Major West End Names Head to Norwich

A cast of major West End names has been announced for the concert production of HAIR, which will conclude the two-week programme of events for INTERLUDE@UEA on Fri 9th and Sat 10th October 2020.

The cast includes the Olivier-nominated Frances Mayli McCann, who was playing Éponine in the touring production of Les Misérables at Norwich Theatre Royal when it was closed by the COVID-19 lockdown.  Also starring will be Cleve September, better known for his roles in Jesus Christ Superstar and Hamilton, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Layton Williams who first performed at Norwich Theatre Royal in Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies in 2014 and was due to come back in the title role of Everyone’s Talking About Jamie in June (with the show now postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic).

The stellar cast also features Matt Croke, whose theatre credits include Aladdin and Funny Girl; Jordan Luke Gage, whose previous roles include Bat Out of Hell and & Juliet; Sophie Isaacs and Jodie Steele, both of whose theatre credits include Heathers and SiX, the award winning musical which took the UK by storm following its world premiere at Norwich Theatre Playhouse in 2018.

Directed by former BBC Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, this Paul Taylor-Mills production comes fresh from its sold-out run at the Turbine Theatre at Battersea Power Station, London.  HAIR is a tribal love rock musical that celebrates counterculture in the 1960s but is hugely powerful and relevant today as it examines what it is to be a young person in a changing world. In this specially produced concert version, get ready to groove to an infectiously energetic rock beat with songs like Aquarius, Good Morning, Starshine, Hair, I Got Life and Let The Sun Shine.

The concert show has musical direction by Paul Schofield, design by David Shields, lighting design by Andrew Exeter, and sound design by Dan Samson.

I am thrilled to be directing this small but mighty concert version of HAIR. Now more than ever we need music that lifts our spirits and feeds our souls to remind us that theatre is alive. I believe that a musical with a strong political message is important not just to give us hope, but to inspire a future generation.

Arlene Phillips

Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive of Norwich Theatre, said: “INTERLUDE@UEA is going to create a spectacular welcome for new and returning students that they won’t forget and continue in its mission to keep live performance alive in our city. I am thrilled that we can close this second phase of INTERLUDE with a stellar and timely production of HAIR, seeing us work with Turbine Theatre for the first time and welcoming some well-known West End stars back to Norwich.”

The revival concert will provide a fitting finale to INTERLUDE@UEA – a series of events presented by Norwich Theatre and Lost in Translation Circus in partnership with UEA to welcome new and returning students at the beginning of the new academic year.

Set in Lost in Translation’s big top tent on the UEA’s beautiful campus, the two-week programme features an exciting mix of comedy, music and circus/cabaret. With the full line-up to be announced shortly, there will be a set of performances specifically for UEA Students alongside another set of performances made available for the public. All performances and activities will be delivered in strict adherence with COVID-19 regulations.

I’m always impressed by my artists’ ability to make work happen in what has always been a difficult industry to work in. The surprises of 2020 have made this challenge even greater. The Interlude Season is only possible because of the patience, expertise and fearlessness of the incredible artists to get this off the ground. Please do come and support HAIR if you can. The arts needs you more than ever, there is no other way of putting it.

Paul Taylor-Mills, Artistic Director of The Turbine Theatre

INTERLUDE@UEA is the next instalment of Norwich Theatre’s During the Interval programme, a series of truly unique and different events, activities and interventions bridging the gap between closing its doors in March until its venues are able to properly re-open again.  The series now includes:-

  • the re-opening of the Playhouse Bar with a creative conversion of the much-loved stage at the Playhouse into a relaxed new lounge area;
  • the hugely popular INTERLUDE which is seeing sell-out live performances in a temporary outdoor venue across six weeks in Chapelfield Gardens;
  • Norwich Free Market now being held in the Theatre Royal Car Park on a monthly basis;
  • a special season of festive shows for 2020, A RIGHT ROYAL CHRISTMAS, which will see the Theatre Royal temporarily re-open to audiences during December. 

HAIR The Musical: An Outdoor Concert is at INTERLUDE@UEA, UEA campus, on Fri 9th & Sat 10th October.

Tickets are available online at norwichtheatre.org or via Norwich Theatre Box Office on 01603 630 000.