Sadler's Wells is pleased to announce the casting details for the West End opening of Richard Thomas and Stephen Mear's fabulously original musical, Shoes. Following the show's smash-hit world premiere at Sadler's Wells in September 2010, Shoes transfers to the West End's Peacock Theatre for a limited eight-week run from Tuesday 8 February - Sunday 3 April 2011.
A celebration of one of the greatest passions of the modern age and commissioned and produced by Sadler's Wells, Shoes is a musical that reflects life from street-level perspective with wit, irreverence and affection. The cast of the show features 12 dancers, four singers and a live band.
Shoes is directed by multi-award winning choreographer Stephen Mear (Mary Poppins, Sweet Charity, The Little Mermaid), who says "The auditions for the West End opening of Shoes were extremely competitive, and I was delighted to be able to choose from a very strong selection of performers. The new cast features some fabulous talent, and mixes performers who I know well with some who I am working with for the first time."
The Four Singers performing in Shoes include Canadian singer Tim Howar, whose background is in rock music and is currently co-fronting band Mike & The Mechanics' new album and UK tour in Spring 2011. Howar is joined by Damian Humbley, an Australian-born performer who moved to London UK in 2005 shortly before being cast opposite Ruthie Henshall in The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre. Humbley has since gone on to perform in Menier Chocolate Factory productions of The Last 5 Years and Little Shop of Horrors and in Lend Me A Tenor at Plymouth Theatre Royal.
The remaining singers are Gemma Duffy, whose previous theatre credits include Footloose - The Musical at The Playhouse Theatre and Australian soprano Jennifer Peers, who has appeared in Richard Thomas' Jerry Springer - The Opera at Sydney Opera House and in My Fair Lady for Opera Australia.
The 12 dancers include So You Think You Can Dance's Chloe Campbell, whose theatre credits include the world premiere of Shoes in September 2010, Me & My Girl choreographed by Stephen Mear at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, Mary Poppins featuring choreography by Stephen Mear at the Prince Edward Theatre, Desperately Seeking Susan at Novello Theatre and On The Town choreographed by Stephen Mear at the London Coliseum and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris.
Joining Campbell is Lorraine Stewart, whose previous theatre credits include A Matter of Life and Death, A Man of Mode, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to The Forum at the National Theatre, in Sinatra choreographed by Stephen Mear at the London Palladium and in On The Town. Stewart's film and television credits include Robert Marshall's Nine, Beyond the Sea with Kevin Spacey and Rob Ashford, and Phantom of the Opera with Joel Schumacher and Peter Darling.
Amongst the other performers who Mear is pleased to continue working with are Alexis Owen-Hobbs, who appeared in Sweet Charity at Theatre Royal Haymarket and Anything Goes at the National Theatre, both choreographed by Stephen Mear, as well as Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre, and in the final production of Cats at the New London Theatre. James O'Connell rejoins the cast of Shoes, and performed has also performed Mear's choreography in Sinatra.
Adding to the stellar cast of West End performers are Matt Clark, whose theatre credits include Oliver! at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Chicago at the Cambridge Theatre and on the UK tour, We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium. Flik Swan also appeared in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium and in the original cast of The Secret Garden with the RSC, and her television credits include the BBC's Doctor Who and Blackwater. Holly James adds to the cast, whose theatre credits include the original cast of Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre and in the UK tour of Fame.
New to the London theatre scene is Kaisey Johnston, who moved to the UK from Australia in 2010, and is a former Soloist with Melbourne Ballet Company and with Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Texas. Also enjoying their first experiences of working with Stephen Mear are Jay Wilson, who makes his professional debut in Shoes, and Jack Wilcox, a versatile performer who was awarded the Internazionale Della Danza prize in 2009, and whose theatre credits include the original UK tour cast of High School Musical 2, Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, and Swan Lake with ENB.
Completing the cast are two performers with impressive experience in the world of television and pop music. Mikey Frome graduated from Cambridge Performing Arts at Bodywork dance Studios in 2009, and with Peter Andre has performed on Strictly Come Dancing, his Defender music video and Accelerate Arena Tour. Frome has also appeared in the UK tour of Thriller Live. Shaun Paul Smith boasts an extensive range of television appearances, and in 2010 alone has performed on The X Factor with Justin Bieber and Katie Perry, on Children in Need with Cheryl Cole, and at the Mobo Awards with Professor Green 'Monster'. Smith's theatre credits include hip hop shows Into The Hoods and Pied Piper.
The swing performers covering all roles are singers Laura Tebbutt, who has appeared in Les Miserables on The Royal Variety Performance 2010 and Patrick Smyth, who was part of the cast for Hair at the Gielgud Theatre. Dancers joining the cast as swings are Daniel Ioannou, who has appeared in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre and in We Will Rock You in Zurich and Vienna, and Jaye Elster who took part in the workshops with Stephen Mear for Shoes, Sweet Charity and Hello Dolly!.
With the West End opening of Shoes, Mear is set to build on his successes of 2010, which included an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for Hello Dolly!, and a nomination for Best Choreographer in the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards for his choreography on Shoes at Sadler's Wells and for Sweet Charity at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre Royal Haymarket. In addition to directing Shoes at the Peacock Theatre, 2011 sees Mear work with Richard Eyre on a new Cameron Mackintosh musical Betty Blue Eyes, opening at the Novello Theatre in March.
Best known for co-writing the multi-award winning hit West End show Jerry Springer - The Opera, Richard Thomas began his career as part of a music comedy duo enjoying numerous sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 90s. His first full-length show, Jerry Springer... succeeded his cult hit, Tourette's Diva, and his two-act opera The HA HA Hole for Schauspielhaus, Hannover and Kombat Opera for BBC2. In 2011 Thomas remains in demand as a writer for the stage, with provocative new work Anna Nicole, for The Royal Opera, opening in February 2011.
Alongside Mear, the leading choreographers contributing to Shoes are Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (zero degrees, Sutra), Aletta Collins (Bloom, The Tempest, Jesus Christ Superstar), Kate Prince (Into the Hoods) and Mark Smith (Deaf Men Dancing) who create the dance numbers for the show, set to Thomas' songs. Song titles from Shoes include; Health And Safety, The Psychology of Purchase in the Temple of Retail, Desire: The Brand, Imelda Argues With The Nation and Sneaker Addict.
Shoes is designed by Tom Pye who has designed sets and costumes throughout the world, including for Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, Peter Brook's Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute for Opera North. Laura Hopkins, who has worked with ENO, Menier Chocolate Factory and Glastonbury festival among many others, designs the costumes, while Chris Davey designs the lighting. Davey has designed extensively for Shared Experience Theatre, Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Exchange Manchester, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Birmingham Rep.
Film and animation artists Tim Hope and Gaëlle Denis complete the design team. After a relatively brief foray into stand up comedy, Hope's more recent work with digital imagery and short films has won him several awards and since 2000 seen him direct music videos (Coldplay, R.E.M) and commercials. In 2008 he designed the projections for The Mighty Boosh UK tour. Denis has previously collaborated with Punch Drunk and in 2003 her major short directorial debut Fish Never Sleep received a BAFTA for Best Animated Short.
The production features over 250 pairs of shoes. Major designers and brands involved in and supporting the show to date include Terry de Havilland, Tracey Neuls, Georgina Goodman, Irregular Choice, Manolo Blahnik, Beatrix Ong, Melissa Plastic Dreams, LK Bennett, Nike, Birkenstock, Finsk, Joseph Azagury, Oliver Sweeney, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin, Rupert Sanderson and Alexander McQueen.