By Ray Bennett
The Old Vic has announced full casting for its production of Cole Porter’s “High Society” based on the film musical version of “The Philadelphia Story”, which will open on May 14 following previews that begin on April 30.
To be directed by Maria Friedman with Joe Stile and the High Society Band, the show will star Kate Fleetwood, who was nominated for an Olivier Award in “London Assurance”, as socialite Tracy Lord, played by Grace Kelly in the movie. Jamie Parker, who played Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls” at the Chichester Festival Theatre last year, will play reporter Mike Connor, played by Frank Sinatra in the film.
Annabel Scholey, who starred in the 2014 movie musical “Walking on Sunshine”, will play photographer Liz Imbrie, played by Celeste Holm in the movie, and Rupert Young (“Merlin”), who had the lead in the 2011 Southwark Playhouse production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company”, will play C.K. Dexter Haven, played by Bing Crosby in the film.
Here’s The Old Vic announcement:
Full casting for The Old Vic’s sparkling new production of High Society has been announced. Casting includes the previously announced Kate Fleetwood, Barbara Flynn, Jamie Parker, Annabel Scholey and Rupert Young along with Ellie Bamber, Richard Grieve, Christopher Ravenscroft and Jeff Rawle. The Old Vic’s new production of Cole Porter’s classic feel good musical, High Society is directed by Maria Friedman, with Joe Stilgoe and the High Society Band.
High Society is based on The Philadelphia Story and the 1956 film musical starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Long Island socialite Tracy Lord (Kate Fleetwood) is planning her lavish summer wedding when her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Rupert Young), appears to try and win her back. His unwelcome arrival threatens to disrupt proceedings. When tabloid reporter Mike Connor (Jamie Parker) arrives to cover the nuptials, he too takes a shine to the bride-to-be. But which of these three suitors will she choose?
The final production of The Old Vic’s season in the round, this ambitious project is once more made possible by the generous support of CQS. The season of productions is supported for the fourth consecutive year by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Ellie Bamber plays Dinah Lord. Ellie recently played Lydia Bennett in the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies directed by Burr Sheers. She also appeared in the BBC film The Falling, which premiered at the 2014 London Film Festival. Ellie’s television appearances include The Musketeers (BBC) and A Mother’s Son (ITV). Last year she appeared as Young Jenny in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory, directed by Trevor Nunn.
Kate Fleetwood (left) plays Tracy Lord. Most recently Kate appeared in the Almeida’s Mister Burns as Maria, directed by Robert Icke. Other recent work includes King Lear and London Road (National Theatre), for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Kate will also appear in the film of London Road alongside Tom Hardy and Olivia Coleman, set for release later this year. Kate’s work for the Donmar Warehouse includes Life is a Dream and Hecuba, and she appeared in Nancy Harris’ acclaimed play Our New Girl at the Bush Theatre in 2012. Kate received a Tony nomination for Best Actress for her internationally-acclaimed performance as Lady Macbeth at Chichester Festival Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, as well as in the filmed version. Kate’s other Shakespearean projects include Twelfth Night (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (RSC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bristol Old Vic), Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre) and The Tempest (Globe). On screen, she appeared alongside Judi Dench in the 2013 film Philomena. Her other film credits include Les Misérables, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, The Golden Age and Vanity Fair. Television includes Inspector George Gently, Waking the Dead, Hustle, Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders and Silent Witness.
Barbara Flynn plays Margaret Lord. Most recently Barbara performed in Versailles at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Peter Gill. Other theatre credits include Plunder, The Philanderer, Early Days, Antigone, Tales from Hollywood, King Lear, The Revengers Tragedy (National Theatre), The Bullet (Donmar Warehouse), Short List, The Perfectionist and An Experiment with an Air Pump (Hampstead Theatre), Sorry, Hamlet and Copenhagen (Sheffield Crucible). Barbara’s extensive television credits include Pat & Cabbage, Just Henry, Malice Aforethought and The Forsythe Saga all for ITV, Cranford Chronicles, 10 Days to War and The Line of Beauty for the BBC and The Queen and Tom Hooper’s Elizabeth I for Channel 4. On film, Barbara’s work includes Miss Potter, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding and Richard Eyre’s King Lear.
