Strictly Come Dancing winner Kara Tointon is to join Rupert Everett in the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Pygmalion when it transfers to London this summer.
Former EastEnders star Tointon will replace Honeysuckle Weeks in the lead role of Eliza Doolittle when George Bernard Shaw’s drama plays at the Garrick theatre from 12 May to 3 September.
Directed by Philip Prowse, the famous drama about a cockney flower girl and a phonetic Professor received a rash of four and five star reviews when it played in Chichester last summer.
Tointon, whose TV credits include Dream Team, Teachers, Mile High and EastEnders, will be making her West End debut in the production. She has, though, been practising her live performance, dancing in front of an audience alongside her partner and boyfriend Artem Chigvinstev every night as part of the Strictly Come Dancing tour that ended in February.
Though best known for his film work on movies including The Importance Of Being Earnest, My Best Friend’s Wedding and An Ideal Husband, Everett, who will play Professor Henry Higgins, has a wealth of stage experience, having learned his trade at the Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre and, most recently, appeared opposite Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit on Broadway.
Full casting has yet to be confirmed, though Peter Eyre, who played Pickering in Chichester, will return for the show’s London run.
London’s Garrick theatre is currently hosting a very different production. Between now and the arrival of Pygmalion it will be alive with outrageous costumes and titillating dance routines as it hosts the modern burlesque revue The Hurly Burly Show, which opens to the press on Friday.