Shows such as The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (January), School of Rock (February), Mamma Mia (March), The Rocky Horror Show (April), Footloose (July), Singin’ In the Rain (August) and Dreamgirls (September) are all expected to draw big audiences.
Another musical set to be a big hit is Chicago (March 29-April 2) following the announcement this week that singing sensation Russell Watson will be playing the role of ‘Billy Flynn’.
Russell joins a cast already starring Faye Brookes – who recently reached the final of this year’s series of ITV’s Dancing On Ice, and is best known for her role as Kate Connor in ITV’s Coronation Street – as ‘Roxie Hart’; and Djalenga Scott – a star in numerous West End shows – as ‘Velma Kelly’.
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest classical singers, having released ten critically acclaimed studio albums, Russell’s extensive career has seen him collaborate with likes of Meatloaf, Lionel Richie, Paul McCartney, Alexandra Burke and Luciano Pavarotti.
A contestant last year on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, his stage credits include Parson Nathaniel in Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds on tour, and Karl Oscar in the English speaking world premiere of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ Kristina at Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.
Jane Speirs, Aberdeen Performing Arts chief executive, said: “We are excited to see what 'Razzle Dazzle' Russell Watson will bring to the slick, smooth-talking and charismatic Billy Flynn – he is a bona fide superstar with renowned voice and will be a welcome addition to the casting for Chicago.”
Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her.
Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.
Also recently announced was the cast for The Addams Family (June 7-11), which will feature former Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton and Cameron Blakely, perhaps best known for known for Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, as Morticia and Gomez Addams.
The story is all about Wednesday Addams (Kingsley Morton), the ultimate princess of darkness, who has grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows – she’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family! Now, Gomez must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything changes for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. All the usual clan are present – Uncle Fester, Lurch, Pugsley et al.
Following shortly after The Addams Family is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (June 28-July 2), with the original Olivier Award-nominated narrator Linzi Hateley set to join critically acclaimed rising star Jac Yarrow as he leads the cast of the iconic musical.
Having reprised her celebrated role as narrator at the London Palladium this summer, Linzi will make a special appearance alongside Jac in Aberdeen as he prepares to don the famous coat in the titular role in this sensational new production.
Linzi is a Theatre World Award winner who has starred on Broadway, in the West End, with the RSC, and at the National Theatre. She now returns to the role of the narrator, having first starred in Joseph in 1991 opposite Jason Donovan and Phillip Schofield at the London Palladium.
Jac caused a sensation when he made his professional stage debut playing Joseph, following in the footsteps of a line of stars who have previously played the title character. His portrayal of Joseph won him unanimous acclaim and an Olivier Award nomination, with his rendition of ‘Close Every Door To Me’ regularly stopping the show with standing ovations.
Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Jane Spiers said: “Linzi is a Joseph legend so to have her in Aberdeen as part of this production is incredible.
“Jac is a real rising star, and with these two at the helm this production will delight long-time fans and newcomers alike.”
Producer Michael Harrison said he was delighted to be bringing “this joyous show” to His Majesty’s Theatre.
He added: “Jac Yarrow has wowed audiences and critics with his spectacular debut, and I am delighted to that Linzi Hateley is confirmed to return to her role as narrator when we perform in Aberdeen having delivered a delightful dose of nostalgia to audiences at special performances of Joseph at the London Palladium this summer.”
• Details of all the shows at His Majesty’s Theatre, and other Aberdeen Performing Arts’ venues, the Lemon Tree and the Music Hall, can be found at www.aberdeenperformingarts.com. Tickets can also be purchased online, or by caling (01224) 641122 or visiting the box office at His Majesty’s Theatre or the Music Hall.