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Cilla The Musical

© Matt Martin

She was the gutsy Liverpool lass with a big voice who was friends with The Beatles and went on to win the nation’s hearts with some of the most popular light entertainment programmes which brought a ‘lorra lorra laughs’ into the lives of so many.

Now Cilla The Musical is set to tell her story when the UK tour of this new Bill Kenwright production arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal from April 17-21.

This spectacular and heart-warming stage adaptation of the critically-acclaimed ITV mini-series, which was based on the early life of the late Cilla Black, is brought to the stage by executive producer Robert Willis, who is Cilla’s eldest son and for the last 16 years of her life, her agent and manager.

It follows the extraordinary story of the ordinary teenage girl from Liverpool, born Priscilla White, who began her career singing alongside the Fab Four in The Cavern in Liverpool and went on to achieve her first No. 1 hit at the age of 21.

By the age of just 25, she was recognised as an international singing star at the forefront of the Brit-Pop scene. Cilla then went on to become one of the country’s most successful prime-time television female entertainers with shows such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise, and she enjoyed an enduring popularity with audiences. Her sudden death in August 2015, following a fall at her Spanish holiday home, shocked the nation.

Written by BAFTA award winner Jeff Pope (The Moorside, Philomena, From the Cradle To The Grave, Mrs Biggs, Little Boy Blue), Cilla The Musical boasts a musical score which is the ultimate soundtrack to the 60s, including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me plus Twist and Shout by the Beatles, California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas, and many more.

The role of Cilla is played by Kara Lily Haworth who fought off thousands of hopefuls in nationwide open auditions for the coveted role. Robert said of Kara: “I knew she was the one my mum would have wanted!”  

In the role of Brian Epstein, who steered both Cilla and The Beatles to fame, is TV and stage favourite Andrew Lancel, best known for his portrayal of Frank Foster in Coronation Street and as DI Neil Manson in the long-running ITV television series The Bill.  Andrew previously played the music mogul on stage to great critical acclaim in Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles, and he was last seen on the Norwich stage as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music in October 2016

The legendary Merseybeat sound is authentically performed live for audiences by the cast who are completed by Carl Au (Cilla’s husband Bobby), Amy Bridges (Rose Willis), Bill Caple (Ringo Starr), Tom Christian (Kenny Willis), Pauline Fleming (Big Cilla), Joshua Gannon (Paul McCartney), Billie Hardy (Pat) and Neil MacDonald (John White).  The musical also reunites Tom Dunlea as Hutch, Michael Hawkins as John Lennon and Gemma Brodrick-Bower as Pauline, all of whom starred in Jeff Pope’s original ITV mini-series Cilla, on which the musical is based.

Theatre Royal communications officer Judy Foster said: “This joyous and emotional celebration of Cilla’s life and music will appeal not only to those who followed her career at the time, but also to anyone appreciative of that amazing early 60s music scene which saw the birth of so many great bands and singers, not least The Beatles.  With lots of laughter, a few tears and some superb onstage live music, it does Cilla’s memory proud and will have you up your feet and swaying to the Merseybeat sound.”

Cilla The Musical will be at the Norwich Theatre Royal from Tuesday-Saturday April 17-21, 2018. Eves 7.30pm, Mats Wed, Thurs & Sat 2.30pm. There will be an audio-described performance on Saturday, April 21st at 2.30pm. 

Tickets £10-£42.50, with Discounts for Friends & Corporate Club, Over-60s, Under-18s and Groups available. For more information or to book, visit: