American actress Nkeki Obi-Melekwe and Ashley Zhangazha will join the West End cast of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical in the lead roles Tina and Ike Turner.
Nkeki Obi-Melekwe assumes the role of Tina Turner from Broadway star Adrienne Warren, who has played the title role in the West End since the shows world premiere, and who will open the show on Broadway later this year.
A 2018 graduate of The University of Michigan, Nkeki made her Broadway debut last month in Alice by Heart at Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.
Ashley Zhangazha was last on stage in Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange in Manchester where he also appeared in Hamlet and Guys and Dolls, for which he won Best Performance in a Musical at 2018 UK Theatre awards.
His other theatre credits include Henry Vand Fences in the West End, Pericles and Danton’s Death for the National Theatre, A Raisin in the Sun and Macbeth (for which he won the Ian Charleson Award) at the Sheffield Crucible
Phyllida Lloyd, the shows director, said: “This role must be one of the most demanding in world theatre and requires a human being of exceptional gifts and massive inner strength. Nkeki has both. Nkeki just has that THING – ferocious power – without which you can’t even think of playing Tina.“
Tina Turner said: “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!”
Based on the life of Tina Turner, the hit musical tells Turner’s story from humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Nkeki Obi-Melekwe and Ashley Zhangazha will join the production from 15 April 2019.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is booking until 21 December 2019 at the Aldwych Theatre, London.