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Sunday, 4 December 2016

Preview: Wonderland at Sunderland Empire



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WENDI PETERS and DAVE WILLETTS headline WONDERLAND and West End & Broadway leading lady KERRY ELLIS guest stars!


Neil Eckersley presents
Wonderland
Sunderland Empire
Monday 30th January – Saturday 4th  February 2017

Following sold out seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, the multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland receives its UK and European première in this brand new British production, which debuts at the Edinburgh Playhouse and comes to the Sunderland Empire for one week only from 30th  January – 4th  February 2017.

Hailed by the New York Times as “inspirational”, Wonderland is an enchanting musical adaption of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, with a huge heart, a medley of magic and a whole lot of wonder.

Here a timely and touching story of love in all its forms, it’s an adventurous exploration of who we are, who we want to be and the power of everyday magic in our lives.

In the tradition of the best stage musicals, Wonderland boasts a catchy score full of songs from Frank Wildhorn, writer of pop hits including Whitney Houston’s ‘Where Do Broken Hearts Go?’ and theatre classics including ‘This is the Moment’ from his internationally acclaimed show, Jekyll & Hyde.

Cast Announced


TV and West End star Wendi Peters, much loved for her acclaimed portrayal of Cilla Battersby-Brown in Coronation Street, will headline the upcoming 2017 UK tour of Wonderlandas Queen of Hearts alongside musical theatre favourite Dave Willetts, who has previously starred in tours of South Pacific, 42ndStreet and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, as White Rabbit.
 
West End and Broadway leading lady Kerry Ellis, best known for playing Elphaba in the West End and Broadway productions of Wicked, will guest star as Alice in select venues including Sunderland!
  
Completing the principal cast are Stephen Webb as Jack / White Knight, Natalie McQueen as Mad Hatter, Kayi Ushe as Caterpillar, Dominic Owen as Cheshire Cat, Ben Kerr as March Hare and Carolyn Maitland as Alternate Alice / Mad Hatter. They are joined by an ensemble comprising Sharif Afifi, Toyan Thomas Browne, Divine Cresswell, Jessica Croll, Francesca Lara Gordon, Benjamin McMillan, Bree Smith, Benjamin Yates and swings Lewis Easter and Collette Guitart.
  
Following sold out seasons in Tampa, Texas and Tokyo, the multi Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award nominated Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland debuts at the Edinburgh Playhouse from Friday 20th to Saturday 28th January 2017 ahead of an extensive UK tour. 

Wendi Peters has worked extensively on both stage and screen, but it was the iconic role of Cilla in Coronation Street which truly made her a household name. Her appearance led to her being asked on numerous TV programmes such as Celebrity Sewing Bee for Children In Need, Celebrity MastermindThe F Word with Gordon Ramsay and Celebrity Masterchef, where she reached the finals. Wendi currently plays regular character Cook Jenkins in BBC's Hetty Feather. Alongside her screen work, Wendi is in much demand as a stage actress with recent credits including Hatched ’n’ Dispatched (Park Theatre), Oh What a Lovely War! (UKTour) and White Christmas (Dominion Theatre).
   
Dave Willetts is one of the UK’s foremost musical theatre stars having played numerous leading roles including Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (London and Australia), Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (London and Manchester), for which he won the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Performance, Old Deuteronomy in Cats (London), the title roles in Jesus Christ Superstar (London and Europe), Sweeney Todd (UK Tour) and Sunday in the Park with George (UK Tour), Max Von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard (London), and Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and Professor Callaghan in Legally Blonde (all UK Tours). Dave has also made many international concert appearances, including performances at the concert halls of Monterey, MexicoCity, Los Angeles, Rotterdam, Munich as well as the Royal Albert Hall. His latest album, Once in a Lifetime, celebrates 25 years in show business.
  
Kerry Ellis is the leading lady of her generation. Her extensive theatre credits include Grizabella in Cats, Nancy in Oliver!, Fantine in Les Misérables, Ellen in Miss Saigon, Meatloaf in the original cast of We Will Rock You and Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady, as well as Svetlana in Chess in concert at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Josh Groban and Idina Menzel. As well as her theatre career, Kerry performed her own solo tour around the UKculminating in a sell-out performance at the London Palladium and the release of her own self-titled album. She also continues to tour and perform all over the globe with her long time writing and performing partner Queen’s Brian May. The pair are due to release a new album early next year.

Produced by Neil Eckersley, Wonderlandhas music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Jack Murphy, book by Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd with UK adaptation by Ava Eldred. It is directed by Lotte Wakeham (Associate Director of Matilda, West End & Broadway), with musical supervision by Jason Howland (Beautiful, West End & Broadway), choreography by Lucie Pankhurst (Dogfight at the Southwark Playhouse), set design by Andrew Riley (Songs for a New World at the St James and Flight at Opera Holland Park), costume design by Grace Smart (2015 Linbury Prize winner) and lighting design by Tony Award nominee Nick Richings (current UK tours of Priscilla Queen of the Desert & The Rocky Horror Show). 

Music by Frank Wildhorn
Lyrics by Jack Murphy
Book by Jack Murphy & Gregory Boyd
UK adaptation Ava Eldred
Directed by Lotte Wakeham
Musical Supervision by Jason Howland                                                     
Choreography by Lucie Pankhurst
Set Design by Andrew Riley
Costume Design by Grace Smart
Lighting Design by Nick Richings

On The Web:

Tickets: Tickets on sale now and available in person at the Box Office on High Street West, from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland*
*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your standard network charge. Booking fees may apply to telephone and online bookings



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