Richard Grieve plays George Kittredge. He is best known for his regular television roles of Jonny Foster in Emmerdale, Sam Kratz in Neighbours and Dr Lachlan Frazer in Home and Away. George played Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for the UK Tour having previously played Tick/Mitzi In the London production at the Palace Theatre. His other stage credits include Copacabana, Footloose, There’s No Way Home, Daisy Miller (UK Tour), An Ideal Husband (The English Theatre) and multiple productions with the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Sydney Theatre Company.
Jamie Parker plays Mike Connor. Jamie is known for playing Scripps in the original production of The History Boys at the National Theatre and on Broadway, as well as in the 2006 film. Jamie is returning to musical theatre following his acclaimed performance as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls at Chichester Festival Theatre in the summer of 2014 and Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory. Other theatre credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Gondoliers (Chichester Festival Theatre), Holes in the Skin and The Coffee House (Minerva Theatre). For Shakespeare’s Globe Jamie played Prince Hal in Henry IV Parts I&II before starring as Henry V. Other theatre credits include Proof (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Revenger’s Tragedy (National Theatre), Racing Demon (Sheffield Crucible), Candida (Theatre Royal Bath) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Jamie’s television work includes Parade’s End, Silent Witness, Wire in the Blood and Foyle’s War, and his film credits include Le Weekend and the 2008 World War II thriller Valkyrie.
Christopher Ravenscroft plays Seth Lord. Christopher has an extensive list of theatre credits including Dances of Death (Gate Theatre), Good Grief, Portrait of a Lady, Doll’s House (Bath Theatre Royal), The Talented Mr Ripley (Theatre Royal Northampton), Comedy of Errors (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Summer and Smoke (Apollo Theatre), Macbeth (RSC) and is a regular on stage at the Orange Tree Theatre having performed in The Man Who Pays the Piper, The Stepmother, The Conspirators, The Promise and Alison’s House. Perhaps best known for his recurring role as DI Mike Burden in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Christopher’s other television credits include The Shell Seekers, Mile High and The Courtroom. Film credits include The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Football Factory and Henry IV.
Jeff Rawle plays Uncle Willie. Most recently Jeff starred as Dennis Thatcher/Ronald Reagan and others in Moira Buffini’s Handbagged (West End and Tricycle). For the National Theatre Jeff appeared in Cocktail Sticks, The Power of Yes, Fram and Noises Off (also Tour and West End). Other theatre includes King of Hearts (Out of Joint), Bottle Universe (Bush Theatre), Way to Heaven (Royal Court), Releevo (Soho Poly Theatre), Excellent Choice (Eye Saw Theatre), Butley (Fortune Theatre). Regionally he’s appeared in productions of Marine Parade (Brighton Festival), Neville’s Island and Queerfolk (Nottingham Playhouse), Reluctant Heroes (Churchill, Bromley), and The Caretaker (Thorndike Theatre). His on screen credits include The Redistributors, Trimming Pablo and Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, The Outcast, 88 Keys, You, Me and Them, Heading Out, Hollyoaks and Midsommer Murders.
Annabel Scholey plays Liz Imbrie. Annabel is best known for playing Lauren Drake in the supernatural BBC drama Being Human. Annabel recently starred in Peter Nichols’ provocative comedy Passion Play in the West End alongside Zoë Wanamaker. Other theatre credits include Antigone (National Theatre/Olivier), Lady Anne in Richard III opposite Kevin Spacey in the title role (The Old Vic/BAM/World Tour), The Rivals (Theatre Royal Haymarket/UK Tour), the classic farce Charley’s Aunt (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream opposite Judi Dench (Rose Theatre, Kingston). For Chichester Festival Theatre Annabel has appeared in The House of Special Purpose, Wallenstein and Hobson’s Choice. Annabel’s other Shakespearean projects include Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew (Bristol Tobacco Factory), Troilus and Cressida (RSC/Kings Theatre/Edinburgh International Festival). She also appeared in the Sheffield Crucible’s critically-acclaimed production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard alongside Joanna Lumley in 2007. Annabel’s television work includes Jane Eyre, Eastenders and Holby City, and her film credits include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two and, most recently, the feel-good 2014 film Walking on Sunshine.
