connie Fisher in the role of Maria in The Sound Of Music at the London Palladium. Fisher made an appearance in the final of Any Dream Will Do to sing the title song from her show and give the aspiring Josephs some tips on being a West End star. Alluding to her short sabbatical from the show after damaging her vocal chords, Fisher jokingly advised the boys to not lose their voices.

Rehearsals for the two shows begin this week. em>CB

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