In true Tina – The Tina Turner Musical style, the show has Two People to unveil! Nkeki Obi-Melekwe will make her West End debut as the legendary Tina, starring opposite Ashley Zhangazha as Ike, from 15 April.
It’s an incredible debut for Nkeki, who only graduated from drama school last year, making her professional off-Broadway debut last month. Ashley, meanwhile, is a favourite at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, where he’s recently starred in Death Of A Salesman, Hamlet and Guys And Dolls, for which he won Best Performance in a Musical at the UK Theatre Awards last year.
Nkeki will take over the role of Tina Turner from original London star Adrienne Warren, who will lead the Broadway production when it opens this autumn.
Of the announcement, Nkeki said: “I am beyond excited! To be coming to London to join the West End community is one thing, but to be taking on this extraordinary role is something else. Tina means so much to so many people, including me, and I do not take this opportunity lightly. I hope I can make her as proud as I am to be playing Tina Turner. I can’t wait to get started.”
Tina Turner herself added: “I know just how extensive the search was to find her, and I am delighted that Nkeki will be joining our Tina family. Her raw talent is clearly extraordinary and her determination and spirit are second to none. Audiences at the Aldwych will be amazed. I look forward to welcoming her to London!”
From 15 April, The Tina Turner Musical will also see Aisha Jawando play the role of Tina at some performances each week, with Irene-Myrtle Forrester as Tina’s Grandmother GG; Howard Gossington as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten; Francesca Jackson as Ike and Tina’s manager Rhonda Graam; Jammy Kasongo as Tina’s father Richard Bullock and Tina’s first love Raymond Hill; Edward Bourne will play record company Marketing Manager Erwin Bach; and Oscar Batterham as Tina’s Manager Roger Davies.
Maria Omakinwa joins to play the role of Tina’s mother Zelma until 22 June, when Madeline Appiah will rejoin the Company in that role. They are joined by ensemble members Daniella Bowen, Chloe Chambers, Joelle Dyson, Sia Kiwa, Lejaun Sheppard, Kibong Tanji, Cameron Bernard Jones who also plays Tina’s son Craig and Ashlee Irish who plays Tina’s son Ronnie and Joseph Richardson, and swings Gavin Alex, Derek Aidoo, Joshua Da Costa, Amandla Elynah, Hannah Jay-Allan, Angela Marie Hurst, Leisha Mollyneaux and Samuel J. Weir.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical charts the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Rolls rise to the top of the charts, and is currently booking at the Aldwych Theatre until 21 December.