Rupert Young plays C.K. Dexter Haven. Rupert has appeared in several critically- acclaimed BBC TV series. He is known for his role as Sir Leon in Merlin, and he also appeared in the adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s novel The White Queen, as well as Hotel Babylon alongside Tamzin Outhwaite and Max Beesley. Rupert’s other television credits include Shameless, Primeval, Foyle’s War, Heartbeat and Doc Martin. Last year Rupert starred in Tonight at 8.30, Noel Coward’s cycle of ten one-act plays, directed by Blanche McIntyre (Nuffield Theatre and Tour). In 2011 he played the lead role of Bobby in Stephen Sondheim’s Company (Southwark Playhouse). For the National Theatre Rupert has appeared in Afterlife and Never So Good, and in Cymberline, Twelfth Night and HMS Pinafore for the New Shakespeare Company at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Maria Friedman made her directorial debut with Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory which then transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre. The show won two Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival, Critics Circle and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical as well as being nominated for a further five Olivier Awards including Best Director. Merrily We Roll Along received more five-star reviews than any West End show in history.
Friedman’s extensive performing credits include Maria Friedman: Re-arranged, which transferred from the Menier Chocolate Factory to Trafalgar Studios (Olivier Award nomination for Best Entertainment); Fosca in Sondheim’s Passion (Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical); Mother in Ragtime (Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical); Maria Friedman, by Special Arrangement which transferred from the Donmar Warehouse to the Whitehall Theatre (Olivier Award for Best Entertainment); Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre (Olivier Award nomination); Sunday in the Park with George (Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actress in a Musical) and Lady in the Dark (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical) both at the National Theatre; and West End and Broadway productions of The Woman in White (Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical/Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut).
More recently Maria has been seen performing her new show Back to Before which is to transfer to New York in 2015. She is also currently appearing as Elaine Peacock in the BBC1 continuing drama EastEnders.
Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist, raconteur and songwriter whose third album New Songs For Old Souls is due for worldwide release in Spring 2015. He has performed around the world with his band and as a solo act, with appearances at Ronnie Scott’s, the Royal Festival Hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Barbican, The London Jazz Festival, The Royal Albert Hall, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Festival (Time Out award), Henley Festival, Melbourne Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He has appeared as featured soloist with orchestras including BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and The Northern Sinfonia.
Joe’s studio album We Look To The Stars went straight to the top of the jazz charts. He has worked extensively on radio, appearing on The Now Show and The Horne Section for Radio 4, and has been a contributor and special guest with Terry Wogan, Richard Madeley, Michael Parkinson and numerous other Radio 2 programmes including appearances on Friday Night Is Music Night. Autumn 2015 will see Stilgoe take to the road in his debut tour.
Nathan M Wright has choreographed internationally for stage and screen, and was the mass movement choreographer for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. He was associate choreographer on Baz Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby, and worked as a Motion Capture Artist on Happy Feet. Television choreography credits include Breathless, So You Think You Can Dance? and for the Sydney and Melbourne Comedy Festivals. Stage choreography credits include Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Rocky Horror Show (UK tour and Australia), and Sweet Smell of Success (Arcola Theatre – Whatsonstage Award nomination for Best Choreography).
Musical Director Orchestrator & Arranger Lighting
Maria Friedman Tom Pye
Nathan M Wright Theo Jamieson Christopher Walker Peter Mumford Simon Baker Maggie Lunn
Ensemble Casting Will Burton CDG
Full Cast includes: Ellie Bamber (Dinah Lord), John Brannoch (ensemble), Ricky Butt (Mavis), Omari Douglas (ensemble), Claire Doyle (ensemble), Chris Ellis-Stanton (ensemble), Kate Fleetwood (Tracey Lord), Barbara Flynn (Margaret Lord), Richard Grieve (George Kittredge), Leon Kay (ensemble), Sammy Kelly (ensemble), Paul Kemble (Chester), Zak Nemorin (ensemble), Jamie Parker (Mike Connor), Katharine Pearson (ensemble), Christopher Ravenscroft (Seth Lord), Jeff Rawle (Uncle Willie), Annabel Scholey (Liz Imbrie), Philippa Stefani (ensemble) and Rupert Young (C.K. Dexter Haven).
Original Broadway Production Produced by:
Lauren Mitchell and Robert Gailus, Hal Luftig and Richard Samson
Dodger Endemol Theatricals in association with Bill Haber
Originally produced by American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco, CA. Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, Heather Kitchen, Managing Director