Joanna Riding And Meow Meow Lead Cast In West End Transfer Of Kneehigh’s Production Of Michel Legrand & Jacques Demy’s THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, directed By Emma Rice

After the success of Brief Encounter in the West End and on Broadway, Kneehigh’s new adaptation of Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg will arrive at the Gielgud Theatre following a limited run at Curve, Leicester. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg will begin previews on 5 March, with press night on 22 March and is booking until 1 October 2011. Directed by Emma Rice, with lyrics translated by Sheldon Harnick, designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, sound by Simon Baker and musical supervision by Nigel Lilley, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg will be produced in the West End by Daniel Sparrow and Mike Walsh Productions, Curve Leicester and City Lights International in association with Be Yu Productions.

The cast for Leicester and the West End comprises Joanna Riding (Madame Emery), Meow Meow (Lola), Carly Bawden (Genevieve), Gareth Charlton (Sailor), Andrew Durand (Guy), Cynthia Erivo (Madelaine), Dominic Marsh (Cassard), Aki Omoshaybi (Sailor) and ensemble members Laura Brydon and Matt Wilman.

Twenty year old French auto mechanic Guy Fouchier has fallen in love with 17-year-old Geneviève Emery, an employee in her widowed mother’s chic umbrella shop. On the evening before Guy is to leave for a two-year tour of combat in Algeria, he and Geneviève vow to remain lovers. After discovering she is carrying Guy’s child she must choose between waiting for his return or accepting an offer of marriage from a wealthy diamond merchant.

Multi Olivier award-winning Joanna Riding most recently played Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot The Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Following a run in the West End production of Me and My Girl she was cast in Nicholas Hytner’s production of Carousel for the National Theatre. Subsequently her musical theatre credits have included My Fair Lady and The Witches of Eastwick both at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Guys and Dolls, A Little Night Music and Oh What a Lovely War all for the National Theatre, Lady Be Good at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park and Martin Guerre for West Yorkshire Playhouse and on tour. Riding has also appeared at The Royal Court Theatre in Mark Ravenhill’s cycle of plays Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, Blithe Spirit for the Theatre Royal Bath and in the West End, An Ideal Husband, Hobson’s Choice and The Happiest Days of Your Life all for The Royal Exchange Theatre, The Portrait of Dorian Gray for the Lyric Hammersmith andThe Wizard of Oz, My Mother Said I Never Should and The Merry Wives of Windsor both for Chichester Festival Theatre. Her television credits include Holby City, Doctors, Heartbeat, Where the Heart Is, The Royal, Midsomer Murders, The Brian Conley Show, Sean’s Show, Casualty, Strike Command and Wings of a Prayer.

Meow Meow is a renowned cabaret artist who recently won the 2010 Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize for her show Feline Intimate. Specialising in kamikaze cabaret and performance art exotica her solo shows, curated by David Bowie, Pina Bausch and Mikhail Baryshnikov amongst others, have been seen across Europe and the US. The Sydney Opera House recently commissioned her original music theatre work Vamp. In New York she has performed at the Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall. In collaborations she has toured the US with The Dresden Dolls and recorded the album Here Kitty Kitty …The Lost sessions with Pink Martini’s Thomas M Lauderdale due for release in 2011.

Carly Bawden will make her West End debut in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Her previous stage credits include Sleeping Beauty at Wakefield Theatre Royal and national tours of Whistle Down The Wind and Evita.

Gareth Charlton’s stage credits include Don Giovanni for the English National Opera, Cinderella at the Old Vic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on tour in the UK, and for Matthew Bourne – Edward Scissorhands at Sadler’s Wells and a American tour of The Nutcracker.

Andrew Durand will make his West End debut playing Guy. On Broadway he has been seen in Spring Awakening. His other American theatre credits include The Burnt Part Boys for Playwright Horizons and Yank! for the York Theater Company. Andrew Durand is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange programmme between American Equity and UK Equity.

Cynthia Erivo’s theatre credits include I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw the Sky at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain, a co-production with The English Touring Theatre, Traverse Theatre and Belgrade Theatres.

Dominic Marsh’s stage credits include Longitude for Greenwich Theatre, The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre, Mimi and the Stalker for Theatre 503, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, HMS Pinafore, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Oh! What a Lovely War! all at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, Murmuring Judges, Racing Demon and The Absence of War for Birmingham Rep and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Alice in Wonderland for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His television credits include Missing and Doctors.

Aki Omoshaybi’s stage credits include Hair at the Gielgud Theatre, Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and national tours of West Side Story 50th Anniversary and South Pacific.

Laura Brydon’s theatre credits include Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre, Perfect Pitch in Concert at the Edinburgh Festival, Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre and a national tour of Cats.

Matt Wilman’s stage credits include Calling at the Kings Head Theatre, Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Charter Theatre, Preston and Dandini in Cinderella for the Assembly Rooms, Derby.

The critically acclaimed classic film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, directed by Jacques Demy, was released in 1964 starring a 19 year old Catherine Deneuve. The film went on to be nominated for five Academy Awards and then won the 1964 Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. The Academy Award nominated I Will Wait for You, one of the songs featured in the film, has subsequently been recorded by many artists including Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett and Liza Minnelli.

Oscar winning composer, arranger, conductor and pianist Michel Legrand has composed over 200 film scores including The Thomas Crown Affair and Summer of ‘42 as well as several musicals including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Yentl which have won him three Oscars® and five Grammys®. He was 22 when his first album, I Love Paris, became one of the best-selling instrumental albums ever released. His albums now number over 100 spanning jazz, musical theatre, variety and classical styles on which he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Jack Jones, Regine Velasquez, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Lena Horne, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, James Ingram, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand and many other leading musicians.

As Artistic Director of Kneehigh Emma Rice has directed Brief Encounter *at Studio 54 on Broadway, the Haymarket Cinema in the West End and successive national and international tours, The Red Shoes for which she won the Best Director 2002 Barclays TMA Awards, The Wooden Frock on tour in the UK, Don John as a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Bacchae for which she won the TMA Best Touring Production 2005, Tristan & Yseult and Nights at the Circus for the Lyric Hammersmith, Cymbeline in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company for the Complete Works Festival and A Matter of Life and Death for the National Theatre.

Kneehigh productions include The Red Shoes (Winner of TMA for Best Director 2002)/2010 – National tour, USA, Australia), Hansel & Gretel (National Tour 2010/11), Don John (National Tour 2008/9), Brief Encounter (West End 2008, National Tour and USA tour 2009, Broadway 2010), A Matter of Life and Death (National Theatre 2007), Rapunzel (BAC, National Tour and New York 2007/8), Cymbeline (National and International Tour 2007/2008) and Tristan and Yseult (National Theatre and National Tour 2006).

* Note: Brief Encounter was originally produced by David Pugh and Daffyd Rogers and Cineworld

Release issued by: Premier PR


Book tickets to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Gielgud Theatre

📷 Main photo: Joanna Riding And Meow Meow Lead Cast In West End Transfer Of Kneehigh’s Production Of Michel Legrand & Jacques Demy’s THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, directed By Emma Rice

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